Excellencies, Mr. Chairperson of the AUPSC,
Thank you for this opportunity to address you on the important issue of Sudan-South Sudan relations.
The close collaboration between the United Nations and the African Union in support of Sudan and South Sudan is a prime example of how – together – we can contribute to peace and stability on the continent.
I commend the tireless efforts of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel. The Panel facilitates dialogue between Sudan and South Sudan with assistance from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Mr. Haile Menkerios, and other international partners. Supported by the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council, the panel has successfully led the post-secession negotiation process to build good neighbourly relations between two viable states.
The task has not been easy. However, since the signing of the 27 September Agreement last year, relations have steadily improved, despite occasional setbacks. Several difficult territorial issues remain to be solved, including the final status of the Abyei Area and the settlement over the claimed and disputed border areas. As we approach the first anniversary of the 27 September Agreements, I applaud the efforts made by the two countries and encourage them to carry out these agreements. We will lend our full support.
I congratulate the AUPSC, the AU Commission and the AUHIP for their proactive stance and determination in addressing the hurdles and setbacks this process entails. The mechanisms and initiatives arising from the Agreements have greatly contributed to sustained peace between Sudan and South Sudan and across the region as a whole. This was also demonstrated during the recent summit between President al-Bashir and President Kiir in Khartoum in the beginning of the month.
Of course, much still needs to be done before Sudan and South Sudan achieve seamless bilateral relations and cooperation on all issues. We urge both Governments to swiftly implement all security arrangements and solve the enduring deadlock over the resolution of the final status of the Abyei Area and the claimed and disputed border areas.
Unfortunately, both Sudan and South Sudan continue to be affected by conflict. The United Nations remain particularly concerned about the humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North have caused death and injuries to civilians, massive displacement and devastation. We urge the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N to continue direct talks and to spare no effort to put an end to the suffering of civilians. This has gone on for far too long.
In Darfur, more than 300,000 people have been displaced by conflict in 2013 alone, and over one million more remain dependent on food assistance in Internal Displaced Persons camps.
I am also deeply concerned about the security and humanitarian situation in Jonglei state in South Sudan, where tens of thousands of civilians are in need of assistance and protection. While the UN is actively supporting the relief efforts and doing its utmost to deter violence, it is incumbent upon the Government to ensure the protection of all civilians and take concrete actions to address the underlying grievances of every community in the area.
The people of Sudan and South Sudan have suffered from years of conflict. While focusing on the political process, we must also work together to ensure attention to the plight of civilians in the conflict affected areas of both countries. I also renew calls for all parties to ensure safe, unhindered and immediate access for humanitarian organizations. Toward that end, I welcome your communiqué of 29 July, which requests the AUHIP to engage Sudanese and South Sudanese Governments on democratization, conflict resolution and peaceful coexistence within both states.
I thank the African Union Peace and Security Council, working in partnership with the United Nations Security Council, for continuing to engage in the resolution of the root causes of conflict in Africa. Through our collective engagement, strong partnership and principled action, we can foster lasting stability and economic progress for the people of the African continent.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.