Press Releases

    SG/SM/9897
         AFR/1175
         1 June 2005

    Only Political Settlement Can Resolve Darfur Conflict, Secretary-General Tells Constitutional Review Commission in Sudan

    NEW YORK, 31 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s statement to the National Constitutional Review Commission in Rumbek, Sudan on 29 May:

    Chairman John Garang,

    Let me first address the issue you raised about the needs for the region and the humanitarian requirements. I think you made the case very eloquently when we met earlier, and we are also very much aware of that and we will urge the international community to make good on their pledges. And we, the UN team, are here and we will redouble our efforts but we will really press the international community to make good on their pledges. Cash today is better than cash tomorrow. And it can save lots of lives.

    My Dear Friends,

    It is indeed a pleasure to meet with you here in Rumbek, where you have assembled to debate and review the draft Interim National Constitution; and I congratulate you for completing this phase of the process.

    Your work establishes the basis for the Government of National Unity and for the other institutions that will lead you through the interim period. I urge you to continue in your efforts to complete this essential task in a timely manner. The momentum of the peace process depends on it.

    In addition to working quickly, you have another obligation, which is to ensure that your work is as inclusive as possible. Civil society organizations, political parties, and the ordinary people of Sudan must feel part of what you are doing. It is their constitution too. As you finalize the draft Interim National Constitution, I encourage you to continue your efforts to broaden participation in such an important process; and to foster a sense of ownership for this document among the people of Sudan.

    By emphasizing inclusion and dialogue, your work sets an example for a new era in Sudan. The recent South-South dialogue was another important example in your process of reaching out to each other, in your process of inclusion and reconciliation. It was an important beginning and must be allowed to run its course.

    I referred earlier to the momentum of the peace process. There are positive signs that this momentum is building. The Joint National Transition Team is now at work, as is the Ceasefire Joint Military Committee in Juba.

    It is true that you, the Sudanese, bear the primary responsibility for implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. But the international community also has responsibility for providing you with the support it has promised. The results of the Oslo donor’s conference were positive. Following the conference, more than $600 million in pledges have been turned into cash, but there is still a major shortfall of funds, particularly for the work in southern Sudan. This is something that we will express very hard with our partners. There has been much talk of a peace dividend. You have made peace. Donors must now deliver on their part of the bargain. I have appealed to them to do so and will continue to press for full and complete funding of humanitarian, recovery and development activities in southern Sudan.

    I am told that the current draft of the Constitution, as we heard from the Chairman, contains an impressive array of human rights provisions. I urge you to maintain these in the final draft, so that the Constitution includes a strong human rights component, which reflects international human rights principles of the Universal Declaration and other instruments ratified by Sudan. This will be crucial to ensure that your Constitution protects and defend the rights of the vulnerable.

    A strong human rights component in the Constitution will also ensure that the National Human Rights Commission anticipated in the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) is established soon and can begin its work against violation of human rights and serious crimes.

    Your work has ramifications for the situation in Darfur as well. Yesterday, I visited Darfur. Although the African Union Mission is having a positive impact there, it must be strengthened and expanded. Last Thursday I was in Addis Ababa, where African Union Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konaré and myself chaired a meeting to mobilize donor support for the African Union mission in Darfur. Close to $300 million dollars was pledged, which will help us to get more troops into Darfur and improve security for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the organizations delivering humanitarian assistance and hopefully provide enough security and create a secure environment to encourage people to go back to their village and begin to pick up their lives.

    But improved security and delivery of humanitarian assistance will not bring a resolution to the Darfur conflict. Only a political settlement can do that. And this is why your work, already so important, can help to resolve the conflict in Darfur. The Navaisha process and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement have provided a road map which could be the basis of a peace agreement in the troubled region of Darfur. Your work is proving that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is a road map to sustainable peace. This will give hope to the people of Darfur.

    Let me conclude my brief remarks by emphasizing to you the commitment of the United Nations to support your efforts, and more broadly, those of the Sudanese people in their search for a durable peace. Under the leadership of my Special Representative, Jan Pronk, who is here with us today, we have begun to deploy police officers and peacekeeping troops. The United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) is here to help you. Created in accordance with the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and a Security Council resolution, it will be a multidimensional operation and support implementation of the CPA. UNMIS will be a large mission by UN standards, but Sudan is the largest country in Africa.

    The Mission will include Military Observers and troops, who will work to monitor the ceasefire and help in the formation of integrated military units. As you know, the first troops have been deployed to Kassala. Troop deployments will continue over the coming months. The rainy season may affect the pace of the deployment -- we will want to do it as quickly as possible -- which is all the more reason why we count on your cooperation and support in this process.

    The Mission will also include civilian staff with expertise in a wide range of areas, including human rights, demobilization and reintegration, humanitarian affairs and development, civil affairs, public information, and the rule of law. These dedicated international staff will be deployed mostly in the south to assist you with the formidable tasks ahead. The United Nations will work with you until this peace has firmly taken root.

    I wish all of you success you deserve in this work and I urge you to work together to build a new Sudan, free of conflict and fear and full of hope and prosperity.

    I am also grateful that we had a special rain today. Chairman Garang referred to it as a blessing. I refer to it as a rain of peace.

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