DARFUR’S POLITICAL PROCESS IN ‘TROUBLED STATE OF AFFAIRS’, NEW GENERATION IN SUDAN ‘MAY BE DOOMED TO LIFE IN CONFLICT’, SECURITY COUNCIL WARNED

24 June 2008
SC/9370

DARFUR’S POLITICAL PROCESS IN ‘TROUBLED STATE OF AFFAIRS’, NEW GENERATION IN SUDAN ‘MAY BE DOOMED TO LIFE IN CONFLICT’, SECURITY COUNCIL WARNED

24 June 2008
Security Council
SC/9370
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5922nd Meeting (AM)

DARFUR’S POLITICAL PROCESS IN ‘TROUBLED STATE OF AFFAIRS’, NEW GENERATION

 

IN SUDAN ‘MAY BE DOOMED TO LIFE IN CONFLICT’, SECURITY COUNCIL WARNED

Special Envoys to Darfur Brief Security Council; Members Urge Change

In Tactics to Overcome Stagnation, More Rapid Deployment of Hybrid Force

With talks stalled and bloodshed continuing in Darfur, all available political energy inside and outside the Sudan must be mobilized to reach a cessation of hostilities and to lay a foundation for serious peace talks, Jan Eliasson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, told the Security Council today.

“It is with much regret that I report today that there we are at a troubled state of affairs in the political process,” said Mr. Eliasson, who was joined at the briefing by Salim Ahmed Salim, the African Union’s Special Envoy for Darfur.  For more than five years, millions of people had suffered enormously, he noted, adding:  “This simply cannot go on.  A new generation in Sudan may be doomed to a life in conflict, despair and poverty”.

He said that, since last year’s talks in Sirte, Libya, the parties had not been willing to come together for substantive negotiations.  There was little trust between them and the rebel movements were still fragmented.  The original movements, SLA-Abdul Wahid and JEM-Khalil Ibrahim, claimed to be more legitimate than the other groups and should promote cooperation with the others.  It was first and foremost the Government, however, that had the resources and responsibility to ensure protection, prosperity and a life of dignity for all the people of Darfur and the Sudan.  In that light, he had called on the Government to exercise maximum restraint and respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Unfortunately, he said, there was reason to seriously question whether the parties were ready to sit down at the negotiation table and make the compromises necessary for peace, despite his and Mr. Salim’s best efforts.  The imminent appointment of a United Nations-African Union Chief Mediator would, itself, not bring change.  Others must contribute by providing more enticing incentives and more credible disincentives to the parties, and widening the consideration of the crisis towards the national and regional dimensions.  Convening an international conference for that purpose might be useful.

There must also be a more rapid and effective deployment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), he said.  In addition, more effective efforts must be made to end the arms flow to Darfur, and the people of Darfur must be more actively engaged in the peace process.  Any future agreement would be still-born unless civil society, traditional leaders and representatives from the displaced communities knew their voices were heard.

Building on Mr. Eliasson’s assessment of the situation, Mr. Salim regretted that UNAMID’s deployment had been so agonizingly slow, facing numerous difficulties -- some due to the position of the Government of the Sudan on such matters as the composition of the force and others due to the failure of the international community to act decisively.  “We all recognize that what is needed in Darfur is a robust, well-equipped force with a reasonable mobile capacity.”  It was “sad” that, notwithstanding the existence of thousands of helicopters, it had not been possible to get two dozen or so for UNAMID.

He also emphasized the importance of normalizing relations between the Sudan and Chad, saying that the various accords reached between the two countries, including the latest one in Dakar, must be implemented, since a lasting solution to the Darfur conflict was inconceivable unless tension between the two neighbours was reduced.

In the discussion that followed the Envoys’ briefings, most Council members agreed that the parties must be given stronger incentives and disincentives from the international community to influence them to participate in the peace process.  They also agreed that normalization between Chad and the Sudan, progress in the peace agreement in South Sudan, and sped-up deployment of UNAMID were crucial.

Some speakers urged a change in tactics because of the stagnating situation.  Belgium’s representative said that the international community had been silent for far too long about the lack of progress and advocated that the Council focus on finding ways to motivate the parties to cooperate.  To break the non-ending cycle of conflict, Italy’s representative urged Council members to unite in pursuing one of two paths:  that of re-thinking the way forward, as Mr. Salim had suggested; or of continuing with its current strategy, while discussing its shortcomings.

The representative of Costa Rica said that there had not been enough consideration of the Sudanese Government’s lack of cooperation, not only in terms of logistics, but in bringing to justice those wanted by the International Criminal Court.  There needed to be consistency at all levels in order to bring trust into the political process.  Libya’s representative stressed the need to bring the rebel movements in line, particularly following the recent attack on the outskirts of Khartoum.

Also speaking this morning were the representatives of the United Kingdom, South Africa, China, France, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Croatia, Russian Federation, Panama and the United States.

The meeting opened at 10:12 a.m. and adjourned at 12:45 p.m.

Background

The Security Council met today to consider reports of the Secretary-General on the Sudan.

Briefings

JAN ELIASSON, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Darfur, said that the complexity and scope of the conflict in that region made it essential that regional and international collaboration were strengthened.  The political environment continued to deteriorate, with the rebel movements still split and a persistent stand-off between Chad and the Sudan persisting, owing to cross-border incursions.  The attack on Omdurman proved that there were those who still believed in a military solution, and the destruction in Abyei showed that North-South tensions still lingered.

To this, he said, should be added continued violence and dire humanitarian conditions on the ground.  Humanitarian access was constrained by fighting between the movements, and between them and the Government.  There was also banditry, looting and even abductions and murders.  As a consequence, the World Food Programme had had to substantially reduce its delivery of food.

He said that, in accordance with the “AU-UN Framework for the Way Forward” presented this spring, Mr. Salim and he had, for the past few months, placed strong emphasis on reducing violence.  They had had extensive contacts with the parties on convening informal consultations in Switzerland earlier this month.  In the end, JEM (Justice and Equality Movement) and SLM (Sudanese Liberation Movement)-Abdul Wahid had not agreed to meet and the consultations were postponed.  Meanwhile, security was being discussed with the parties on a bilateral basis.

Against that background, “it is with much regret that I report today that there we are at a troubled state of affairs in the political process”, he said.  Since the Sirte talks, the parties had not been willing to come together for substantive talks.  Trust between them had not been established and was in some cases completely absent.  The original movements, SLA-Abdul Wahid and JEM-Khalil Ibrahim, claim to be more legitimate than the other groups.  They should thus accept responsibility, exercise leadership and promote cooperation with the others.  The movements seriously doubt there would be a fair implementation of a peace accord.  Continued attacks against civilians and resettlement on land owned by people now languishing in the camps did not foster trust.

He said it was first and foremost the Government that had the resources and responsibility to ensure protection, prosperity and a life of dignity for all the people of Darfur and the Sudan.  In that light, he had called upon the Government to exercise maximum restraint and respect human rights and the rule of law.  The conflict also required simultaneous harmony between the international community, the regional partners, the Government of National Unity of the Sudan and the movements in Darfur.  That harmony had been absent.

It was now crucial for all those actors to accept responsibility, he said.  Outside actors must jointly exert influence, as well as use bilateral leverage, on the parties to stop further hostilities and take steps towards peace.  A well-prepared high-level international meeting could play a positive catalysing role in that respect.  In addition, implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the North-South conflict was needed for confidence-building and power-sharing in Darfur.  Relations between the Sudan and Chad must be normalized.  Political will for compromise was needed from the parties, which in turn, required international assistance to improve socio-economic situations on the ground.

There must be also be a more rapid and effective deployment of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Force (UNAMID), he said.  Hand-picking eligible nationalities for a peacekeeping operation was not consistent with the United Nations Charter, and complicated the peace process.  More effective efforts must also be made to end the arms flow to Darfur, and the people of Darfur must be more actively engaged in the process.  Any future agreement would be still-born unless civil society, traditional leaders and representatives from the displaced communities knew that their voices were heard.

Unfortunately, he said, there was reason to seriously question whether the parties were ready to sit down at the negotiation table and make the compromises necessary for peace, despite his and Mr. Salim’s best efforts.  The imminent appointment of a United Nations-African Union Chief Mediator would, in itself, not bring peace.  Others must contribute by providing more enticing incentives and more credible disincentives to the parties, and widening the consideration of the crisis towards the national and regional dimensions.

For more than five years, millions of people had suffered enormously, he said, adding “This simply cannot go on.  A new generation in Sudan may be doomed to a life in conflict, despair and poverty.  The international community should have learned enough lessons from other conflicts where the populations were left to stagnate and radicalize in camps”.

For that reason, he said, all available political energy inside and outside the Sudan must be mobilized to stop escalation and reach a cessation of hostilities, as well as to lay a foundation for serious peace talks.  But no progress would be made unless the Sudanese themselves showed seriousness, political will and a focused commitment to peace.  “It is time for them to accept responsibility and finally settle the outstanding issues, which for so long have plagued the people of Darfur and Sudan,” he concluded.

SALIM AHMED SALIM, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur, said that he and Mr. Eliasson had consulted a wide variety of stakeholders -- including peace agreement signatories and non-signatories, traditional leaders, political party leaders, representatives of internally displaced persons, civil society organizations, women and youth groups, and intellectuals -- as part of the mandate given to them to create propitious conditions for a more inclusive political dialogue among the parties in conflict.  Indeed, one of the shortcomings of the Abuja Peace Talks had been confining the entire process to the Government and armed movements, which the Envoys were determined to rectify.

He said that during consultations with Government leaders, the Envoys had urged that concrete measures be taken to allay the concerns and fears of those with a very deep distrust of the Government.  They had underscored the Government’s responsibility for taking steps to de-escalate violence, including exercising restraint and refraining from aerial bombardments.  They had also urged the Government to be more flexible on “fundamental issues that constitute the current divide between it and the movements”, with respect to Darfur.  In Juba, top leaders had been encouraged to promote unity; as part of the Government of National Unity, the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) could and should play a constructive role in settling the Darfur crisis because of its historic relations with some of the movements in Darfur.

Throughout the joint mediation process, he said they had held the firm belief that unity among the various movements would contribute “immensely” to the peace process.  Conversely, continued fragmentation would be inimical to peace and stability.  For instance, the Arusha consultations in August 2007, which at first had provided a ray of hope, had only led to shattered optimism after the division within the JEM leadership.  The effort to forge unity and cohesion had further intensified after talks in Sirte in October 2007 had to be postponed, owing to the absence of major players.  Ideally, they would have liked to have had the same conditions that prevailed at the beginning of the Abuja talks, where there had been only two parties -- the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement.  Nevertheless, five groups were still more welcome than having to deal with two dozen or so factions.

“Thus, the reality on the ground is that there is still division between and, in some instances, within the movements,” he said, explaining that some of the movements were unwilling to enter into substantive negotiations or take part in any formal or informal talks.  Others insisted on pre-conditions, which were clearly unacceptable, while still others wanted to claim an exclusive monopoly of representation and were dismissive of all the other movements.  Some wished to vigorously pursue a military option, as manifested by JEM’s attack on Omdurman.  To compound the situation, the process of fragmentation had not halted.

He said that the political process seemed to have reached an impasse, and there was a need to rethink the strategy on the way forward, for which several important factors should be considered.  The “number one concern” to be met for Darfurians was security.  Fighting was ongoing between the Sudanese Armed Forces and some of the movements, and between the movements themselves.  The Janjaweed continued to unleash their terror, amid the sheer banditry and criminality perpetrated by armed groups.  “It was no exaggeration to assert that Darfurians in general have been eagerly waiting for the deployment of UNAMID and have great expectations that its full deployment will make a great difference in their daily lives,” he said.

In that regard, it was regrettable that UNAMID’s deployment had been so agonizingly slow, facing numerous difficulties -- some due to the position of the Government of the Sudan on such matters as the composition of the Force, he said.  Others were due to the failure of the international community to act decisively.  “We all recognize that what is needed in Darfur is a robust, well-equipped force with a reasonable mobile capacity.”  It was “sad” that, notwithstanding the existence of thousands of helicopters, it had not been possible to get two dozen or so helicopters for UNAMID.

Noting that the international community at large had repeatedly called for the rapid deployment of a robust UNAMID, he said it was important to be vigilant, so that the “euphoria of expectation” among Darfurians did not lead to despondency.  He cautioned, however, that the UNAMID, even when fully deployed with the necessary equipment and logistical back-up, would not translate automatically into peace and stability in Darfur.  The hybrid force would need a peace to keep, thus highlighting the crucial importance of the political process.

He said the situation of insecurity in Darfur had been made worse by the deteriorating and tense relations between Chad and the Sudan.  It was crucial that the situation be defused.  The various accords reached between the two countries, including the latest one in Dakar, must be implemented, since a lasting solution to the Darfur conflict was inconceivable unless tension between the two neighbours was reduced.  Another issue of grave concern was the flow of arms into Darfur, despite the arms embargo.  That issue required the Security Council’s urgent attention, so that any existing loopholes could be closed.

He recalled the high-level meeting on 16 November 2006 at the African Union headquarters, chaired jointly by the then Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the then African Union Commission Chairperson, President Alpha Oumar Konaré, in which the creation of an African Union-United Nations hybrid force had been raised.  Another high-level meeting had been proposed in Geneva in June, to be convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Commission Chairperson Jean Ping.  That meeting should also include the foreign ministers of the permanent members of the Security Council, representatives of the Government of the Sudan, and regional and international partners.  A meeting of such persons would be a unique opportunity for reflection, consideration and action.

The enormity of the challenges that lay ahead called for a common African Union-United Nations Chief Mediator, possibly based in Khartoum, he continued.  Meantime, the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council must send the right signals to the parties involved, to encourage them to support the process and to discourage those who were an obstacle to peace.  Members of the international community with comparative advantage should use their influence with the Sudan and the region to assist in the efforts to end conflict, though ultimately, the responsibility for achieving peace lay with the Sudanese people themselves.

Statements

GIADALLA ETTALHI ( Libya) said that it was regrettable that the security situation in Darfur continued to deteriorate.  The action taken by JEM last May, targeting the capital, as well as the agitation among the movements and the Government, highlighted the need to provide protection to civilians, including the internally displaced, whose numbers were growing daily.  A large part of the delay in the deployment of UNAMID, which could ameliorate the situation, was due to the lack of equipment.  The Sudanese Government was cooperating with the deployment, but facilities must be readied first and the crucial transport assets must be supplied.

He said that the political process had also deteriorated, although the Government had indicated its willingness to have a ceasefire.  There must be Chadian/Sudanese reconciliation for that purpose.  In addition, deterrent measures were needed to encourage recalcitrant movements to participate in the peace process, as well as rewards for those who were taking a positive stand.  Traditional leadership must also be better engaged, and the flow of arms must be stopped urgently and effectively.  He agreed with the points Mr. Eliasson outlined as crucial for peace.

JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said that the Security Council mission had drawn many of the same gloomy conclusions as the Special Envoys.  Mr. Salim was right to emphasize the importance of keeping the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on track.  The United Nations force on the ground could be more active in that regard.  In addition, it was essential to deal with the Chad-Sudan relationship, as it was clear that rebel movements in each country had each other’s support.

Concerning UNAMID, he underlined the gap in key units and the lack of facilities and equipment to accommodate them.  Those gaps must be filled.  All Council members must also take responsibility for the arms embargo.  He agreed that civil society must be more engaged in the political process, and maintained that it was crucial to end impunity for human rights abuses.

DUMISANI KUMALO ( South Africa) said he admired the two Special Envoys for their dedication, especially after having personally seen the situation on the ground.  He observed that even if 200,000 soldiers patrolled the ground and hundreds of helicopters were flying overhead non-stop, they could not bring about peace.  Nothing short of dialogue and a process of political reconciliation would settle the issue.  For that reason, South Africa remained committed to finding a durable solution through a political process.

He remarked that conventional wisdom had long held that JEM was merely concerned with bringing about a regime change.  That the movement was so intent on seizing Darfur was surprising.  Perhaps ways could be found to place more pressure on that group directly -- for instance, on its members that lived in Europe.  At the same time, the Chief Mediator soon to be appointed by the Secretary-General must be given enough tools to enable that official to exert a meaningful impact on the situation in Darfur.  It had been surprising to learn that UNAMID was inadequately resourced.  Indeed, to tackle such issues as the proliferation of arms in Darfur, all the pieces must first be in place.  At present, the Security Council must humbly admit that it had not yet reached that level of preparedness.

LIU ZHENMIN ( China) also voiced appreciation for the Envoys’ work, and urged the international community to continue its dual-track strategy of nurturing a political process, while deploying peacekeeping operations.  The Sudanese must seek a political settlement of their disagreements, and the international community needed to send a clear message to rebel groups to join in that political process.

He expressed concern over the lack of material resources faced by the hybrid force, despite having enough money to obtain them.  Civil aviation and engineering contingents were greatly needed.  The international community should band together to help troop-contributing countries obtain the equipment and training they needed, so as to accelerate the force’s deployment.  Help would urgently be needed with the onset of the rainy season, since the humanitarian situation would likely become more serious.

JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France) called upon all parties in Darfur to end violence and join the political process.  That included JEM, whose attacks he had condemned, as well as the Government, which continued to pursue large-scale attacks in civilian areas, as well as all other rebel movements.  He agreed that civil society must be more engaged, that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was important for Darfur and that UNAMID’s deployment must be sped up.  For that, the full cooperation of the Government, now lacking, must be assured.  However, UNAMID should be using its current deployment as effectively as possible.

In addition, he said that those who were responsible for crimes in Darfur must be brought to account, and the Government must cooperate with the International Criminal Court.  Finally, regional tensions must be calmed and the Governments concerned must distance themselves from all the armed groups.  He assured the two Envoys of France’s continued support.

MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said that his experience of Darfur from the Security Council mission was consistent with the viewpoints of the two briefings.  He condemned any further violence, and said that the lack of the parties’ political will was thwarting peace, and the Council must do its best to move them forward.  In addition, UNAMID could be endangered if the resources and facilities were not provided.  He welcomed the Sudanese Government’s cooperation in that regard, and called for greater support from all stakeholders in resolving logistical issues.  Finally, he urged Chad and the Sudan to commence a constructive political dialogue and implement the Dakar agreement.

MARCELLO SPATAFORA ( Italy) agreed with others that the picture painted by the Envoys had been “gloomy”, and noted that the situation in Darfur brought with it a sense of frustration and fatigue.  To break the non-ending cycle of conflict, Council members must unite in pursuing one of two paths:  that of re-thinking the way forward, as Mr. Salim had suggested, or of continuing with its current strategy, while discussing its shortcomings.

He said he agreed with the Permanent Representative of South Africa, Mr. Kumalo, that the international community should not pick and choose among the six milestones, and that all the pieces must be in place in order to arrive at a satisfactory settlement.  However, he did not agree that the Council should be humble and admit -- whether or not it was true -- that it was not in a proper position to help.  Rather, it was the responsibility of Council members to keep hope alive, and to do all they could to facilitate a solution.

States tended to hesitate before dealing with issues on their own merit, in favour of taking the most comprehensive approach possible, he said.  It was for that reason that the Council had not come down as hard as it should have on the Government regarding security, in the belief that it would jeopardize the political process.  The Council should learn to deal with all issues on an equal basis.

He said the upcoming high-level meeting on Darfur needed clear leadership, direction and strategy, and should not be a mere brainstorming exercise.  He supported what had been said on the need to ensure the participation of civil society, which was important because the fragmented rebel movement made it difficult to determine what segment of society each represented.  Council members should not become accustomed to the lack of progress.  They must accept responsibility for solving the issue once and for all, for the sake of the Darfurians and for maintaining United Nations credibility.

MARTY NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) said that the Council had itself witnessed the dire situation in Darfur during its visit to the region in early June.  The intensifying conflict, and worsening humanitarian situation, had been disconcerting, especially coming after the initiation of the Sirte political process last October.  Any agreement to achieve political reconciliation must address the root causes of conflict, such as wealth-sharing and power-sharing, and not just treat the symptoms of the conflict.  Peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance, and courts of justice must create the conditions to complement the political process, but they could not be a substitute for it.

He commended the Envoys and joint mediation team for their hard work, and said that the appointment of an African Union-United Nations joint mediator was essential.  For its part, the Council must, together with the Secretary-General, review the United Nations strategy for Darfur, with a view to improving it.  Any member of the international community that could prevail on the rebels should do so.  The security situation was worrying, and UNAMID’s deployment must take place as scheduled.  He called on the international community to contribute the much-needed transportation and aviation units, and to provide financial support to troop contributors that needed it.

JAN GRAULS ( Belgium) expressed appreciation for the effort of the Envoys and said that the international community must bring greater influence to bear on the parties to support their work.  He supported their idea of an international meeting for that purpose.  “The Council had been silent for far too long about the lack of progress,” he said.  There must be discussions on how to motivate those who were not cooperating, as well as those who were.

He called on Chad and the Sudan to observe the Dakar accord and normalize their relations as soon as possible, and stressed the importance of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the Sudan for Darfur.  In regard to the fight against impunity, he said the Sudan had the responsibility of cooperating with the International Criminal Court and upholding its other international obligations.

HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) said he shared the concerns about the dire humanitarian conditions in Darfur and condemned all violence against civilians and aid workers.  He called on all parties to exercise the utmost restraint, renounce the use of force and engage in the political process.  UNAMID’s full deployment was also crucial, and he called on Member States to fulfil their commitments in that regard.  He supported the appointment of a Chief Mediator for Darfur, and called on both Chad and the Sudan to resolve their conflicts through peaceful negotiations.

RANKO VILOVIĆ ( Croatia) expressed frustration over the deteriorating situation in the Sudan, which was happening despite ongoing mediation efforts.  There did not seem to be any will among the parties to pursue a political solution, and the appointment of a Joint Chief Mediator would be a step forward.  As the Council’s recent visit had shown, however, security was needed before peace could arrive.  For that reason, the arms embargo must be implemented vigorously to halt the free flow of arms to the region.

He agreed with previous speakers on a variety of disparate, but linked, issues:  the need to provide UNAMID with equipment and helicopters; the importance of normalizing relations between the Sudan and Chad; the need to involve all stakeholders, including traditional leaders; and the importance of preparing well for the upcoming high-level meeting, so that it was not just another brainstorming session.  Darfur should remain in focus, but not at the expense of other issues.  The North-South issue, for example, should not be overlooked, and there was a constant need to ensure that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was properly implemented.  Because violence was being conducted with impunity, perpetrators must be brought to justice, in order to build confidence in the political process.  For that, the Council must cooperate with the International Criminal Court.

KONSTANTIN K. DOLGOV ( Russian Federation) urged the Council to focus on nurturing an inclusive negotiations process under the United Nations-African Union aegis, including helping resume political contact between the Government and armed groups.  To strengthen security in Darfur, the international community should work towards speeding up the deployment of the hybrid force, although the force alone was not enough to usher in a long-term solution.  For that, Council members needed to act strongly against rebel groups that posed obstacles to a political settlement.  For example, JEM was openly embarking on an arms struggle with the Sudanese Government, and had enough money for weapons.  All Council decisions regarding arms proliferation should be implemented by all parties in full, and the necessary sanctions should be imposed on the leaders of those groups in cases of non-compliance.

He welcomed the appointment of a single negotiator for the political process, although the expertise built by the two Special Envoys would undoubtedly be needed in the future.  Future goals should include resolving the conflict in South Sudan and normalizing relations between the Sudan and Chad.

JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) reiterated his country’s insistence on the importance of a regional approach to the problem of Darfur.  The Government of the Sudan must provide basic conditions for UNAMID’s deployment, including security and freedom of movement.  The Government must also have a more open attitude towards the international community.  There did not seem to be enough information in the briefings about the Government’s lack of cooperation, not only in terms of logistics, but in bringing to justice those wanted by the International Criminal Court.  There needed to be consistency at all levels, in order to bring trust into the political process.

RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) said that little progress was being made in Darfur on all levels, owing to the lack of cooperation from the movements and the Government.  The Council had not given the back-up support needed, for example, to enforce the International Criminal Court’s actions against suspected human rights abusers in Darfur.  The Council must provide incentives and disincentives to the parties, engage civil society, and strengthen the arms embargo.

ZALMAY KHALILZAD ( United States) said that the Envoys had challenged the Security Council and now the ball was in its court.  The first task was to make sure that the situation did not worsen.  In that regard, it was important to remain attentive to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  In Darfur, security was fundamental; without it, there would be no political progress.

The full deployment of UNAMID, therefore, was crucial, he said.  In addition to the factors already mentioned, the Council must be attentive to make sure that the Secretariat was doing its job as well and as quickly as possible.  The Government and other parties could be more strongly “incentivized” to assist with the deployment and more effort must be made to fill gaps in equipment.  Regarding the political track, he welcomed the appointment of a Chief Mediator, but to succeed, the parties must also be “incentivized”.  The credibility of the Council was at stake; the approach to Darfur must be adjusted to meet the challenges described by the Envoys.

Responses by Special Envoys

Mr. ELIASSON said he agreed with the assessment of many speakers that North-South relations needed mending, as did relations between the Sudan and Chad.  For that reason, both he and Mr. Salim had supported the idea of widening the scope of the new joint mediator’s terms of reference, so that it included national and regional considerations, which had not been in their own terms of reference.

Regarding Mr. Kumalo’s comment about the need to put pressure on certain groups, he said that he and Mr. Salim had occasionally reminded parties to the conflict of certain tools the Council had at its disposal.  But offering incentives to the parties was just as important as creating disincentives, and for that reason, the peace talks should be made an attractive option for the movements to consider.  The agenda should encompass new ideas on power- and wealth-sharing, ways to achieve security through the disarmament of the Janjaweed, and so on.

As for JEM, he said it was true that its “national agenda” was one of the reasons the Government reacted more strongly against it compared to other groups.  As such, it was important to keep the channels of communication open between them, even as the Government labelled the movement as “terrorists”.

On the subject of impunity, he said that he and Mr. Salim had always promoted respect for human rights and the rule of law as a crucial element of the political process and for initiating a process of national reconciliation.  Council members must not fall into despair because the conflict had been so difficult to settle.  Indeed, members should be vigilant in preventing an escalation of hostilities, and must sharply discourage anyone from pursuing a military solution to the nation’s various problems.  Above all, the international community needed to continue pressing for an environment that could support a credible political process.

Mr. SALIM, addressing the link between security and the political process, said that the achievement of a viable peace agreement would be the ideal place to start.  However, the reality was that there was no such agreement.  That made the rapid deployment of UNAMID ever more important.  Its predecessor, AMIS, had done much to ensure security under difficult circumstances, but it had lost credibility because it had not had the required equipment and resources to keep the peace.  If UNAMID was not beefed up, it would face the same fate.

He agreed with the speakers who called for more civil society engagement, noting that neither the Government nor the various movements could claim exclusive representation of the people of Darfur.  But in fact, all the people there wanted peace -- irrespective of political affiliation.

On the issue of incentives and disincentives, or as he preferred to call it, “encouragement/dis-encouragement”, he cautioned the Council against delivering repeated warnings, without any follow-up.  Furthermore, there was no way to exclude certain movements from the process, and while it might be true that JEM’s agenda went beyond that of Darfur, the question of its participation in the political process was not to be left to others.  Only the movements themselves could choose whether or not to participate in the dialogue for peace.

He stressed that the Government of the Sudan had primarily responsibility to find a solution to the conflict.  He acknowledged the difficulty of holding the Government responsible for maintaining the peace.  For example, both he and Mr. Eliasson had often told the leadership -- to no avail -- to halt aerial bombardments, unless necessary.  For that reason, whatever agreements the parties reached must outline the clear and concrete responsibilities of every player, against which they each could be held accountable.  Also, it was important to remember that the players did not fall into neat categories of “good guys” versus “bad guys”; there were “good” and “bad” on all sides.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.