I thank President Mbeki and Special Representative Menkerios for their briefings. As the representatives of the Sudan and Southern Sudan said, the agreement reached in Addis Ababa on Abyei is a major step forward towards bringing to an end the crisis that has prevailed in the region since Abyei was occupied by the Sudanese
Armed Forces on 21 May. This is good news.
I welcome the commitment of Ethiopia, and in particular of Prime Minister Zenawi, which offers a solution to the crisis by allowing for the deployment of Ethiopian soldiers. It is now up to the parties, in coordination with the Security Council, to see that the agreement just reached is implemented. I welcome the fact that the United States has announced its intention to submit a draft resolution allowing for the deployment of Ethiopian soldiers.
As we speak, the Abyei area remains occupied. Armed militias continue to pillage the meagre resources of the local people, who have fled the fighting. The personnel of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) are subject to acts of intimidation, be it from repeated fire from heavy artillery close to UNMIS positions or other obstacles to their freedom of movement.
The reports we are receiving from Southern Kordofan paint a picture of a situation of war. The fighting that has been ongoing since 5 June between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in the Kadugli area has led to the displacement of more than 60,000 civilians. The humanitarian situation is deteriorating, and humanitarian personnel have no access to the population owing to the restrictions that have been imposed.
France calls urgently on the parties to negotiate a ceasefire, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and return to dialogue to ensure the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and allow for the fair representation of all the minorities of Southern Kordofan.
It is also crucial that the United Nations Mission currently in place in the region carry out its mandate to protect civilians, under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. Thousands of civilians are currently seeking refuge with the United Nations, especially in Kadugli. It is our duty to use the necessary means to protect them. If we can draw a lesson from the violence in Abyei and Southern Kordofan, it is that the peace achieved under the CPA is both precious and fragile. UNMIS has supported the parties in maintaining peace in Sudan since 2005. Today, it seems clear that the presence of the United Nations remains justified as long as all of the aspects of the peace agreement have not been implemented and the tensions in the border areas have not been resolved. We therefore call on the parties in the Sudan to recognize the value of the United Nations presence and to engage in dialogue on possible mechanisms for the period beyond 9 July to ensure support for peacekeeping and thus to foster peace and prosperity in the region. The special report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/314) on this issue is, in our view, a reference document which can contribute to efforts to avoid a return to violence, which would have tragic consequences for both parties.