14 June 2011
Deputy Secretary-General

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

With South Sudan’s Independence Weeks Away, Deputy Secretary-General Says Economic

and Social Council, Peacebuilding Commission Well Placed to Provide Support

Following are Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks at the event organized by the Economic and Social Council and Peacebuilding Commission on promoting durable peace and sustainable development in Sudan and South Sudan, yesterday, 13 June:

I commend the Economic and Social Council and Peacebuilding Commission for organizing this event on peace and development in Sudan and South Sudan.  With South Sudan’s independence just weeks away, and with heightened tensions in the region, this discussion is especially timely.  The Comprehensive Peace Agreement was a landmark achievement.  Yet we all know that the hard work that has brought us this far must continue without any let-up whatsoever.  With the January referendum successfully behind us, new challenges face North and South.

Indeed, the current moment is rife with concern about security along the border, particularly in contested areas; the escalation of fighting in Abyei and Southern Kordofan; and prospects for political and economic parity among groups in both states.

The Secretary-General welcomes the meetings between the parties yesterday and today in Addis Ababa, including between Presidents [Al] Bashir and [Salva] Kir, aimed at resolving these issues before the independence of South Sudan.  Security for both North and South, as well as for the subregion, will depend on relations between the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan.  Both will need to show the political commitment needed to pursue the dividends that stability can bring — cross-border trade, the peaceful sharing of resources, mobility for citizens with a “home” in both North and South.

Any post-conflict period is a critical time for institution-building, reconciliation, and development.  Much as we strive to take advantage of that crucial window, we also know that developing a State’s capacity to deter, contain and resolve conflict, provide basic services and see to the broader needs of its population is a long-term pursuit.  Assistance from the international community can make a significant difference in relieving some of this pressure in the short term.  The United Nations will continue to play its part.  Experience shows that post-conflict countries that support economic development, education, and political opportunities for their people, especially women and girls, become more resilient in warding off any relapse into instability or conflict.

South Sudan’s leadership is well aware that the transition to independence will be accompanied by high expectations that prosperity is “imminent”.  The next three to five years are a critical period.  Urgent tasks such as security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration depend heavily on stability and trust.  There is a mutual interest in creating the enabling environment for these reform initiatives to gain traction.

The Secretary-General has provided recommendations to the Security Council for a future United Nations peacekeeping presence in South Sudan, to be established as of 9 July.  The mission would assist the new Government in addressing many of these issues, in close coordination with various United Nations bodies and other partners.  The North, too, faces distinct socio-economic challenges that also require the attention of the international community.  The Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission are well-placed to provide some of the support that North and South need.  I urge you to explore, with our Sudanese partners, what you can do to support peace and development at this critical time.

Please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.  Thank you.

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For information media • not an official record