18 September 2006
Security Council
SC/8833

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5528th Meeting (PM)*


SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS PROPOSAL TO REVIVE ‘NEARLY DEAD’ DARFUR PEACE PLAN;

 

ENVOY FOR SUDAN SAYS ACCORD, THOUGH BALANCED, NEEDS ALL PARTIES ON BOARD


Council Members Stress Government’s Responsibility to Protect, Urge Expanded

United Nations Presence in Darfur to Avoid ‘Slide from Crisis to Catastrophe’


While only four months old, the Darfur Peace Agreement was “nearly dead”, the senior United Nations envoy to the Sudan told the Security Council today, as he briefed it on the latest developments in that country and presented his proposal for reviving the plan, which could have a serious impact on the implementation of the peace agreements throughout the country.


The Darfur Peace Agreement “ought to be under intensive care, but it isn’t,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the Sudan, Jan Pronk, said.  It was a balanced text -- somewhere in the middle of the extreme positions taken by the Government and the rebel movements -- yet, it did not have the support of several of those groups, which had taken a political decision to stand aside.  Bringing them on board was the first condition to bring the Darfur Peace Agreement “out of the coma”.  Other conditions for reviving the accord included establishing a truce; reforming the Ceasefire Commission; resuming talks to improve the Agreement; and getting off the “collision course”, both within Sudan and internationally.


Also needed was the implementation of the Council’s resolution 1706 (2006) adopted on 31 August, he said.  That text made it crystal clear that the international community wanted a transition from the present African Union peacekeeping force to a United Nations force.  The Council had also invited the Government’s consent for the deployment.  From its side, the Government had also been crystal clear that it was against the transition.  However, the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) had proven to be a fair and effective peacekeeper in southern Sudan.  “We can and will do the same in Darfur,” Mr. Pronk pledged.


He added that the United Nations did not deserve insinuations from Sudanese political leadership in power.  The withdrawal of UNMIS troops from eastern Sudan upon completion of their mandate had sent a strong signal to the people of the country that the United Nations had come to eastern Sudan upon invitation of the Government, accomplished its task and left.  There was no hidden agenda to occupy or “recolonize” the country.  The Organization’s only aim was to protect the people, while respecting the sovereignty of the Sudanese nation.


Commenting on the briefing, members of the Council noted that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was on track, but they agreed with Mr. Pronk’s assessment that it was still “a bumpy ride and the train could easily derail”.  They also expressed concern about the danger of the conflict spilling over into the south, agreeing with the Secretary-General, who stated, in his recent report on the situation, that peace in the Sudan was indivisible and that efforts to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South would prove inadequate until durable peace also came to Darfur.


The United States representative said that, just as the Government of National Unity had shown itself able to overcome decades of violence in South Sudan through respect for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and cooperation with the United Nations peacekeeping mission, so should it be prepared to ensure a better future for its citizens in Darfur, through respect for the Darfur Peace Agreement, a strengthening of the African Union’s operation and through cooperation in the deployment of UNMIS forces in Darfur.


He expressed his intention to circulate a draft resolution on Sudan, to renew the mandate of UNMIS, set to expire on 24 September, and to ensure continuity of United Nations operations in the south.  The draft would also take into consideration the expansion of the Mission, as per resolution 1706 (2006). It was critical that the Council expanded those missions concurrently to ensure that urgent assistance to the African Union Mission in the Sudan, as stipulated in resolution 1706 (2006), was not jeopardized, he urged.


Citing the “responsibility to protect”, the representative of the United Kingdom stressed the Government’s obligation to protect its own citizens. It was clear that the Sudanese Government was not protecting its own citizens in Darfur, to say the least.  In such cases, the responsibility to protect meant that the international community had a right to get involved, primarily in efforts to help the State concern carry out its responsibilities.  That was what the United Nations had done in southern Sudan, and it was what everybody wanted to see happen in Darfur.  If offers of help were turned away, the international community could not allow the situation to “slide from crisis to catastrophe, because of the ill-founded fears of the Government of Khartoum”.  If the Government of the Sudan cared about its citizens, it must consent to a United Nations force.


With most Council members expressing support for an expanded United Nations force to Darfur, China’s representative, however, insisted on the need for the Sudanese Government to first agree to the extension of UNMIS to Darfur.  He pointed out that the United Nations had played a positive role in other parts of the country because it had had the support of the Government.  The mission in Darfur should be based on the same principles, he said.


Several speakers said they looked forward to the meeting on Wednesday of the African Union Peace and Security Council and placed high hopes on the meeting of the interested parties, to be hosted by Denmark and the United States, in New York at the end of this week.


Also taking the floor this afternoon were the representatives of Argentina, France, Denmark, United Republic of Tanzania, Peru, Japan, Slovakia, Russian Federation, Congo, Ghana, Qatar and Greece.


The meeting opened at 3.10 p.m. and was adjourned at 5.35 p.m.


Background


As the Security Council met to consider the situation in the Sudan this afternoon, it had before it the Secretary-General’s report, dated 12 September (document S/2006/728), which presents the latest update on the situation in the country, implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, respect for the ceasefire and the implementation of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS).  The report also recommends that the Mission’s mandate be renewed for a year, until 24 September 2007.


The Secretary-General states that the progress in the talks on eastern Sudan is encouraging, but the efforts to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which was signed between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM/A) on 9 January 2005, will prove inadequate until durable peace also comes to Darfur.  Conversely, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement remains the bedrock on which the Darfur Peace Agreement, however unsteady it may appear now, could be built.  The people and the leaders of the Sudan, with the active support of the international community, must tend to both if the country is to finally emerge from conflict and instability.


Since the Secretary-General’s previous report, dated 23 June (S/2006/426), the Council has held several meetings on the Sudan -- the latest on the situation in Darfur, on 11 September.  The Secretary-General emphasized during that meeting that it was time to act, as the tragedy in the war-ravaged Sudanese region had reached a perilous moment and was seen by people around the world as a crucial test of the Council’s authority and effectiveness, its solidarity with people in need and its seriousness in the quest for peace.


Prior to that, adopting its resolution 1706 (2006) on 31 August, the Council expanded the mandate of UNMIS to include its deployment to Darfur, without prejudice to its existing mandate and operations, in order to support the early and effective implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.  In that connection, the Secretary-General, in his latest report, points out that the position of the Sudanese Government with regard to resolution 1706 (2006) and transition of peacekeeping responsibilities in Darfur from the African Union to the United Nations has been “very negative”.


“I sincerely hope that the leaders of the Sudan are fully aware of the possible consequences of their negative reaction to the generous proposals of the international community with regard to Darfur, which are based on the Darfur Peace Agreement and the joint position of the African Union and the United Nations concerning the strengthening of the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) and the transition to the United Nations,” the Secretary-General says.  “There cannot be a lasting solution in Darfur through coercion and violence.”


The United Nations is prepared to seek the political path, as agreed by the Sudanese themselves at Abuja, the report states.  The Secretary-General is ready to continue to engage all parties involved, in order to pursue this path.  The Council has a key role to play in this process, but its effectiveness will depend on its ability to speak and act in complete unity.  Ultimately, however, the leaders in Khartoum bear full responsibility for the route they finally choose.


Regarding the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Secretary-General states that the parties in the Sudan should be reminded that none of the commitments enshrined in the Agreement are optional and that they must meet all their obligations promptly and fully.


Also, according to the report, one year after the inauguration of the Government of National Unity on 9 July 2005, the parties have made limited progress in carrying out their commitments under the Agreement.  While they are observing their security commitments “reasonably well”, the implementation of other provisions of the Agreement appears to be selective.  The parties have not been able to resolve some important contentious issues and little progress has been made in the crucial areas of power- and wealth-sharing, including in respect of the Abyei area, oil revenues, the north-south border and other armed groups.  The parties have also done too little to begin preparing for national elections.


While various ceasefire bodies envisaged in the Agreement are working well, ongoing restrictions imposed on the activities of UNMIS monitors in and around Abyei constitute a clear violation of the Agreement.  This is of particular concern because the inability of UNMIS to operate properly in northern Abyei only heightens suspicions between the parties.  It is also unacceptable that the Ceasefire Political Commission has failed to reach a compromise on this issue.


A deliberate attack by unidentified armed men on a joint monitoring team on 17 August near Malakal is particularly alarming, the Secretary-General states.  The Ceasefire Joint Military Committee is investigating the incident, including allegations about the involvement of other armed groups.  He calls on the two parties to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime are identified and held to account, and that no such incidents occur in the future.


In the months ahead, the parties must make substantial progress on the difficult tasks related to security-sector reform, police reform and restructuring, preparing for the return of internally displaced persons, the national census and future elections, while continuing active disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes.  The Secretary-General calls on the international community to support the Sudanese people as they confront these new challenges, and to lend financial, technical and political assistance to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.


According to the report, the United Nations has expanded humanitarian activities and increased recovery interventions considerably, with only limited resources at its disposal.  Accelerated implementation of recovery and development programmes, in particular through multi-donor trust funds, however, will be critical in order to help build public support for the peace.  At the same time, donors should make good on the commitments they made at the Oslo pledging conference in 2005.


Briefing by Special Representative


JAN PRONK, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Sudan, recalled that, during his briefing half a year ago, he had said that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan was on track.  It still was, but it was a “bumpy ride and the train could easily derail”; the peace was fragile and the confidence gap between North and South was widening.


He said that UNMIS had completed almost 100 per cent of its deployment in southern Sudan.  “We have fulfilled our mandate in eastern Sudan and have withdrawn the troops from the area,” he said.  The authorities had given assurances that United Nations humanitarian and developmental efforts would continue unhindered.  The withdrawal had sent a strong signal to the people of the country that the United Nations had come to eastern Sudan upon invitation of the Government, accomplished its task and left.  There was no hidden agenda to occupy or colonize, as was the ongoing rhetoric about the United Nations vis-ŕ-vis other parts of the country.


The Mission continued to monitor the Eritrean-mediated talks between the Sudanese Government and the Eastern Front, which had begun in Asmara three months ago, without the United Nations and others as international observers.  That was different from the North-South talks in Naivasha and the Darfur talks in Abuja, but the parties had the right and deserved the opportunity to try to reach an agreement all by themselves.  They expected to sign an agreement before the commencement of Ramadan.


Among the remaining concerns he listed the asymmetry of the talks between a strong Government of the Sudan and a weak Eastern Front, and a possible disconnect between the leaders of the Eastern Front and their constituencies on the ground.  Moreover, the talks should not take the shape of negotiations between the Governments of the Sudan and Eritrea about, but without, the people of the east.  Their true participation was essential to restore security and tackle the root causes of the conflict.


Turning to southern Sudan, he said that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, although slow, remained on course.  The Government of South Sudan, with limited resources, had been working hard to transform the area from a war-torn region to a region with functioning administration.  The South Sudan Legislative Assembly met regularly and was a forum for healthy debate and accountability.  President Kiir had reshuffled his cabinet and administration to enhance good governance and abate corruption.  His recent action plan was a courageous effort to engender a culture in public service, which was action-oriented and put the needs of the people at the forefront.  The political environment had encouraged a relatively free media.


The Ceasefire Joint Military Commission remained the cornerstone of the Peace Agreement, he continued.  Chaired by the United Nations, it was the Agreement’s best functioning institution.  Redeployment of the forces was on track; on 9 July 2007, all Sudanese Armed Forces would have to be withdrawn from the South.  The presence of the so-called “other armed groups”, however, posed a threat.  The Other Armed Group Collaborative Committee envisioned in the Agreement had started meeting, but the actual alignment status, composition and location of those groups remained vague.  In a number of areas of the South, commanders of the former alternative movement the South Sudan Defence Force had refused to abide by the joint Juba declaration, which provided for their integration into SPLA.  Many people in the South suspected that the North was still supporting those commanders, in order to destabilize the South, control disputed areas and oil fields, and create uncertainty about the border.


The violence had not decreased, he said.  On the contrary, throughout the South, there were tribal conflicts, land and water disputes, cattle looting, an abundance of arms, fights between settlers and nomads, youth unemployment and crime, and lack of discipline among unpaid soldiers, in addition to the presence of the other armed groups and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).  However, the United Nations presence in southern Sudan had helped.  In cooperation with the Government of South Sudan, the Mission’s military, humanitarian and civilian elements had been able to prevent escalations.  Any “cannibalization of forces” to another part of Sudan would have consequences for the peace in southern Sudan.  “UNMIS, the night watchman, should not be asked to pack up and go somewhere else in the afternoon,” he said.  At the same time, there was a need for international assistance in the security-sector reform.  Formation and training of the Joint Integrated Units was behind schedule, and international help was urgently required to train SPLA into a professional and democratic army.


He said that South Sudan remained in urgent need of reconstruction and development assistance.  The absence of basic facilities like water, sanitation, health care and education had now forced the people to question what difference peace had made in their lives.  Some progress had been made, however.  For example, between January and June, more than 300 kilometres of road had been cleared of mines and repaired; the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) “Go to School” campaign had provided school supplies for 1.6 million children.  However, coverage stood at only half of funding, compared to this year’s requirements.  With the end of the rainy season approaching, large numbers of returnees would be in urgent need of basic services.


The performance of the National Congress Party within the Government of National Unity was not encouraging, he said.  The National Congress Party had accepted the Peace Agreement in letter, but seemed to ignore the spirit of it.  It continued to stall the functioning of almost all critical institutions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and had not accepted, to this day, SPLM as an equal partner.  The isolation of the SPLM Ministers, who were part of the Government of National Unity, had created an asymmetry in the Government, which had relegated “making unity attractive” a distant dream.


He said there had been high expectations from the long-awaited Ceasefire Political Commission which had, in fact, turned out to be a forum that was yet to resolve a single issue forwarded by the Ceasefire Joint Monitoring Committee.  Instead of acting as a political body to solve political questions, the Ceasefire Political Commission had become “a legalistic club preserving the status quo”.  No progress had been made on the issue of Abyei, which remained void of any governance structure, leaving people without any formal policing, public sanitation or health services.  Abyei was the test case for the Peace Agreement’s implementation.  The parties also continued to disagree on the status of the National Petroleum Commission.  The oil revenue calculation and its subsequent distribution lacked the transparency needed to ensure fairness and accuracy.  The demarcation of the North-South border also remained unresolved.  That task remained urgent because the absence of a clearly defined border had consequences for redeployment of forces, division of oil revenues, formation of the Joint Integrated Unit, the elections and, eventually, the referendum.


Progress in the peace talks between the Government of Uganda and LRA was a reason for hope, he said.  LRA had agreed to bring together its forces in assembly areas in southern Sudan.  If the present cessation of hostilities lasted, peace could be brought to northern Uganda, which would have a significant spillover in the region, including in the Sudan.


On Khartoum, he said that the state security structure in northern Sudan continued to harass and intimidate any opposition to the Government.  There had been a crackdown on political freedoms in the country, with heavy-handed tactics used against peaceful demonstrations by the opposition and by civilians protesting against Government policies.  Human rights violations, in particular by the state security forces, had not decreased.  Neither had progress been made in bringing national security laws in line with the new Constitution.


He noted that, during his last briefing to the Council, he had commended the decision of the Governor of Khartoum to cease all forced relocations from the internally displaced persons camps around Khartoum.  He had stood by his decision.  Last month, however, the authorities in the neighbouring Gazeera state had begun demolishing the houses of a large community in Dar al Salaam Camp, using overwhelming force.  Thousands of families had been forcibly relocated to places void of basic services.  That inhumane treatment was a violation of international humanitarian law.  It was also far below what was expected after the adoption of the new Constitution.


He was alarmed at the recent kidnapping and beheading in Khartoum of Mohammad Taha, Chief Editor of the Sudanese newspaper Al Wifaq, he said.  That brutal murder had been claimed by Al-Qaida.  Whether true or not, the style of execution was alien to the Sudanese environment and indicative of foreign presence.  More journalists had received similar threats.  That heinous crime could roll back any progress made in liberalizing the media through forced censorship.


During his last briefing, he had commended the Government for concluding the Status of Forces Agreement, cautioning, however, that its implementation would indicate its success or failure, he recalled.  He was no longer so positive.  The authorities continued to arrest and detain UNMIS national staff members.  The Government had refused to allow any broadcasts by United Nations Radio in northern Sudan and had restricted access in Abyei.  Intentional delays, often more than eight months, in clearing critical equipment from customs were also severely impacting the United Nations operations.  Monitors had not been given full access to detention facilities, in particular those run by national security.


On Darfur, he noted that, while the Darfur Peace Agreement was only four months old, it was “nearly dead”.  “It is in a coma.  It ought to be under intensive care, but it isn’t”, he said.


He added, however, that it was a good agreement.  The peace talks had resulted in a balanced text, somewhere in the middle of the extreme positions taken by the Government and the rebel movements.  Had they continued negotiating another year, the outcome would have been more or less the same.  “In hindsight, maybe we should have taken more time.  Not to get a better agreement, but in order to bring on board all parties,” he said.


Only the Government and the Mini Minawi faction of SPLM had signed, he said.  Abdul Wahid’s faction had not signed.  They should have, but they had taken a political decision to stay aside.  That did not make them terrorists.  While Abdul Wahid’s people, most of them Furs -- the largest African tribe of Darfur -- had stayed aside, they had not reverted to fighting.  Bringing them on board was the first condition to bringing the Darfur Peace Agreement out of the coma.


After the signing of that Agreement, parties that had not signed had been excluded from institutions, in particular from the Ceasefire Commission, he said.  That, too, was wrong.  There were now five to seven different groups, including the National Redemption Front (NRF), that had launched an attack in west Kordofan, and provided the Government with an excuse for continuous attacks and air raids under the pretext of the need to protect the civilian population.  That was an outright violation of the Peace Agreement.  A truce was the second condition for bringing the Agreement out of its coma. 


Since its signing, the Darfur Peace Agreement had been violated day after day, week after week, he said.  There had been a rise in violence after its signing, and the use of rape as a tool of terror was frequent and also on the rise.  The attackers showed little mercy towards women and children.  Villages were being attacked and bombed in the middle of the night, and white helicopters were being used to support offensive operations by the Sudanese Armed Forces.


In addition, the freedom of movement of humanitarian and other United Nations workers had been severely curtailed, he said.  Twelve of them had been killed in just the last two months.  The situation in and around the camps remained precarious, and violence by militias against internally displace persons, including women, was brutal and degrading.  The tragedy was that none of the violations had been addressed in the Ceasefire Commission.  It simply did not function.  In South Sudan, the Ceasefire Joint Monitoring Committee was one of the most important pillars of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  If it was taken out, the Agreement would be paralyzed.  That was exactly the present state of the Darfur Peace Agreement.  The third condition, therefore, was to start addressing the Peace Agreement’s violations through a renewed, fully representative, but authoritative Ceasefire Commission.


Since the Darfur Peace Agreement did not function, violations remained unsanctioned, he continued.  Most people in Darfur hade lost faith in the Agreement.  It was necessary to be realistic.  The Peace Agreement, in its present form, even though it was theoretically a good agreement, would not get adequate support beyond those who had already signed it.  It was important, however, to avoid labelling the consultations as a reopening of the peace negotiations.  A fourth condition for bringing the Darfur Peace Agreement out of its coma was to guarantee the interests, on paper as well as in reality, of those who felt excluded -– or, about one third of Darfur’s population.


A fifth condition concerned the Council’s adoption of resolution 1706 (2006), which had made it crystal clear that the international community wanted a transition from the present African Union peacekeeping force to a United Nations force, he said.  The Council had also invited the Government’s consent for the deployment.  From its side, since February, the Government had also been crystal clear:  it was against the transition.  UNMIS had proven to be a fair and effective peacekeeper in southern Sudan.  “We can and will do the same in Darfur,” Mr. Pronk said.


The United Nations did not deserve insinuations from Sudanese political leadership in power, he said.  The United Nations did not intend to “recolonize”, nor was it laying a carpet for others to do so.  The United Nations only aim was to protect the people, while respecting the sovereignty of the Sudanese nation.  Getting the Government’s consent required consultations.  A transition to a United Nations force had to be made attractive for the Sudanese leadership, in order to get their support.  That also required trust, confidence-building and time.  It required that those in favour of a transition and those against it should refrain from the present collision course.  It also required that the present African Union force should stay until the consent was acquired.  The African Union was less effective than it was a year ago, but its presence was essential.  Departure of the African Union would leave the people in the camps unprotected and vulnerable to anyone who wished to harm them, and resume the cleansing of 2003 and 2004.


He cited five conditions for reviving the Darfur Peace Agreement, as follows: getting everyone on board; establishing a truce; reforming the Ceasefire Commission; resuming talks to improve the Darfur Peace Agreement; and getting off the collision course, both within Sudan, as well as internationally.  Together, these elements would form a plan for the short term, perhaps until the end of the year.  Then, a plan could be worked out for the period thereafter.  Based on his experience on the ground, he would be more than happy to share his views on the contours of such a plan for the longer term.  “In short, de-link what should be done today to save the [Darfur Peace Agreement] from tomorrow’s actions to get a renewed and fully robust peace force on the ground”, he urged.


Lord TRIESMAN, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom, said that the international community must continue to work to underpin the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, where UNMIS had played such a valuable role.  As had been born out by the Council’s visit to the Sudan in May, the situation in southern Sudan also depended on the international community’s ability to secure peace in Darfur.  On 31 August, the Council had authorized UNMIS to support the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.  The Council remained united in its view that a United Nations force was the only solution to the crisis in Darfur.  For many months now, the African Union itself and the Council had favoured a transition in Darfur from the Union to the United Nations; everybody recognized that the complex task of implementing the Darfur Peace Agreement required a larger, better supported, multidimensional peace operation.


That recognition, he said, was no reflection on the exceptional efforts of the African Union Mission in the Sudan, which had done a remarkable job under difficult circumstances.  Rather, it was a recognition fully shared by Africa’s leaders that the United Nations was best placed to provide the kind of assistance that Darfur needed.  It was unacceptable that the Government of the Sudan had so far refused to accept the idea of a United Nations force in Darfur, despite its successful cooperation with a United Nations force with a most identical mandate in southern Sudan.  Worse, the Government had proposed its own approach to implementing the Darfur Peace Agreement by its own military force -– an approach that violated the Darfur Peace Agreement and several Council resolutions.  In the words of Kofi Annan, that would be “catastrophic” for the people of the region.


“We are now at the tipping point for the future of Darfur,” and a collapse of the situation into chaos must be arrested, he said.  His Government saw the priorities for resolving the tragedy of Darfur as clear and compelling.  The Government of the Sudan and rebel groups must immediately stop fighting.  The non-signatories must accept the Peace Agreement, and it was necessary to prevent the development of a security vacuum.  The Government of the Sudan must agree to the continuation of the African Union force and accept its transition to a United Nations force.  The African Union and the Council should continue their brave and arduous task of peacekeeping in Darfur.  He looked forward to a crucial African Union meeting later this week.  The United Nations and the international community must accelerate their support to the African Union mission and to humanitarian relief in Darfur.


The United Nations had the right and duty to make the case to the Government of the Sudan, he said.  The scale of the disaster was already immense, and one could only imagine what a further deterioration would bring.  The regional implications of the crisis, in particular for Chad, and the risk of a downward spiral, were a source of obvious concern.  Every United Nations State at the World Summit last year had embraced the concept of the responsibility to protect.  The Council had affirmed that in a resolution on the protection of civilians, which had been adopted unanimously last spring.  Protecting its own citizens was, first and foremost, the responsibility of the State concerned.  It was clear that the Sudanese Government was not protecting its own citizens in Darfur, to say the least.  In such cases, the responsibility to protect meant that the international community had a right to get involved, primarily in efforts to help the State concerned carry out its responsibilities.  That was what the United Nations had done in Southern Sudan, and it was what everybody wanted to see happen in Darfur.


If offers of help were turned away, the international community could not afford to allow the situation to “slide from crisis to catastrophe, because of the ill-founded fears of the Government of Khartoum, he said.  The efforts must be redoubled to make clear the positive contribution the United Nations would make in Darfur and the benefits of peace for the Government and people of the country.  It was also important to make clear that the cost of continuing conflict would be felt by those responsible as well as the victims.  The responsibility would ultimately rest, not with the United Nations, but with those responsible.  On 11 September, the Secretary-General had asked if the international community, having not done enough for the people of Rwanda in their time of need, could just watch the crisis as it deepened in Darfur.  The answer was clearly no.  If the Government of the Sudan cared about its citizens, it must consent to a United Nations force.


CESAR MAYORAL ( Argentina) said that the cautious optimism regarding the limited progress in the fulfilment of the obligations by the parties of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement had been reassuring.  Greater progress was needed, however, in such key areas as power- and wealth-sharing, particularly in the area of oil and oil contracts.  Legislation was also necessary to establish national commissions.  At the same time, while some of the various ceasefire bodies were functioning adequately, the ongoing restrictions imposed by the authorities on the activities of UNMIS monitors in Abyei clearly constituted infractions of the Peace Agreement.  He urged then Sudanese Government to fully comply with its commitments.  He also urged it to immediately lift those restrictions as well as those imposed on the humanitarian access, especially in Kassala, Red Sea and Gedaref states, and to coordinate with UNMIS to relocate the communities, in order to avoid similar incidents as those that had occurred last August in Dar al Salaam.


The Comprehensive Peace Agreement’s implementation was entering a new and very challenging phase.  Substantial progress was needed in such areas as security-sector reform, police reform and restructuring, preparation for the return of the internally displaced persons and the future elections together with vigorous application of the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation programme.  Peace would only be possible when all of the country was at peace, and once the critical situation in Darfur ended.  The state of “coma” described by Mr. Pronk was of great concern.  Mr. Pronk had been clear that it was necessary to support the African Union mission, and he had stressed the need for Khartoum’s consent for the deployment of United Nations forces in Darfur -- in other words, implementation of resolution 1706 (2006).


The Comprehensive Peace Agreement was the bedrock on which the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement must be built, he said.  It was necessary that both instruments enjoyed the support of all parties, as they were the negotiated political solutions for both conflicts.  Only in that way would it be possible to leave behind conflict and instability and construct the basis of a society that was founded on equality and respect of human rights for all.


OLIVIER LACROIX ( France) noted a number of encouraging points with respect to southern Sudan.  There had been some positive developments as far as the security and humanitarian situation in the south was concerned, but full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was imperative.  He also addressed the implementation of the withdrawal of UNMIS from eastern Sudan as a step in the right direction.  He also hoped that the talks on eastern Sudan would lead to a full and lasting agreement.  The signing of the agreement between Uganda and LRA on 31 August gave hope for an improved security situation.


Despite some cause for optimism, he said it was clear that the situation was very fragile.  A number of key elements had shown no progress or even stalled, including power- and wealth-sharing.  It was important to ensure that the efforts to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement did not go on indefinitely.  In that connection, he wanted to know if the delay in elections would affect the implementation of other elements of the Agreement under the current timelines.  He also noted a number of administrative difficulties, despite the status of forces agreement, saying that eliminating those barriers should be among the first steps to be taken by the Government to advance the implementation of the Peace Agreement.


His delegation was deeply concerned over the situation in Darfur, he added, as some disturbing events had been described by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.  His delegation had recently expressed its position on that issue, emphasizing the need to take a steadfast stand, so that the United Nations could follow up on the African Union mission.  Also, noting the difficult situation in Darfur and the fact that a number of groups had not agreed to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement, he asked how those outside the accord could be persuaded to join it.


JOHN BOLTON ( United States) noted that the Secretary-General’s report showed that UNMIS and the wider United Nations system had played a key role in support of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  The parties’ efforts to implement the Agreement’s security provisions had reduced the likelihood of future conflict in southern Sudan.  While there was still much to be done, the parties had shown they could continue to resolve long-standing problems through cooperation.  That had been done in an atmosphere of security, buttressed by United Nations peacekeepers.  In the coming days, it was crucial for a similar de-escalation of conflict to occur in the Darfur area of Sudan, as well.


He said that the United States deplored the ongoing violence in Darfur and the consequent deterioration of the humanitarian situation.  At this critical juncture, it was imperative that the Security Council reiterate the need for the transition from the African Union mission to a United Nations operation, consistent with resolution 1706 (2006) and the precedent of resolution 1590 (2005).  Just as the Government of National Unity had shown itself able to overcome decades of violence in South Sudan through respect for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and cooperation with the United Nations peacekeeping mission, so should it be prepared to ensure a better future for its citizens in Darfur, through respect for the Darfur Peace Agreement, a strengthening of the African Union operation and through cooperation in the deployment of UNMIS forces in Darfur.


“We will circulate a draft resolution on Sudan, on which we plan to convene an experts’ meeting tomorrow,” he added.  The draft would call for renewal of the mandate of UNMIS, set to expire on 24 September, and to ensure continuity of United Nations operations in the south.  The draft would also take into consideration the expansion of the Mission, as per resolution 1706 (2006).  It was critical that the Council expanded those missions concurrently to ensure that urgent assistance to the African Union Mission in the Sudan, as stipulated in resolution 1706 (2006), was not jeopardized.


In conclusion, he also extended an invitation to the foreign ministers of all interested parties to a meeting on the Sudan on Friday that would be hosted by Denmark and the United States.


ELLEN MARGRETHE LŘJ ( Denmark) welcomed the progress made by the parties towards implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  She recognized the important role played by UNMIS and fully subscribed to the Secretary-General’s statement that none of the commitments enshrined in the Peace Agreement were optional.  The expectation of peace dividends, however, had yet to be met.


She said that Sudan figured high on the agenda in New York this week, not because of progress made, but rather because of the extremely worrying situation in Darfur.  The African Union Peace and Security Council would be meeting to discuss the future of the African Union mission.  She welcomed the dialogue that African leaders had pursued this week with President Bashir in Havana, and hoped that such activities would lead to the implementation of resolution 1706 (2006).  In two recent meetings, the Council had heard alarming reports of the situation in Darfur.  She would not repeat her remarks, but only emphasize the danger of spillover to the south.  Further deterioration of the situation would create difficulties in upholding the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  “The stakes were high for the Government of Sudan,” she said.


This week provided a unique opportunity for the Government to “trim down” the rhetoric and take decisions that would serve the interests of all Sudanese, she said.  The eyes of the world would be set on New York in the coming days, and expectations for bringing relief to the people of Darfur were high.  She hoped all those invited for Friday’s meeting would be able to participate.  Denmark supported the recommendation to extend UNMIS for a further 12 months.  She also expected the Mission’s extension to Darfur no latter than January 2007, as that had already been decided by the Council.


TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania) welcomed the cautious optimism regarding the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  He was particularly encouraged that the southern Sudanese legislative assembly was meeting regularly, that mines had been cleared and that some 1.6 million children in southern Sudan were going to school.  He commended UNMIS for its contribution to the creation of an environment that had made such developments possible.  Despite the progress being made, the security commitments by the parties had not been resolved, especially in the areas of wealth- and power-sharing and in the demarcation of borders.  There was no doubt that implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement would impact on the peace process in Darfur.  And without significant progress, efforts to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement would be curtailed.


Regarding Darfur, he said he looked forward to the meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council on Wednesday.  The Peace Agreement provided the basis for peace in Darfur.  Parties outside of the framework must not seek different accommodations.  He urged the Government to accept the transformation of the African Union mission to a United Nations operation.  As a country that had suffered the humiliation of colonialism, the Tanzania would never be party to an effort to colonize a country.  In that regard, the transformation of the African Union mission to a United Nations operation was not a new exercise to “recolonize” Sudan.


ROMY TINCOPA ( Peru) said that she was concerned that the implementation of the commitments of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement had stalled and that little progress had been achieved.  She urged all the parties to comply with their commitments under the Agreement and not give priority to some at the expense of others.  It was time to focus on power- and wealth-sharing as the cornerstone of the Agreement.  Another important aspect was the Ceasefire Commission.  The country was benefiting from rising oil prices and it should be transparent in handling the proceeds from oil exports.  She also shared the Secretary-General’s recommendations regarding the need for the donors and the international community to support the people of the Sudan and provide financial, technical and political assistance to the implementation of the Peace Agreement.


Reiterating that peace in Sudan was indivisible, she said that some of the aspects of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement could be severely affected if there was no progress on the Darfur Peace Agreement.  She supported the five points that Mr. Pronk had put forward to take the latter accord out of its “deep coma”.  She regretted that the Government did not understand that the objective of that Agreement and the United Nations Mission was to ensure peace and security, and protect the population in Darfur, which, at present, was not protected at all.  The developments in the field showed that protection was extremely urgent, as a lot of people were on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.  It was important to continue seeking ways and means to convince the Government of the Sudan to implement resolution 1706 (2006).  She also supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to renew UNMIS mandate.


KENZO OSHIMA ( Japan) said he would positively consider the extension of UNMIS mandate, as recommended by the Secretary-General.  With regard to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, he was gratified to note certain encouraging progress, including in terms of security arrangements.  Delay in the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation programme, however, was a matter of concern.  Also of concern was the lack of progress in such issues as wealth- and power-sharing, as was the recent resurgence of other armed groups.  The agreement on a cessation of hostilities between the Government of Uganda and LRA was a positive step, however, which would lead to an improved security situation in southern Sudan.


On Darfur, he said he fully shared the view that the handling of the Darfur Peace Agreement had a direct impact on Sudan’s stability as a whole.  He also welcomed UNMIS continued efforts to pursue the support of the non-signatory groups to the Agreement.  The reality in Darfur and the fate of the Darfur Peace Agreement was indeed grim and a matter of deep concern.  In that regard, he asked Mr. Pronk to elaborate on the concept of “delinking” the Darfur Peace Agreement and to share his views on the possible contours of a longer-term plan for Darfur.  Continued assistance to the people of the Sudan was essential, in order to meet their expectations for peace.


LI JUNHUA ( China) said that, in the year since the establishment of the Government of National Unity, some progress had been achieved.  The situation might be not fully to his liking, but it was on the right track.  He hoped the parties would further enhance their cooperation and completely implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  It was satisfying that UNMIS was engaged in its operations in accordance with its mandate, and he supported its extension.  The peace process had entered a challenging stage, and he agreed on the need to provide it with continued international assistance.  He appealed to the donors to fulfil their commitments, so that the people of the Sudan could benefit from the peace dividends of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.


Regarding Darfur, he said that he appreciated the five points made by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.  In his view, the issue of Darfur had an important bearing on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  It was also important to see, however, that Darfur was a different issue, requiring different solutions.  UNMIS had played a positive role because it had had the support of the Government.  The mission in Darfur should be based on the same principles.  Effective measures were needed to overcome the difficulties of the African Union mission, which needed continued support.  As long as the various parties in the Sudan continued to act in the spirit of mutual understanding, trust and cooperation, and implement both the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Darfur Peace Agreement, and as long as the international community continued to lend it support, there would be peace and stability in the country.


PETER BURIAN ( Slovakia) acknowledged the key role UNMIS had played in support of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and welcomed the progress achieved so far.  Given the fragile nature of the Agreement, he agreed with the need to keep its implementation on course.  He, too, was concerned about the widening confidence gap, including in the area of power- and wealth-sharing, and called on the Government of National Unity to resolve the issue of delineation between the North and the South as soon as possible.  Security sector reform was also a priority, and he commended UNMIS role in that regard. 


Welcoming the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement on 26 August between Uganda’s Government and LRA, he said he agreed with Jan Egeland’s assessment last week that the talks in Juba represented the best chance for peace in the region so far.  There could be no impunity for crimes committed by LRA.  Regarding the Darfur Peace Agreement, he regretted that the Government’s position had been negative and agreed that the leaders in Khartoum had full responsibility for whatever course it chose.  All efforts should be made to save that accord and secure its full implementation.  The only way to create favourable conditions for peace was through the speedy transition to a robust United Nations operation.  Resolution 1706 (2006) should be fully implemented.  He hoped Sudan’s Government understood that the United Nations active involvement in facilitating the Darfur Peace Agreement was in the best interest of the Sudanese people.  The United Nations long-term engagement in South Sudan was the best proof of the fact that the Organization had no hidden agenda in that country.


KONSTANTIN K. DOLGOV ( Russian Federation) noted the progress in meeting the Comprehensive Peace Agreement by the parties, particularly in the security sphere.  No doubt, there was some positive momentum, but there was also a whole range of aspects that were proceeding very slowly, including the important areas of distribution and sharing of power and resources from oil exports.  The administrative borders between the North and the South had also not been fully resolved.  It was a complex matter, but with the active participation of the United Nations, it was possible to achieve progress in those areas.  The Sudanese side, however, had the primary responsibility in that respect.


He said that progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement would be helped by promptly overcoming the conflict in other parts of Sudan, particularly in Darfur.   He expected progress in the negotiations soon, particularly in the eastern part of Sudan.  As for Darfur, the five elements presented by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Council’s consideration appropriately reflected the difficulties in achieving a settlement there.  It was important to continue efforts to make the Darfur Peace Agreement as comprehensive as possible, however, and in that connection, he asked Mr. Pronk about future priorities in the work with the Darfur parties still outside the Agreement.  There was no doubt that resolving those issues depended directly on the prospect of stabilizing the situation in Darfur


An important stabilizing role should be played by the African Union, and he counted on its mandate to be extended beyond 30 September, he said.  He also had high expectations for the forthcoming meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, which he hoped would be successful, both in terms of deciding on the future of the African operation and in the context of continuing the further search for a diplomatic peaceful solution of the Darfur crisis.  As for the results of today’s Council meeting, the Council would probably meet again to assess the situation, based on the decisions to be taken by the members of the African Union and the Sudanese parties.  His delegation had often stressed the need to continue constructive dialogue with the Sudanese leadership to reach a mutually acceptable solution.  He understood the complexity of the situation for the international community, but the dialogue must continue, as there was no alternative.


JUSTIN BIABOROH-IBORO ( Congo) said that, while there had been some progress, there were many reasons for concern.  The delays in the peace dividend meant that the people of southern Sudan had been awaiting peace for a long time.  He regretted that restrictions had been placed on UNMIS.  Unfortunately, the situation remained fragile, owing to the presence of armed groups.  Sudan’s leaders should make the best possibilities of the Darfur Peace Agreement.  He encouraged dialogue in Darfur, stressing that rejection of a United Nations force would be an enormous risk, which the international community could not afford.


Like several previous speakers, he welcomed the recent cessation of hostilities agreement between the Government of Uganda and LRA.  He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend UNMIS for another year and he thanked the United States delegation for the invitation to meet again on the issue of Sudan later this week.


ALBERT FRANCIS YANKEY ( Ghana) noted that the Secretary-General’s report showed a mixed record in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, but it had also demonstrated what a United Nations mission could accomplish.  He, therefore, looked forward to a draft by the United States on the extension of UNMIS mandate and its early adoption.  UNMIS was already lending critical support to that of the African Union, and its proposed expansion to Darfur was a logical step.  Timely adoption of the resolution on the extension of its mandate would be a positive development.


He said it was disturbing that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement had stalled, and its failures had illustrated why the Darfur problem was so difficult to resolve.  Perhaps, that was also why the Government was so vehemently opposed to the extension of UNMIS to Darfur.  The Government must first take a strategic decision and assert all ethnic groups in Sudan as equal citizens, as failure to do so had been the root cause of the conflict.  The provisions on the treatment of internally displaced persons and power-sharing had not worked, and there had also been little progress in such areas as legislative reform and the electoral process.


The issue of wealth-sharing was another serious problem, and facts on the ground should be read in light of power-sharing and other issues highlighted in the report, he said.  For example, the Darfur Peace Agreement was “falling apart” because some parties were not signing it.  They were not happy about wealth-sharing and compensation and, no matter how one went about it, that was the core problem.


He said he was pleased that the African Union was playing a role, but now a force was needed that could truly make a difference.  Another issue that should not be glossed over, because it would make a difference as to whether the mission would succeed, was that UNMIS was restricted from certain parts of Sudan.  If that remained the case, he wondered what terms it would perform if it was extended.  As the international community considered what to do next, the size, the mandate and the issue of access of UNMIS should be considered.  Finally, the issue of accountability for crimes must also be addressed.


MUTLAQ MAJED AL-QAHTANI ( Qatar) agreed with Mr. Pronk that the redeployment of UNMIS to other regions would have consequences for peace in the south.  The presence of the African Union Mission in the Sudan in Darfur had been crucial for securing peace and stability, and he hoped that the African Union Peace and Security Council would extend its mandate in Darfur until it accomplished the tasks for which it had been established.  He reaffirmed the support of the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference for the African Union’s efforts in Darfur.  Those efforts, however, would not realize their objectives without United Nations support. 


He also emphasized the need to deal with the situation in Darfur objectively, and to avoid political paradigms, racial allegations and double standards.  The Council now knew that it was rebel movements impeding peace in Darfur.  As such, it was necessary to deal firmly with those groups and not keep blaming the Sudanese Government when it tried to repel that aggression.  He agreed with the representative of the United Kingdom that the Sudanese Government must provide security for the people of Darfur.  With the protection of civilians by Sudan’s Government considered a violation of resolution 1590 (2005), what then was the solution? he asked.  He hoped the door to dialogue with the Government would not be closed. 


Speaking in his national capacity, ADAMANTIOS TH. VASSILAKIS (Greece), the President of the Council for the month of September, said that the conclusion one drew from the Secretary-General’s report was that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement had slowed and that, while some of its provisions were being implemented, the same could not be said about power- and wealth-sharing. He encouraged the parties to meet all their obligations under the Agreement.


Of course, a lot still needed to be done and promised help must arrive sooner than later, he said.  Some obstacles to slow implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement included the disagreement regarding the National Petroleum Commission, the presence of other armed groups and the lack of progress on elections.  The key element to success was the gradual consolidation of trust between the parties, for which much ground still needed to be covered.  He agreed with the Secretary-General that peace in the Sudan was indivisible and that the crisis in Darfur could have a spillover effect on the rest of the country.  Humanitarian assistance to the people was of pivotal importance, as was mapping out the best course of action to have all the parties sign the Darfur Peace Agreement.  He thanked Denmark and the United States for their initiative to hold a meeting on the Sudan on Friday.


Responding to questions about the of elections, Mr. PRONK said that, while there was no concrete reason to think that they would not take place, but preparations were lagging.  A census was needed before elections could be held, and the elections issue was not even being discussed at present.


On the issue of Darfur, in the short term, namely between now and the end of the year, he stressed the need for a truce, reform of the Ceasefire Commission and a better Darfur Peace Agreement.  Regarding the Ceasefire Commission, he noted that, when UNMIS had received a mandate from the Council in its resolution 1590 last year, he had instructed the Mission’s Commander to immediately call for the Commission’s first meeting.  Yet, the Ceasefire Commission had not met after the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement, which had been the first major blunder.  While there had been no meetings, there had been violations, however, sending the message that it was okay to violate the Agreement with impunity.  After the Commission had started to meet some six weeks later, ceasefire violations of previous agreements, however, could not be discussed in a meeting in which half of the parties were not allowed to be present.  He had presented six options to solve that problem, all of which had been rejected.


Continuing, he noted that, according to the Peace Agreement, Darfur should be brought into a system of buffer zones; yet, there had been no zoning exercise whatsoever.  Every deadline had been shifted aside.  As a result, the parties had started to increase their own zones through fighting.  The Government had been late in presenting the Janjaweed disarmament plan, and it had not even been discussed.  He had been sending his Deputy Force Commander to the Ceasefire Commission’s meetings if they had taken place, but, when he had gone, they had usually been postponed.  If a meeting took place and he raised an issue, he was silenced, as was the United States, which was also an observer.  As a member, the European Union did not protest the silencing of the United Nations in the Ceasefire Commission.  Thus, he was withdrawing his Deputy Force Commander from those meetings, as he had not been allowed to speak.  The Ceasefire Commission had to be made fully representative or else the fighting would continue and nothing would be implemented.  


The aim was to get peace on the ground, he said.  The more the groups were told to stay out of the institutions of the Darfur Peace Agreement, the more the constituents of those groups would lose confidence in the accord.  The Mini Minawi faction should take a step backward.  International pressure in that regard might be helpful, and would not violate the Darfur Peace Agreement.  The main reason the people did not believe in the Agreement was because they were afraid of the Janjaweed.  Yet, the Darfur Peace Agreement had not done anything to stop the Janjaweed.  In fact, there were indications that the Janjaweed had been incorporated into the security forces.  In order to get the people to accept the Darfur Peace Agreement, the Janjaweed needed to be stopped; but, clearly, that was not happening.


On the issue of de-linking, he said that the most important objective was peace on the ground.  A robust force was a means to reach that objective.  This year, nearly all of the talk had been about a robust force, while what was needed on the ground to get the people who had disappeared beyond the horizon, behind the Peace Agreement. Supporting the African Union Mission in the Sudan could be made conditional on the transition.  A strong force was needed as soon as possible to protect the people.  The force must be made as robust as possible.  “Strong, big and broad” was the terminology he had used in the past.


Regarding the issue of the transition, he said that the underlying reasons why the Government was not giving its consent should be analyzed.  The Government was responsible for atrocious activities.  But one had to understand Khartoum and make consent attractive for them.  Negotiations might result in a package in which the Government accepted the transition in exchange for certain commitments, for example in the areas of debt relief, trade and security.  The Government of the Sudan was against the United Nations in terms of peacekeeping because it feared that radical groups would attack the Government.


He added that the beheading of Mr. Taha had spread fear throughout Khartoum.  There were groups that would attack the Government if it said “yes” to the big world powers, so some of that fear was legitimate.  It was necessary to talk and to think ahead.  Asking for another month for the African Union was not in the interest of the people there.  People in Darfur were scared.  There were other options.  The transition could be defined.  Chapter VIII was a possibility that the Government would accept.  An African Union force, embedded in United Nations support, was another option and a face-saving device for the Government.  He had been very disappointed in the African Union force in the last few months; it could do much better and was not inherently weak.


Regarding the contours for the long term, he said it was important to deal with the root causes of the situation in Darfur.  In that regard, he stressed the need for dialogue between the Arabs, the Arab tribes and the nomads, whose interests were also at stake.  That dialogue had not yet started.  He wished it had been possible for the United Nations to lead the Darfur-Darfur dialogue.  The tribal dimension had been underrated, both in terms of its effect and importance.  There were major tribal problems, and most of the deaths in July had been due to tribal conflict and not to the war.  There was also the issue of returns.  The problem of Darfur would not be solved in a year or two, he concluded.


* *** *

__________


*     The 5527th Meeting was closed.


For information media • not an official record