Posted by: africanpressorganization | 19 August 2008

Sudan / United Nations / Summary of SRSG Ashraf Qazi Briefing to the Security Council 18 August 2008


Sudan / United Nations / Summary of SRSG Ashraf Qazi Briefing to the Security Council 18 August 2008


NEW YORK, USA, August 19, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), though behind schedule, remains on track. The level of mutual cooperation between the two CPA partners has shown some signs of improvement. Nevertheless, the foundation for a durable peace remains fragile.(…)The peace process has crossed the half way mark and a number of critical benchmarks are either fast approaching or have passed. While the working relationship between the two partners is relatively cordial, the lack of mutual trust and confidence remains a significant obstacle to the goals of ‘making unity attractive’ and a peaceful implementation of the CPA. Building on some recent positive developments will accordingly be an urgent priority for UNMIS.

The figures for redeployment remain largely unchanged. 97% of SAF troops verified by UNMIS and accepted by the Ceasefire Joint Monitoring Commission (CJMC) have redeployed north of the current border line. SPLA verified and accepted redeployment stands at 10% of the initial stated figures of 59,168 troops. The low percentage of SPLA forces redeployed from Southern Kordofan and its renewed presence in Blue Nile State remains a source of tension between the two parties.

Enumeration process in the National Census has been completed and the results are expected in early 2009. However, disagreement over the final results, if any, would impact critical CPA processes like the elections, wealth and power sharing. The electoral law has been passed and the parties are now engaged in finalizing nominations for the National Election Commission (NEC). (…) The parties are aware of our offer of assistance and may be requesting it in the coming weeks. If things proceed accordingly, elections can still take place by the end of 2009.

Significant progress has been made regarding DDR benchmarks. National DDR Coordination Council has endorsed the National Reintegration Policy and on 25 June 2008 Agreement was reached on the content and modalities of the multi-year reintegration component of the DDR program, which will require donor contributions of $430 million over four years. (…) I encourage the parties to make further progress on joint operational plans and funding for reintegration programs.

The UN continues to exert significant effort on the humanitarian and development front. It is estimated that 153,638 returned in 2008 of which 58% were organized. The clear challenge with respect to returning populations is to ensure that over and above the basic services provided as immediate humanitarian aid, development assistance is available in the communities where they are returning (…) In this context, I am pleased to announce that the Southern Sudan Recovery Fund was successfully launched at the Sudan Consortium in Oslo in May 2008. (…) Humanitarian needs continue to be addressed as part of UNMIS mandate. Of significance were the 50,000 displacements from Abyei and an additional 25,000 affected people moved to Agok and outlying areas while close to 5,000 moved to Muglad. Rapid deployment of UN Humanitarian Agencies resulted in immediate provision of humanitarian assistance. With elements of the Abyei road map in place, it is envisaged that people will start returning to Abyei. However, a major concern of the displaced people is to avoid disrupting the education of their children. It may be likely that the bulk of returns take place in December at the end of the current school semester. The UN family is prepared to assist with immediate and long term recovery needs.

Progress on delineation and demarcation of the 1-1-56 border is critical for the peaceful implementation of the CPA. I urge the parties to ensure an expedited submission of the report to the Presidency so that the delineation and demarcation process can move forward. We are ready, if requested by both sides, to assist them in the resolution of outstanding issues.

With regard to the role of UNMIS vis a vis the recent Abyei crisis it needs to be appreciated where the primary responsibility for the violence, escalation, looting, arson, death and displacement lay.The two sides and their respective armies bore primary and indeed exclusive responsibility for what happened in Abyei (…) This is not to suggest that UNMIS regards itself beyond criticism. Far from it. Complacency and a refusal to draw lessons from the experience of such crises would contradict the obligation of the Mission to constantly seek ways and means to improve its own performance.(…) The exodus of most of the population before the main escalation of the fighting was in a way fortunate. It averted the possibility of a real blood bath among the residents of Abyei. According to estimates so far there were 89 fatalities including 18 civilians. These are still far too many. But given the scale of hostilities between both sides and their inability or unwillingness to implement measures already agreed upon, there was little UNMIS could do to prevent this loss of life. (…) The impression that UNMIS did nothing while Abyei was burned and looted is wrong. When two regular armies fight each other with tanks, multi barrel rocket launchers, artillery and heavy machine guns then, irrespective of the specific numbers of peacekeepers assigned to Abyei, there is no way they can actively intervene to suppress the fighting. Moreover, UNMIS has no such mandate. Nor do its Rules of Engagement allow the use of lethal force to protect civilian property. (…) Nevertheless, the Abyei events do indicate the need for urgent discussions on the critical issue of incorporating Chapter VII provisions in a Chapter VI mandate and the expectations it generates vis a vis the capabilities given to the Mission. In this regard, I commend the report titled ‘Security Council Action Under Chapter VII: Myths and reality’ and released on 23 June 2008 that highlights this dilemma that is faced by peacekeepers all over the world.(…) The issue of ‘responsibility to protect civilians under imminent danger’ precludes law enforcement activities such as protection of civilian property. Nevertheless it does create expectations of an international commitment to provide a broad range of protection and enforcement measures. I urge the Council to initiate a debate on such issues so that clear guidelines on the subject could emerge which can be translated into realistic Rules of Engagement for peacekeepers equipped with the requisite capability.

The above discussions should not, however, distract us from the fact that there has been significant progress on Abyei. In line with the four point agreement signed by the parties, redeployment of SAF and SPLA out of the area is almost complete. We are encouraging both parties to redeploy remaining elements as a matter of priority. Training of JIU and JIPU is underway and the units will deploy in the area soon.Very importantly, the parties have finally agreed on an interim administration for Abyei which should be able to provide basic services to the returning civilian population. An assistance plan is in place which will be submitted to the interim administration for approval. The donor community is expected to be generous in contributing to the Abyei Reconstruction Fund.

It is not possible to discuss the current situation in Sudan outside the context of the action taken by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the reaction of the Sudanese government to this development.

I have conveyed to the Government that the ICC is an independent institution and that UNMIS will continue to implement of its mandate in Sudan. The Government has termed the ICC action as political and not a legal. But it has acknowledged the distinction between the ICC and the mandate of the two peacekeeping Missions in Sudan. However, the Government has conveyed to me that the issuance of an arrest warrant against President Bashir could have serious consequences for UN staff and infrastructure in Sudan (…)

A successful implementation of the CPA brightens the prospects for peace in Darfur. I say this because the perception that an over focus on Darfur has diverted attention from the need to provide a peace dividend through the implementation of the CPA is real, especially amongst the Southern Sudanese. We have to change this perception through an emphatic and tangible recognition of the centrality of the CPA (…) Ultimate success, however, will require the parties to realize that peace can only be consolidated through the full implementation of the Abyei Roadmap and the successful demarcation of the 1-1-56 border. For longer term peaceful coexistence and prosperity it will also be imperative, irrespective of the outcome of the referendum, for the two sides to prepare the ground for longer term economic cooperation. [End of the summary]





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