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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of African Affairs > Releases > Remarks > 2004: African Affairs Remarks

Remarks on Situation in Sudan

Ambassador John C. Danforth, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks following a meeting of the Security Council in Nairobi
Nairobi, Kenya
November 18, 2004

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: An encouraging first morning of our meeting. It's clear that with respect to the North-South peace talks, the parties are very close to an agreement and they have, in fact, indicated that they will sign a memorandum of understanding tomorrow, committing themselves to completing their peace agreement and signing a peace agreement by the end of this year. So that is very, very good news. They are down to just a few points, really, one that was emphasized today, and that is who pays for that part of the SPLA that will not be integrated into the government of Sudan's military. So that really, in my view, is almost a math problem. It's one that can be resolved, so we are looking forward to a peace agreement. We believe that this will be beneficial for all the people of Sudan, including the people of Darfur.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: No, they've agreed to sign by December 31st. There is a date.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: No, this is not -- there is nothing threatening about it. A lot of people have asked whether the fact that we are here in Nairobi and concentrating on the North-South agreement indicates any less attention on the problem in Darfur and that is clearly not the case. The resolution that we'll adopt tomorrow is very specifically about Darfur. We've already passed two resolutions on that issue, so that so-called 'stick approach' is still there, but in addition to that, what we want to do is point out that the international community is going to be there for Sudan in the long run, that the international community will be there in the form of monitors, in the form of development assistance and that we're not going to just watch the signing of an agreement and then cross that off the to do list. We're very, very interested in the future and the stability of this country.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Sorry? No, it doesn't impose -- no, it's -- we've already passed two resolutions and of course that's noted. This is essentially a moving-forward resolution: what's going to be the future and what's going to be the future of international engagement. It's balanced, so that obviously Darfur is important, but as the speakers just said today, including the Secretary General, including President Museveni, the future of Darfur is also related to the future of the whole country, and that's why we're here.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: I am. I am reasonably sure that it will be signed tomorrow by both sides, yes. I can't talk about any dollar figure. But there is a clear interest on the part of a lot of countries in the future of Sudan and being a participant and providing development assistance and we're going to hear tomorrow from Norway, which is planning a donors conference for Sudan. So it would be a much better situation, that's for sure, if they reach the peace agreement.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: No. You know, there's no way that the Security Council or any outside country or group of countries can bring peace to another country. Whether there is going to be a peace agreement, whether there is going to be real success for the future of Sudan depends ultimately on the parties to this conflict and they are wanting to wind it up. They've been now in peace talks for at least the three years that I have been involved in this and it's up to them. What we are trying to show is that, if they move toward peace, it will be very positive with respect to the response of the rest of the world.

QUESTION: The previous resolution mentions that sanctions will be imposed if the government fails to bring in the Janjaweed. (inaudible) The Secretary General has told the council that this has not happened, so why (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: I just don't agree that anything has been watered down. That's simply not the case. There is a continuing interest in Darfur and the future of Darfur and great concern about Darfur. Obviously, with respect to the positive participation of the international community in Sudan, that depends on peace throughout the country, including Darfur, so there is no less concern at all about Darfur.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: This is, there is-- that's Abuja. That is not this. This is not the appropriate place for that.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Well, I think that we are doing that in the resolution that we are about to adopt and we've done it in past resolutions, also. We take this very seriously and the intention of the Security Council is to try to do our best to help resolve a problem, which is a very real problem. How should that be done? Well, first of all, we think that peace throughout the country - the North-South peace agreement - is related to the future of Darfur. Second, clearly the participation of the African Union in Darfur, the deployment of African Union troops in Darfur and the assistance of those troops logistically is very important. When you think about practical steps that can be done, going forward to try to help resolve a very terrible problem, those, I think, are the most important steps we can take.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: I think that there are two things that are important. One is humanitarian assistance, and making sure that the humanitarian assistance is there, making sure that the international community fulfills its commitments with respect to humanitarian assistance, making sure that any roadblocks that crop up are cleared, that is very important for immediate help. The second, the sooner the African Union can be present in Darfur in the greater numbers, the better off the people are going to be.

USUN PRESS RELEASE # 251 (04)


Released on November 18, 2004

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