9 February 2005

Press Statement on Sudan by Security Council President

NEW YORK, 8 February (UN Headquarters) -- Following is today’s press statement by Joël W. Adechi (Benin), President of the Security Council:

NEW YORK, 8 February (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council is holding discussions on the situation in Sudan with a view to addressing some pending issues such as the establishment of a United Nations Peacekeeping operation to implement the Naivasha Agreement, the development of the relationship with African Union mission in Darfur, the full implementation of the obligations of the parties involved in conflict in Darfur and the follow-up of the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on the grave violations of international humanitarian law committed in Darfur. 

While doing so, the Secretary-General suggested, and the Council agreed, to invite Vice-President Taha of the Republic of Sudan and Dr. John Garang, Leader of the SPLM/A, to come to New York to allow for a thorough discussion.

The Council took this opportunity to renew to the parties its readiness to establish under Chapter VI a full fledged peacekeeping operation in order to support the implementation of the January 9 North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  The Council is fully committed to taking appropriate measures which could encourage and enable the International Community to do its part in supporting and consolidating the peace process.  We also stressed the need for a national ownership in the implementation of the peace agreement.

The Council expects the donors’ conference, to be held in Oslo, will also help mobilize resources for reconstruction and development assistance, so as to ensure that the dividends of peace reach all the people in Sudan and to promote national reconciliation.

The Council remains gravely concerned by the dire situation prevailing in Darfur. The Council calls upon the parties to do their utmost to bring the conflict in Darfur to an end as quickly as possible through a sustainable political settlement, including the rapid agreement to a Declaration of Principles in the framework of the Abuja peace talks.  

The Council expressed its concern with, and condemnation of, the continuing ceasefire violations and acts of violence in Darfur, especially those reported in these last weeks.  The Security Council emphasizes the commitments made by the parties in the April 8 N’Djamena Ceasefire Agreement and the November 9 Abuja Protocols and calls on the parties to respect them fully. 

The Council also deplored the continuing attacks on civilians, the targeting of humanitarian workers and the reported attacks on African Union observers.  It urges the Sudanese authorities at all levels and all the rebels to fully comply with the demands set forth in its resolutions 1556, 1564 and 1574.

Security Council members condemned the serious crimes under international law which had been committed in Darfur, as described in the International Commission of Inquiry, and stressed their determination to tackle impunity and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. 

At the same time, the Council is considering, as part of a comprehensive peacekeeping operation in support of a peace process, ways and means to increase the number of human rights monitors in Darfur, in full cooperation with the African Union mission. 

The Council fully endorses the constructive and crucial role the African Union is playing in Darfur, through its military protection and observer mission on the ground.  The UN mission under consideration should reinforce this important role the African Union is playing in Darfur.  The Council also encourages international donors further to support the African Union endeavours as appropriate.

The Council calls on all parties to cooperate fully with the African Union mission and to ensure its freedom of movement and safety in all areas of Darfur. 

In the absence of progress on the ground and in the political process the situation in Darfur can only further deteriorate, and put at great risk the future of the whole country.  The Council encourages Vice-President Taha and Dr. Garang to use their leverage in Darfur to ensure speedy progress in the Abuja talks. 

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