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

Remarks on Vote on UN Resolution 1574 on the Situation in Sudan

Ambassador John C. Danforth, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks at a meeting of the Security Council in Nairobi
Nairobi, Kenya
November 19, 2004

First I would like to thank the United Nations for hosting and organizing this historic meeting of the Security Council. I thank President Kibaki and the government of Kenya for their support and hospitality — not just over the past two days, but throughout the peace process. And I want to acknowledge the important contributions of President Museveni, as Chairman of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, and the continuing heroic efforts of General Sumbeiywo. I thank all of the speakers who have contributed to this event.

I have stated that this is an historic meeting. Because it is only the fourth meeting of the Council outside New York since 1952, it is in some sense historic almost by definition. But the only real measure of the success of this occasion, the only measure of whether this proves to be a truly significant event, rests with the parties to the conflict in Sudan.

Yes, we passed a resolution – the fourth one on Sudan this year. And yes, the parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding. But some will say – some are already saying—oh, just another resolution. And, oh, the MOU is just an agreement to agree to peace sometime down the road. Some will say that this whole event is just a photo opportunity. Some will say we had two beautiful days in Nairobi -- filled with grand words -- but that the event was an illusion. In the meantime, people are dying in Sudan -- women and children are suffering -- and the atrocities in Darfur continue.

We came here — not for a ceremony, not for a photo op — but for results. The Secretary General and his staff came here to emphasize the critical juncture that the parties have reached in the peace process. Ambassador de la Sabliere accommodated this trip around his own very important African mission. From a personal perspective, this is my eighth trip to Africa since 2001 on issues related to Sudan. The entire Security Council flew here together, unified in its desire to see peace in all of Sudan -- now.

Vice President Taha, Dr. Garang, I listened to your words to the Council and I believe that you are in fact determined to conclude a comprehensive peace by December 31 as you have promised the world you will do. It is up to you to prove the naysayers and skeptics wrong, and to move your country forward toward joining the family of nations. As this meeting attests, the attention of the world is upon you. The United Nations and all the nations of the world expect – demand — that you deliver on your word.

That means that there must be a peace agreement in place by December 31. Implementation must begin on January 1. General Sumbeiywo has agreed to come to New York early next year to brief the Council on early stages of implementation. The process of turning Sudan into a prosperous nation at peace with itself and its neighbors must move forward immediately. Sudan must become a nation that respects human rights, and that replaces violence with political dialogue. This process must proceed with dispatch -- without posturing, without grandstanding, without empty words.

I ask everyone here today to think what could be. Imagine Sudan starting the first day of 2005 and evolving through the six-year interim period covered by the agreement. Picture a government of national unity and reconciliation, with renewed political and economic ties to other nations and a stable Darfur. At that point, donor nations would provide the economic horsepower to drive development. And there would be a nationwide infrastructure of security, stability and justice.

And that brings me to Darfur — where chaos and cruelty remain the order of the day. As political institutions are established nationwide, as security is established across the country, the process of bringing justice to the oppressed people of Darfur must continue. But I want to be very clear: The violence and atrocities being perpetrated in Darfur must end now. You have heard this message clearly from the Security Council – heed it. I cannot emphasize this point more strongly.

When the North-South agreement is in place, the flow of support for all of Sudan will increase on the understanding that the parties are fulfilling all their commitments, including those agreed in Abuja and N’djamena. Peace support operations will also take place across the country — including in the West. Working alongside the parties, and with the continuing and vital leadership of the African Union and IGAD, we can use the conclusion of the North-South peace process as a springboard to end the suffering in Darfur.

But this picture, this vision, this dream of peace in Sudan hinges on the parties meeting their commitment to sign a peace agreement by December 31, 2004. We are very, very close to peace; but we have been close before. Vice President Taha, Dr. Garang: do not let this opportunity slip away. Follow through with your promises; prove that you are people of your word; and allow yourselves the tremendous satisfaction of knowing that you have taken the first steps to reversing the abuses, and ending the suffering that has plagued your country for so long.

Then and only then will the parties be able to look back on their commitments made here today in Nairobi as the turning of a new and great page in the once-troubled history of Sudan.


Released on November 19, 2004

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