New York, 26 May 2004 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Sudan AgreementThe Secretary-General has been following closely the peace talks on the Sudan, facilitated by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Throughout the process he has been in regular contact with the President of the Sudan, Mr. Hassan Al-Bashir, and the Chairman of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), Mr. John Garang, encouraging them to seek a speedy conclusion of the ongoing talks. He has also designated his Special Adviser, Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun, to provide support to the mediation throughout the talks.
In that regard, the Secretary-General is heartened to learn that, on 26 May 2004, the parties have initialed in Naivasha, Kenya, the three protocols on political and power sharing issues during the interim period. He welcomes this development and believes it is a major step forward in the IGAD-led peace process.
The Secretary-General commends the personal efforts of the First Vice-President of the Sudan, Mr. Ali Osman Taha, and the Chairman of the SPLM/A, Mr. John Garang, who have been engaged in the talks since September 2003. He urges the two parties to sustain their commitment and persevere in reaching agreement on the remaining issues, especially the ceasefire arrangements, the implementations modalities and international guarantees for a future comprehensive peace agreement. He emphasizes the interest and readiness of the United Nations to contribute to such efforts.”
The Secretary-General also reiterates his appreciation for the contribution of the Government of Kenya in leading the IGAD peace initiative and those of other countries that are closely supporting and assisting the peace process. He commends the personal efforts of the IGAD chief mediator, Lt.Gen. (Rtd) Lazaro Sumbeiywo.
The United Nations stands ready to contribute to the efforts of the international community to help implement a peace agreement concluded by the Sudanese parties.
In welcoming the achievement of the IGAD Peace Process which paves the way for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in southern Sudan, the Secretary-General at the same time calls on the Government of the Sudan and the armed opposition in Darfur to seize the momentum created in Naivasha to reach a political solution in western Sudan, putting an end to the grave humanitarian and human rights situations there.