|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, at High-level Meeting on Sudan, Hails Referendum’s Peaceful
Outcome While Reiterating Importance of Coexistence, Broader Peace
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the High-Level Meeting on Sudan held in Addis Ababa today, 31 January:
Along with Chairperson [Jean] Ping and Chairman [Meles] Zenawi, I welcome you to this timely meeting at which we will address two major situations of concern: Sudan and Somalia. At this session, I will address matters related to the former.
Sudan has reached a historic point. All reports indicate a generally peaceful referendum process with a large turnout. I congratulate the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on achieving this major benchmark. This vote is a chance for the people of Sudan to enjoy peace after decades of war.
As we reach the final days of the referendum, it is critical that all stakeholders exercise restraint and avoid provocative action. I call on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement parties in particular to allow the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission to finalize its work and to ensure calm prevails as the results are announced.
As the Sudanese people adjust to the new realities on the ground, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement parties must shift their attention to the key post-referendum arrangements that will sustain the North-South relationship in the long term.
The survival of both the North and the South requires agreement on oil-revenue sharing. Borders must be agreed and demarcated, while also allowing traditional migration. And the futures of millions of Southerners and Northerners depend upon agreements that guarantee basic rights, freedom of movement and livelihoods, regardless of where they live. I would like to recognize the contribution of the African-Union High-Level Implementation Panel in helping the parties move forward on these vital issues.
While the referendum process has taken place without major incident, I am very concerned at the violence that took place in Abyei during the voting period. I call on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement parties to prevent any further violence in Abyei and other border areas, including by influencing local leadership to exercise restraint. I also urge the parties to find a sustainable solution that addresses the needs of all populations in the area and lays the foundation for long-term coexistence.
The referendum is only one aspect of the broader search for sustainable peace in Sudan. I remain very concerned at the increase in violence in Darfur and the tens of thousands of people displaced by conflict in recent months. All parties to the conflict should put down their arms and engage with the peace process.
Now is the time to step up our encouragement to the parties, to advise them that there will be rewards for peace, and consequences for further conflict. Now is also the time to renew our support to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and its strategy to ensure its freedom of movement throughout Darfur, protect civilians and help humanitarians help those in need.
Millions of Darfurians continue to live in unacceptable conditions, far from their homes. They deserve from the international community the same high levels of cohesion and urgency we have demonstrated in the work of implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
The United Nations is committed to working closely with the African Union to reach our common vision for peace in Sudan. A Sudan where people live side by side without conflict; where the displaced can return to their homes and create a better future for their children; and where all Sudanese can prosper from the region’s political, economic and cultural wealth.
We look forward to continuing our close cooperation to make this vision a reality.
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