Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

16 November 2006

Secretary-General's press conference following the High Level Consultation on the situation in Darfur, held at African Union Headquarters (unofficial transcript) [Scroll down for text of Conclusions of Consultation on Darfur]

SG: Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen of the press. Let me thank all of you for waiting for so long. I think we've all worked very hard. Most of us skipped lunch and dinner. As you know, (African Union) Chairperson Konare and myself co-chaired this meeting which included the Permanent Five members of the (UN) Security Council and a list of African countries who are playing a key role in the Sudanese issue. We considered three areas –the requirement to re-energize the peace process, establishing a strengthened cease-fire and the way forward for peacekeeping in Darfur and I will share with you some of the conclusions. We have a conclusions document which we will make available to you. But the highlights are: Darfur can only be resolved through political process. The political process should be all-inclusive and the DPA [Darfur Peace Agreement] is the only basis for this process. The mediation should be credible and under AU and UN leadership. The process should be transparent and should include wider international involvement.

Now I turn to concerns regarding implementation of the DPA itself. The DPA is not sufficiently inclusive. The DPA has not been sufficiently popularized in Darfur –people don't know about it. The proliferation of initiatives aimed at the non-signatories must be streamlined and brought under a unified umbrella.

Regional dimension of the conflict has sometimes complicated the search for a solution. How do we deal with these concerns and these problems? The various initiatives must be brought under one umbrella. [The] AU and UN are best placed to lead a credible process. International partners to the DPA are called upon and shall be available to assist in the political process.

The next step is for the UN and AU to call a meeting of the non-signatories –SLA/MM and the Government of Sudan. It should take place in the next couple of weeks, so as to resolve outstanding issues by the end of the year.

I now want to turn to the question of ceasefire. It is clear that there can be no effective ceasefire mechanism or peacekeeping operation without there being peace to keep. The Government and DPA and non-signatories should immediately re-commit to cessation of hostilities in Darfur in order to give these renewed discussions the best chances for success. A public declaration to cease all hostilities from all parties –we believe the AU will be able to go one step further and facilitate direct talks between the Government of Sudan and the non-signatories to ensure that there is no impunity or violence in Darfur.

We also agree that all parties must cooperate with AMIS [African Union Mission in Sudan], participate constructively in investigations and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian relief in Darfur.

In view of the regional dimension of the conflict, it is important to reinvigorate regional instruments, such as the Tripoli mechanism.

The international community stresses that opposition to the DPA does not give non-signatories the right to continue fighting. We also stress that the international community stands ready to take measures against any of the parties who remain outside the political process and breach their ceasefire obligations. At the same time, the international community reminds the Government of Sudan of its obligation to protect civilians, to facilitate the work of the African Union, as well as the humanitarian community.

I would now want to say a word about peacekeeping. I think most of you saw the document I put out indicating three phases. Phase One, which deals with the light package, is currently being implemented. It is also agreed that the heavy package, that is Phase Two, would be taken forward and that the existing tripartite UN/AU/Government of Sudan mechanism, that was established to facilitate implementation, will also move to take this forward.

On the third phase, the hybrid, Phase Three, it is agreed in principle that, pending clarification of the size of the force, we should be able to take it forward. The Sudanese delegation further requested that they be given time to consult on the appointment of the SRSG [Special Representative of the Secretary-General] and the Force Commander.

The other point we made was, the peacekeeping force should be capable of contributing to the restoration of security and the protection of civilians in Darfur through the implementation of security aspects of the DPA. It should also ensure full humanitarian access.

A word on requirements for a peacekeeping force –it was agreed here, that given what we intend to do, the Secretary-General should recommend to the appropriate bodies at the United Nations to provide funding for the peacekeeping operation in Darfur. The peacekeeping force will have a predominantly African character. The troops should, as far as possible, be sourced from African countries. Backstopping and commanding control structures will be provided by the UN.

The troop strength should be 17,000 with additional 3,000 police. This is based on an assessment done in the field by the UN and the African Union. However, the delegation of the Government of Sudan have requested that they should be given time to consult with their Government on this figure.

And finally, on Chad and Central Africa –we agreed on the need to take into account the security situation along the Chad/Sudan and Chad/Central African borders.

Thank you very much and the document will be available to you. And let me thank you very much for your patience.

Q: Do you think that peace for the two and a half million people in Darfur who have been forced from their homes can be guaranteed without the full implementation of Phase Three?

SG: We need to ensure that whatever we do, we need to ensure that we have adequate force and credible force on the ground that can undertake the tasks that I have listed, and we have determined that the tasks will require 17,000 troops and 3,000 police. This is essential. And I hope all concerned agree that this is the way that these consultations that the Government of Sudan is going to have amongst itself and to revert hopefully in the next few days to permit the Chairperson of the African Union to take the document to the Peace and Security Council on 24 November.

Q: Given all the months of back and forth with the Sudan Government, how would you describe the events of today?

SG: I think we have had a very constructive meeting. All the participants came with the right spirit, the right mood and a determination to find a solution, realizing that we cannot maintain the current impasse and that we were running out of time, and needed to take concrete steps to ensure that, come 31 December, we have a follow-on mechanism that is preparing the ground for the protection of the civilians, for the reintegrated peace process and for us to be able to sit down with the parties and get them to implement the ceasefire agreement effectively.

Q: Is this the breakthrough you were hoping for?

SG: I think what we have achieved is very good and we are all going to press for its implementation once we get the reaction back from the Government. And of course, I will also have to report to the Security Council, and the Security Council must have the confidence that what is being proposed is effective, is workable and I think all of us in this room who came with aspirations, try to achieve that objective –and I think we have come a long way. Thank you very much.

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HIGH LEVEL CONSULTATION ON THE SITUATION IN DARFUR

CONCLUSIONS

16 November 2006

Today the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission co-chaired a meeting of the five permanent members of the Security Council and a number of African countries, including Sudan.

Out of deep concern for the current situation in Darfur, which include ongoing violence and loss of life, this group convened to identify concrete steps to be taken to improve the current situation. The group considered three areas: the requirement to re-energize the peace process, establishing a strengthened cease fire and the way forward for peacekeeping in Darfur. The group concluded the following:

I. A RE-ENERGIZED POLITICAL PROCESS

A. General Principles underlying a re-energized political process

1. The Darfur conflict can only be resolved through a political process

2. The DPA is the only basis for this process, and should not be re-negotiated.

3. No Party outside the DPA should be allowed to undermine its implementation.

4. This political process should be all-inclusive.

5. The mediation should be credible and under AU and UN leadership.

6. The process should be transparent and should include wider international involvement.

7. DDDC is an important complimentary process that will contribute to the search for sustainable peace in Darfur.

8. The AU remains the lead actor in the process of implementing the DPA.

B. Concerns regarding the DPA and its implementation

9. The DPA is not sufficiently inclusive. A number of parties remain outside its framework. This has led to insecurity, worsened the humanitarian situation and limited humanitarian access.

10. For various reasons, the DPA has not been sufficiently popularized in Darfur, and that has led to opposition to the Agreement amongst Darfurians.

11. The proliferation of initiatives aimed at the non-signatories must be streamlined and brought under a unified umbrella to guard against forum-shopping.

12. Fragmentation of the non-signatories has led to fighting between them, and undermine to maintain the cease-fire.

13. Regional dimension of the conflict has sometimes complicated the search for a solution.

14. The slow pace of implementation of the DPA remains a serious concern.

C. Proposals to address the concerns

15. The various initiatives must be brought under one umbrella and the AU and UN are best-placed to lead a credible process.

16. International partners to the DPA are called upon and shall be available to assist in the political process.

17. The Parties, including the non-signatories in particular, must engage in the process with the necessary commitment and a willingness to compromise. The international community must do all it can to ensure this.

18. The next step is for the UN and AU to call a meeting for the non-signatories, SLA/MM, and the GoS. It should take place in the next couple of weeks so as to resolve outstanding issues by the end of the year.

II A STRENGTHENED CEASEFIRE

19. It is clear that there can be no effective ceasefire mechanism or peacekeeping operation without there being a peace to keep that is firmly grounded upon an all-inclusive political process.

20. The Ceasefire Working Group welcomes the Government of Sudan's renewed commitment to a political process. It calls upon all parties –Government and DPA non-signatories- to immediately commit to a cessation of hostilities in Darfur in order to give these renewed discussions the best chances for success.

21. While we certainly hope that this political process will be swiftly concluded, the Darfurian people cannot afford to wait one more day for violence to end. It is imperative that the African Union have a forum through which it can hold all parties accountable for ceasefire violations in Darfur. The ceasefire working group welcomes the mandate given by the latest Joint Commission meeting to the AU Force Commander to create direct links to non-signatories. With the public declaration to cease all hostilities from all parties, we believe the AU will be able to go one step further and facilitate direct talks between the GoS and the non-signatories to ensure that there is no impunity for violence in Darfur.

22. The ceasefire working group stresses that all parties must cooperate with AMIS, participate constructively in investigations, and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian relief in Darfur.

23. In view of the regional dimension of the conflict, it is important to reinvigorate regional instruments such as the Tripoli mechanism. All countries must work for a peaceful solution in Darfur and refrain from actions which run counter to that objective.

24. The international community stresses that opposition to the DPA does not give non-signatories the right to continue fighting. We call on them to seize this opportunity to rejoin the political process. They should not miss this opportunity for peace.

25. We stress that the international community stands ready to take measures against any of the parties who remain outside the political process and breach their ceasefire obligations. At the same time, the international community reminds the GoS of its obligations to protect civilians, to facilitate the work of the African Union, as well that of the humanitarian community.

III. THE WAY FORWARD IN PEACEKEEPING

26. During the Plenary, Chairman Konaré stressed the current difficulties with the management of AMIS; all participants agreed on the need to enhance AMIS' capacity urgently.

A. United Nations support to AMIS

27. The aim of the support package is to assist AMIS in the implementation of the DPA.

28. The Light Support Package (phase 1) is currently being implemented in full cooperation with the Government of Sudan. It is also agreed that the Heavy Support Package (Phase 2) will be taken forward and that the existing tri-partite (UN-AU-Government of Sudan) mechanism established would facilitate implementation of the Heavy Package for phase 2. A hybrid operation (Phase 3) is also agreed in principle, pending clarification of the size of the force (see paragraph 33). The Sudanese delegation further requested hat they be given time to consult on the appointment of the SRSG and Force Commander. The consultations would be undertaken to inform the PSC meeting of 24 November.

B. The Mission of the peacekeeping force

29. It should be capable of contributing to the restoration of security and protection of civilians in Darfur through the implementation of security aspects of the DPA. It should also ensure full humanitarian access.

C. Requirements of the peacekeeping force

30. It must be logistically and financially sustainable. This support must come from the UN. The Secretary-General should recommend to the appropriate bodies that the United Nations provide funding for the peacekeeping operation in Darfur, pending clarification of force size

31. The peacekeeping force will have a predominantly African character. The troops should, as far as possible, be sourced from African countries. Backstopping and command and control structures will be provided by the UN.

32. The strength of the peacekeeping force should be 17,000 and 3,000 police. However, the GoS representative indicated that he would need to consult with his government on this figure.

33. The peacekeeping force must enjoy free and unhindered movement in Darfur.

D. Chad and the Central African Republic

34. The need to take into account the security situation along the Chad-Sudan and Central African Republic borders was agreed.