Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, today highlighted, among other issues, his country’s role in reaching a key framework agreement for cooperation – particularly in security, the common border and economic relations – with South Sudan, at talks this week in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
The agreement with South Sudan would not have taken place without Sudan’s willingness to cooperate and its commitment to peace, stability and development, the Foreign Minister told the 67th Assembly’s General Debate, held at UN Headquarters in New York.
In light of this, he added, attempts to distort the image of his country or its leadership were devoid of any substance.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July last year, six years after the signing of the peace agreement that ended decades of warfare between the north and the south. However, the peace between the two countries had come under threat over recent months by armed clashes along their common border and outstanding post-independence issues that have yet to be resolved.
The talks, held under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, were designed to enable the two nations to fulfil their obligations under a so-called roadmap aimed at easing tensions, facilitating the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations and normalizing the relations between the two countries.
Sudan, Mr. Karti noted in his speech, remained determined to tackle the reasons for war and strife, despite unfair sanctions imposed on it by the United States, and would require assistance during this “sensitive stage,” with its debts cancelled and its economy supported.
The country’s good neighbourly approach was further evidenced in its support for a range of agreements to do with the final status of the Abyei territory, which straddles the border area between Sudan and South Sudan and which both nations contest, he said.
“We have turned a page in Darfur,” Foreign Minister said in relation to the west Sudanese region, referring to the so-called Doha Document, an agreement signed in Qatar last year between the Sudanese Government and the Liberation and Justice Movement rebel group.
Since 2003, conflict between the Sudanese Government and Darfur rebel groups has led to the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of Darfuris and the displacement of nearly two million.
Mr. Karti called on the international community to protect and secure the gains made with the Doha Document by countering other rebel groups which had refused to take part in it. He urged UN Member States to attend a donors’ conference for rebuilding Darfur, to be held in Qatar in the coming months.
Other topics mentioned in the Foreign Minister’s speech included the need to avoid offending religious beliefs and reform of the main and subsidiary bodies of the United Nations. He also raised concerns about the concepts of humanitarian intervention, economic and political sanctions and the principle of the responsibility to protect.
Foreign Minister Karti is one of scores of world leaders and other high-level officials presenting their views and comments on issues of individual, national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.