Briefing Security Council on Sudan, United Nations, African Union Officials Tout Unified Strategy, Linking Peace in Darfur to Southern Sudan Referendum

14 June 2010
SC/9952

Briefing Security Council on Sudan, United Nations, African Union Officials Tout Unified Strategy, Linking Peace in Darfur to Southern Sudan Referendum

14 June 2010
Security Council
SC/9952
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6338th Meeting* (AM)

Briefing Security Council on Sudan, United Nations, African Union Officials Tout

Unified Strategy, Linking Peace in Darfur to Southern Sudan Referendum

 

An integrated approach to stability in Sudan, linking peace in Darfur to preparations for the January referendum on the future of Southern Sudan, was presented to the Security Council by officials of the United Nations and the African Union this morning.

Opening briefings to the Council, Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan, said that such a unified approach had been agreed upon in May meetings in Addis Ababa convened by the African Union and United Nations, which had included Governments and intergovernmental organizations involved in helping resolve the challenges in Sudan.

At those meetings, it had also been agreed that the Global Political Agreement on Darfur should be concluded this year ahead of the holding of the Southern Sudan referendum, which would determine whether the south remained part of Sudan or became an independent political entity.  The Sudanese Government had accepted that proposal as well as the steps needed to make it happen, Mr. Mbeki said.

“There is much at stake for the future of the people of Sudan, the region and the African continent,” Haile Menkerios, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said, calling for greater efforts to help expand the “democratic space” opened by recent elections and establish a broad-based system of national governance that led to a more equitable society.

In particular, he said, the global community must urge and assist parties in the South to “stay the course” to ensure the timely conclusion to implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which had ended the region’s 21-year civil war.  The signatories — the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) — continued to express commitment to the full implementation of that accord, including the timely conduct of the referendums in Southern Sudan and the disputed oil-rich region of Abyei, as well as to popular consultations in the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states.

He said the immediate tasks for implementation were the formation of the Governments of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan; formation and launch of the respective commissions for the Southern Sudan and Abyei referendums; demarcation of the North-South border and the Abyei border; start of popular consultations; and negotiations between parties on post-referendum arrangements, which were crucial to settle in advance, taking into account both possible outcomes.  Time was tight for the resolution of all those issues, he acknowledged.

Djibril Bassolé, Joint African Union-United Nations Chief Mediator for Darfur, said he had worked with Mr. Mbeki’s Panel to draw up a common approach and timeline for peace in Darfur in the national context.  He stressed that, despite recent bloody confrontations, peace was possible.  He appealed to Council members to consolidate their involvement, to ensure that an inclusive agreement be achieved before the Southern Sudan referendums, to demand an immediate cessation of hostilities and to press both the Government and the armed movements to engage in dialogue to resolve their differences.

Describing the magnitude of the challenges that remained in Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari, Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur, said the first two weeks of May had seen a serious escalation of hostilities between the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudanese Government Forces, and the situation remained tense and volatile, adding to the difficulties of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in its effort to protect civilians.

He urged the Council to help mobilize States in a position to influence the situation to help bring current fighting in Darfur to an end and encourage all parties, including those still outside the Doha peace process, to join.  He also urged the Council to mobilize efforts to enhance UNAMID’s effectiveness, including the provision of medium utility helicopters and aerial reconnaissance units.

Following those presentations, Council members took the floor to express their strong support for the joint efforts of the United Nations and the African Union in Sudan, as well as to the integrated approach to peacemaking and democracy-building in all parts of the country.  On Southern Sudan, most urged the parties to fulfil the remaining requirements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to ensure that preparations were in place for both possible outcomes of the referendum.

Lebanon’s representative stressed the importance of making unity an attractive option in the referendum in Southern Sudan, although agreeing that preparations must be done in advance for both possible outcomes.  Some speakers called on the Council to consider as soon as possible the shape of the United Nations presence in the South following the referendums, and for the international community to be ready for any contingencies that might arise.

In Darfur, immediate implementation of the ceasefire and engagement of all parties at the peace talks, including all armed factions, was urged.  In addition, some speakers linked peace in Darfur with accountability for serious crimes against humanity committed there.  They expressed concern over the International Criminal Court’s finding that Sudan had not cooperated with its investigations in that regard.  The Court’s Pretrial Chamber had recently refereed the issue of Sudan’s non-compliance to the Security Council.  In that context, Lebanon’s representative reiterated the rejection of certain of the Court’s warrants in Sudan, calling for an end to double standards in its operation.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Gabon, Russian Federation, France, Uganda, Nigeria, Turkey, Japan, Brazil, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China and Mexico.

The meeting began at 10:13 a.m. and ended at 12:50 p.m.

Background

The Security Council met this morning to hear briefings on Sudan from United Nations and African Union officials: Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan; Djibril Bassolé, Joint African Union-United Nations Chief Mediator for Darfur; Ibrahim Gambari, Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur; and Haile Menkerios, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Sudan.

Briefings

THABO MBEKI, Chairperson of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan, recalled that the Panel was now charged with following up on Council decisions on Darfur, as well as implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Southern Sudan and democratization in the country as a whole.  He had been cooperating with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) and the African Union-United Nations joint mediation efforts towards that end.

In that regard, he underlined the importance of meetings on 7 and 8 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, convened by the African Union and the United Nations with Governments and intergovernmental organizations involved in helping resolve the challenges in Sudan.  It had been agreed at that time that the Global Political Agreement on Darfur should be concluded this year, ahead of the holding of the Southern Sudan referendums.  The Sudanese Government had agreed with that proposal, as well as with the steps needed to make it happen.

On his return to Sudan later this month, the Panel would engage with officials designated by the Government to work on the implementation of the decisions of the African Union on justice and reconciliation in Darfur, ahead of the Darfur-Darfur Conference.  At that time, the Panel would also join the Government and UNAMID to consider a detailed programme to improve security in Darfur, taking into account the proposals of the United States special envoy, General Scott Gration.

Regarding the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, he said the Panel had planned to convene on 21 June the first meeting of the teams that would negotiate the post-referendum arrangement, taking into account both possible outcomes.  The Panel would remain on standby to assist the parties in resolving any issues that might arise, and work with them, along with UNMIS, on assuring the referendums was free and fair, ending communal conflicts and helping to resolve such outstanding matters related to the North-South border, as well as Abyei.

In regard to further democratization of Sudan, the Panel was working towards convening a forum of Sudanese political parties to develop a national consensus on major challenges.  The Panel was fully conscious of the complexity of all the matters with which it was involved, as well as the time pressures for finding solutions.  He thanked all stakeholders, as well as the Security Council, for their involvement in that effort.

Speaking next, HAILE MENKERIOS, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Sudan, said that the signatories to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement — the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) — continued to express commitment to the full implementation of that accord, including the timely conduct of the referendums in Southern Sudan and Abyei, and the popular consultations in the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states.

They had also reiterated their readiness to respect the outcomes of those processes, and thus far, had maintained progress in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement “without major breakdowns”.  As the end of the implementation period approached, the stakes were higher, he said, as parties faced the outcomes in the referendums and the final phases of the 2005 Peace Agreement.

“The path ahead is certainly not without challenges,” he said, and could be divided into two broad phases.  First, the credible conduct of the referendums in Southern Sudan and Abyei, slated for 9 January 2011, and popular consultations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.  The second, perhaps more important challenge, was the peaceful implementation of those two processes.

He said the immediate tasks for implementation were the formation of the Governments of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan; formation and launch of the respective commissions for the Southern Sudan and Abyei referendums; demarcation of the North-South border and the Abyei border; start of popular consultations; and negotiations between parties on post-referendum arrangements.

There was widespread concern about the tight timeframe for the conduct of the referendums, he said, noting that, since the announcement of election results, the priority continued to be on the establishment of the relevant commissions for Southern Sudan and Abyei.  “There is no more time to lose,” he said.  On the referendums in Southern Sudan, the two sides had agreed on the formation of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission and, last week, had tabled their proposal to Parliament for approval, expected in days.  Its priority would be to develop an operational plan and budget so resource needs could be mobilized.  It also had to set up offices at all administrative levels, among other things.

UNMIS was finalizing preparations to assist parties in the conduct of the referendums and the popular consultations on time, in line with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, he said.  On the Abyei referendum, parties had not agreed on who was eligible to vote, and resolution of that issue was among the top priorities for the referendum process.  Demarcation of Abyei’s borders on the basis of the Permanent Court of Arbitration decision was still stalled, for reasons related to a lack of agreement on residency.  Such issues were unlikely to be easily resolved outside of a broader post-referendum agreement on grazing rights, among other issues.  The Ad Hoc Technical Committee on Border Demarcation had presented its report to the parties, and he welcomed that it had started to demarcate sections of the border agreed upon, with the exception of Abyei.

“Unity and secession do not need to be a zero-sum game for the North and the South,” he said, and it was advisable for both sides to cooperate for their mutual benefit, whether in unity or separation.  The goal of “making unity attractive” should be a long-term one, irrespective of the outcome.  The United Nations had advised party leaders that separation should not be considered a “divorce”, and that, in the case of a vote for separation, maintaining close links between the South and North was in the interest of both.  As the security situation within Southern Sudan was a great concern, he said the overall situation in the South required a comprehensive capacity-building effort, which would require a coherent strategy on security sector reform and institutional capacity-building.

For its part, the United Nations was firmly committed to helping parties implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, he said, noting that UNMIS and the country team stood ready to help conclude the peace process in a way that contributed to continued progress.  Moreover, the Organization was ready to extend technical and logistical assistance to the two commissions as soon as they became operational, and would provide the requisite assistance for the conduct of popular consultations.

To support those processes, resources and staff were being redeployed to locations beyond those covered during elections, he said.  The Mission’s military contingent was identifying possible hot spots and revising its redeployment.  As requested by the Council, it was implementing a more effective approach to protecting civilians, which entailed reinforced presence at the state level, where a “State Coordinator” managed the Mission’s efforts to protect civilians.  A more flexible military deployment would enhance such efforts.

In addition, the Mission, along with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan, had engaged parties on all processes that required further agreement, he said, noting that a consultative forum of key stakeholders, which had met in Addis Ababa last May, had agreed to support the African Union-United Nations partnership in taking the lead on facilitating progress.

On international monitoring of the referendums, he said their political significance to Sudan’s future had led to calls by the parties that they be conducted in a transparent and credible manner.  Both had separately informed the Mission of their desire for United Nations engagement at a “much greater level” than during the elections.  That implied a wider scope of engagement for UNMIS that exceeded its current mandate.  Parties had been advised to jointly define such a “greater level” and together present their request to the United Nations.

For its part, the global community must urge parties to “stay the course” to ensure the timely conclusion to implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and assist them in that endeavour, which would require political and material support.  “There is much at stake for the future of the people of Sudan, the region and the African continent,” he said.  Indeed, Sudan was a microcosm of Africa and its stability — or instability — would have far-reaching implications.  Sudan must be assisted to expand the democratic space opened by recent elections and establish a broad-based system of national governance that led to a more equitable society.

IBRAHIM GAMBARI, Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur, recalling that the first two weeks of May had seen a serious escalation of hostilities between the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudanese Government Forces, said he was saddened that fighting between those two belligerent parties continued, with the security situation in parts of Darfur remaining tense and volatile.

The unprecedented increase in fatalities resulting from recent clashes was of great concern, with 447 deaths recorded in May alone, he said, while movements of equipment and build-up of troops had been seen on both sides.  Military confrontations could continue “for some time” unless urgent efforts at ensuring a ceasefire were made.

Recalling that UNAMID’s core mandate was to protect civilians, he said that the Operation continued to intensify its military and police patrols through progressive increases of medium- and long-range patrols, and strengthening joint patrolling at selected internally displaced persons camps.  New directives had been issued to the military and police regarding responses to attacks.  As part of that new strategy, UNAMID was planning, along with the Sudanese Government, to assist in opening more roads and rehabilitating others.  It also continued to provide full assistance and logistics support to the humanitarian community to expand access.

“The recent upsurge in fighting has created very serious hindrances to the effective implementation of UNAMID’s protection mandate,” he asserted, as well as to the provision of humanitarian assistance.  Civilians had moved away from locations of fighting; from Jebel Moon, they had moved towards the Chadian border and areas east of Jebel Moon, among other places.  Between 10,000 and 50,000 people had been displaced.  Of greatest concern was the continued denial to the humanitarian community to large parts of Jebel Marra since February.

For its part, UNAMID continued to engage in ongoing negotiations with Government authorities and armed movements to ensure wider access to the deep field locations where increased violence and displacement had been seen.  Last Thursday, he said, he had raised serious concerns with Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Taha about the restriction of access to areas of recent clashes.  He was pleased to note that, shortly thereafter, the Government had instructed the relevant agencies to allow, where possible, the access of both UNAMID and humanitarian agencies.  It also had been agreed, in a follow-up meeting at the Foreign Ministry, that a meeting would be held shortly between UNAMID, the Sudanese Armed Forces and the national intelligence and security forces, to discuss such issues.  He also had been informed that the Government had lifted the ban on helicopter flights, as of 13 June.

It was essential for the global community, especially those States with leverage on the belligerent parties, to impress upon them the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities, accompanied by unhindered access by UNAMID and humanitarian agencies to all areas of recent clashes, he continued.

Turning to the complementary political process in Darfur, he said coordination between UNAMID and the African Union-United Nations Joint Mediation Support Team was proceeding smoothly at all levels.  UNAMID had a key role to play regarding civil society’s input to ongoing talks, the design of ceasefire implementation mechanisms and implementation of agreements.  The mission was responsible for organizing and leading, along with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan, a Darfur regional conference.  That meeting would aim to facilitate the achievement of an inclusive and comprehensive political settlement for Darfur by, or before, the end of the year, in advance of the “self-determination” referendum for Southern Sudan.  The mission was finalizing plans to ensure that Darfur’s diverse populations were given the opportunity to make substantial inputs to negotiations.

In closing, he expressed hope that the Council would provide support to collective efforts to bring peace and stability to the whole of Sudan.  In addition to helping bring current fighting in Darfur to an end and encouraging all parties, including those still outside the Doha process, to join, the Council’s support would be needed to encourage States in a position to do so to provide “critical enablers” to UNAMID to enhance its effectiveness.  That would include provision of medium utility helicopters and aerial reconnaissance units.

DJIBRILL BASSOLÉ, Joint African Union-United Nations Chief Mediator for Darfur, said that, in following up on the Doha talks for a comprehensive peace agreement in Darfur, the African Union, the League of Arab States and other regional actors had decided to focus on direct dialogue between belligerents, involvement of civil society in the peace process and improvement of relations between Sudan and Chad.

Before the suspension of talks due to the Sudanese elections in April, he said, those efforts had achieved agreements between JEM and the national Government, as well as with the Justice and Liberation Movement (JLM).  The Government and JEM had also reaffirmed their engagement in the peace process upon the resumption of talks in Doha on 6 June.

In the present phase, he said, it was crucial to finalize the ceasefire agreements and security arrangements with the assistance of UNAMID and to elaborate the terms of a peace accord in light of the Sudan People’s Initiative, recommendations of civil society contained in the Doha Declaration, the Darfur Peace Agreement, the High-Level Panel’s recommendations, the Heidelberg Darfur Dialogue Outcome Document and the proposals of the belligerents.

It was necessary to obtain the agreements of all parties in a global peace agreement, he continued, and in that context, the Government and JEM must immediately cease their armed clashes.  The role of civil society was also of great importance.  For that reason, the second civil society forum on Darfur would convene in early July, to allow such actors to take ownership of the peace process, which should also include the participation of displaced persons.  Compensation, voluntary return and other concerns of the people of Darfur would be addressed.

Despite recent bloody confrontations, peace was possible in Darfur, he stressed.  “The time has now come to put an end to the crisis in Darfur,” he said, appealing to Council members to consolidate their involvement, to demand an immediate cessation of hostilities, to press both the Government and the armed movements to engage in dialogue to resolve their differences, and to ensure that an inclusive agreement be achieved before the Southern Sudan referendums.  He had worked with Mr. Mbeki’s Panel to draw up a common approach and timeline for those purposes.

Statements

MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said “this is a defining moment for Sudan and for the Council”.  With some 30,000 peacekeepers on the ground, the Council had more invested in Sudan than in any other item on its agenda.  There was no greater challenge than supporting parties in securing peace.  With less than seven months before the referendum for self-determination, the focus must be on how best to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  The referendum must take place on time and its result must be credible.  Either outcome could lead to friendly relations between the North and South.

He urged parties to engage in serious dialogue to reach agreement, notably on establishing referendum commissions; a clear focus on popular consultation in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states; and a greater sense of urgency in preparing for referendums.  Parties must be encouraged to approach issues with a view to their longer-term interests.  Immediate focus should be to encourage dialogue on issues relating to the post-referendum period.  Parties must be encouraged to agree on demarcation of the North-South border, citizenship rights and wealth-sharing.

Continuing, he said that, in Darfur, 2.5 million people remained displaced, and an inclusive negotiated agreement, focusing on causes of conflict, was the only route to lasting peace.  All sides must be urged to cease hostilities.  Only the parties themselves could show the political leadership needed.  The Council should take a strategic approach, while the work of the relevant peacekeeping missions would be vital in supporting implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and protecting civilians.  The strong engagement of the African Union and Sudan’s neighbours would also be critical.  Finally, he hoped the presidency would be able to reflect the Council’s discussions in agreed remarks to the press, a draft for which had been circulated.

SUSAN RICE (United States) expressed strong support for the efforts of today’s briefers.  She stressed that all parties must redouble their efforts on post-referendum planning in Southern Sudan, including the demarcation of borders in Abyei and other difficult issues.  The international community must lay the groundwork for any assistance that might be needed following the referendums.  Attention must be paid now to all eventualities, and the parties must be prepared to negotiate in earnest on all issues.

She recounted concerns over the conduct of elections in Sudan, and reiterated the need for polls to be completed in South Kordofan.  She reminded the Governments of both Sudan and Southern Sudan that they must honour commitments to reverse what she called “deplorable abuses of civil rights” in the country.  On Darfur, she reiterated the need for a comprehensive political agreement and called on all parties to come to the negotiating table.  She also stressed the need to bring to justice all those responsible for crimes in Darfur, calling on Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court and expressing deep concern at the Court’s Pretrial Chamber judges’ recent decision to refer the issue of Sudan’s non-cooperation to the Council.

Saying that the highest priority must be given to the protection of civilians, she deplored the toll that had resulted from fighting against JEM, renewed violence in the south and attacks on UNAMID.  She stressed that the Sudanese Government had the primary responsibility to protect civilians and UNAMID, and to assure the mission’s freedom of movement.  She remained hopeful that the respective referendums in Sudan could be held successfully and peacefully.

NAWAF SALAM ( Lebanon) said that the only option for the resolution of all problems in Sudan was dialogue and negotiation.  In regard to Southern Sudan, he emphasized the need for respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sudan, as well as respect for all provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and he stressed the importance of making unity an attractive option in the referendums in Southern Sudan, although preparation must be done in advance for both possible outcomes.  On Darfur, he called on all parties to return to the negotiating table.  In regard to the International Criminal Court, he reiterated opposition to its warrants in Sudan, saying that the Court should not operate on the basis of double standards.

EMMANUEL ISSOZE-NGONDET (Gabon) welcomed ongoing efforts to help the Sudanese people regain the path to peace and stability.  Gabon reaffirmed support for the peace processes in Darfur and Southern Sudan.  The different Doha agreements of February and March 2010 must encourage other rebel groups to join the process.  He appealed to armed movements that had not yet done so to join the peace process.  He was pleased with the evolution of discussions under way and welcomed the Government’s commitment in that regard.

He said the Comprehensive Peace Agreement must be applied fully and all efforts must be made for the referendums to take place.  That accord was a useful and important political tool for achieving a lasting peace.  He supported UNAMID and welcomed the work of contributing countries, as well as that of the Sudanese Government, to help create a more secure environment in Sudan.  Such actions must be coordinated, and he was pleased by what the players had expressed in that regard.  He urged the United Nations, the African Union and all actors to maintain coordination efforts.

On the organization of the referendums, he urged the Governments of the North and South to do all they could to ensure that they would take place in a peaceful climate.  He invited the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to continue relevant discussions, especially with countries in the region.  On post-referendum challenges, he said there were two options, the first of which involved maintaining Southern Sudan in the Sudanese State, which was advocated by the African Union.  In that approach, the United Nations would continue to play an important role.  He invited the Council to consider a redefinition of assistance.  The second option, independence for Southern Sudan, involved recognition of a new State, border demarcation, wealth-sharing and the effects of such an option on Darfur.  The future of UNMIS would be altered if that option were to take place.  He urged bearing in mind the need for an international mechanism to manage such challenges.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said Sudan was passing through a decisive stage, which would determine its future peace and stability.  Implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was the irreplaceable foundation for a Sudanese settlement.  The role of the United Nations missions should be to help parties resolve differences.  The global community’s priority should be to help create conditions for the referendums.  The situation in Southern Sudan was concerning, with close to 40 per cent of its population in need of food aid.  In that context, UNMIS should implement its strategy to protect civilians, which included monitoring the disarmament process and assisting in establishing mechanisms to resolve intertribal disputes.

Turning to Darfur, he said the most pressing task was to create a robust regime for ceasing hostile activities.  The international community must back the Government’s position to reach a comprehensive agreement and prompt rebel groups to join in the dialogue.  It was unacceptable that rebels blocked the negotiation process being carried out under the aegis of the Joint Chief Mediator.  In that context, he cited the rebels’ refusal to allow peacekeepers and humanitarian organizations to access areas under their control.

In addition, he said that, in the settlement of Darfur conflict, links between Sudan and Chad should be consolidated and backed.  The task of “making unity attractive” to the Southern Sudanese population was important.  Statehood decisions should be made by the Sudanese themselves.  The peace process in Sudan should be based on equal dialogue between the Government and the global community, and on respect for principles such as territorial integrity and sovereignty.

GÉRARD ARAUD (France) stressed the need for unity between all international actors on Sudan, particularly in light of the upcoming referendums in Southern Sudan, and the fact that all of the conflicts of Sudan were interlinked.  He highlighted the need for all the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to be fulfilled, and noted that France and the European Union were ready to assist with the referendums.  The parties must make progress on all the post-referendum issues, however, and the United Nations must make its expertise and logistical support available to the parties in that context.  He requested further updates to the Council on progress towards the referendums and proposed consideration of the United Nations presence after it.

Turning to Darfur, he said it was crucial for all parties to participate in negotiations in good faith, and added that the framework agreements must be implemented as soon as possible.  He expressed concern over the lack of free movement of UNMIS and restrictions on humanitarian access to the population.  Underscoring the importance of justice for a comprehensive peace in Sudan, he expressed concern at the report brought to the Council last week by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and called for concerted efforts to bring an end to suffering in the region.  (See Press Release SC/9950)

RUHAKANA RUGUNDA (Uganda), commending progress towards peace and stability in Sudan, noted, however, that the country was entering a critical stage and that key issues still needed to be addressed in Southern Sudan and Darfur.  He expressed concern over the upsurge of violence in Darfur and called on the parties to respect the ceasefire and follow through on the Doha peace process.  He further called on parties in Southern Sudan to make progress on all outstanding issues and to prepare for the post-referendum period.  He called on the international community to give greater support to the accomplishment of the remaining tasks required by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, including logistical support on the part of UNMIS for the referendums.  All parties must uphold political goodwill and commitments towards those remaining tasks.

RAFF BUKUN-OLU WOLE ONEMOLA (Nigeria) said the Council had been informed on what must be done in the next year.  With the elections now over, the business of inclusive governance must gather momentum to translate lofty promises into results.  It was important for all to press forward with implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  Dialogue, rather than force, was the key to solving problems, and he called on all parties to adhere to the Agreement.  The outcome of the 2011 referendums, among the Agreement’s central pillars, would have far-reaching implications.  Their conduct must be transparent and forward-looking and the Council should support the processes leading up to them.  Also, the security challenge must be given adequate attention.  Neither the Government nor the African Union, acting alone, could meet such security needs.

In that context, the Council had a key role to play.  Support for the Doha peace process would go along way to creating stability, notably in Darfur.  He called on all parties to engage meaningfully in the peace process.  The United Nations continued presence was a necessary complement to that effort.  Indeed, the real dividends of peace, reconstruction and development took place in tandem.  For the United Nations, success would depend on the sustainability and flexibility of funding, and that issue should be acted upon.  Equally, there was a need to look beyond the multi-donor trust fund.  The African Union lacked the capacity to undertake all activities related to early warning and conflict prevention in Africa’s conflict zones.  He expressed hope that today’s consultations would help in that direction.

ERTUĞRUL APAKAN (Turkey) said Sudan was at a geographical and political crossroads.  The United Nations had invested heavily in bringing peace to the country and its efforts had yielded significant dividends, with crucial milestones, as seen with recent presidential elections.  Also, Sudan and Chad had normalized relations.  However, it was clear, whether in Darfur or Southern Sudan, that the situation was fragile.  Widespread violence had perpetuated insecurity, which prompted instability.  Turkey was committed to the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Sudan.

At the same time, he said, Turkey fully supported the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  Sudan’s body politic would focus on ensuring the Agreement’s implementation and the United Nations would have a central role, not only in building confidence between the parties, but supporting, if requested, the referendum and popular consultation processes.  On the other hand, he said the Agreement’s implementation and peace efforts in Darfur were separate, but not inseparable, processes.  Every effort should be made to create a mutually reinforcing relationship between the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Doha process.

Continuing, he said international pressure must brought to bear on rebel groups, which should not be allowed to “hedge their bets” on the possibility of the Agreement unravelling.  Whether regarding that accord or the Doha process, it was crucial to ensure that the right incentives remained in place.  In the Doha process, parties must be perceived to be in win-win situations.  In the context of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, both parties must understand that they were bound to live together; such interdependence was a reality.  It would be counterproductive to present the referendums in Southern Sudan as a foregone conclusion.  It did not imply finality, but rather, was part of a larger process that had to be managed carefully.

The United Nations involvement in Sudan must not be seen as a way to prejudge outcome of the referendums, he said.  Civilian protection should be given the highest priority.  It was important to take into account the various dynamics at play, whether from neighbours or organizations like the African Union.  Calling the report of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel “extremely important”, he said it was a point of reference for all parties in the conflict.  Continued African Union leadership would be vital to ensuring peace and security in Sudan.

The true test for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and its parties would not be about whether a specific outcome was reached, but whether peace could be sustained.  The Council, along with the global community, must ensure that choices made now were those that favoured peace and prosperity through compromise and understanding.  The goal was to provide a framework through which the peaceful coexistence of the North and South could be ensured.

YUKIO TAKASU (Japan) welcomed the complementary efforts of the briefers and the progress that had been made towards holding the referendums in Southern Sudan.  He called for all possible support to be provided to ensure the success of those referendums, emphasizing however that the parties negotiate on remaining issues and develop constructive relations.  It was now time to consider the future role of the United Nations in the South.  The development of human resources in the South was of particular interest to Japan as well.

On Darfur, he called on all parties to engage in negotiations and expressed confidence in the efforts of Mr. Gambari to promote dialogue at the grass-roots level.  He expressed concern over the continued armed activity of JEM, as well as the proliferation of small arms in Darfur.  He stressed Japan’s strong commitment to the peace and prosperity of Sudan.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) welcomed the new integrated approach that the United Nations and the African Union were taking in Sudan, along with the strong partnership between the two organizations there, and she called for further coordination of all international actors.  In Southern Sudan, initiatives to fulfil remaining tasks of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and prepare for the post-referendum period must be focused, effective and receive proper follow-up, through a united approach.  No effort should be spared in preparation for free and fair polls and to settle outstanding issues in a neutral manner, without any attempt to influence the results of the referendums and popular consultations.

It was also important for international actors to intensify efforts to address food insecurity, intertribal clashes and fragile security institutions, to help bring about a stable context for the polls and the post-referendum period.  The United Nation presence would likely be required beyond the transitional period of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement; it was imperative that the Secretariat develop solid contingency plans and submit, as appropriate, a full assessment of the UNMIS’s further needs.  The involvement of the Peacebuilding Commission should also be considered.  If a peace agreement in Darfur was not reached before the referendums, at the very least a stable cease fire seemed imperative.  She supported the mediation strategies and called for enforcement of the arms embargo, and expressed hope that the Darfur-Darfur Conference would guarantee political representation to the groups excluded from April’s elections.

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria) said today’s meeting was an important symbol of collaboration between the African Union and the United Nations, with 2010 marking a crucial year.  When the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed, parties had pledged to do the utmost to make unity attractive.  Austria expected both sides to fulfil their commitments to implement that accord, which included undertaking credible referendums and abiding by their outcome.  Without prejudging that outcome, the global community must step up diplomatic efforts in the run-up.

He said that outstanding issues must be resolved and contingency planning must include a scenario of a vote in favour of independence for Southern Sudan.  Civilian protection must be fully guaranteed and support by the UNMIS in that regard was important, he said.  Concerned about rising violence in Southern Sudan, Austria believed the main duty to curb weapons proliferation lay with Southern Sudan.  The global community must help in security sector reform.

While post-referendum planning was urgent, actors must not lose sight of simultaneous efforts to address the security situation in Darfur.  He urged all parties to refrain from hostilities and fulfil their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.  As for the international community, consensus must be reached on moving forward, which would help improve security and stabilize communities, he said.  Work for durable solutions must be undertaken, and Austria supported a role for UNAMID in that regard.

Further, he said options for refugees in Chad must be explored.  Weak rule of law and rights institutions constituted gaps in protecting civilians.  Violence against women remained unaddressed and shortcomings must be effectively addressed by the Sudanese Government.  Any sustainable peace process must also address justice and accountability.  Austria fully supported the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel and notably its recommendation for ensuring accountability for past abuses.  He also underscored the need for the Government to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court.  Seeking peace and securing justice were mutually reinforcing processes.  Justice would thrive best in a peaceful atmosphere.

IVAN BARBALIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, fundamental for peace and stability in Sudan, was at a crucial stage, and he reiterated support for its full implementation.  He positively noted efforts by parties on issues like the adaptation of related legislation, saying that those stakeholders must also engage constructively to resolve outstanding issues.  Post-referendum arrangements and demarcation must be priorities, and he expressed hope that parties to the Agreement would resolve all outstanding issues in a friendly manner.

Any option must not leave either side a loser, he continued.  The diversity and equality of all regions must be respected.  Both sides had to unify around values and close cooperation.  Further, the symbiosis of regional organizations and UNAMID would pave the way for peace.  Such experiences would help for other African conflicts.

He said a just solution must be found in Darfur and should include the equal participation of all people in decision-making processes.  In that context, displaced persons had not taken part in April’s elections and the Government must find ways for their voices to be integrated into the political process.  He called on all parties to engage constructively to reach a peace agreement and end conflict in Darfur.

Expressing support for the recommendations of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel, he said that body’s findings contributed to a better understanding of the Sudanese situation.  Regardless of the South’s future status, priority must be given to the capacity-building of its authorities.  He welcomed improved Chad-Sudan relations, as their cooperation had had a positive effect on the security situation on the ground.  A conducive environment in the region would foster positive developments in Sudan.  The Sudanese, with international assistance, must find a balance between peace and justice.  In this critical time, all processes deserved the international community’s full attention.

LI BAODONG (China), welcoming political progress in Sudan, said that stability in that country was crucial for the entire region.  Sudan’s situation was complex, however, and the constructive engagement of all parties was needed to bring about a lasting peace in both southern Sudan and Darfur.  The integral involvement of the African Union was crucial and provided the international community with a new model for cooperation with regional organizations.  He expected the African Union to continue to play an important role in Sudan.  He noted that China had promoted international frameworks for cooperation in Sudan and had made many contributions for the stability of Sudan, through peacekeeping missions and other initiatives.

Council President CLAUDE HELLER (Mexico), speaking in his national capacity, thanked today’s briefers for their valuable contributions and noted that despite progress, significant challenges still faced peace and stability throughout Sudan.  Concerted efforts must therefore be made to meet those challenges on the parts of the parties and the international community.  Mistrust between parties in Southern Sudan must be overcome. Their full engagement on resolving outstanding issues was key. 

Preparations and logistics for the referendums must remain a priority for UNMIS as well, he said, adding that the Mission must remain fully engaged in efforts to protect civilians at the same time.  The international community must also get ready to react to any contingency preceding or following the referendums, and the United Nations must consider the nature of its presence after the holding of the polls.  International initiatives on Darfur must be linked to developments elsewhere in Sudan, and the United Nations must communicate through a single channel.  Progress on the ground must be priority in Darfur as efforts were under way to get all parties to the negotiating table.

In final remarks, Mr. MBEKI said that, from comments made today, he had noted that Council members were generally in agreement about the immediate challenges related to Sudan, Darfur and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The Council was of one mind and it was a very good thing to develop such consensus.  For those tending to the situation daily, Members’ comments would reinforce the cooperation undertaken on a daily basis.  “Generally we are very optimistic,” he said.

He said one situation that had resulted from recent elections was that the two principle players — the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) — had emerged strengthened, and he would continue to engage with them to ensure that they lived up to their responsibilities.  Generally, there was a sense of commitment despite the challenges, and he would like to believe that a strong message from the Council urging parties to live up to their responsibilities would indeed help the situation.

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*     The 6337th Meeting was closed.

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