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USUN Press Release

New York, New York
April 16, 2007

Remarks on Sudan by Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff, Acting U.S. Permanent Representative, outside of the informal meeting between members of the Security Council and AU Chairman Konare

Ambassador Wolff: (Are these working? Good.) We've had a good session; it's still underway. There's a common sense of purpose shared by all of the speakers, including the AU and the Security Council members, of the urgency for movement and the need for vigilance. This has been going on far too long. The timetables before us are very tight; indeed, in some cases, they slip to the point where timelines that we had expected and put in place last year have already slipped. The AU mandated force expires in just about 75 days. We understand that the Sudanese authorities have agreed to the Heavy Support Package. We will wait and see if that's the case and how we can implement it. And again, everyone understands that this is a transitional phase en route to the deployment of a hybrid force, a UN/AU hybrid force, as soon as possible.

Reporter: Ambassador, the U.S. and Britain had indicated that they would delay any actions on sanctions until Konare came to New York. Now that there's this announcement, this agreement, will you now put off, for the short term, a decision to introduce a sanctions resolution on Sudan?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, we have other elements in play. As you know, Deputy Secretary Negroponte has just visited Khartoum and so he will be reporting back and we will be making our decisions accordingly.

Reporter: … But is he…on sanctions?

Ambassador Wolff: There's been no decision.

Reporter: Is it the information from what you get from Deputy Secretary Negroponte that this has actually been agreed to and that this is going to happen, this second phase?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, like I say, we have been down this path before, including here with the UN and envoys, including the Secretary-General, so we will see if it happens when it happens, and before it happens, it's impossible to know.

Reporter: What are you hearing on the hybrid peacekeeping force? Are you hearing that also - we are getting word out of Khartoum that the Sudanese Government have agreed to that as well, to the hybrid force as well as Stage Three. From your discussions inside, does it look like B leads to C? There is no further obstacles?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, there is certainly no doubt among Council members, or for that matter among all the AU representatives here or the special envoys, that the hybrid force is the natural follow-on phase to the light support package and now the heavy support package. The Heavy Support Package that was agreed to, as we understand it - again, we will wait and see if it gets implemented - is a transitional contribution to allow that hybrid force to get in to place, so it is the natural and next step.

Reporter: These 3,000 UN personnel that will be going as part of Stage 2, Part B, they are UN personnel? They are going to wear U.N. uniforms, U.N.-marked vehicles?

Ambassador Wolff : Well, what I understand is that there's still a need for some AU forces to deploy for security reasons. That's what we understood from Chairperson Konare and Commander D'Jinnit. So again, we'll wait and see exactly what the force looks like. But again, I underscore that all of this is in preparation for a hybrid force. That's what the game is about.

Reporter: There needs to be some financing from the Security Council for this, what stage are we at as far as financing goes?

Ambassador Wolff: Well we urged the Presidency of the Council to send a letter to authorize financing for the Heavy Support Package as soon as possible, of course financing is required for a UN operation

Reporter: Is the U.S. giving money for this?

Ambassador Wolff: We will be assessed; I don't have numbers for this.

Reporter: Did the Sudanese impose any conditions of the nationalities of the pilots for the helicopters?

Ambassador Wolff: Like I said, we only have statement transmitted by the Sudanese mission here to the Secretary-General that they agreed to the needed implementation of the Heavy Support Package. We'll see whether there are any conditions. As I say, we all need to be vigilant, that is understood and agreed by every person in council, Chairperson Konare mentioned it himself. He is pleased he received response but we need to test it.

Reporter: Can you provide a readout of your understanding of what John Negroponte got in the visit to Khartoum, whether any assurances, whether his visit played any role in the decision by the Khartoum Government to agree to the heavy support package?

Ambassador Wolff: I don't have a readout yet from the Deputy Secretary's visit, he is still in the region. We can only speculate on what prompted the latest letter or the sense of compliance with positions that the Sudanese authority told us repeatedly over many, many months. Is this the time really going to work? We hope so. If that's the case is it because we had a flurry of diplomatic activity? Is it because they fear additional measures coming down the road? It is impossible to know. Thank you.

Reporter: How do you make sure this is not another delaying tactic?

Ambassador Wolff: Like I say, the test is going to be the implementation. I think I sense general frustration among council members that every time there is an indication that something has been agreed to, and then condition are set up, and delays imposed, that frustration level rises and tolerance for that diminishes, and people are starting to consider the need for other measures.

Thank you very much.


Released on April 17, 2007

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