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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2005 > January

Remarks to the Press with Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha and Sudan People's Liberation Movement Chairman John Garang

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Intercontinental Hotel
Nairobi, Kenya
January 8, 2005

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Iíve just completed a meeting with Vice President Taha and Dr. John Garang, and also attended by General Lazarus Sumbeiywo, who has done such a magnificent job in shepherding these negotiations over a long period of time. When last we were all together it was in October of 2003 at Lake Naivasha, and I remember saying to my colleagues at that time that we must bring this negotiation to a successful conclusion, that people of Sudan would not forgive any of us if we did not seize this opportunity for peace. It took a little longer than I thought it would, but nevertheless, that moment has arrived. And tomorrow, at a ceremony that will be attended by many leaders in the region and from elsewhere in the world, a comprehensive agreement will be signed.

I would like to offer my congratulations, not only to the good General, but especially to Vice President Taha and Dr. Garang for their determination, their patience, their dedication to making sure that there was a successful outcome to this negotiation. But as we discussed in our meeting a little while ago, this is not the end of the process. It really is the beginning of something. And as was noted, it may be the end of the war, but it is just the beginning of the peace. And the peace will be a difficult peace because lives have to be rebuilt, infrastructure has to be built in the south, and a government has to be formed, new institutions created, a constitution ratified. Much has to be done. And the work ahead will be challenging and it will be difficult. But what Iíve said to my colleagues is that they can count on the United States standing with them and working with them as diligently in the future as we have over the past four years.

This has been a major priority of President Bush and his administration from our first days of office in 2001. And Administrator Natsios of USAID, who is our Humanitarian Coordinator, deserves great credit for this moment, as does Ambassador Jack Danforth, who will be arriving tonight. He has served as the Presidentís Special Envoy in this matter.

And so, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure for me to be here representing President Bush and the American people on this historic occasion and to reaffirm to you Americaís steadfastness to work with both the movement and the government as you move into a new future for the Sudanese people.

We also hope that this success can be translated and built upon to bring us a solution to the difficult challenge in the Darfur region. We canít overlook that while we are celebrating tomorrow the achievement in NorthĖSouth dialogue. We continue to have a difficult, terrible conflict in Darfur. And I hope that this will give us the incentive to redouble our efforts to bring the violence to an end in Darfur and to make sure we are providing for the people of Darfur. The needs they have are significant for food, and for medical care, but ultimately for peace so they can return to their homes and put in new crops and rebuild their houses and rebuild their schools for their children. And so let us hope that this is the beginning of a more comprehensive process that will include the Darfur region and also deal with violence that has occurred in the East, as well.

Thank you very much and I yield to Vice President Taha.

VICE PRESIDENT TAHA: Well, thank you, Mr. Secretary. Itís a pleasure for me and my delegation to be here today, to join celebrating this occasion that has been long awaited by the Sudanese people and the region, and the world at large. We are very appreciative of the role the U.S. Government, President Bush administration, has played in this process, encouraging the parties and putting in their help and support whenever needed along this process, which has taken us almost two years now. We take this opportunity to extend our appreciation and thanks to the American administration of President Bush. We have been encouraged in our meeting with Secretary Powell this afternoon of the assurance that the U.S. Government will stay steadfast in supporting the post-peace era in Sudan, which will entail greater challenges on us. So that, having come and covered all the milestones and all the mines and mountains, as Dr. John is fond of putting them, during the negotiations, that has given us stamina and courage and confidence that we can deliver on the post-peace challenges, as well.

There are manyÖin all aspects the people of Sudan have now looking forward, and that the peace dividends will soon be right and at their service. They are looking for better living conditions. They are looking forward to have better services, to have better security. The refugees and the internally displaced people are willing and hoping and are waiting to go back to where they came from. The reconstruction and rehabilitation is the most outstanding challenge before us, but prior to that we have to consolidate the peace process in the form of a constitutional document that would govern the interim period of the six and a half years--a task which we have to embrace within the coming days, with the support and participation of all political forces in the country. We are faced with the problem in Darfur, which we are determined. We have made our minds together that we are to join hands in trying to resolve the situation in Darfur, so that we have finally a national comprehensive peace in all parts of the country. Those challenges seem to be difficult, but they are not impossible to surmount and to overcome. Thank you.

DR. GARANG: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I would also like to add my voice to our sincere thanks and appreciation to the role played by the United States, by you, personally, Mr. Secretary, and by others of your colleagues--Senator Danforth, Andrew Natsios, and others in the administration and President Bush himself, whose heart is in the Sudan peace process.

It has taken long. We have negotiated for ten years since the IGAD mediation started from 1994 when we signed the declaration of principles, down to 2002 when we signed the Machakos protocol, and then the process of Naivasha that started 16 months ago. Thatís two academic years. So it has taken long, but we have delivered and we had promised the Security Council here in Nairobi on the 19th of November that we would have it before the end of the year. And we signed the last two protocols of the agreement on the 31st of December.

So, we are appreciative and as the Secretary said, this is the end of war, at least in the South, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, but this is only the beginning of peace. We have a lot of things to be done, beginning with putting the necessary constitutional instruments in place. We have to have an interim national constitution. Thatís our immediate task, because the government of Southern Sudan and other institutions that we have agreed we will not begin to be activated unless we have an interim national constitution.

We have other wars in the country. We have a very serious situation in Darfur, another situation in Eastern Sudan. It is our belief and hope and we will work towards that end that the momentum that will be generated by this peace agreement will also bring peace to other parts of the country, to Darfur in particular and to Eastern Sudan, and to that end we are pledged in our commitment. We just discussed with the Secretary of State, and we are assured of continued United States engagement in Sudan, in terms of development and reconstruction of Southern Sudan and other war-affected areas. We have more than three million internally displaced people--thatís an immediate task in terms of coming back. Some of them have even started to come back right now, even without preparations. Thatís going to be a daunting task.

And so, we will roll up our sleeves and work to make the agreement comprehensive, so that it embraces the whole of Sudan, so that the negotiations that are going on in Abuja between the government and the resistance movements in Darfur succeed, so that the National Democratic Alliance there also has negotiations that are going on in Cairo, so that it succeeds, and the Sudan is engulfed in peace instead of the perpetual wars that we have had since independence.

Tomorrow will be a great day when we sign the comprehensive peace agreement--a day for the Sudan, a day for the region. I would like take the opportunity also to thank those who havedone their best: General Sumbeiywo, who has steered the negotiations to a successful conclusion; President Kibaki and former President Daniel Arap Moi, who started this process; Minister Kilonzo; Minister Kohech who took his place, have made tremendous contributions to the peace process and we are very grateful to them, to the region and the international community. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Dr. Garang.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Arshad Mohammed of Reuters. Tomorrow it will be four months to the day that you declared genocide had taken place in Darfur. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in a report released just yesterday, says he believes the violence is getting worse, not better. What more can the United States do to try and stop the violence in Darfur, and would you say that genocide is still unfolding there?

SECRETARY POWELL: With respect to what more we can do, we are, of course, in contact with the government, and Vice President Taha and I had a chance to discuss it briefly as part of the larger meeting, and the importance that we attach to the government of Sudan doing everything possible to reign in the Jangaweit and the militias. And we also need to make sure that the rebels donít contribute any more to the problem. And the UN still has options before it, to include sanctions. And we do not take any of those options off the table. And we will have to examine what further action the international community can take in the form of actions of the Security Council.

It was my judgment that genocide was taking place and I havenít seen the Secretary Generalís latest report, but I look forward to examining it.

QUESTION: (in Arabic).

VICE PRESIDENT TAHA: Well, the question to me was that now on the stipulations of the peace agreement Dr. John Garang will become the first Vice President of Sudan. And he is asking where would my position be.

(Laughter).

I say I would be at the service of my people of Sudan and I will be there in whatever capacity, to help supporting what I have managed to contribute to itís achievement--thatís the peace process--with all my powers and experience.

QUESTION: (in Arabic).

VICE PRESIDENT TAHA: Heís asked whether the U.S. is intending to take Sudan off the terrorist list. That was his question. Eventually.

SECRETARY POWELL: We hope that as we move forward we will be able to remove all restrictions on Sudan, but it has to be a deliberate process. We have removed some sanctions over the last several years and it is our ultimate goal to have normal relations with Sudan. And hopefully, step-by-step, in a very deliberate way, we will reach that point.

QUESTION: Okay. My name is (inaudible) from the Standard. This is for Mr. Powell. Have you set aside any budget, especially for the Sudan to enable the reconstruction process?

SECRETARY POWELL: Iím sorry. Iím not hearing you.

QUESTION: I am asking have you set aside a fund to enable the Sudan in its reconstruction process? To take effect immediately upon the signing tomorrow? To Dr. Garang, when are you relocating to Khartoum to assume your position as First Vice President? Thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: We will examine what the needs of Sudan are, especially in the South, and weíll have to make a judgment as to how much the United States will be able to contribute to that reconstruction effort and how much the rest of the international community, especially the European Union, will be able to contribute to it. We know that the bill will be high. There is a serious lack of infrastructure, to include roads, schools, all sorts of things that have to be built up. And we have made it clear to the parties all through this negotiation that when the time came we would be a partner with them in restoring the infrastructure and reconstructing the South.

DR. GARANG: When am I relocating to Khartoum? Well, we have a lot of things to sort out before, to use your words, relocating to Khartoum. I command an army, the SPLA, that cannot possibly go to Khartoum with me now. And so, we will need to sort out issues that regard security--that is the army: who goes to the joint integrating units; who remains in the SPLA proper; who goes for other services: the police, the prisons, the wildlife, the civil service; who goes to DDR? All these need to be sorted out from the point of view of the SPLM. So, Iíll be working for the time being from Rumbek and (inaudible) in order to sort these things out immediately after tomorrow when we sign the comprehensive peace agreement.

The first task will be to ratify the agreement. It will be done by the two parliaments, the governments: the parliament in Khartoum and our national liberation council. That has to be done within a certain time frame and will take up to two weeks. Then we develop the interim national constitution, which will be the constitutional instrument that will launch the government of Southern Sudan and other organs of governance that have been agreed in the comprehensive peace agreement, which we shall sign tomorrow. As you can see, it has taken me long to answer your question as to when to go to Khartoum. Khartoum is rather far from here, but I want to assure you and the Sudanese people that indeed I will go to Khartoum. I will go to Juba. I will go to all parts of my country. Iíll go to Haifa. Iíll go to Darfur. Iíll go to Kassala. And I will go to Khartoum eventually.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, how big a cloud do you think the fighting in Darfur places over this peace accord? And do you have reservations that you may be lending U.S. imprimatur to something that has a huge question mark attached to it?

SECRETARY POWELL: Iím sorry. That last part again?

QUESTION: Do you have concerns about lending U.S. imprimatur to something that has a question mark attached to it?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I think this agreement stands on its own merits. Itís a good agreement, and as you heard all of us saying it brings a war to an end. But there are other wars taking place in Sudan. And now we have to go to work on bringing them to a conclusion--political reconciliation between the government and the rebels and the rebuilding of communities for those who have been forced into camps over the last couple of years.

I think that America has said all along that we would support a good, comprehensive agreement between the SPLM and the government. And thatís what we have seen them achieve and thatís what weíll be here to witness tomorrow. And I will be signing as a witness to the document. I think that this gives us a basis now to redouble our efforts to solve the problem in Darfur. And we will stand fully behind this comprehensive agreement and hopefully use it to work on the problem of Darfur.

2005/14


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