I would like to thank Special Representative of the Secretary- General Haile Menkerios for his briefing and his outstanding work at the head of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS). I also thank President Mbeki and President Mkapa for their decisive work alongside UNMIS in the past few months. I should also like to thank Mr. Deng Alor Kuol and Mr. Osman, the representative of the Sudan, for their statements. I also welcome the commitment shown by the two parties throughout the referendum process. Finally, on behalf of the French authorities, I congratulate the people of Southern Sudan on the maturity they have shown on this historic occasion.
The immediate recognition by the parties of the official results announced Monday by the Southern, Sudan Referendum Commission shows the significant progress that has been achieved since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005.
The authorities in Khartoum and Juba have chosen the path of peaceful cooperation to achieve a successful conclusion to the referendum and acceptance of its results. We welcome this common will to overcome the past.
However, as previous speakers have said, much remains to be done before the end of the interim period in July. First of all, a solution must be found to the issue of Abyei. A temporary agreement has allowed for the cessation of violence between the parties. A lasting solution must be found in order to determine once and for all the status of the province and the terms on which the populations there can coexist. We would request that the two parties find a solution before March, as they agreed at the presidential level on 27 January.
In addition, the pending post-referendum questions must be resolved. The future of the relationship between the North and the South depends on a common understanding of the border demarcation and of issues of security, citizenship and wealth sharing. As the clashes last week in the Upper Nile region have shown, a solution must be found for the Southern forces that are there as part of the Sudanese Army, as well as for the Northern forces in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army stationed in Blue Nile and Kordofan. We encourage the continued mediation by the Mbeki Panel on these subjects and call on the parties to spare no effort and make the necessary concessions to allow for the establishment of a lasting peace.
For its part, the United Nations will now start the important task of adapting its presence and work, with the participation of the Sudan, in two distinct countries. A new mission will have to be re-established in Southern Sudan in order to carry out the task of peacebuilding there. Its mandate will have to take into account the decisive role that the United Nations team established in Juba will be called to play in coordination with bilateral donors.
In North Sudan, retaining a cell from UNMIS would be a valuable step to take in terms of providing follow-up to the implementation of post-referendum issues and supporting the final stages of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, that is, the conclusion of the popular polls in the Blue Nile, where they have begun, and in Southern Kordofan, where they have not yet been organized. This would provide support to the two new neighbours in the early stages of their bilateral relations. We are at the Secretariat’s disposal in terms of contributing to the consideration under way on the reconfiguration of the United Nations presence in the North and the South.
While we welcome the successful holding of the referendum, we cannot ignore the current deterioration in the situation in Darfur. The number of displaced persons has increased. Humanitarian access is not always possible. We are therefore left to wonder whether some have not indeed chosen the military option. We know that this is not a viable option. The Sudanese Armed Forces and the rebel groups must reach a ceasefire with delay, followed by a lasting peace agreement.
The developments we have seen in recent weeks in the context of the Doha negotiations are encouraging. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army, headed by Abdul Wahid al-Nur, must, from now on and without delay or preconditions, join the talks, as have the Liberation and Justice Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement.
We also support the efforts undertaken by the African Union for peace in Darfur. As highlighted recently by the solemn declaration made by the heads of State and Government of the African Union on the Sudan, a political process in Darfur will be able to complement the efforts in Doha once those efforts have created an environment that allows for such talks to be held.
We also continue to support the African Union- United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur and firmly condemn the hindrances it faces. The mission must redouble its efforts to protect civilians, as required by its mandate. Progress must still be made in this respect. I would like to conclude by recalling that there can be no peace without justice in Darfur.