|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
United Nations will do everything possible to help southern sudan recover
from decades of conflict, says Secretary-General in juba address
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s address at Juba University in Juba, Sudan, 4 September:
It is a pleasure to visit southern Sudan and to join all of you here today in Juba University.
Earlier today, I visited the memorial to John Garang, a man of great courage. He fought long and hard for the freedom, justice and equality of his people. Following his tragic death, the world feared the consequences for peace. South Sudan is blessed that your President, Salva Kiir, quickly exercised leadership to fulfil your shared vision.
To honour Dr. John’s vision, we need to push ahead on a broader initiative, underscored by my visit to Juba. That’s the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the north and the south, so important to you here in Juba. This remains an essential -– and fragile –- cornerstone of peace across the whole of Sudan, well beyond Darfur. Earlier today, I met with First Vice-President Salva Kiir and members of his Government and Legislative Assembly to discuss these issues. In Khartoum, I emphasized the importance of its full and prompt implementation.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement is the blueprint for long-term peace in the country.
That is why our peacekeeping mission, UNMIS, is working so hard to advance implementation of the Agreement. We are monitoring the ceasefire and training police. We are promoting local reconciliation and supporting disarmament and demobilization. We are assisting efforts to strengthen rule of law and the observance of human rights. We are facilitating the return of refugees and displaced persons.
It is heartening that Sudanese refugees and displaced persons are returning to southern Sudan in larger numbers than ever. They are coming home after spending many years in other countries or in Khartoum’s displaced settlements. Close to 160,000 people have returned home so far this year alone, many transported by the United Nations. More are coming. This gives us reason for hope.
I know that many of these people return to very difficult conditions. Shelter, food, water, health and educational services for their children, opportunities to earn a living -- I know these are all hard to come by today in Juba, in Malakal, in Wau and in the countless other towns and villages throughout Sudan.
Even those of you who never left your home areas during the war years are facing many of these same hardships. And many of you have now taken in those who are returning to your communities, in spite of the added hardship this causes you. That is a reflection of the generous, open and hospitable nature of the Sudanese people. You deserve much help and support from the international community.
Peace and development reinforce each other. And we are your allies in the long-term quest for sustainable development. That is why we are supporting projects in infrastructure rehabilitation and health, in water, in education and livestock, in building the capacities of southern institutions, and in addressing the problem of land mines.
Removing mines is important not just for your personal safety, but also to get trade flowing again, so that the local economy can recover. So far, 8,000 kilometres of roads in Sudan have been checked for mines and opened for use, with the assistance of the United Nations. The reopening of the road between Juba and Uganda has contributed greatly to the flow of goods. This will help ensure that the private sector can grow and play its vital role in the recovery efforts.
There is still a long way to go before southern Sudan can fully recover from decades of conflict and insufficient development. I understand your frustration at how long it is taking. But I assure you, we in the United Nations will do everything possible to accelerate the recovery and development process, in partnership with the Government of southern Sudan and its people.
I ask for your cooperation. You must work as hard for peace as you did to uphold the rights of the people of southern Sudan all these years. And you must work on promoting reconciliation between the different tribes and factions in southern Sudan. As students and members of civil society, you have a critical role to play in assuring the Comprehensive Peace Agreement’s success.
There’s another reason why I am in Sudan today. For the past four years, your fellow countrymen in Darfur have also been torn by conflict. For too long, the international community stood by, as seemingly helpless witnesses. That is now changing.
I have three plans for action.
As you all well know, the Security Council in July approved a resolution authorizing the deployment of 26,000 multinational peacekeepers in Darfur, jointly run by the United Nations and the African Union. This unprecedented operation marks a new era in UN-AU cooperation. It is one of the most important peacekeeping missions the UN has ever undertaken. It reflects the international community’s commitment to contribute to bringing peace in Sudan.
We all know there is no military solution. The violence must stop. We need a ceasefire immediately.
This is my first action plan -– our peacekeeping mission. My goal is to lock in the progress we have made so far. To build on it so that this terrible trauma may one day end.
Yet, there must be a peace to keep. This is my second action plan –- to push the peace process. Welcome as our peacekeeping mission may be, it is only a first step. It must be accompanied by a political solution.
I want to see us begin a new and conclusive round of peace negotiations as soon as possible, if possible in the month of October. My aim is to keep up the momentum, to push the pace of talks among the parties with a view towards issuing invitations to a full-fledged peace conference in the near future. All the representatives of movements must participate in the peace negotiations.
Yesterday in Khartoum, I spoke to a group of students and civil society representatives. I told them that I am not a philosopher. That I have never put much stock in grand rhetoric -- dreams of the future, “visions” that promise more than can be delivered. I say the same to you today: I am a realist, a man of action. I believe in results, not rhetoric. I believe in real solutions to real problems.
I’ve mentioned some of the ways we are already helping, and what more we can do -- from health care to promoting better agricultural techniques to encouraging small business development.
But when it comes to providing root solutions to the country’s problems, it begins with a core issue facing so many people in southern Sudan and elsewhere in this region. That is the development and management of resources.
That’s the third plan. Any real solution to southern Sudan and Darfur’s troubles requires sustained economic development –- solutions that go to the root causes of the conflict.
Precisely what these development activities will entail is as yet unclear. But we need to begin thinking about it now. There must be money for new roads and communications, as well as health, education, sanitation and social reconstruction programmes. The international community needs to help organize these efforts, working with the Government as well as a host of international aid agencies and NGOs, in very difficult circumstances.
In Darfur, lack of water, and natural resources in general, have contributed to a steady worsening of the crisis. As part of the solution, the Government with international assistance will have to ensure that the people of Darfur have access to vital natural resources -– water being chief among them. The UN stands ready to assist in this effort.
Ultimately, sustainable development will require a more equitable sharing of power and resources among the central Government and the country’s regions, so that fully representative national elections can go forward as planned in 2009.
I referred earlier to your remarkable leader, John Garang. He was a man of uncommon vision, but also of determined action. He pursued a principled peace based on a negotiated settlement. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement is his lasting legacy. It is up to you to fulfil it. I will do everything I can to help.
So, thank you. I am very happy to have been able to meet with you here. It has been a pleasure speaking with you. And I look forward to seeing more of your beloved country.
* *** *