27 November 2007
Security Council
SC/9178

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

Security Council

5784th Meeting (PM)


Under-Secretary-General reports progress in darfur peacekeeping efforts,

 

but tells Security Council of obstacles to political process


In Joint Briefing with Special Envoy, Sudan, Rebels

Share Blame for ‘Serious Gaps’ in Arrangements to Deploy Hybrid Operation


The first elements of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping efforts for Darfur were coming together, but serious gaps remained in arrangements for the hybrid force, as did obstacles to the political process which required the close attention of the Security Council, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told that body this afternoon.


“While the African Union and the United Nations would continue to press the parties to make progress in their negotiations, efforts to deploy a capable peacekeeping operation required the Council’s continued engagement, as well as the active support of the Government of Sudan,” he said during a joint briefing with Jan Eliasson, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Darfur.


He said the first elements of the heavy support package for the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) force had been deployed, including a 140-strong formed police unit from Bangladesh and a 135-strong engineering unit from China.  A second formed police unit was expected on 15 December.  Most of the staff officers were expected in the force and sector headquarters by the end of December.


Five weeks before the transfer of authority from AMIS to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), he said, the latter still lacked critical mobility capabilities, including one heavy and one medium transport unit (18 helicopters) and one light tactical helicopter unit (six helicopters).  In addition, a pledge for a reconnaissance company had been withdrawn and the lack of air mobility might require the Council to authorize an increase in troops or to “borrow” from other peacekeeping operations.


With regard to Sudan’s cooperation, he said a direct response to UNAMID’s list of troop contributors had not been received from that Government, which had made clear its reluctance to accept certain non-African units, particularly those from Thailand, Nepal and Norway.  However, there was no alternative to the inclusion of non-African units and a strategic shift on the part of the Sudanese Government was required if peace and security was to be achieved in Darfur, and indeed in all of the Sudan.


Briefing the Council earlier, Mr. Eliasson stressed that the humanitarian, security and political situation also had an impact on the deployment of the peacekeeping operation, adding that the first two elements continued to deteriorate.  In October alone, 30,000 civilians had been displaced by clashes, and violence had taken the highest toll among humanitarian workers since July 2006.  Increased fighting in neighbouring Chad and inter-tribal conflict, as well as violations of human rights, were occurring inside and around camps for internally displaced persons owing to the presence of armed militia and rebels, developments that did not foster an atmosphere of safety, mutual trust and respect for international law.


He said that, while the tone of the Darfur peace talks in Sirte, Libya, was constructive, it was important, at the same time, to recognize that the atmosphere was less positive now than it had been at the time of the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1769 (2007) and the successful Arusha consultations, due to a lack of cohesion among the rebel movements and the non-participation of some factions.  However, every effort must be made to resolve both old and new issues.  It was also important that the UNAMID deployment proceed on schedule.


Reasonable time must be allowed to finalize the composition of the Sudanese Government delegation and for the movements to finalize their preparations for the talks, he said.  At the same time, momentum must be maintained through continuous engagement with the movements, otherwise protracted delays could become serious impediments to the start of substantive negotiations.  Progress would only be made if the parties showed seriousness, political will and a focused commitment to peace.  The parties must come to the substantive talks prepared to make compromises, and the international community must not allow them to derail the process.  “We -– as much as they -– must keep the fate of the people of Darfur at the centre of our attention,” he said.


Sudan’s representative said his country had reaffirmed its full commitment to resolution 1769 (2007), as demonstrated by its participation in the Sirte peace talks.  The Sudan had also made efforts to fulfil its obligations in the deployment of UNAMID.  Many aspects had already been carried out, including establishment of main operational capacities, as efforts continued to complete a status-of-forces agreement.  However, a discussion on the troop-deployment agreement should take place among the three parties and not in the Security Council.


He said the Government had provided land and logistical support, in addition to establishing a high-level ministerial committee to facilitate UNAMID’s deployment.  The Sudan hoped the Secretariat would intensify efforts to complete the deployment of the light and heavy support packages, and that the international community would fulfil its obligations with total seriousness while avoiding mixed messages that could negatively affect the negotiations.  The international community must be ready to punish those who hindered the peace process, and the failures of others should not be placed at Sudan’s doorstep.


Following that intervention, representatives of all 15 Council members made statements in which they all agreed on the need for progress on the political, humanitarian and security fronts in order for the deployment of UNAMID to succeed.  Most speakers expressed concern over the humanitarian situation and the lack of cohesion among rebel groups.


While some speakers criticized the Sudan for delays in arrangements for the deployment, others said such criticism was counterproductive, with Qatar’s representative emphasizing that one party alone must not be blamed for the lack of progress, while the rebel movements continued to commit terrorist acts and to place obstacles in the path of the peace process.


Also speaking were the representatives of the United States, South Africa, United Kingdom, China, Russian Federation, Congo, Panama, France, Slovakia, Italy, Ghana, Belgium, Peru and Indonesia.


The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 5:50 p.m.


Background


Meeting this afternoon to consider the situation in the Sudan, the Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the deployment of UNAMID, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (document S/2007/653), which sets benchmarks for deployment.


The report stipulates that UNAMID shall establish an initial operating capability for its headquarters, the completion of preparations to assume operational command authority over the light support package, personnel currently deployed to the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS), as well as heavy support package and hybrid personnel.  UNAMID is to assume authority from AMIS no later than 31 December.


According to the report, the overall security situation continued to deteriorate during October.  Attacks on humanitarian workers have also continued, and the presence of militia and rebel groups in and around some camps for internally displaced persons has resulted in violence inside those camps.  In addition, a significant deterioration of the security situation on the Chadian side of the Chad-Sudan border began to spill over into Darfur.


The report notes that the initial operating capability for UNAMID headquarters is now established and that high-level staff, including the Joint Special Representative and the Force Commander, are already in the mission.  The staffing for the interim Force and Police Headquarters has been completed.  The first heavy support package engineering unit from China was expected to deploy in mid-November.  All 301 police personnel of the heavy support package are in the process of being deployed to Darfur.


Most of the required military capabilities have been received from Member States, the report says, but no pledges have been received for two medium transport companies, three medium utility helicopter units, and a light tactical helicopter unit.  The mission will be at risk if those capabilities are not urgently deployed.  A list of potential troop contributors reflects the fundamental priority that the force on the ground be predominantly African and able to implement an extremely challenging mandate.  The list was transmitted to the Government of the Sudan on 2 October.


The report notes arrangements for the allocation of land and facilities at Nyala, El Fasher, El Geneina and Zalingei are ongoing.  On 16 October, the government of South Darfur state signed a memorandum of understanding providing land in Nyala.  In addition, the Government of the Sudan has granted permission to land heavy cargo aircraft in Khartoum and to position two UNAMID helicopters in Nyala.  Efforts continue to resolve such issues as night flights throughout all three Darfur states.


Recalling that the Darfur peace talks opened in Sirte, Libya, on 27 October, the report says they were led by Jan Eliasson, United Nations Special Envoy for Darfur, and Salim Ahmed Salim, his African Union counterpart.  Representatives of the Government of the Sudan and 18 rebel movements that have not signed the Darfur Peace Agreement were present.  A number of leading personalities did not attend the opening session, during which the Government of the Sudan committed itself to a unilateral cessation of hostilities.  Despite that announcement, however, two Government helicopter gunships fired seven missiles south of Jebel Moon.


Following the opening session, the mediation has been holding closed meetings with the Government and the movements, the report says.  The movements are still not united on the way forward and plans are under way for a senior-level African Union-United Nations delegation to meet them in Juba and Darfur.  There are indications that some of the movements not represented at the opening session would be prepared to join the process in Sirte.


Noting that the situation in Darfur is at a crossroads, the Secretary-General stresses the urgent need for Member States in a position to contribute the missing transportation and aviation capabilities for UNAMID to do so.  Without those critical units, the mission will not be able to implement its mandate.  The Government of the Sudan should agree to the troop composition of UNAMID jointly submitted by the African Union and the United Nations.


The Secretary-General expresses the concern on the part of the United Nations and the African Union over a growing perception in Darfur that some ongoing security incidents and attacks against the African Union Mission in the Sudan are caused by the non-payment of allowances to Darfur factions participating in the work of the Ceasefire Commission.  As a matter of principle, and to avoid further security risks, donors need to meet their obligations to the African Union Mission and the Ceasefire Commission through a one-off payment before the transfer to UNAMID.  At the same time, an effective mechanism for monitoring a new ceasefire will have to be developed during the Sirte talks.


Briefing by Special Envoy


JAN ELIASSON, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Darfur, said slow progress in any aspect of the response to the Darfur crisis impacted all others:  the humanitarian situation and the political process clearly had an impact on deployment of the peacekeeping operation.  The security and humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate.  In October alone, 30,000 civilians had been displaced by clashes, and the violence had taken the highest toll among humanitarian workers since July 2006.  Fighting in Chad and intertribal conflicts were increasing as violations of human rights occurred inside and outside displaced-person camps.  Those developments on the ground did not foster the atmosphere of safety, mutual trust and respect for international law that Darfur needed.


He said the tone of the Darfur peace talks in Sirte, Libya, was constructive, but the people of Darfur demanded and strongly hoped for protection and security, compensation and reparation, safe and voluntary return home, and recovery and development projects.  Questions had been raised as to whether the talks should have been postponed owing to the absence of some key personalities, but there was nothing to gain from delays.  It was also essential to launch the talks simultaneously with the start of the UNAMID deployment.  The peace process should now be considered irreversible, and it was critically important to stay the course and maintain the political momentum.


Stressing the need for all to remain confident in the potential of the process to bring about a peace agreement, he said it was important, at the same time, to recognize that the atmosphere was less positive now than it had been at the time of the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1769 (2007) and the successful Arusha consultations.  The Secretary-General had already warned about the lack of preparation and cohesion inside the rebel movements, most of which were sceptical about the Sudanese Government’s claim to renounce a military solution.  Some movements also continued to be engaged in hostilities, while others had insisted before the talks that the Government’s delegation be one of national unity.  Other factions were demanding separate representation from their main groups.  All efforts must be made to resolve those.


Reasonable time must be allowed to finalize the composition of the Government delegation and for the movements to finalize their preparations for the talks, he continued.  At the same time, momentum must be maintained through continuous engagement with the movements, otherwise protracted delays could become serious impediments to the start of substantive negotiations.  In that context, the Special Envoys would be in close contact with the parties over the next two weeks.  They planned to meet with regional partners in Egypt on 4 December to determine the course ahead:  time frames for a possible Arusha-style meeting, for workshops and for the substantive talks.


After that meeting, they planned to go to visit the movements in the field and meet with other stakeholders inside the Sudan, he said.  While the Special Envoys would continue to do their utmost to facilitate the peace process, progress would only be made if the parties showed seriousness, political will and a focused commitment to peace.  They must come to the substantive talks prepared to make compromises, and the international community must not allow them to derail the process.  “We -– as much as them -– must keep the fate of the people of Darfur at the centre of our attention,” he concluded.


Briefing by Under-Secretary-General


JEAN-MARIE GUÉHENNO, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said the security and humanitarian situation on the ground was very worrying.  Joint Special Representative Adada and Force Commander General Martin Agwai were involved in intensive discussions with the Sudanese Government to address the situation in the Kalma camp, and it was critically important to ensure that its disarmament was in compliance with international humanitarian standards.  Also, the deployment of UNAMID was facing fundamental challenges in the areas of force generation, force composition and bureaucratic impediments.


He said the first elements of the heavy support package for the AMIS had been deployed, including the 140-strong formed police unit from Bangladesh and a 135-strong engineering unit from China.  A second formed police unit was expected on 15 December.  Most of the staff officers were expected in the force and sector headquarters by the end of December, and deployment of heavy support package units was expected to commence in January 2008.  However, there were serious gaps in UNAMID force requirements.  Five weeks before the transfer of authority, UNAMID was still short of critical mobility capabilities, including one heavy and one medium transport unit (18 helicopters), and one light tactical helicopter unit (six helicopters).  Also, pledges of a reconnaissance company had been withdrawn.  It might become necessary to revert to the Council to seek mitigation of the lack of air mobility, which might require an increase in troops or the borrowing of units from other peacekeeping operations.


In identifying troop contributors, the focus had been on ensuring they had the required capabilities, he said.  There had also been an effort to assemble a balanced force to meet the “African character” criterion referred to in resolution 1769 (2007) and whose impartiality would be beyond reproach, whether from the rebels’ perspective or that of the Government of the Sudan.  The African Union and the United Nations had transmitted a list to the Government on 2 October and, while a direct response had not been received, the Government had made clear its reluctance to accept certain non-African units, particularly from Thailand, Nepal and Norway.  However, there were no alternatives to the inclusion of non-African units.  A sincere effort had been made to address the Sudanese Government’s concerns.


In the meantime, all other ongoing preparations continued, he said.  It was critically important that all troop-contributing countries initiate preparations for deployment as rapidly as possible.  There was cause for concern with regard to public remarks made by Sudanese Government officials who had called into question the African Union-United Nations approach in finalizing force composition.  Speedy and effective deployment of UNAMID also would depend on the Government’s cooperation with regard to land acquisition and flight operation rights.  Authorization for the deployment of six helicopters to El Fasher had not been obtained as yet, and UNAMID had not been given permission to fly at night.  However, the responsibility to protect did not end at sunset.


The mission had not received land in El Geneina and Zalingei, and the Government had impounded UNAMID communications equipment for weeks, he said.  The status-of-forces agreement was in the process of being negotiated and a Sudanese version included a provision for the Government to “temporarily disable the communications network” in case of security operations by the Government in exercise of its sovereign rights, and for UNAMID to provide advance notification of movements.  In order to overcome the current uncertainty, the Secretary-General was reiterating his appeal to Council members and key regional leaders to make additional concerted efforts to persuade the Sudanese authorities to support the deployment of an effective UNAMID force.  A strategic shift on the Government’s part was required if peace and security in Darfur, and indeed all of the Sudan, was to be achieved.


If discussions failed to clear the path to the deployment of an effective force, the international community would be confronted with hard choices, he warned.  Should one move ahead with the deployment of a force that would not make a difference or be able to defend itself, that carried the risk of humiliation of the Council and the United Nations?  The Council had received President Bashir’s agreement with African Union-United Nations plans for a peacekeeping operation in Darfur, without preconditions, on 17 June in Khartoum.  The President had assured the Secretary-General during his visit to the Sudan in September that his Government would facilitate the deployment of UNAMID.  However, over the past few weeks, that commitment had been called into question.


In a new, disturbing development, he said, two rebel movements -- the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and a grouping of Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) factions -- had made threats against Chinese elements of the peacekeeping force.  That was totally unacceptable.  “Our ability to end the suffering in Darfur is, indeed, ultimately linked to the political process.”  While the African Union and the United Nations would continue to press the parties to make progress in their negotiations, efforts to deploy a capable peacekeeping operation capable of fulfilling its mandate and helping the parties implement the outcome of their negotiations required the Council’s continued engagement, as well as active support from the Government of the Sudan.


Statements


ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD ( Sudan) recalled that one year ago in Addis Ababa, the foundation had been laid for a strong partnership on Darfur, involving the Government of the Sudan, the African Union and the United Nations, with full respect for the sovereignty of the Sudan.  A road map had been agreed upon, including the according of priority to a political settlement, protected by a hybrid organization with an African character.  Added to that had been a development and reconstruction track, agreed upon in September in New York.  The Sudan had reaffirmed its full commitment to resolution 1769 (2007).  The problems of Darfur could only be solved through a political settlement, which must be guided by the African Union and the United Nations.  The international community must be ready to punish those who hindered the peace process.


He said the negotiations in Sirte had started with valuable efforts by the envoys of the African Union and the United Nations.  The Government of the Sudan had sent a high-level delegation, announcing at the beginning a unilateral ceasefire that was still being upheld.  A peaceful settlement and negotiations were a top priority for the Sudan, but the peace process could not be an empty circle.  The resumption of negotiations was not an open-ended option without a deadline.  There was a need to establish a clear plan, with a deadline, to resume negotiations.  The Sudan hoped international Powers would show their commitment by doing whatever was necessary to guarantee participation by all factions in the negotiations.


The Sudan had made efforts to fulfil its obligations, he said, adding that many aspects had been carried out, including the establishment of main operational capacities.  Efforts continued to complete the status-of-forces agreement.  However, a discussion on the troop-deployment agreement should take place among the three parties, and not in the Security Council.  The Sudan had provided land and logistical support, and a high-level ministerial committee had been established to facilitate deployment of the hybrid operation.  It was to be hoped that the Secretariat would intensify efforts to complete the deployment of the light and heavy support packages.


As for the humanitarian track, he said the agreement to facilitate humanitarian work had achieved tremendous success.  The Sudan trusted that the second visit to the Sudan by Under-Secretary-General John Holmes tomorrow would achieve further success to promote implementation of that agreement.  The humanitarian situation was being greatly improved.  Although Mr. Eliasson had indicated that the deterioration of the humanitarian situation affected the peace settlement, certain steps towards that settlement would positively affect humanitarian aspects rather than the other way around.


He reaffirmed his country’s full commitment to the political and peaceful settlement of the Darfur question.  The Sudan was also committed to ending hostilities and hoped for a prompt resumption of negotiations.  The Sudan also hoped the international community would fulfil its obligations with total seriousness while avoiding any mixed messages that could negatively affect the negotiations.  The Sudan hoped exaggerations would be avoided and that the failures of others would not be placed at its doorstep.


ZALMAY KHALILZAD ( United States) said that, for the political and security tracks to progress in Darfur, sustained commitment was needed from the Government of the Sudan, the rebel groups, the troop-contributing countries, the United Nations and the African Union.  The Government must demonstrate its willingness, through statements and actions, to commit itself to the peacekeeping mission and take all necessary measures to facilitate immediate deployment.  It appeared that the Government had thus far failed to do so.  It must immediately approve the list of troop-contributing countries, sign a status-of-forces agreement without unreasonable conditions, and remove the multiple logistical obstacles now impeding progress.


The rebels must engage in the political process through a unified position and negotiating team, he said, adding that the Council should not shy away from being tough on those groups that stayed outside the dialogue.  It should demand that rebels not impede the security track.  Threats against contributing countries could not be tolerated.  The United States was increasingly concerned over the lack of helicopters and heavy transport units, and it was also crucial that the United Nations and the African Union appoint a chief negotiator.  Only if progress was made on all fronts could a comprehensive peace be foreseen in the near future.  The United States was committed to leading international efforts to spur the Darfur Peace Agreement, which was inextricably linked to any successful end to the conflict.


BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) said the solution in Darfur lay in a political settlement.  The Abuja Peace Agreement provided a framework for a peaceful resolution of conflict and shared the commitment to the speediest conclusion of political negotiations and the need to ensure that all armed groups respected international opinion and participated in peace talks.  It was distressing that some movements had decided to stay away from the Sirte conference, and South Africa urged the international community to do everything possible to ensure that everyone joined that process.


Another major concern was the presence of the militia and rebel groups in and around some internally displaced-persons camps, which had resulted in violence within the camps, he said.  All steps should be taken to ensure the security of civilian populations and internally displaced persons, especially women and children.  South Africa appealed for a quick and full deployment of UNAMID and urged the United Nations and the African Union to speed up the transfer of authority from AMIS.  South Africa was also concerned over continued delays regarding key areas critical to the deployment of UNAMID, particularly aviation, ground transportation and force composition.  South Africa was not in a position to provide those elements and appealed to those who could to do so.


The slow pace of budget approval for UNAMID was also a concern, he said, calling upon Member States to promptly approve the Secretary-General’s proposed budget.  There was also a need for ongoing dialogue among the United Nations, the African Union and the Government of the Sudan.


Regarding the investigation initiated by the AMIS Force Commander after an attack on the Mission’s site in Haskanita, he said his country looked forward to the final report of the African Union and the United Nations.  It was important that when the perpetrators had been identified, they should be brought to justice.


JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said the briefings showed that the prospects for early peace were slim and that there had been inadequate progress on the political, military, humanitarian security tracks, as well as on the issue of impunity.  In Sirte, a start had been made with the political track, but there must be a focus on three points:  all parties must be encouraged to engage fully and constructively and should be pressured if necessary; a top priority should be the cessation of hostilities, to be monitored by the hybrid force; and the final settlement reached must be inclusive and sustainable.  The talks should not be limited to leaders of armed groups, but include everybody in Darfur.  The United Kingdom urged the Secretary-General to appoint a mediator to lead the day-to-day negotiations.


He said that while some progress had been made on deploying the peacekeeping force, there was a growing risk that it would not be effective on 1 January, which would have severe consequences for the people of Darfur.  United Nations Members had failed to provide the requirements needed and, despite its acceptance of resolution 1769 (2007), Sudan’s Government had failed to carry out its commitments.  The Government’s foot-dragging put the Operation’s deployment at risk, and the Sudanese representative’s intervention gave little hope that the situation would improve.


The humanitarian situation remained critical and was getting worse, he said, calling on the Sudan to lift restrictions on humanitarian access.  Peace in Darfur also depended in ending the culture of impunity.  Council members looked to the Government to carry out the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court, and it was an insult that one of the people sought had been appointed a Government minister.  Urgent action on all four tracks was required, and the Council stood ready to take tough action against any party standing in the way of the peace process.


GUANGYA WANG ( China) said a political solution must be found in Darfur on the basis of the sovereignty of the Sudan.  In that light, the international community should consolidate the momentum so far achieved.  There were complex internal and external causes to the crisis, and the humanitarian aspect was a mere symptom of the lack of political progress, without which UNAMID would not end the violence.  Regrettably, certain rebel groups had remained obstinate and the international community must press them to enter the political process.  China appealed to those groups to participate constructively in talks.


The deployment of UNAMID had achieved much progress, but it was an operation unprecedented in scale and likely to run into difficulties, he said.  The only solution was to increase mutual political trust among all parties.  In that regard, care must be taken to avoid politicizing logistical problems, which must be resolved through dialogue.  Equal attention should be paid to socio-economic development in Darfur, with a view to the long term, so as to address the root causes of the conflict.  China had participated in all efforts to resolve the crisis and had provided resources for humanitarian aid, infrastructure and peacekeeping.  It would continue its commitment to ending the crisis.


VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said he looked forward to the continuation of the momentum in the political dialogue, but was seriously concerned over the position of rebel groups which had refused so far to participate in the process.  It was essential to put pressure on those groups.  Without progress on political dialogue, there would be no progress on the humanitarian or peacekeeping fronts.


Expressing disappointment with delays in the deployment of UNAMID, he said his country expected that the Sudanese leadership would do everything to work out all obstacles.  The deployment of UNAMID also required the unconditional compliance by States in the region with all international agreements.


JUSTIN BIABAROH-IBORO ( Congo) said developments on the ground were not encouraging.  The Council now had sufficient information on the hybrid force and the behaviour of the actors.  There had been some progress since the adoption of resolution 1769 (2007), but the climate of insecurity and violations of human rights and humanitarian law remained a matter of concern, as did the continuing attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers and African Union forces.  The Congo condemned all efforts to undermine the peace process, particularly the refusal of some groups to participate in negotiations.


Now, more than ever, it was time to do everything possible to accelerate the pace of the political dialogue, the deployment of the hybrid force and humanitarian assistance, he said.  Deployment was the only guarantee for the restoration of peace in Darfur, and it was, therefore, necessary that the force be robust and credible.  The Congo was concerned about difficulties in agreeing on a budget and called on the Government of the Sudan to cooperate with the African Union and the United Nations to facilitate deployment as soon as possible.  In addition, the Congo would support all initiatives to help promote peace and, if necessary, all impartial measures to apply pressure.


RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) said peace could only be achieved through negotiations.  The Sirte meeting was a successful first step in that regard, but it was essential to maintain the pace of negotiations.  Panama was concerned about delays in obtaining troops, and there might be a need for greater interaction between the parties and the troop-contributing countries.  The pacification of Darfur was the issue, not the composition of the force.


As for the statement by the Permanent Representative of the Sudan, he said he was concerned he had made no reference to the political crisis endured by the people in Darfur.  While welcoming the Government’s commitment to the peace process, Panama was also concerned that the representative had not clearly and specifically addressed the problems arising from the composition of the hybrid force.  The main responsibility of the Government was to guarantee the safety of its citizens.  If there was no improvement in the Government’s commitment to ensure the protection of those citizens and to allow the international community to give such protection, the Council must consider alternative measures.


JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France) said the deadline for the transfer of authority to UNAMID was at hand, and the Council must make sure it was kept.  France called on Member States to provide the special expertise that was still lacking.  Agreements must not now be renegotiated, and there was a need for full cooperation from the Government of the Sudan to demonstrate its acceptance of UNAMID’s deployment.  There was no longer time for procrastination, given the humanitarian crisis.  It was also a matter of the Council’s credibility.


He welcomed the efforts for political progress, saying his country would continue to call on all movements and key individuals to participate in a constructive manner.  France supported, in particular, the participation of civil society in the political process.  With regard to humanitarian situation, France was concerned about lack of access and forced displacements.  Voluntary returns under international law must be assured.  As for impunity for crimes against civilians, France pledged its full commitment to justice in Darfur and the continued involvement of the International Criminal Court.


DUŠAN MATULAY ( Slovakia) said that, while the political and peacekeeping processes had proved extremely difficult and challenging, there was no military solution to the conflict.  The situation was at an important crossroads and the international community must act urgently to change the fortunes of the people of Darfur.  Sudan’s full cooperation and genuine commitment were required.  It was essential to stop the violence by all parties and broaden participation in the peace talks.  Slovakia encouraged all rebel movements to join and fully engage in the peace process, and underlined the Council’s call for all parties to agree to and implement a cessation of hostilities.  All parties should also implement in good faith both the Council’s decisions and their own commitments to the protection of civilians.


Noting the looming deadline for UNAMID’s deployment, he said it was imperative to find the missing transportation and aviation units and to deploy the key technical and engineering units on the ground.  UNAMID could not be deployed without support from all Member States and without sufficient cooperation from all relevant parties, primarily the Government of the Sudan.  Unfortunately, instead of cooperation, there had been repeated attempts to delay the deployment over the last two years.   At a time when an immediate United Nations response was required, it was unacceptable to pick and choose which troop contributors would be allowed to participate in the crucial peacekeeping effort.  The Government of the Sudan must agree without delay on the force’s proposed composition.  With the Sudan, the international community should also do more to address the alarming humanitarian situation in the displaced-person camps.  Slovakia called on all parties to recommit to the full implementation of the Joint Communiqué on humanitarian activities, and fully supported the investigation and prosecution of crimes in Darfur under the International Criminal Court.


MARCELLO SPATAFORA ( Italy) said he fully shared and strongly supported Mr. Eliasson’s assessments and his indication of the way forward.  Mr. Guéhenno had sent an uncharacteristic and very worrying message, which was especially alarming since the transfer of authority was only one month away.  It was to be hoped that the fall-back position indicated by Mr. Guéhenno would not have to be considered.  At stake was not only the suffering of the people of the Sudan, but also the credibility of the United Nations and the Council.


While welcoming Sudan’s full commitment to the political process, as expressed by its Permanent Representative, he said that statement was in diametrical contradiction to what the Under-Secretary-General had pointed out.  If the one-month time limit on UNAMID’s deployment was to be achieved, there were only 10 days left to iron out differences.  There was an urgent need to work out those differences in the tripartite mechanism, but the Council must have clarity.  As the Council President for the month of December, Italy was prepared to hold a special meeting in the first week of that month to hear how the differences had been ironed out.


LESLIE KOJO CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) said he was pleased that the Sirte meeting had not been derailed by the vicious attacks launched by some armed elements against African Union peacekeepers.  Ghana trusted that the progress made in Tripoli would serve as a road map both for effective preparations and for the conduct of the talks.  It was to be hoped that the lessons were not lost on those rebel leaders who had refused to attend.  All sides in the conflict must understand that the ultimate goal of the Darfur peace process was to secure the well-being of the people.  No one side held all the cards and it was imperative for the Sudanese people to rally round their shared interest in a united, peaceful and prosperous country.


He said the renewed momentum for dialogue had been greatly strengthened by the declaration of a cessation of hostilities by the Government of the Sudan.  Ghana called on the rebels to reciprocate and actively participate in the dialogue in order to address the root causes of the conflict.  Relentless work was also needed to ensure an uninterrupted flow of relief material to the needy.  Steps must also be taken to facilitate the safe return of all displaced persons.  Everything must be done to preserve the cessation of hostilities through the timely deployment of UNAMID, but the process appeared to be falling behind schedule.


JOHAN VERBEKE ( Belgium) said the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Darfur was indeed troubling, and a political solution was necessary to achieve stability in the Sudan and the region.  A cessation of hostilities on the part of all parties, under an effective monitoring mechanism, was a necessary precondition to any progress.  Belgium called on all parties to participate in the talks and to welcome the contributions of civil society.


Deploring delays in implementing the heavy support package and deploying UNAMID, he reminded the Sudan of its obligations in that regard.  The Council must assume its responsibilities in the face of non-cooperation.  The Sudan was also required to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in the face of grave violations of humanitarian law.


NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar) said there had been progress in implementing Council resolution, including in the area of land use agreements.  Work was also under way to reach aviation agreements.  All such progress showed the Government was making efforts to comply with Council resolutions.  The Council must, therefore, do its part to further the deployment of UNAMID and continue dialogue with the Government.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations must quickly complete preparations for the light and heavy support packages.


The questioning and criticism of the peacekeeping force’s host country must end, he said, stressing that it was crucial that such criticisms should not negatively affect the achievements already made.  One party alone must not be blamed for the lack of progress, while the rebel movements continued to commit terrorist acts and to place obstacles in the path of the peace process.  Qatar wished to know Mr. Eliasson’s opinion about placing sanctions on those groups.


ROMY TINCOPA ( Peru), welcoming the initiatives taken regarding the political dialogue on Darfur, said a comprehensive and viable solution to the crisis could only be reached through political dialogue and inclusive consultations.  Peru called on rebel groups that had not yet done so to join the process.  The topics dealt with by the parties, including security and distribution of wealth, were very complex, but the mediators must work towards achievable and practical solutions.  The dismantling of militias should be included on the agenda.


Expressing concern over the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation, she said the parties must cease hostilities and ensure absolute and unhindered humanitarian access.  The parties and the Government must also cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court.  Like others, Peru was concerned about delays in the deployment of UNAMID.  It was necessary to comply with the established time frame.  The Government must ensure that all matters were resolved –- including the issues of land and night-flights -– and guarantee that movement and communications would not be hampered.


MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) said that progress was being made on the political and peacekeeping tracks, two of the three broad fronts to resolve the Darfur crisis, but that the briefing had revealed the persistent challenges facing the international community.  Giving more time to the rebel movements might allow them to arrive at a common platform needed to facilitate the next negotiating stage with the Government of the Sudan.  Indonesia supported the mediators’ approach of involving Darfur’s civil society and other stakeholders, thereby providing as wide a basis as possible for the peace process.  It also encouraged countries in the region to continue to support the political process.  He underlined the importance of Member States’ support of the political process, and encouraged all rebel movements to participate in the talks.


He said that his country was troubled by the delay in ending the hostilities.  Cessation of hostilities was crucial, not only for Darfur’s civilian population, but also for peace in Darfur, as that would strengthen confidence-building and support an environment conducive for negotiations.  Despite the delays on the political front, the peacekeeping track should move forward within its already determined time frame and should support the political process.  The Secretariat should continue to work with troop-contributing countries, and the international community should not retreat from the commitment it made in Addis Ababa last year or from its support of Security Council resolution 1769 (2007) on UNAMID.  The Secretariat should also continue to consult with the Sudanese authorities with a view to agreeing, as soon as possible, on remaining technical issues.  The perpetrator attack against AMIS in Haskanita two months ago had demonstrated, not only the urgency of deploying a robust and credible force in Darfur, but also the need for the Security Council to take resolute action against such perpetrators.


Responses


Mr. ELIASSON thanked the Council for the full support given to his work.  He said it was important to create a situation conducive for peace.  Darfur must be seen in its totality.  He was glad that the situation in the camps had been raised, as that was one of frustration and anger on the part of many.  It was a growing danger along with tribal clashes, which now caused the majority of deaths.  Those were the new realities in Darfur.


He said that today’s discussion had reinforced the facilitators’ efforts to get all parties to engage.  Hopefully, those who had not yet participated would do so, and he asked Member States to provide any help they could in that regard.  The humanitarian and peacekeeping operations required huge expenditures.  It was essential that the political conditions be made conducive to their success.  There was not yet a monitoring capability in place, should agreements be reached.  That would be part of the role of the hybrid force.  He reiterated the importance of the participation of civil society in talks and thanked Council members, along with the Sudan, for their support for civil society participation.


The lack of a chief mediator was being discussed, he said, and, in regard to deadlines, he would try to combine the sense of urgency with the need to get a critical mass of representation in the talks.  He did not, however, want to set exact dates for substantive talks.  On the subject of sanctions, he hoped that all parties would realize that they needed to participate constructively in the talks, but if some remained defiant, the Council would have to discuss what measures would be needed to make the peace process succeed.


Mr. GUÉHENNO, addressing a question about delays in deployment of the heavy support package, said they were indicative of broader problems.  There was no single explanation.  In some cases, the capacities announced by contributors were different from the ones requested.  Some troop-contributing countries had delayed the “load documents” and hesitated on when to deploy.  There were also issues of cooperation.  Cooperation with the Government of the Sudan was sometimes possible, and sometimes not.  All those factors ended up delaying the deployment of the heavy support package.  Those factors could also delay or seriously hamper the UNAMID mission itself.


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For information media • not an official record