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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Deputy Secretary of State > Former Deputy Secretaries of State > Former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick > Remarks > 2005

Joint Press Availability With First Vice President Salva Kiir

Robert B. Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State
Executive Secretariat Offices
Juba, Sudan
November 11, 2005

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT KIIR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the press. Well, we have given much more time to our meeting with the Deputy Secretary Honorable Zoellick that it was important to give that time because we were discussing very important issues covering all aspects of his visit to our country. Having opened a Consulate in Juba this morning, which is a very big step forward assuring the cooperation and support of the USA to the peace process in Sudan and to the roadmap of Southern Sudan in particular because that office was always be in contact with them on daily basis to inform them about the progress of implementation of the CPA.

We also talked about the situation in Darfur and how to help making a solution to their conflict. We also talked about the implementation of the CPA which is now taking a low profile in the international community because they feel that the pressing issue today is the issue of Darfur and so attention is much more drawn to Darfur.

So this is why delayed and otherwise it was a very good meeting and I'm happy to have him again since we met recently in Washington. You are most welcome.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Thank you, Mr. President. I want to thank the President and his colleagues for hosting us today. The President, as I think all of you know, just returned from Washington where he had a very successful set of meetings. It was his first opportunity to visit the United States and we're very pleased he had a chance to meet with our Vice President, members of Congress, as well as others in the Administration. And this gave us an opportunity today to follow up on what is a next critical step for Southern Sudan and all of Sudan and that is -- this is an area that still bears the scars of 21-years of a very fierce civil war but now there's a chance for peace.

And I was struck, as I was driving over, to see the school children in their uniforms and starting to see the reconstruction. The United States knows that as a follow through on the peace that was negotiated in Naivasha, there's a very important element here of building a strong Government of Sudan, which we believe will contribute to a strong Sudan.

So our Consulate -- opening a new Consulate today was important. It will be the location for our AID mission. And I wanted to come to Juba personally to see with my own eyes and talk to the President as well as members of the assembly and others about the priorities. Our AID mission is focusing on building roads. A lot of economic activity here may be linked with regions further South.

Last night, the people from the ICRC told me that already with some of the opening of markets, they've seen decline in some of the food prices, so people start to see the benefits of peace. We're trying to work on health care systems; trying to help build schools and also work with the teachers on the training system; trying to help with the telecommunication system. There's a lot to be done but we now have to harvest the hard work of the peace negotiations. We also, as the President said, talked about the follow-up of the CPA. We're very glad that the Assessment and Evaluation Commission with Tom Vraalsen is now going to be up and running. We talked about the importance of some of the other issues, the Petroleum Commission and that of the Joint Defense Board.

So I think, as the President said, while there's a lot of focus on Darfur, understandably, where I was yesterday, it would be a huge mistake, in my view, if we let our attention turn from the criticality of working with the Government of Southern Sudan and then the Government of National Unity in the peace process.

I also want to thank the President because he told me that he was able to try to follow up with the SLM on the issue of Darfur. I think we all recognize that if there is serious strife anywhere in Sudan, it will undermine the cause of the CPA. And so, in addition to working to develop a combined position for the Abuja talks with the Government of National Unity, the President and his colleagues have been in Nairobi trying to work with the SLM Ė to urge them to approach the peace talks in a way that -- and expand the peace from North-South to Darfur as well.

So I want to thank the President and his colleagues. There's a tremendous amount to build. None of us underestimate the magnitude of that task, but when you can see what has been suffered in this region over the past 20 years, it's a tremendous opportunity to create something and that's why my colleagues and I are here and that's why we will continue to work closely with the President.

QUESTION: Mr. President. I don't think I've talked to anybody from the South, you know, who thinks that independence is the ultimate goal here. Did you have any doubt in your mind that at the end of this process, there lies an independent Southern Sudan?

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT KIIR: Well, we agreed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that we work for the unity of Sudan. And so, according to the Machekos Protocol, unity of our country is the priority of the two parties in the agreement. And so it doesn't cross our mind that secession is the first objective of the SPLM.

QUESTION: Do your people believe that -- your people actually believe that?

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT KIIR: Well, the people who will then show --- that they will demonstrate their aspirations when the times comes for their voting in democratic (inaudible.) Whether they believe now or not I cannot really come out to say that they donít believe in that because I had no reason to doubt that they follow what we say.

QUESTION: Mr. President, I wanted to ask each of you a question.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: You want to mention where you're from?

QUESTION: Sure. I'm Ed Sanders from the Los Angeles Times. I wanted to ask you two about the U.S. economic sanctions, the trade sanctions. Do you think that the sanctions are going to hinder your ability to develop the South and do all the work that you need to do now to develop the South? And do you think it's fair to continue those sanctions, given the new unity government, now they're going to impact you as well and the South as well? And I was curious if you thought that -- what kind of impact those sanctions have had on the economy and on Sudan?

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT KIIR: Well, I think the sanctions were imposed on Sudan since 1997 and at that time there was no peace agreement and so the reasons why these sanctions were imposed on Sudan are very clear. It would be the policy of the United States to evaluate and assess whether the conditions that led the imposition of the sanctions have changed or not so it does not come in in the implementation or in the development of Southern Sudan.

Yes, sanctions may hinder the development but still we are in talking terms and so I believe we will go around and see. And we have heard from the Deputy Secretary report, saying that the mission here will have to work on several, many developmental projects in Southern Sudan. I believe that will also have (inaudible).

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: As the President said, we will proceed with our AID mission and it's not limited by the sanctions in any way. And the sanctions were really applied for three different reasons: One is the North-South struggle; the second is terrorism; and the third is Darfur. And so I've been very clear to all parties -- is that we have to resolve each of those problems to remove the sanctions. And we have to resolve them, not only with words on paper but actions, in fact. The reason that I've come here four times is I'm trying to push the actions so that we can sort of repair the relations and help a unified Sudan in peace to move forward as part of the international community.

Now, let me give you a more specific example of what I've suggested. When I was talking with the President in Washington and then when I was in Khartoum with President Bashir and Vice President Taha, and again today, I've tried to explore a mutual interest in supporting the withdrawal of the government forces from Juba, helping the return of the IDPs to the South, and that can partly be achieved through fixing the railroad system. So one way to start would be to allow parts for the railroad system. But to do so, we need to know that the purpose will be related to pulling out the troops and bringing back the IDPs and monitoring that.

So if the partners in the Government of National Unity can develop a common approach, that's something that we can take a look at to show that we can start to act or at least offer exceptions for some of these items, if there's a -- it serves the common purposes of peace. But fundamentally, we have to demonstrate changes in the conditions that led to the sanctions being applied. It's one reason why I stressed when I was in Khartoum that in addition to signing the CPA, we all have to implement the CPA. That's why I'm pleased that this Assessment and Evaluation Commission will be going forward because it will have international monitors that will be able to tell us whether they believe the CPA is being applied and to be able to encourage the parties to take the steps that are necessary.

QUESTION: Hi. I'm Janine Zacharia, Bloomberg News. President Kiir, do you believe that President Bashir is upholding his side of the agreement? And if not, where is he not upholding it?

And Secretary Zoellick, why not remove Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list at this point?

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT KIIR: Well, I don't think that President Bashir is not doing his part in the implementation of the CPA. And as somebody working with him because in my office, we have been talking about all that. There are difficulties in some other issues, one practical difficulties that can constrain people to implement what they intend to do (inaudible.) So (inaudible) might have slowed down the progress in the process of the implementation. And I think it can not be laid squarely on individuals (inaudible). For example, (inaudible) of the implementation process.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: On the terrorism sanctions, there was some adjustment in the categorization of Sudan as to whether they were cooperating on terrorism and that reflects the fact that we appreciate that we have gotten some good cooperation from Sudan in dealing with counterterrorism issues. But remember where we started. Khartoum was the home of Usama bin Laden in the '90s, so there's a lot of work to be done.

And in addition, part of this -- whether the CPA or counterterrorism or dealing with Darfur -- is overcoming a lot of distrust. And as long as there are concerns about achieving peace in Darfur, it's going to be hard to overcome that distrust. So what I've been trying to do in the speech and with the parties directly is give people a roadmap and then it's up to them to take the actions so that we can overcome that. In the meantime, we will continue to try to work with people constructively, but it will be limited by these laws passed by the Congress of the United States until we can demonstrate a case that they should be changed.

QUESTION: Mr. President, we heard that you --

UNDER SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Can you give your --

QUESTION: My name is Rodrique Ngowi from the Associated Press. We heard that there have been positive contacts between the SPLM and SLM in Nairobi. We were wondering what have you been discussing in terms of trying to solve that conflict in Darfur and are you trying to sort of share your experiences in the negotiations for peace that you (inaudible?)

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT KIIR: I met the members of the SLM very briefly yesterday with the objective of trying to know what objectives are they fighting for and so then when they go for negotiations, the (inaudible) was they can not be assisted by anybody except when their objective is not -- this is one.

The second thing is to urge them to unite because (inaudible) will not serve them any purpose and given our experience. When we (inaudible) to many, many persons it delayed the peace process and it really is dislocated us and we did not have effective military advantages and when we (inaudible) united then we were really strong.

The third thing we talked about with them was to carry on, the international community with them as they are now being supported and everybody's sympathetic to them. They should not abuse that by walking away from the talks, and then base their hopes on the military (inaudible.) So this is why we were with them. So we wanted them to benefit from our experience and for us it was to see to it that the situation in Darfur is brought under control as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Mr. President, sir. May I know exactly what's the cause of delay of (inaudible?)

Secondly Ė (inaudible)


QUESTION: My name is (inaudible) newspaper. The second question is this -- have the U.S. Government received any opposition because they want (inaudible) representation? Thank you.

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT KIIR: I did not get your last question.

QUESTION: My last one is that there are a lot of noises. Some parties are asking that or they are trying (inaudible) the Government of Southern Sudan. What is your comment?

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT KIIR: Well, taking up from your last question, I don't think that there is anybody which is not represented in the Government of Southern Sudan. We have six parties in the South and they are all represented. We have a National Congress who is represented. So I don't know who is complaining that they donít be represented. I'm not sure of that party. Unless if that party wants to have ten members in the cabinet (inaudible.)

Your first question about the Joint/Integrated Units. The formation delayed because the joint defense (inaudible) has not been established and the reason for that delay also goes back to the change in the military law of the Sudan armed forces. And so that we have one common (inaudible) Sudan armed forces because (inaudible) so we have to come to a common decision and that has to go with the new military government and that is the delay.

One more question.

QUESTION: Mr. President, I'm Meredith Buel from Voice of America. I wanted to know if the Unity Government is going to have a unified position before the next round of the Abuja talks later this month. And if there are any differences, what would those be?

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT KIIR: Well, we are going to have a unified position, the one common position and what we have been talking about with the National Congress Party. And that was why the SPLM and did not participate in the last round of talks in Abuja. For now, we have agreed that we will have to sit down and find a common position we need to present to the fighting groups in Darfur.

QUESTION: And do you think you can do that before the next round?

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT KIIR: Before the next round, yes.

QUESTION: Thank you.


QUESTION: Just one quick question? I just wanted to ask Mr. Zoellick whether Assistant Secretary Frazer and Mr. Winter had come back from their meeting with Mr. Minawi and if there was any update on that.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I got a second hand report from the telephone conversations so they havenít yet connected with us. So I want to be a little cautious on this because itís from one person to another and how telephone conversations can work. But I think Assistant Secretary Frazer and Roger Winter had a useful session. They met with Mr. Minawi as well as some of the commanders. He said that he would attend the Abuja talks and they discussed with him the same thing that the President focused on which is clarifying the political objectives for those talks. And they conveyed, just as the President did, the importance of recognizing that there will not be a solution militarily on the ground to this conflict but that it will have to be achieved through the peace talks.

And this is where I want to thank the President for making a special effort and his colleagues. The SPLA was a pretty impressive military force. And one of the things that they recognize is that they can stop the government in Khartoum but the solution can not be won on the battlefield, it had to be won through the peace talks. And so we hope that the SLM learns from that experience and uses the support of the international community.

As for the nature of the divisions among the SLM, I think those continue to exist, and we are pressing however, the different aspects or different members of the SLM present themselves, that they be in Abuja, they have a definite set of objectives for the negotiations, and they sit down with the Government of National Unity and we try to achieve the peace accord.

QUESTION: Thank you.


Released on November 15, 2005

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