Press Releases

    SG/SM/9779
    SC/8344
    AFR/1129
    29 March 2005

    Secretary-General Welcomes Security Council Authorization for Sudan Mission, to Assist Implementation of Peace Agreement

    NEW YORK, 24 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s statement to the Security Council on adoption of a resolution on the Sudan, delivered by Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, in New York, 24 March:

    Let me start by welcoming the Council’s adoption of a resolution authorizing the establishment of the United Nations Mission in Sudan.  We look to UNMIS to play a key role in assisting the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed on 9 January between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.

    This is a crucial moment for Sudan, and a decisive one for the international community, in the resolution of decades of civil war in Africa’s largest country.  I am heartened that after lengthy deliberations by the Council, the text takes into account proposals that I made in my January report.

    Those proposals were based on a thorough analysis of what we believe is required from the international community to give effective support for the implementation of the Peace Agreement.  Although there are some areas where the resolution does not match my recommendations, we in the Secretariat are prepared to fulfil our obligations.

    But let us be clear:  the people of Sudan, the donor community and the United Nations face extraordinary challenges in implementing the Peace Agreement.  These must be addressed quickly and with determination.  Serious political hurdles still confront the peace process, and we must have the full cooperation of the parties to overcome them.

    Moreover, we will face unprecedented logistical obstacles in establishing a UN peace support operation in a country famous for its extreme climate and prohibitive terrain.

    The United Nations is looking to members of the international community -- in particular those who have already generously supported the peace process and humanitarian relief -- to provide further sustained assistance in key areas.  These include security sector reform; the return and reintegration of internally displaced persons; the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants; and longer-term economic development.

    Recovering from more than 20 years of civil war will be a lengthy and a costly process.  Yet even the United Nations appeal for $560 million to cover immediate funding of relief and recovery in the South remains woefully under-funded, with only 10 per cent pledged or contributed so far. 

    Next month’s meeting in Oslo will be an important test of our commitment.  But we need immediate and generous support even before that -- especially with the approach of the rainy season, which threatens to impede our operations.

    The resolution you have adopted today rightly expresses the Council's utmost concern over the dire consequences of the prolonged conflict in Darfur.  I welcome the Council's explicit wish to reinforce efforts to foster peace in Darfur, especially through support by UNMIS for the African Union Mission.

    I have just received the preliminary report of the assessment mission led by the African Union, in which the United Nations also participated.  I am studying the report, and will hold urgent consultations with Chairperson Konaré before making recommendations.

    It is clear that the present state of affairs in Darfur is unacceptable; its problems are immediate and we cannot accept the status quo.  The violence and destruction must stop.  Impunity must end.

    If security does not improve quickly, the killings and rapes will continue.  We must not allow this catastrophic scenario to become a foregone conclusion.

    We must make clear to those responsible that that they will be held accountable.  I support the Council's efforts to give this message real meaning.  As you know, there is a clear recommendation from the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur that the Security Council immediately refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.

    Sanctions must also be kept on the table.

    While I welcome today's resolution, I also look forward to the Council's decision on these issues.

    As we meet here today, humanitarian workers and the African Union Mission are on the front line of the international community’s response to the Darfur crisis. They are working together courageously, with dedication and at great personal risk. This Council owes it to them to act with courage and determination.

    Our work to help bring peace and stability to Sudan as a whole is still only beginning.  For the sake of the men, women and children of that nation, let us all act firmly and decisively to complete our mission.

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