‘Like Any Newborn, South Sudan Needs Help,’ Secretary-General Says, Moments After Security Council Recommends Country’s Admission to United Nations

13 July 2011
SC/10323

‘Like Any Newborn, South Sudan Needs Help,’ Secretary-General Says, Moments After Security Council Recommends Country’s Admission to United Nations

13 July 2011
Security Council
SC/10323
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6583rd Meeting (AM)

‘Like Any Newborn, South Sudan Needs Help,’ Secretary-General Says, Moments

After Security Council Recommends Country’s Admission to United Nations

 

Nation Born from Conflict Need Not Live in Conflict, Say Speakers;

Deepest Wish, Says South Sudan’s Leadership, Is to Resolve All Issues with North

Hailing the recent independence of the Republic of South Sudan following decades of civil war, the Security Council today pledged its continued support to the poverty stricken country — which ranks at the bottom of nearly all human development indicators — just moments after recommending to the General Assembly that the world’s newest nation be admitted as a member of the United Nations.  (See press release SC/10322.)

“Like any newborn, South Sudan needs help,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council at the outset of a debate on the challenges and opportunities of the new situation in Sudan, the region and beyond that also featured a briefing by Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.

Highlighting the tremendous challenges on every front — including in the areas of social services, health, education, as well as weak institutions — Mr. Ban said the hard work had just begun.  He underlined the international community’s enormous responsibilities, as well as the vital but complicated role of the United Nations in helping the new Republic become a nation and consolidating regional gains.  That was, he suggested, the ultimate test of peace- and nation-building.

Among other critical issues, he pointed to the need to resolve ongoing tensions in Southern Kordofan and to liquidate the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), while maintaining the operation in Darfur and supporting the recent deployment of Ethiopian peacekeepers in Abyei.  Further, South and North must face their common future together as partners, not rivals, he said, stressing that “a viable South will need a viable North — and vice versa”.

Underscoring the need for agreement between North and South, Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, Vice-President of the Republic of South Sudan, said the peaceful coexistence of the two neighbouring States was his Government’s fundamental hope and desire.  “It is our deepest and most sincere wish to resolve all outstanding matters between North and South swiftly and peacefully,” he said.

The Republic remained “completely committed” to the full and final implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, particularly regarding Abyei and the borders, he stressed.  “We will also continue to work together with the Republic of Sudan to ensure that there is justice for the people of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile,” he pledged, underscoring that there could be no peace in “either Sudan” without a new political dispensation in those areas. 

He expressed appreciation to the Council for establishing the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), as well as the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA).  Thanking the Government of Ethiopia for committing forces to the latter mission, he called for their rapid deployment.  The temporary agreement on Abyei between Khartoum and the South should also be implemented, he said.  The Council also must ensure that the political and security road map signed by Khartoum and the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement)-North was fully implemented.

Having accepted its obligations under the United Nations Charter, South Sudan, he vowed, was working to fulfil them, by, among other things, acceding as quickly as possible to all relevant international conventions and treaties, including those related to human rights.  To that end, it had dedicated itself completely to the task of nation-building, he said, particularly welcoming the support to be provided by the new United Nations Mission.

Sudan’s Ambassador, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, pointing out that his country had been the first State to recognize the Republic of South Sudan, said the two countries had “left behind us the story of war and bitterness that is part of the past, and we now look toward the future where we will cooperate together in order to bear witness to our common heritage”.

Moving forward, he said the next phase would entail giving a new impetus to South Sudan, so that it could play its role in the international family with its head held high.  To that end, Sudan was proud to have kept to its promise towards its brothers and sisters in the South and now asked the international community to re-examine the situation in a genuine manner.  In that, he underlined the need to abolish international sanctions and cancel the debt of his own country. 

Voicing unequivocal support for South Sudan’s United Nations membership, the Council’s 15 members stressed that the new Republic’s march to independence showed that negotiation and dialogue could prevail over arms and confrontation.  South Africa’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, J.T. Radebe, said that 9 July would go down in history as a significant day when the world witnessed the closure of “one of the most painful chapters in the lives of the Sudanese”.

Antonio De Aguiar Patriota, Brazil’s Minister for Foreign affairs, said that by demonstrating political courage in working towards this moment, the authorities and peoples of South Sudan and Sudan had “proved wrong all those who thought they could not work together towards common goals”.

Others cautioned, however, that the current moment of promise remained “fragile and fraught” and agreed with the United States’ delegate, who said that a nation born from conflict need not live in conflict.  Many urged that key outstanding issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement not be allowed to reverse the recent gains.  Pointing to the need for an agreement on the final status of Abyei, as well as common understandings on key issues such as citizenship, management of the oil sector and borders, several delegations urged the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to exhibit the same leadership that had resulted in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and South Sudan’s independence.

Several speakers highlighted the internal challenges facing South Sudan, including building effective governance institutions, addressing economic and social problems, and forming a credible human rights regime.  Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, encouraged the provision of economic incentives to South Sudan since, as his Government knew from experience, the division of a country was challenging and brought with it its own socio-economic problems.  More generally, he warned that despite the compromise and sacrifice that had led to the present moment, there remained “a great deal of baggage between Khartoum and Juba”, including the final status of Abyei.

In his briefing, Mr. Le Roy said UNMISS would work closely with South Sudan to help establish State authority, address its internal security and facilitate its relations with the North.  He reported that the transition towards the new Mission was well under way, while efforts were also being undertaken to expedite UNISFA’s full deployment and operational capacity.  He described several challenges affecting deployment of the remaining troops and police.

He said that following Sudan’s decision not to consent to UNMIS’s continued presence, that Mission had begun its liquidation process, and he envisioned that approximately six months would be required for the full withdrawal of all personnel and assets from Sudan.  He meanwhile expressed deep concern over the situation in Southern Kordofan, where ongoing reports of fighting indicated that civilian lives remained at risk and humanitarian access remained extremely limited.  It, thus, was even more critical that parties reach an immediate agreement to cease hostilities and move towards political dialogue, he said.

Also speaking today were the Foreign Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Germany, as well as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal.

The Council was also addressed by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of France and the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom.

The representatives of Gabon, India, China, Nigeria, Colombia and Lebanon also spoke.   

The meeting began at 10:23 a.m. and ended at 12:31 p.m.

Background

Before the Council this morning was the special report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan (document S/2011/314).  (For further details on that report, please see press release SC/10267 of 31 May 2011.)

Introductory remarks

United Nations Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON congratulated the Council for taking another important step on the journey of nationhood for the Republic of South Sudan and noted that the United Nations was on the eve of welcoming its 193rd member.  Noting his pride at attending the Independence Day celebrations in Juba, he said it had been an exciting and deeply moving occasion.

He underscored the toll on lives and the number of displaced persons paid by South Sudan during the 21-year civil war.  “Now they have a country to call their own, but, in many ways, the hard work has only just begun,” he said, highlighting the tremendous challenges on every front — including in the areas of social services, health, education, as well as weak institutions.  Indeed, on the day of its birth, South Sudan ranks at the bottom of almost all human development indicators.

“Like any newborn, South Sudan needs help,” he stressed, underlining the international community’s enormous responsibilities and the vital, but complicated role of the United Nations.  Outlining the latter’s involvement, he pointed to the Mission in Darfur, the need to liquidate the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) and the recent deployment of Ethiopian peacekeepers in Abyei.  Moreover, the situation in Southern Kordofan was deeply troubling, and resolving those tensions was absolutely vital.

“A viable South will need a viable North — and vice versa,” he said, adding that South and North must face their common future together as partners, and not rivals.  The United Nations must continue to help the new nation become a nation and help the region consolidate the gains.  That was, he underlined, the ultimate test of peace- and nation-building, and the Council’s leadership and direction would be crucial in the months and years ahead.

Briefing

ALAIN LE ROY, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said the new State of South Sudan faced enormous challenges, including its internal security and its relations with the North.  As mandated by Council resolution 1996 (2011), the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) would work closely to address those challenges and to help establish State authority.

In that context, he said the transition towards the new Mission was well under way.  The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Hilde Johnson, who took office on 9 July, was working to establish the Mission as mandated by the Council.  The transition provided for the deployment of assets from the North, which had begun several months ago.  Headquarters was working closely with the troop- and police-contributing countries to ensure the transition within several months.

Efforts were equally under way to expedite the full deployment and operational capacity of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), which was established by Council resolution 1990 (2011).  A first deployment of 1,643 soldiers was expected before 20 July, and those troops would initially be housed in existing UNMIS camps.  By the terms of the 20 June accord between the parties, and as mandated by resolution 1990, all forces were to withdraw by the first deployment of United Nations troops.  That withdrawal would be one of UNISFA’s first tasks, he added.

He said the deployment of the remaining UNISFA troops and police would face several challenges.  Among other things, the rainy season, which would continue until at least September, had already negatively impacted movement on the road from El Obeid to Abyei.  Given the limited capacity of existing UNMIS sites, new sites would also need to be established for the remaining troops deploying to Abyei.  Doing so required negotiations with the relevant authorities, access to land and construction of team site locations.  Those factors could delay full deployment of troops significantly and would require full cooperation by both Governments in order to fully operationalize the Mission before 2012.

“Given the uncertain time period required for UNISFA’s full deployment, it is absolutely critical that the first group of troops deployed this month be given full freedom of movement and access to all parts of Abyei,” he said, noting that on 29 June, Sudan’s Government and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North signed an agreement on security for the North-South border.  That Agreement stipulated that both sides would establish a demilitarized zone 10 kilometres on either side of the 1-1-1956 border and that UNISFA would provide force protection for an international monitoring and verification mission for the border.

He said work between UNISFA and the African Union High-level Implementation Panel to develop recommendations on the way forward for the Council’s review was ongoing.  However, any additional role for UNISFA beyond its currently mandated tasks under resolution 1990 would require a modification to that mandate.  Furthermore, following Sudan’s decision not to consent to UNMIS’s continued presence, that Mission had begun its liquidation process as mandated by the Council in resolution 1997 (2011) of 12 July.  It ceased operations on 9 July and was working to withdraw its troops, police and civilian personnel from Sudan.  While it planned to withdraw all troops within the two-month timeframe stipulated by the Council, he envisioned that approximately six months would be required for the full withdrawal of all personnel and assets from Sudan.

He meanwhile remained deeply concerned by the situation in Southern Kordofan, where ongoing reports of fighting indicated that civilian lives remained at risk.  Although the African Union High-level Implementation Panel and UNMIS had urged both parties to agree and implement an immediate cessation of hostilities, the clashes had continued and humanitarian access remained extremely limited.  It, thus, was even more critical that parties reach an immediate agreement to cease hostilities and move towards political dialogue.

The parties, he urged, must also work to resolve the unfinished processes of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and post-independence issues, including the final status of Abyei, popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, oil-revenue sharing, financial transitional arrangements and border security and demarcation.  Rapid, peaceful resolution of those issues would be key in ensuring long-term stability in both countries, as well as the region, he said.

Statements

RIEK MACHAR TENY-DHURGON, Vice-President of the Republic of South Sudan, said that his country, which was born on 9 July, had accepted its obligations under the United Nations Charter and had undertaken to fulfil them.  The Republic would be a responsible member of the international community and would respect its international law obligations.  “We are working to accede as quickly as possible to all relevant international conventions and treaties, not least those related to human rights,” he said.

He said his Government would remain “completely committed” to the full and final implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, particularly regarding Abyei and the borders, and he thanked all those that had contributed to the negotiation and signing of that 2005 accord.  Implementation had been challenging, and his Government also thanked former South African President Thabo Mbeki, as well as Special Representative of the Secretary-General Haile Menkerios, and the Secretary-General himself, among others, for their dedicated work in that regard.

Expressing appreciation to the Council for establishing the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) and the Government of Ethiopia for committing forces to that mission, he called for their rapid deployment.  In addition, he said the temporary agreement between Khartoum and the South should be implemented.  He also called on the Council to ensure that the political and security road map for the two areas, signed by Khartoum and the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement)-North, was fully implemented.  Expressing further appreciation to the Council for establishing the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, he looked forward to working with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Johnson, on the modalities of the United Nations presence in his country.

“It is our deepest and most sincere wish to resolve all outstanding matters between North and South swiftly and peacefully,” he said, stressing the commitment to working out the differences through dialogue and in a spirit of cooperation.  He welcomed the support of the African Union High Implementation Panel in that regard.  In particular, the two sides must agree on mechanisms for continued cooperation, and reach agreement on the five remaining disputed border areas, demarcation and mutually beneficial management of the common border, along with the final status of Abyei.

“We will also continue to work together with the Republic of Sudan to ensure that there is justice for the people of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile,” he said, underscoring that there could be no peace in “either Sudan” without a new political dispensation in the two Areas and Darfur, as well as full implementation of the Abyei Protocol.  The fundamental hope and desire of the Republic of South Sudan was to see peaceful coexistence between two neighbouring States.  His Government would strive to build a future in which the two countries could work cooperatively, live in peace and be mutually supportive.

“At home, we must first and foremost fulfil our responsibility to provide security and extend the rule of law, and we welcome the support of the new United Nations Mission in this regard,” he said.  The Government of the Republic of South Sudan had made a solemn commitment to democracy, pluralism, inclusiveness, the rule of law, and the freedom of thought, belief and expression. “We now dedicate ourselves completely to the task of building our nation,” he declared.

DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN (Sudan) recalled comments made during the Independence Day celebrations on 9 July by Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir, who had said the celebration was one of commemoration of a stable union regarding what “we hold most dearly”.  The event had confirmed that union was not achieved by force or war.  Pointing out that Sudan had been the first State to recognize the Republic of South Sudan, there now was a period of peaceful cohabitation, conforming to the four principles outlined by President Bashir in his Juba speech. 

He stressed that what had been achieved in the past years was a reflection of the common conviction that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement must be respected through the preservation and strengthening of peace.  Further underlining the common interests between his country and South Sudan, he highlighted the need for trade and commercial relations, as well as the psychological links between the two peoples.  He also reiterated the dual responsibility to guarantee a joint and prosperous future for them.  He thanked all international partners, who had graciously assisted in achieving the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, including the Arab League, the European Union and the United Nations.

“The next phase would be giving a new impetus to South Sudan, so that it could play its role in the international family with its head held high,” he said.  For its part, Sudan was proud to have kept to its promise towards its brothers and sisters in the South.  Today, it asked the international community to re-examine the situation in a genuine manner.  Sudan also called on the European Union and the United States to help South Sudan, now that the page had been turned on an era of bitterness and war.  At the same time, he underlined the need to abolish international sanctions and cancel the debt of his own country. 

“We have left behind us the story of war and bitterness that is part of the past, and we now look toward the future where we will cooperate together in order to bear witness to our common heritage,” he said.  Separation was not a “cutting off”; the links joining Sudan and South Sudan were stronger than ever.  “We are all Sudanese,” he stated.

SVEN ALKALAJ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, joined others in congratulating the Government and people of the Republic of South Sudan on independence and the formation of a new State.  The new Republic was the result of the aspirations and the will of the people of South Sudan, which had exercised their right to self-determination in the January referendum, in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that had ended Africa’s longest civil war.

“The new State symbolizes their determination to govern their future and build a successful and prosperous nation,” he said, adding that, as with any new country beginning its journey, the Republic of South Sudan would need the international community’s support.  That support should be based on the needs on the ground, and Bosnia and Herzegovina believed that international assistance must be accompanied by strong national ownership, particularly regarding capacity-building and economic development.

As for relations between the Republic of South Sudan and Sudan, which would be the cornerstone of subregional stability, he said the two States should remain committed to peaceful resolution of outstanding issues.  The nature of future bilateral relations would directly depend on the resolution of those matters, and he called on both countries to remain committed to negotiations and to lay a foundation for friendly and dynamic relations.  Bosnia and Herzegovina was further convinced that every open issue should be resolved on the basis of mutual understanding and respect for the interests of both sides.  As for the regional perspective, he said that from the very early stages, the Republic of South Sudan must engage constructively with all its neighbours to address major threats to peace and security in the subregion.  The international community must also stand ready to support the development of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan as an important element for the stabilization of the wider African continent.

ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA, Minster for External Affairs of Brazil, also expressed support for the Republic of South Sudan’s quest for United Nations membership, and recalled his nation’s historic ties to Africa, as well as its commitment to the continent’s economic, social and political development.  The authorities and peoples of the Republic of South Sudan and Sudan had demonstrated political courage in working towards this moment.  “They have proved wrong all those who thought they could not work together towards common goals,” he said, adding that in their achievement, the two countries also had reminded the Council that the 15-nation body could discharge its responsibilities under the Charter through negotiated diplomatic solutions.

Yet, he said, as the international community celebrated the birth of the Republic of South Sudan, it must not forget the many challenges that lay ahead, and he strongly encouraged the leaders of the two countries to settle their remaining differences through peaceful means and to put their long-term interests ahead of other considerations.  He also encouraged the parties to redouble their efforts to reach agreements on all outstanding issues, particularly on the final status of Abyei, the setting of the North-South border, wealth sharing and on the immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities in South Kordofan.  The vision of a democratically transformed Sudan could inspire both countries, he said, urging all development partners to step up bilateral and multilateral support.  In that context, the “IBSA” group — Brazil, India and South Africa — was negotiating three cooperation projects that it believed would benefit the people of the Republic of South Sudan.  Agriculture would be pivotal in the new country’s future, which had immense potential in terms of land, climate and human resources.

J.T. RADEBE, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development of South Africa, commended the leadership of both the North and South for their commitment and partnership in the successful implementation of the key pillars of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  Stressing that 9 July would go down in history as a significant day when the world witnessed the closure of “one of the most painful chapters in the lives of the Sudanese”, he said it equally marked a new beginning filled with hope and expectations.  Nonetheless, South Africa was cognizant of the multiplicity of challenges facing South Sudan, which was one of the world’s most underdeveloped and poverty-stricken nations.  It was certain, however, that the same amount of bravery and courage displayed by the people of South Sudan in their struggle for independence would stand them in good stead as they addressed all future socio-economic challenges. 

He stressed that key outstanding issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement must not be allowed to reverse the gains already attained.  In that context, South Africa welcomed the agreements signed between the Sudanese Government the SPLM-North regarding temporary arrangements for the administration and security of Abyei and underscored that the resolution of the Abyei question would go a long way in consolidating peace and stability in the two Sudanese States.  Consequently, South Africa encouraged both parties to reach a lasting agreement on Abyei and to resolve the situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.  Highlighting the Solemn Declaration adopted by the African Union Heads of States and Governments in January, he expressed the firm view that the resolution of the conflict in Sudan would contribute to the comprehensive resolution of all conflicts on the African continent.

SUSAN RICE ( United States) saluted the courage and sacrifice of the people of South Sudan who, she stressed, had never abandoned hope.  It was heartening that after years of war, the birth of the world’s newest State had been achieved peacefully and democratically through referendum.  She welcomed all efforts to forge a relationship between Sudan and South Sudan that was rooted in mutual respect.  By continuing on the path of peace, the Government of Sudan could redefine its relationship with the international community and secure a brighter future for its people.  While the Council remained fully engaged in helping both countries in their pursuit of peace, it was clear that this moment of promise was also fragile and fraught, and Sudan and South Sudan must work hard to secure a viable peace.  To that end, it was vital that both countries work with the African Union High-level Implementation Panel to swiftly resolve all outstanding issues, including those regarding border security, citizenship and oil management.

She said the permanent resolution on the status of Abyei remained elusive, and the situation there was extremely volatile.  Meanwhile, brutal fighting between the Sudanese forces and the SPLM-North had displaced more than 70,000 people in Southern Kordofan.  The Sudanese army was intensifying aerial bombardments, killing civilians.  Despite the 28 June agreement between Sudan and the SPLM-North on a framework of political and security principles for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, the former’s commitment to that agreement had wavered.  Both parties must agree immediately to a cessation of hostilities.  Given the ongoing hostilities and abuses and the vulnerability of the neighbouring Blue Nile State, the United States deeply regretted Sudan’s decision to compel a United Nations departure from those states.

Concluding, she stressed that while the challenges were great, they were by no means insurmountable, and the Council, as well as the United States Government, would remain deeply engaged in supporting South Sudan’s Government at this critical juncture.  As the United States knew from its own history, it took moral courage to attain freedom and make its promise real for all citizens.  While that work was never done, it was clear today that a nation born from conflict need not live in conflict.

DAVID DOUILLET, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of France, said the birth of the Republic of South Sudan had brought to an end a long struggle for the people of an entire region.  It had shown that negotiation and dialogue could prevail over arms and confrontation.  The Republic of South Sudan’s march to independence had been a success for all Sudanese people, for the Governments of both the North and the South, and for the international community, which had ceaselessly supported the process and which now “sees a point for new departure”.

He said France had tirelessly supported the process, from the negotiations on the 2005 peace accord, through the referendum on independence held this past January, and the 9 July declaration of independence.  France would continue to stand beside both countries.  It was now up to the leaders to conclude outstanding negotiations while ensuring that the people of the South remained protected.  The new UNMISS would play a role in that regard.  France remained concerned about the situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.  It was time to move from centralist logic to a pluralist model that would help bring the population out of poverty and ease tensions with the establishment of democratic institutions.  “This is the end of a long fight and the beginning of a path which France and the international community will continue to support,” he said.

MIKHAIL BOGDANOV, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said his Government supported the will of the South Sudanese people and would continue to do so.  The leadership of both countries had unceasingly sought compromise on a host of tasks culminating this past Saturday with the official declaration of independence of South Sudan.  Yet, despite the compromise and sacrifice that had led to that moment, there remained “a great deal of baggage between Khartoum and Juba”, including the final status of Abyei.  The Russian Federation expected the two sides to again work with dedication to solve outstanding issues through peaceful negotiations.

Moreover, he said the political and security arrangements on South Kordofan and Blue Nile and the framework agreement on Abyei must be implemented.  The African Union mediation efforts must continue.  Meanwhile, the Republic of South Sudan must address many internal challenges, including building effective governance institutions, addressing economic and social problems, and forming a credible human rights regime.  Recalling the experience of the Russian Federation, he encouraged additional economic incentives to be provided to the Republic of South Sudan, as the division of a country was challenging and brought with it its own socio-economic problems.  His Government was prepared to enhance Russian and South Sudanese relations, including through the establishment of diplomatic relations.  Substantive negotiations in that regard would be held soon.

HENRY BELLINGHAM, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said that as witness to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, his Government also bore witness to the statesmanship that ended war and brought the world to today’s momentous meeting.  The United Kingdom recognized that needs were great and the time short for ensuring a better life for the people of South Sudan and it remained committed to supporting both the Governments of South Sudan and Sudan.  He stressed that the many critical issues that remained unresolved should be addressed without delay.  His delegation was particularly concerned with the fate of the people of Abyei, where thousands had been displaced, and Southern Kordofan, where continued fighting and hindrances to humanitarian aid were ongoing concerns.  Noting reports of aerial bombardment, forced displacement and arbitrary detention in Southern Kordofan, he called for an immediate ceasefire agreement and a guarantee of full humanitarian access.

He stressed that the parties must work urgently to find lasting solutions in both Abyei and Southern Kordofan.  A peace agreement on Darfur was also needed, and he urged the parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire.  Both Governments should exhibit the same leadership that had resulted in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and South Sudan’s independence on Saturday.

LUÍS BRITES PEREIRA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Portugal, recalled that his country, as well as the other States of the European Union, had already recognized the Republic of South Sudan as an independent and sovereign State and welcomed the new nation’s recognition by Sudan and the members of the African Union.  South Sudan’s independence was a small, but important step.  Fulfilling the expectations of that independence, all remaining challenges must be addressed in an urgent and comprehensive way.  The Presidents of both countries must spare no efforts in solving those issues.  Indeed, dialogue and political commitment at the highest level were needed to ensure that this historic moment resulted in lasting progress.

In that context, he particularly underlined the need for an agreement on the final status of Abyei, as well as common understandings on key issues such as citizenship, management of the oil sector and borders.  Portugal shared the view that the North and South would benefit from United Nations assistance concerning the border and urged both countries to make full use of the good offices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel.  The Portuguese Government was deeply concerned by the ongoing fighting in that State, which was causing an alarming and increasing number of displaced persons.  It also condemned the impediments to the work of humanitarian agencies, and urged all parties to grant them full and unconditional access.  Stressing that peace and hope should be extended to all Sudanese, he reiterated Portugal’s commitment to working for the improvement of the lives of those living in Darfur.

ALFRED MOUNGARA MOUSSOTSI (Gabon) said independence for the Republic of South Sudan was a major step towards implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  It should put an end to a long history of deprivation, population displacement and war.  The international community had supported the implementation process and should continue to stand behind both countries.  He commended the leadership of the Presidents of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan and urged them to continue to work together to see that all outstanding matters were adequately addressed.

He urged the international community to stand ready to provide assistance because the Republic of South Sudan “will essentially have to start from square one”.  The world’s newest country would have to build democratic institutions, respect for human rights, and the rule of law.  It would also have to jumpstart economic development, provide basic services for its people and ensure the equitable management of natural resources.  UNMISS would be a fundamental tool in helping to construct the new State, by ensuring stability and creating a viable economic environment.  The euphoria surrounding the birth of the new Republic should not cloud the fact that serious issues still needed to be addressed, including border demarcation, citizenship, and wealth sharing.  Tackling all those matters would require good neighbourliness and regional cooperation.

HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) said that after a long struggle, the voice of the people of Southern Sudan had found expression, and he commended the leaders of both Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, who had shown patience and maturity in seeing through the implementation of key elements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  He said that India remained deeply committed to the development of peace and prosperity in Sudan, and in that context, economic interaction between the two countries was substantial, trading in the amount of some $1 billion each year.  As for the Republic of South Sudan, India had been one of the first Asian countries to open a consulate in Juba, and that facility would shortly be upgraded to an embassy.  “We look forward to the continued growth and diversification of these relations as the two Sudans chart their independent destinies,” he added.

Turning to outstanding issues regarding the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, he said India was certain matters such as the final status of Abyei would be dealt with by both sides in a spirit of cooperation and mutual accommodation.  He was happy to note the agreement reached in late June by both sides to demilitarize Abyei, which demonstrated their will to move together towards a negotiated settlement.  “In keeping with this spirit of [ensuring] a peaceful and prosperous region, we also support all ongoing efforts at achieving peace in Sudan, including the Darfur issue; we should like to see this issue resolved soon,” he added, expressing appreciation to the Government Qatar and the African Union High Implementation Panel in hosting and guiding the negotiations on a comprehensive peace accord for Darfur.

LI BAODONG (China), extending congratulations of his Government and people to South Sudan on its independence, saluted the leadership of both North and South.  He underlined the deep, common friendship between the Sudanese and Chinese peoples.  China had already established diplomatic relations with South Sudan, and he expressed his delegation’s support for its application for membership in the United Nations.  China looked forward to strengthening cooperation with South Sudan within the Organization’s framework and hoped that country would become a positive force in maintaining stability and promoting peace.

He said the Chinese Government would uphold its commitments to South Sudan’s reconstruction and he appealed to the international community to support South Sudan as it strengthened it national institutions.  He encouraged Sudan to further its communications and cooperation with South Sudan, underlining the ties between the two nations and the need for peaceful coexistence.   China hoped that the two States would focus on the pursuit of peace as they forged solutions on all outstanding issues related to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  Given Sudan’s cooperation in facilitating the peace process, the international community should normalize its relations with that country, soon. 

U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria) underscored the challenges facing South Sudan, including facilitating political and social cohesion and the return of refugees, and forging strong partnerships with neighbouring countries, especially with Sudan.  The responsibilities for meeting those challenges lay, first, with the Government of South Sudan.  A peaceful and equitable relationship between North and South was necessary for regional stability, and Nigeria urged the resolution of all outstanding issues, including bringing peace to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Nigeria was encouraged, she said, by the successes of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel under the leadership of South African President Mbeki.  She welcomed the steps taken to resolve all outstanding issues, including those in the 20 June accord and the 29 June framework agreement.  She urged all parties to further explore issues related to debt relief, a soft border and other critical ties, and she called on both Governments to work with United Nations forces to leave no stone unturned in protecting civilians and guaranteeing humanitarian access.  It was critical that the twin peacekeeping and peacebuilding pillars were operationalized, she said.

NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia) said this was a historic hour for the Sudanese people, the African continent, the United Nations and the wider international community.  The journey had been arduous, but the Republic of South Sudan had been born because of the dedication of the people of that country.  That had proved that historic achievements could be reached through dialogue and negotiation and, in this case, through implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  The international community must support the new country, aware that serious challenges remained as its Government began its State-building exercise.

The newly established UNMISS must play a key supporting role in that regard.  In addition, both Khartoum and Juba must work together to reach agreement on all outstanding matters.  In that regard, he stressed the role that must continue to be played by both the African Union High Implementation Panel and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Haile Menkerios. 

NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon) said that most of the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement had been carried out, and last weekend, the world had celebrated the official declaration of independence by the Republic of South Sudan.  The parties had met their commitments, with the support of the United Nations, the African Union and the League of Arab States.  In that spirit, dialogue and peaceful negotiations must continue until agreement was reached on outstanding issues, including the final status of Abyei, border arrangements and the sharing of natural resources.  In all that, cooperation between Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan would continue to be essential.

He said as the two countries were bound together, they must continue their cooperation to see through the implementation of all the elements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  He also called for continued efforts to resolve all outstanding issues regarding the Darfur region.  Following the birth of the Republic of South Sudan, he hoped to soon see the brotherly Palestinian people also exercise their right to self-determination and become full members of the United Nations and the international community. 

Making a statement in his national capacity, Council President GUIDO WESTERWELLE, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, said that by adopting the resolution earlier today recommending membership for the Republic of South Sudan to the United Nations, “we have written history for Africa and the whole world”.  He looked forward to welcoming that new Republic as the 193rd member of the family of nations.  While hundreds of thousands of people had celebrated independence in Juba last Saturday, the real work must now begin.  During a visit to the region, his stops in Khartoum, Juba and Darfur had revealed the vastness of the land and the enormity of what needed to be done to address a raft of challenges.  “Both the Republic of South Sudan and Sudan need our support,” he continued, underscoring that the north must see benefits for continued constructive steps, including through progress on debt relief.

“Above all, peace is needed.  Recent violence reminds us that the destructive logic of violence must finally end,” he said, noting that the recent agreement on Abyei was a step in the right direction.  He was confident that the Security Council would continue to stand by the peoples of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.  Germany, along with the wider international community, would continue to take a strong interest in the development of both countries, and would assist in the creation of open, just and prosperous societies in the North and South.

In the meantime, Darfur must not be forgotten, he said, calling for the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement to bring that “serious situation” finally to a peaceful conclusion.  He looked forward to the day when all the concerned parties returned to the negotiating table.  The Council envisaged the extension of the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) later this month.  That would improve security and freedom of movement for those on the ground helping the people of the Darfur region, and he encouraged Khartoum to work closely with that United Nations-African Union hybrid operation.

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