30 June 2006
Worsening Humanitarian Situation in Sudan, Chad Demands Immediate Action, Security Council Told
Need to Ensure Smooth Transition from African Union Mission to United Nations-led Operation also Stressed
NEW YORK, 29 June (UN Headquarters) -- As the Security Council this morning took up the report of its recent mission to the Sudan and Chad, delegations stressed that the worsening humanitarian situation in both countries demanded immediate action, and highlighted the need to ensure a smooth transition from the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to a United Nations-led operation.
The Council's 4 to 10 June mission, led by Ambassadors Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom and Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France, had followed the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement in Abuja on 5 May between the Sudanese Government of National Unity and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A).
Adding to what he had already told the Council in his briefing on 15 June, Ambassador Jones Parry said that the wish that Council members had kept repeating during the visit was that actions would only be taken in partnership with the Government and people of the Sudan, and that such partnership was fundamental to a successful policy. It was also their wish to see improvement in all aspects in Sudan and that the United Nations should play its part working with the Government and people there to provide "a future that we all want to see, and the Government of Sudan wants to see for all its people".
In the upcoming weeks, stated Ambassador de La Sablière, the Council should closely examine the implications of the situation in Darfur for Chad, particularly the risk of destabilization. Another issue of concern was ensuring the implementation of the Tripoli Agreement, signed between the Sudan and Chad on 8 February. In addition, ensuring the protection of those in the refugee and internally displaced persons camps was an urgent problem that needed to be addressed.
The European Union, stated Austria's representative, remained deeply concerned about the destabilization caused by the Darfur crisis in Chad. If not addressed effectively, the situation in Chad had the potential for an escalation of the current crisis beyond control. He called on the Sudan and Chad to comply fully with their obligations set out in the Tripoli Agreement, to put an end to any direct or indirect support to rebel groups in the other country, with a view to securing peace at their common borders.
Sudan's representative commended the Council on its visit to his country, which had allowed members to see the situation on the ground, following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Darfur Peace Agreement. Council members had been able to see the obstacles faced in returning refugees and internally displaced people to their homes, as well as in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. They had also been able to see the difficulties faced in implementing projects, due to a lack of resources and infrastructure.
Being far from the glare of the media and publicity, he said, gave a sense of transparency to the process, allowing Council Members to understand the complexity involved in the conflict that resulted from economic, political and tribal realities that existed in the region. Added to that, was the external dimension, whose roots lay in the existence of straddling tribes between Chad and Sudan. The internal difficulties in Chad, which were not necessarily well known, often prevented their peaceful cultural cohabitation.
He said that the Sudan appreciated efforts made by Chad to settle conflicts in Darfur, but noted that Sudan had been the first to take steps to contain and resolve the conflict, even concerning situations within the Government of Chad itself. Chad had made false accusations against Sudan with regard to the Tripoli Agreement, he said, by increasing contact with parties that had not signed the Agreement and had wanted to disrupt the peace. The Government of Chad had also provided small arms and light weapons to some parties, encouraging them to cross the border into Sudanese territory in the Darfur region. Chad should concentrate on its own internal priorities, he added, and the Council should ensure that both internal and external threats to peace be given equal attention.
Statements were also made today by the representatives of Congo, Qatar, Chad, Egypt and Norway.
The meeting began at 10:22 a.m. and ended at 11:30 a.m.
When the Security Council met today, it had before it the report of the Security Council mission to the Sudan and Chad (document S/2006/433). Following its 4 to 10 June mission, the Council believes that the conflict in Darfur is particularly complex, and the United Nations needs a range of policies to tackle it. The most obvious and pressing challenge is security, without improvements in which there can be no improvements elsewhere, such as in the humanitarian situation. However, the report notes, the United Nations should not focus on the security (or humanitarian) situation in isolation. An aggregate United Nations response is required, bringing together all the various strands of the United Nations family. Humanitarian, development, political and security issues are linked, and cannot be addressed independently.
The Darfur Peace Agreement, the report states, can provide a basis for sustained security in Darfur. Efforts should continue to get further support from non-signatories, in particular Abdul Wahid. However, implementation cannot be held up. The parties that have signed the Darfur Peace Agreement should take immediate steps to implement it. In particular, the Government of the Sudan should disarm the Janjaweed. The Council also calls for an improved public diplomacy effort by the United Nations, the African Union and the Governments of the Sudan and Chad, in explaining the benefits of the Darfur Peace Agreement to the population in Darfur.
The United Nations should work in partnership with the Government of the Sudan, and with its agreement, in deploying a United Nations force in Darfur. If the United Nations force is to make a qualitative difference and protect itself and citizens against attacks by spoilers, it will need to take over a strengthened African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) mandate, in line with that provided for by the Darfur Peace Agreement. Transition should take place in a way that maintains maximum security while AMIS is scaled down and United Nations forces are deployed. The United Nations should assume full operating capacity, hopefully, in January 2007.
Given the time it would take for transition to a United Nations operation in Darfur, AMIS will need immediate strengthening and reinforcing. The mission calls on the international community, including international and regional organizations, to provide AMIS with every possible assistance. It considers the pledging conference planned for 7 July an important step in strengthening AMIS, although action sooner is also desirable where possible. Also, urgent action is needed by the Government of the Sudan and other Sudanese parties to tackle the serious problem of gender-based violence in Darfur.
With regard to southern Sudan, the Council feels faster implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is required. Without this, the Sudanese public may lose faith in that Agreement, as it does not perceive a peace dividend. Given the continuing security concerns in the south, the mission considers that the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) should not be impacted on as a result of the deployment of a United Nations force in Darfur. The future of Darfur is tied to that of the rest of the Sudan and the wider region. Failure to resolve the Darfur crisis would bring serious regional implications. There can be no lasting peace in Darfur, without the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and no sustainable peace in southern Sudan, without the successful implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.
EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) affirmed the value of the Council's visit to the Sudan, especially in terms of fact-finding. Such visits were also crucial to clarify the manner in which the Security Council wished to cooperate with the Government of the Sudan, as well as to enhance the cohesion of Council members themselves. He regretted that the schedule had not been "as measured" as he would have liked, and admitted that the pressure had been intense.
In the past, the issue before the Council had been whether there was a right to discuss the Sudan at all, he continued. That was a contrast to the present, where the Council was working to think of ways to cooperate with the Government and people of the Sudan to help improve the situation in the region. Given the multiple objectives involving a range of actors -- most notably the African Union, amid support from the European Union and other bodies -- and the complexity of the situation that must be considered within a regional context, the Council would look for advice from the Secretary-General on how best to provide assistance in Darfur and Eastern Chad.
There was also the wider issue of how to facilitate the interactions of two Governments with an absence of a "real relationship" between them, which has had a severe impact on goings-on in the region. Also, real improvements in politics, as well as in the humanitarian and security situation throughout the country, must be achieved, while respecting the territorial integrity of the Sudan. The Council's support for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Darfur Agreement had been made evident during the visit and had further reconfirmed members' views that, as had been decided by the African Union, the United Nations should take over the peacekeeping objective in Darfur, as a short-term objective.
He added that the wish that Council members had kept repeating during the visit was that actions would only be taken in partnership with the Government and people of the Sudan, and that such partnership was fundamental to a successful policy. It was also their wish to see improvement in all aspects in the Sudan and that the United Nations should play its part working with the Government and people there to provide "a future that we all want to see, and the Government of Sudan wants to see for all its people".
JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE (France), speaking in his capacity as head of the Council's mission to Chad, thanked the authorities of Chad for their warm welcome and singled out three points. In the upcoming weeks, the Council should closely examine the implications of the situation in Darfur for Chad. In that regard, he recalled that, in the course of the Council's contacts in Addis Ababa, the problems related to the risk of destabilization in Chad were discussed. The African Union had told the Council to what extent it was concerned by the risk of destabilization in Chad, and its impact on the entire subregion.
Further, he said relations between the Sudan and Chad had deteriorated. A section on that issue had been included in the mission's report. One of the issues that had arisen for the Council was the border issue. If the United Nations would be taking over from the African Union in Darfur, there was the issue of the implementation of the Tripoli Agreement, which had not yet been applied. That issue, in particular, needed to be examined. Also, he underlined that the humanitarian situation in the refugee and internally displaced persons camps had given rise to great concern. A number of recommendations had been drafted in that connection. The Council was concerned, in particular, with the problems of forced recruitment and the security of humanitarian workers. In the recommendations, the Council had stated the need to examine how best to tackle problems related to the refugee camps. Ensuring the protection of the people in the camps was an urgent problem that needed to be addressed.
BASILE IKOUEBE (Congo) began by congratulating the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom for his firmness in upholding to the Council's principles during the visit, as well as his ability to weigh situations and communicate the Council's aims in a manner that could be understood by interlocutors in the Sudan and Addis Ababa with the African Union, and also in Chad. He said that African members of the Council had been able to inform all interlocutors that they fully associated themselves with the Council's approach and that there had been no "conspiracy" towards any African States in its work.
He said that cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union must be strengthened, and that their joint mission had been proof of their ability to work together. For their part, members of the African Union had met at the ministerial level in Banjul, Gambia, where they had adopted a decision on 27 June on the issue of Darfur, and that decision would be distributed to members of the Council later in the day, through a letter from himself.
Meanwhile, the Council should continue its contact with all parties in thhe Sudan, in particular to assure them that it was not yet time to rest. The agreement made in February over Darfur had been attended by observers from all countries concerned, showing that the doors were not shut to any party. Regarding Chad, he said that the Council understood the mutual accusation of interference that existed at present. Two statements had been made by the Council on the need for signatory parties to the Tripoli Agreement to remain committed to it, and the Council members involved were presently awaiting the conclusion of a fact-finding mission sent by President Konare, before proceeding further.
He also supported the appeal expressed by France, regarding the need for international protection for refugees and internally displaced people living in camps. There was a need to hear the Secretary-General's recommendations in that respect.
JAMAL NASSER AL-BADER (Qatar) echoed Council members in commending the mission, which had been an important initiative to take stock of developments in the Sudan and Chad, as well as of the realities on the ground. The mission had taken note of the development of the relations between the Sudan and Chad, and its implications for refugees and internally displaced persons. The visit had been positive, and different viewpoints had been expressed. The relations between the Sudan and Chad were important, in order to be able to properly address the issue of displaced persons. He attached importance to mediation efforts to ensure that the two countries could resolve their political differences, and, in turn, be able to resolve issues related to displaced persons.
In political terms, he said the situation remained tense. It was necessary to ensure proper implementation of the Tripoli Agreement, as well as to resolve the humanitarian crisis in both Darfur and Chad. He welcomed the Abuja Agreement, and stressed the need to ensure its implementation and to encourage those outside it to adhere to it. He also commended the Sudanese Government for its efforts to resolve the problems in Darfur. Regarding the transition from the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) to a United Nations peacekeeping mission, he emphasized the need for open dialogue with the Sudanese Government to address outstanding issues. The application of Chapter VII would have dire consequences, as noted during the Council's contacts with the Government of the Sudan. For those reasons, he believed it was important to build on positive initiatives, in order to calmly resolve points of conflict. The issue at hand now for the Council was the transition from AMIS to a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
OMAR BASHIR MOHAMED MANIS (Sudan) thanked the Council for the importance being attached to the question of the Sudan. He commended the Council's visit to his country for its positive effects -- for example, allowing Member States to see happenings on the ground, following the establishment of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Darfur Peace Agreement. He lauded the inclusive nature of the visit -- where the Council members had heard from leaders of different political parties -- and hoped that the visit would further strengthen the relationship between the Sudan and the United Nations.
He said members of the Council had also been able to see the obstacles faced in returning refugees and internally displaced people to their homes, as well as in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. They had also seen the difficulties faced in implementing projects, due to a lack of resources and infrastructure.
Being far from the glare of the media and publicity, he said, gave a sense of transparency to the process, allowing Council members to understand the complexity involved in the conflict that had resulted from economic, political and tribal realities that existed in the region. Added to that, was the external dimension, whose roots lay in the existence of straddling tribes between Chad and the Sudan. The internal difficulties in Chad, which were not necessarily well known, often prevented their peaceful cultural cohabitation.
Much that had taken place recently was the fruit of long years of effort, he said. In addition, the President had expressed a desire for flexibility among all parties, so that agreements were implemented fully. Indeed, the Government of National Unity would like to protect the Darfur Agreement from hostile actions by outside parties, and the Council was urged to exert pressure on parties who refused to sign the Agreement and wanted to hinder it. In doing so, the Council should look closely at the external challenges faced by the Sudan, in the form of Chadian support for people who were against the Agreement. Support should also be rendered to the African Union Mission.
He said that Sudan appreciated efforts made by Chad to settle conflicts in Darfur, but noted that the Sudan had been the first to take steps to contain and resolve the conflict, even concerning situations within the Government of Chad itself. Examples of initiatives taken by the Sudan in that regard, over a period of 13 years, had included facilitating the reconciliation with the Government of Chad with opposition groups leading up to the signing of the N'Djamena Agreement; helping to resolve the conflict between the President of Chad and his Minister of Defence, which had led to the signing of the Tripoli Agreement and the Minister's return to Chad; and supporting a meeting of reconciliation between the Chad Government and opposition parties within Chad.
He said Chad had made false accusations against the Sudan regarding the Tripoli Agreement, by increasing contact with parties that had not signed the Agreement and had wanted to disrupt the peace. The Government of Chad had also provided small arms and light weapons to some parties, encouraging them to cross the border into Sudanese territory in the Darfur region. In one instance, there had been threats to hinder implementation of the Agreement by providing parties with troop and personnel carriers, resulting in attacks in an area 15 kilometres from the town of Beida. Indeed, nine members of the Sudanese army had been killed, and it had happened merely two days after the recent signing of the Darfur Agreement.
The Government's priority was to implement peacefully the Darfur Agreement, he said. To that end, a high-level delegation of 60 people had been in the capital yesterday, meeting in five discussion groups to work on how to implement the Agreement. The goal was also to integrate opponents into that process, on the basis of equality and cooperation. Meanwhile, Chad should concentrate on its own internal priorities, and the Council should ensure that both internal and external threats to peace were given equal attention.
MAHAMAT ALI ADOUM (Chad) thanked the Council for the visit undertaken by members to his country. He did not wish to open a debate at the current meeting, the purpose of which was to hear the report of the Council mission. However, he pointed out that, at the right moment in time, his country would respond to the accusations and remarks made by the Sudan and provide evidence to refute them. He reaffirmed the importance his delegation attached to the letter that had been addressed to the President of the Council, the contents and tone of which had merited particular attention in connection with the stability of his country. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chad would come to address the Council on that matter.
GERHARD PFANZELTER (Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, noted that there were still a number of misunderstandings in the Sudan about the Darfur Peace Agreement, the role of the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) and the role of the United Nations -- all of which were closely linked. That situation underlined the need to explain the agreement and its benefits better to the people in the region. Also, he believed it was necessary to take immediate action to address the worsening humanitarian situation. He called on the Government of the Sudan and all parties in Darfur to immediately remove any existing obstacles to the delivery of aid, and to end any obstruction of humanitarian work or assistance rendered to AMIS.
In addition, he said, civilians must be protected and their rights assured, and impunity for abusers ended. He called on the Sudanese Government to bring the perpetrators to justice for crimes committed in Darfur and to stop the violence against internally displaced persons, especially sexual violence against women and girls. Furthermore, AMIS needed to be strengthened in order to be able to fulfil its mandate as effectively as possible, in particular taking into account the new tasks arising from the Darfur Peace Agreement. Together with other international partners, the Union would continue to provide planning, technical, financial and equipment support to both the military and police components of AMIS.
Also, he continued, there was a strong need to ensure a smooth transition from AMIS to a United Nations-led operation in Darfur. He strongly urged the Government of the Sudan to accept the help of the United Nations in implementing the Darfur Peace Agreement and in bringing peace to Darfur, as well as to welcome the planned United Nations mission in Darfur, which would have a strong African character. He added that sanctions must be applied against those who impeded the peace process, constituted a threat to stability in Darfur and the region, committed atrocities or violated the arms embargo. He also believed the international community needed to show strong, continued commitment, beyond AMIS and the establishment of a United Nations operation, to help the people of Darfur secure peace and long-term development in the region.
The Union, he went on, remained deeply concerned about the destabilization caused by the Darfur crisis in Chad and the Central African Republic. If not addressed effectively, the situation in Chad had the potential for an escalation of the current crisis beyond control. He called on the Sudan and Chad to comply fully with their obligations set out in the Tripoli Agreement of 8 February, to put an end to any direct or indirect support to rebel groups in the other country, with a view to securing peace at their common borders.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt) said the situation in Darfur was entering an important transition phase, from armed conflict, disorder and human catastrophe to an emerging glimpse of hope that the conflict was ending, and that incremental steps were being taken to restore calm and stability and to achieve national reconciliation. In that regard, he outlined the priorities that should be addressed in an integrated manner. First, the point of departure must be the assistance to be provided to the Government of the Sudan to reinforce its means to address the situation in Darfur, with a clear approach that would not undermine its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Second, it was necessary to improve the humanitarian situation in Darfur, in cooperation with the Sudanese parties. Third, significant steps should be taken towards the launching of the Darfur-Darfur dialogue, which would help launch an integrated national reconciliation process.
Fourth, he continued, it was important to embark on a process of formulating a comprehensive plan for reconstruction in Darfur, within a more comprehensive framework for development in all regions of the Sudan. Egypt had prepared an integrated programme, aimed at contributing to the reconstruction and development efforts in southern Sudan, and had embarked on its implementation in cooperation with the Government of National Unity, shortly after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Egypt was currently preparing for a similar programme for the reconstruction and development of Darfur, as soon as the Darfur Peace Agreement became all-inclusive.
Fifth, he emphasized the need to initiate the reinforcement of AMIS and to empower it to fulfil its vital role in monitoring the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement during the transition period. He also hoped the donor conference, to be held in Brussels on 17 July, would produce tangible results in translating support into practical commitments. Sixth, the Darfur Peace Agreement should be viewed within the integrated and comprehensive context of other existing political and operational arrangements in all regions of the Sudan, particularly the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the positive developments in the talks taking place in eastern Sudan.
MONA JUUL (Norway) said the existence of three simultaneous peace processes, each with its own unique characters, demonstrated the complexity of the situation in the Sudan. The Council must press ahead with implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and the South, ensure that all parties were on board for the Darfur Peace Agreement, and prepare for negotiations in Asmara that would hopefully follow from initial talks regarding Eastern Sudan.
She paid tribute to the African Union for a tremendous job done so far in Darfur, but said that the road was still very difficult. There was broad scepticism towards the Darfur Peace Agreement among the population. Yet, the door must still be open for the rest of the Darfur leaders to sign, but after a process where they could discuss and agree with the Government on the various concerns raised. Such a process must not, she cautioned, undermine the position of those who had already signed.
The Government and those leaders who had already signed, headed by Minni Minawi, should under all circumstances start to implement the Agreement, she said. That would show the commitment of the two parties, as well as the benefits of the Agreement to the rest of the movements. Several elements were important there: to begin disarming the militias, especially the Janjaweed; to bring forward the Darfur-Darfur dialogue; to deliver humanitarian assistance; and to actively disseminate the content of the Darfur Peace Agreement to the population of Darfur.
She said the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) must be strengthened, and Norway supported the United Nations "re-hatting" of AMIS to protect the population of Darfur. Norway was also ready to participate in the expanded United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) for Darfur, hopefully within a Nordic framework, for which preparations continued and which would have a possible starting point of 1 January 2007. With regard to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the process had been slowed down by difficulties relating to Abyei, the Border Commission and the Petroleum Commission. Norway would push for full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement through its chairmanship of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission, she said, adding that Norwegian support to the Sudan had amounted to $200 million over the last two years.
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