Press Releases

                                                    19 November 2004

    Speakers at Nairobi Security Council Meeting Call for Peace Agreement in Sudan by End of Year

    (Received from a UN Information Officer.)

    NAIROBI, 18 November -- As the Security Council convened in Nairobi, Kenya today, speakers made strong calls to the parties involved in the protracted Sudan conflict to reach a peace agreement by the end of the year.

    Most speakers lauded the Council’s decision to hold the meeting outside New York Headquarters.  That, they stated, was a further demonstration of the Council’s commitment to bringing to an end the woes afflicting Africa.  Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the move was a “rare and highly symbolic step”.

    Addressing the Security Council and referring to reports of the Secretary-General on the Sudan, several speakers expressed their hope that the problems facing the Sudan, as well as Somalia, could be solved soon.  President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya appealed to the international community not to tire in its efforts and continue to work closely with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union to ensure that peace negotiations are sustained.  Referring to the Sudan, Secretary-General Annan stated that the Naivasha peace accords should be finalized.  He added that delay in their conclusions would negatively affect not only the southern part of the Sudan, but also other regions, citing Darfur as an example.

    The Nairobi meeting also heard Sudan’s Government express its commitment to move swiftly in ending the crisis in Africa’s largest country.  Ali Othman Taha, First Vice-President of the Sudan, said that his Government had made genuine efforts towards peace and extended negotiations had been fruitful.  The remaining “minor details” would soon be finalized.  John Garang, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), expressed the hope that the parties to the conflict would offer to the Sudan, Africa and the world, a Christmas and New Year’s present by signing a comprehensive agreement soon.

    Speakers called on the international community to mobilize resources to enable a swift and effective operation by the African Union on the ground and help realize a tangible peace dividend.  Security Council President and United States representative John Danforth expressed the Council’s strong interest and support to the Sudan and hoped that a strong and viable future for the country would be achieved.  The Secretary-General told the Council that the United Nations, for its part, is already preparing a major, multidimensional operation to help build a lasting peace in the Sudan.  The situation in the Sudan, among other conflicts in Africa, is a grave challenge not only to Africa but to all humanity and the United Nations must be fully engaged in helping meet it, he concluded.


    President MWAI KIBAKI of Kenya said that it was important that the Security Council meets in member countries.  Bringing the meeting to Nairobi to discuss the Sudan and Somali issues showed the strong commitment the Council attached to the Horn of Africa region.  He stressed that the conflicts in the Sudan and Somalia had adversely affected Kenya, which had hosted many refugees from the two countries.  That had been compounded by the problem of the movement of illicit firearms that has heightened insecurity in Kenyan towns and cities, as well as the countryside.  He highlighted the leading role Kenya had played in seeking long-lasting solutions to the problems bedevilling the Sudan and Somalia, adding that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

    He said that, despite the Darfur crisis, the path to peace in the Sudan was on course, owing to the Naivasha peace process.  Noting that the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia was now in place; members of the Somali Parliament had been elected; the President was sworn in on 14 October 2004; and a Prime Minister appointed, concluded that the road to lasting peace in Somalia had been mapped out but had not reached the intended destination, yet, which was the establishment of a fully functional government in Somalia itself.  He appealed to the international community not to tire in its efforts to assist the people of Somalia to achieve lasting peace.  The international community should continue to work closely with IGAD and the African Union to ensure that the peace negotiations in Naivasha were sustained.  He concluded his statement by saying that it was in the interest of global peace that the new Somali Government was helped to restore law and order.

    Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN stated that it was fitting that the Council should have taken the rare and highly symbolic step of meeting in Nairobi, in order to discuss the situation in Africa’s largest country, the Sudan, which unhappily was also one the countries most affected by conflict.  Thanks to the skilful and patient leadership of IGAD, the Naivasha peace process offered real hope of an escape from the long Sudanese nightmare, and a chance to transform the Sudan’s political landscape and system of governance, he added. The Secretary-General recalled that, as he had indicated to the Council on earlier occasions, the Government of the Sudan and the SPLM/A had already agreed to use the relevant principles of the Machakos Protocol as a basis for resolving conflicts in other regions, including Darfur.

    The Secretary-General re-emphasized the importance of an early conclusion of the Naivasha process, saying he is confident that the Security Council, in their collective private discussions with the Sudan’s First Vice-President, Ali Othman Taha, and John Garang, and in the resolution that the Council will be adopting on the Sudan, will encourage the parties to sign a comprehensive peace agreement before the end of the year.  The Secretary-General particularly welcomed the Council’s promise of full support for the implementation of such an agreement, and its offer of incentives to encourage the parties to do what was right for their people and the country.

    While it was proposed that the primary focus of the Council should be the conclusion of North-South talks, the Secretary-General stressed that the conflict in Darfur also demanded the Security Council’s attention.  He reiterated his encouragement to the fact that the parties to the Darfur conflict had signed protocols on the humanitarian situation and on security.  The Secretary-General stressed that the parties must be urged to strictly abide by those agreements.  He added that they should also be pressed to maintain the momentum towards reaching agreement on political and other outstanding issues.  The Council should send an urgent message to that effect to both the Government and rebel parties, and to all States that had particular influence on them, he added.

    Highlighting the full support that the Security Council had given to the efforts of the African Union mediation and monitoring mission, the Secretary-General indicated that the African Union mission had begun to deploy, and had already achieved some successes.  It now needed to move rapidly into areas of Darfur where people were most in danger; and that urgently required means of transport, as well as financial and logistical support.  The Secretary-General pleaded with all Member States with the capacity to do so to give the maximum support so that the African Union force could operate swiftly and effectively on the ground.

    After having insisted on the need for a comprehensive approach, the Secretary-General stated that the United Nations was preparing a major, multidimensional operation to help build a lasting peace.  Many donor countries had indicated their readiness to help.  But, first, agreements must be finalized, and signed.  He concluded by stating that, by meeting on African soil, the Security Council had made an important gesture of solidarity and support for the peoples and institutions of the new Africa, working through African institutions.  However, he stressed that the Council retained primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, as laid down in the Charter.  What was happening in the Sudan, and in many other African countries such as Côte d’Ivoire was a grave challenge not only to Africa, but to all humanity, he said.  The United Nations must be fully engaged in helping meet it.

    ALI OTHMAN TAHA, First Vice-President of the Sudan acknowledged the importance of the meeting held by the Security Council in Africa.  He stated that it reflected the importance the Council attached to achieving peace in the Sudan and Somalia.  He added that African and Sudanese people hoped that this meeting would be a success.  They were looking forward to a lasting peace in the Sudan.

    He insisted that the Government of the Sudan had made genuine efforts towards achieving peace in that country.  Sudanese authorities, he added, had embarked on that path with full determination and with the support of partners, especially IGAD.  He explained that protracted negotiations had enabled the Government of the Sudan and the SPLM/A to thrash out some of the points of disagreement.  Extended negotiations had been fruitful.  They were looking forward to genuine help from the international community, as they went on with the negotiations.  The remaining details would be finalized soon, because they were minor details.  He expressed hope that full agreement would be reached soon and that it would be his government’s pleasure to sign the agreement before the Security Council.

    He supported the formation of a broad-based government which would even include some of the parties that were not part of the Naivasha peace process.  On Darfur, he said the Government would abide by the Abuja agreements.  He expressed disagreement with the Secretary-General’s statement that the Government had violated Abuja declarations.  He called for observers led by the African Union to see to it that the agreements were not violated.

    With the support of the African Union, the Sudan would engage in talks with the armed groups in Darfur with a view to reaching peace in that region, he added.  Agreement on Darfur would fall in the context of the Naivasha accord, which gave all the regions equal consideration in the allocation of resources.  The Government had prepared a two-part development plan, which would be used after the signing of the peace agreement.  His government would work hard towards ensuring that an event like Darfur would never occur again.

    Speaking as the current Chair of the African Union, ALHADJI AMINU WALI (Nigeria) reiterated the Union’s call on the parties to comply with the request to disarm the Janjaweed militia and ensure that civilians were no longer attacked and that those who attacked them should be prosecuted.  However, he welcomed the fact that the Government of the Sudan had continued to fulfil its commitments under the joint communiqué regarding humanitarian access, which had made it possible for an increase in humanitarian operations to internally displaced people and refugees.  He indicated that that had made it possible for 40 international non-governmental organizations, the Red Cross mission and United Nations agencies to operate in Darfur.

    He stressed that the international humanitarian operations in Darfur were a significant testimony of the benefits of effective cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union. Nigeria, he added, reiterated its support for the commitment of the African Union to increase its mission in Darfur to 3,320 persons, including 2,341 military personnel, 450 observers and up to 815 civilian police.  He also welcomed the African Union’s expanded mandate beyond the terms of the N’Djamena agreement to include the monitoring and verification and the provision of security for returning internally displaced persons, government-controlled militias and the protection of civilians.

    JOHN GARANG, head of the SPLM/A, reiterated his commitment to achieving peace in the Sudan. The core of the peace agreement, as elaborated in the six protocols, was already in place.  The Government of the Sudan and SPLM/A signed the six protocols with the aim of ending the war.  The remaining annexes should not stop the two from enforcing the peace agreement and the SPLM/A had no reason to cause any more delays towards signing the final peace agreement. During the interim period, both SPLM/A and the Sudan army would be treated equally.  That was why SPLM/A only wanted 50 per cent from oil earnings, so as to enable the central government to meet its obligations, including funding the national armed forces.

    He appealed for funding the SPLM/A during the interim period. There were two issues on wealth sharing. The Government of the Sudan favoured payment in local currency for the SPLM/A share of oil revenue. The second issue was sharing information on oil contracts.  However, those were minor problems that could be easily resolved. The SPLM/A was looking forward to the formation of a government of national unity, which would mark a new beginning in the democratization of the Sudan that would embrace all Sudanese including in development planning for the rural and urban populations, as well as the observance of human rights. The International community should not be dissuaded by the apparent high cost of implementing the agreement, because non-implementation would be catastrophic.

    The Government’s counter-insurgency in Darfur had yielded no results and, if left unchecked, could lead to the Sudan imploding with devastating effects on the country and the region.  The best way forward was to implement the Naivasha accord and allow as many people as possible to join the government. Holding the meeting in Nairobi showed that the Security Council was aware of the suffering of the people of the Sudan and wanted to address the issue speedily.

    The President of Uganda and Chair of IGAD, YOWERI MUSEVENI, introduced the work of IGAD by stating that, wherever there was chaos, four factors were usually present: parasitic vested interests; superficiality or procrastination in identifying those interests and effects on a country; weak or disoriented packages; and the pre-industrial nature of societies. To remedy that, he said the following steps needed to be taken:  the citizens of a country should try to sort out their problems first; if the citizens could not, then the region should come in, i.e., the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD); Southern African Development Community (SADC); Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); and the African Union should bless the process. Only after all that should the United Nations be called in. Three key issues were also relevant:  “knowledge”; stakeholders’ interests; and international solidarity.

    He added that the leaders of the Sudan had long refused to listen to the advice of the region. The Sudan was where several groups of Africans meet -- all are African, but very different. The issue had not been dealt with over the last 50 years. He said the six protocols, in his opinion, comprised a reasonable package to bring peace to the Sudan and must be implemented. He appealed to the parties to resolve the remaining issues without delay.  Dealing with southern Sudan is part of dealing with Darfur.

    He noted that Somalia now had a transitional government and that should be backed by everyone.  The IGAD was helped by Kenya to broker that arrangement. He said that African troops with outside financial and logistical resources were required. He concluded that, for peace to prevail, there was a need for:  negotiations; agreement; implementation; and guarantees.

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