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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2006 > February
Press Availability
Office of the Spokesman
Treaty Room
February 1, 2006


Remarks by Deputy Secretary Zoellick and Sudanese Minister Rebecca Garang

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(1:05 p.m. EST)

Deputy Secretary Zoellick with Rebecca Garang, Minister of Roads and Transport of the New National Unity Government of the Republic of Sudan speak to the press after their meeting February 1, 2006 at the U.S. Department of State . [State Department photo]DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I want to thank all of you for joining us and I wanted to say a few words before asking Minister Garang to comment. I'm very, very pleased that she and her delegation could come to the United States. A few months ago, Salva Kiir, who serves as the President of the Government of Southern Sudan and also Vice President, First Vice President, of the Government of National Unity, had an opportunity to visit the United States. After that, I had a chance to visit a number of places in Sudan, including Juba, where I had a chance to talk to Minister Garang again. As you may know, she serves as the Minister of Transport for the Government of Southern Sudan. And at that time, I invited her to come to Washington because I thought it would be good to have an opportunity to not only talk to people within the Administration but also Congress and others, and so I'm very pleased that she could accept that invitation and she's here for a week or two -- because you're also going out to Iowa, where Minister Garang lived with the late Dr. John Garang.

And so she just arrived yesterday and this is our first sort of meeting in the process and we had a chance to talk about a range of issues. First, we focused on the Government of Southern Sudan, where the Minister is part of the cabinet, and we talked about the importance of the reconstruction and the building process, including in the area of roads, which the Minister and I have focused on the time when we were in Juba and on this visit, because a lot of the growth possibilities for people in the South will be for selling their produce to the South. I had a chance to talk about this with the Foreign Minister of Uganda this week as well, and that raises others issues in security terms, for example, dealing with the Lords Resistance Army and some of those issues.

We also talked about the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, the peace agreement between North and South ending the 21-year conflict, and the need for the follow-through on the terms, including a number of the commissions that have been set up. We focused in particular on the need for the transparent distribution of some of the oil revenues that come in.

And then we also talked about Darfur and the challenges there, which we've been working not only in humanitarian terms but in close contact with the African Union mission and the African Union political process about moving the AMIS peacekeeping mission to a blue-hatted UN operation, which in concert with the African Union and the European Union we hope to do during the month of February when the United States is chair of the UN Security Council.

And we also talked about the Abuja peace process. My colleague, Roger Winter, is in Abuja right now because while we need to strengthen the security, ultimately we have to reach a peace resolution between the rebel groups and the Government of National Unity, and of course the SPLM can play a role in that as well.

So we covered a wide range of discussions dealing with the development in the South, the CPA process, also issues in Darfur. And Minister Garang, I know, will have an opportunity to follow up with my colleague, Jendayi Frazer, on some of this and she'll have a number of meetings over the course of the next week and we may get back together after that, too. I have a quick trip overseas myself.

So I want to thank her and thank her delegation for coming. I know she's very busy with her work in the South, but I think it's really important for us to hear firsthand from Minister Garang and I just want to thank her for coming.

Deputy Secretary Zoellick talks with Rebecca Garang, Minister of Roads and Transport of the New National Unity Government of the Republic of Sudan on February 1, 2006 at the U.S. Department of State. [State Department photo]MINISTER GARANG: Thank you very much. I'm very glad to be here with my delegation. I am here to follow up on the visit of my President who was here and also on the invitation which was given to me by the Ambassador Zoellick to come at least to, as they say, to hear from horse's mouth and also to brief the American public about what is going on in Sudan and what is going on with the CPA and what is going on in Darfur. These were the issues that we were discussing because the problem of the CPA, the implementation of the CPA, and the problem of Darfur are not in isolation to one another. I think they are one and the same. So we talk about that question of Darfur, the humanitarian part of it, connection of problem of the region, especially Chad and Darfur.

Also we talk about the development and I'm Minister of Transport and Road. And my husband used to say that Southern Sudan has never seen a tarmac road since creation. Ambassador was there and is my witness. My sister, Jendayi Frazer was there and she has seen from a small part when she was leaving from the airport to a place where she met us. She didn't spend the night there to bother to look for a hotel. There is no hotel in Southern Sudan. So the development in Southern Sudan is very vital, and I'm part and parcel of that. And I want to see entry because I live here in America, I travel here in America. I live in Iowa for four years with my husband. I travel to Michigan, I travel to Pennsylvania, to New Jersey, to Canada, using a small car with my husband. We sleep wherever we wanted to sleep, but in Southern Sudan you can't dream of that. You would be thinking about a lot of things. A distance of 50 kilometers will take you maybe two days to reach there, and if you spend the night on the way the mosquitoes are there, the snake and all these things. Why are we like that in 21st century?

And this is why I took over this Ministry and you know this Ministry is always male-dominated ministry. I wanted to take it over and I wanted to do it. I'm appealing here to the people of United States of America to support us. If you support the CPA, you will be supporting Darfur. You will be supporting the people of Darfur because the people of Darfur will know that when the peace is achieved there is peace dividend. If there's nothing there done in Southern Sudan, people of Darfur will not know what is the usefulness of the peace, what has been brought by peace. So it's very important I came here to talk about Darfur. We even went further to talk about the region because you must also know your neighbors. We wanted the peace at our neighbors and the peace at our neighbors is our peace. So the peace in Chad, the peace in Kenya, the peace in Uganda, the peace in Ethiopia and Eritrea, is our peace. It's the same thing, they say, on the other side.

So these are the issues we discussed and I told Ambassador that I came with a basket. I wanted to come and collect the Oslo pledges. That's one of the mission that I came. And I left the basket in the room here. I'll come and collect it tomorrow. Thank you.

Deputy Secretary Zoellick with Rebecca Garang, Minister of Roads and Transport of the New National Unity Government of the Republic of Sudan after their meeting February 1, 2006 at the U.S. Department of State . [State Department photo]QUESTION: Peter Mackler from Agence France Presse. Deputy and Minister, can you give us an update on the prospects for forming this international force for Darfur? Are the prospects for using NATO and will the U.S. be involved both in terms of troops and resources? And Minister, how does Sudan feel about having foreign troops replacing or augmenting the AU mission?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, as for your question to me, you have an international force now through the African Union mission which is about 7,000 personnel, and I want to say, having been to Darfur, I think four times, and having the troops in many different locations, I have a great respect for the efforts they've made and we've, frankly, tried to strengthen them. We worked with the Canadians to bring in armored personnel carriers and add to their capabilities and we're allocating about roughly $10 million a month to help provide a lot of the supplies for that.

But as Jendayi Frazer can tell you, at a recent meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union there was a recognition that they probably won't be able to get much beyond the 7,000 personnel and they probably need more personnel. So we are following up with the African Union, the European Union and others to try to see whether we can give additional support to the AMIS mission now but also to transition it to a UN peacekeeping mission. And you've seen Kofi Annan make his point in endorsement and indeed sort of encouragement of this.

Now, there's a lot of activities that have to be done in that and have to work out the terms of the mission, the size of the mission. That's what we're working with a number of countries right now to try to push forward in the UN process. But at the same time, as you referred, there are things we can do to further enhance the AMIS mission, which is doing tough work on the ground. You mentioned the NATO element. Secretary Rice and I have worked with NATO from the start of the year to try to help with some planning and logistics capabilities, they helped with the transport capabilities to bring some of those African Union forces in, and we're having additional discussions with NATO countries to see what additional logistics and planning capabilities and transport can be brought to bear to strengthen those forces and help in the overall transition process.

You asked about the U.S. involvement. The U.S. has been involved in the transport and we have some people there who are both military observers and some who are planners, along with some of the other NATO forces. And so the next stage will be to try to map out the appropriate UN peacekeeping mission as part of this.

I do want to underscore though that when we look at the challenges in Darfur there's the humanitarian need, where we've been putting rather significant resources, but I want to compliment the work of many of the NGOs from the international community who are putting their lives at risk to help take care of people; then there's the security aspect, which AMIS and then, I hope, the UN peacekeeping force will take care of; but we also need to focus on this peace negotiation. The late Dr. John Garang did a critical job in terms of achieving the North-South agreement and we need to follow through on the implementation where we need to get the rebels and the Government of National Unity with the African Union mediation process to try to reach a solution. And we've been pushing hard on that right now. That's one reason why my colleague, Roger Winter, is there.

MINISTER GARANG: Thank you. I cannot answer fully because I'm the Minister of Government of Southern Sudan, but we sympathize with marginalized people. That issue, even my husband gave a proposal that we need to give 10,000 joint integrated unit to Darfur; AU should give 10,000 and 10,000 from the South, which was turned down by the Government of the North.

What we are looking for here is a solution to the problem of Darfur because you cannot have peace on one side of the country and one side of the country is at war. So the peacekeeping forces would be very important, even as one to upgrade the peace mission in the South to be peacekeeping because of the question of LRA. So in Darfur it is going to be very important and we want to be part of that, the peacekeeping forces are taken -- other peacekeeping forces are taken because people of Darfur themselves say that African or AU forces are weak, they cannot alone do the work.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Just to add one more point because the Minister raised a good point, and it really helps show how the implementation of the North-South accord is vital to success in Darfur. Under the North-South accord, there has now been set up a Joint Defense Board. That Joint Defense Board is supposed to then follow through on the creation of the joint integrated military units. This is an idea that Dr. Garang, another far-sighted view, and it's one that now my sense is the Government of National Unity has an interest in, so that you would have these joint integrated units play some of the peacekeeping role. But before they do that, they have to get built and so it shows the interconnection.

I'm sorry. Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: Sorry. Madame Minister, Elise Labott with CNN. Your husband was such a formidable figure in Sudanese politics and his death was so untimely. Do you think that the Government of the North has taken advantage of the situation to renege on some of the agreements that it made for the North-South agreement and on the commitments it made to stopping the violence in Darfur?

And Deputy Secretary Zoellick, what do you think of this and do you think that the new Government of the South, led by First Vice President Kiir, has enough stature to go against President Bashir and make sure that they do follow through on their commitments?

Thank you.

MINISTER GARANG: Thank you. If I tell you that the death of John Garang has shortfall, then it mean that I have admitted that we are defeated. No, because we are there. John Garang was one person and he has died and he has left us a vision and he has left us a CPA. And this is why I am here today, to let you know that there is a problem in the CPA and there is an achievement in the CPA. So yes, the death of John Garang is affecting me as a person, but I'm telling my people I have stood up since the death of my husband that the CPA has been left for us. It is us. He told us. He even told us that the CPA is yours. You want to throw it to the river? You want to tear it up? It is up to you. Now he has left the CPA. It is up to us. Now, myself, I met Bashir and I talk with Bashir. I always speak my mind because I know I'm being protected by the CPA. And I told Bashir before six years we must only implement the CPA. Nobody is going to add anything from outside to the CPA. So I told Bashir the implementation of the CPA is very slow. And why is it very slow? We have the time limit in the CPA. So I don't see the death of John Garang affecting the CPA. Maybe if there is an effort, it will be from us.

Thank you.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I first had the opportunity to meet Rebecca Garang when I worked with her husband, Dr. John Garang, and as her statement just suggested, it was a formidable couple. And so, of course, Dr. John Garang was a figure of great vision, tenacity and accomplishment. I've had a chance over 20 years to meet lots of figures in the international community and he's one that was particularly outstanding in terms of being able to combine those things.

And look, his death, of course, made this process more difficult, but as Minister Garang has emphasized, frankly, the CPA and what the vision of Dr. Garang was more than a vision of one human being. He had a vision for the South. He had a vision for the country. And in a sense, as Minister Garang has said, the best testimony to him and the best monument to him is to make that vision into a reality.

And that's what we're trying to do and it's done under more difficult circumstances because his leadership is missed, but there are many good people in the South and it's one reason that I wanted Minister Garang to come, to help us understand how to work as outsiders -- the United States, European and others -- to help that process more as we go forward.

And as she emphasized and as Dr. Garang used to emphasize, the vision that he gave was not just a North-South vision. It was a vision for all of Sudan, and that's where its connection with the issues in Darfur is very important today.

QUESTION: Can you just detail what your goal is for February? Is it that you want at the UN Security Council a political decision to give the green light for the force or is it that you expect in February troops on the ground with blue hats as part of the Darfur peacekeeping?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, we're working very closely right now, first of all, with the African Union, and that's a mission that Jendayi has been part of, just came back, because they're doing the work on the ground now. And frankly, it would be our hope that they would be the core of an ongoing mission. A number of those forces, if the countries are willing, could participate in that.

So what we hope to accomplish in February is the decision by the UN Security Council, which would include the nature of the mission and issues of the size of the mission, implementation. And February is a short month, as you know, so we're trying to push forward on this.

I think the reality is -- and just take -- there's a UN mission, UNMIS, that's implementing the North-South accord, and it's got about a half of its forces in place. So these will not -- you will not be able to, I think, you know, move reinforcements in, you know, automatically, and that's one reason, in answer to the first question from AFP, we're also talking about ways we can strengthen the AMIS mission, which will, I hope, become the core and the foundation of the UN mission. But that's what we need to work out, you know, with the UN peacekeeping operations and the other countries in the UN Security Council, but most of all with the African Union, who's been the key partner in this.


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