Press Releases

     

    SG/SM/8960
    AFR/738
    DEV/2443
    28 October 2003

    SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE TO IGAD SUMMIT,
    LAUDS SUDAN PEACE PROCESS, EXPRESSES
    CONCERN OVER SOMALIA HOSTILITIES

    NEW YORK, 24 October (UN Headquarters) -- The following is the text of the Secretary-General’s message to the tenth summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held in Kampala, Uganda, on 24-25 October and delivered by Mohamed Sahnoun, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General:

    I am pleased to extend my best wishes to this gathering of IGAD.  Allow me to commend the leadership of your outgoing Chairman, President Al Bashir of the Sudan, and welcome the incoming Chairman, President Museveni of Uganda.  The United Nations stands ready to work closely with IGAD on matters of common concern, with special focus on regional peacemaking in the Sudan and Somalia.

    There has been encouraging progress on the Sudan since the last IGAD summit, including the Machakos Protocol, the constructive role played by Kenya, and the breakthrough achieved by Sudanese leaders on security arrangements.  This paves the way for a successful completion of talks on many other matters, including power and wealth-sharing.  I encourage the two parties to sustain this momentum.  I would like to thank the members of the IGAD Partners’ Forum for their contribution to the peace process, and the IPF “Troika” -- Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States -- for making it possible for other external actors to harmonize their efforts in support of the IGAD peace process.  At meetings in Oslo in January and in The Hague in April, donors demonstrated a commendable readiness to meet the future peace agreement with critically needed resources. With the adoption on 10 October of a presidential statement by the Security Council, the United Nations now has the mandate and responsibility to start preparatory work in support of a peace agreement.  The United Nations will do everything possible to garner maximum international support for the implementation of a future peace accord.

    The situation in Somalia continues to be a source of concern.  The last IGAD summit reached an encouraging understanding on specific steps to be taken by the IGAD countries.  The Somali National Reconciliation Conference, under the auspices of IGAD and Kenya in the lead, was welcomed by all.  The signing of the Eldoret Declaration, by which the participants pledged to cease hostilities and guarantee the security of all humanitarian and development personnel and installations, was a milestone in the peace process.  But since then, serious hostilities have hindered the delivery of essential humanitarian and development assistance.

    I urge Somali leaders to honour their commitment to ensuring the delivery of such assistance as well as the safety of international and national aid workers.

    The Security Council is deeply concerned about the persistent cycle of violence and the continued flow of weapons and ammunition supplies, and has called on all States and other actors to comply scrupulously with the arms embargo.  It has also decided to re-establish the Panel of Experts to further investigate violations of the arms embargo.  At this critical juncture, I urge IGAD to do its utmost to convince the Somali parties to build on the progress achieved so far.

    As you tackle these and other pressing concerns on your agenda, please know that you have the full support of the United Nations family.  I wish you a most productive meeting.

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