Press Releases

                                                                                                                     8 June 2004

    Sudan Peace Process Has Entered Crucial, Decisive Phase, Secretary-General Tells Nairobi Ceremony

    NEW YORK, 7 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, delivered by Mohamed Sahnoun, his Special Adviser, to the ceremony marking the formal launch of the final phase of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Peace Process on the Sudan, in Nairobi on 5 June:

    It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to all who have gathered in Nairobi to launch the final phase of efforts to bring peace to southern Sudan.

    I would like to commend the First Vice-President of the Sudan, Mr. Ali Osman Taha, and the Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), Dr. John Garang, for their statesmanship in bringing the peace process to its current point. I would also like to express appreciation to the many governments that have supported the process, including the Government of Kenya, and to President Mwai Kibaki, Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediator, Lt.-Gen. Lazarus Sumbeiywo, who have guided the talks with enormous skill.

    The Sudan peace process has now entered a crucial and decisive phase. With the initialling of protocols on the key issues of power sharing and the three conflict areas, following earlier agreements on security arrangements and wealth sharing, the parties have completed negotiations on all issues of principle and substance. Negotiators must now agree on the ceasefire arrangements, international guarantees, and other modalities of implementation that would produce, at long last, a comprehensive peace agreement. The United Nations stands ready to contribute directly to this final phase of talks, which will also define the scope of the UN’s own involvement during implementation of the peace agreement.

    Sudan has been engulfed in civil conflict for all but 11 of its 48 years since independence. Generations of Sudanese men, women and children have known nothing but the destruction, displacement and death inflicted by perennial war. The country’s problems have also spilled into neighbouring countries, and brought misery and insecurity to the entire region. That makes it all the more important that the peace process is being carried out under the mediation of a regional organization.

    In an immense country with limited infrastructure and deep impoverishment, implementation of a peace agreement will present truly daunting challenges.

    Moreover, even as important progress is made in the IGAD process, the crisis in Darfur continues to cause appalling suffering that demands a concerted international response.

    I urge everyone present in Nairobi for this meeting to sustain the political will that has brought us this far. The United Nations, for its part, will continue to be your close partner in that effort. Indeed, the Security Council is preparing to reaffirm its support for the Sudan peace process, and I will be sending an advance team to be on hand at your resumed negotiations, ready to assist. Let us, together, do everything in our power to bring this prolonged national nightmare to an end.

    Please accept my best wishes for success.

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