Sudan: UK welcomes news that CPA parties have signed agreement on interim security Abyei
Thank you Mr President,
I would like to thank President Mbeki and SRSG Menkerios for their briefings and for the tireless work of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel, UNMIS and OCHA in support of peace in Sudan.
We welcome the news that they have given us this morning that the CPA parties have signed an agreement on interim security and administration arrangements for Abyei. This is an important step forward.
I note also the statements that Ambassador Osman and Ezekiel Gatkuoth have made to the Council, reiterating the commitment of their governments to a peaceful resolution in Abyei, in Southern Kordofan and of outstanding CPA issues. The Council will hold them to these commitments, which must be delivered and implemented without further delay.
The signing of the interim Agreement on Abyei is a necessary but not sufficient step on the road to full implementation of the CPA, and to peace for all Sudan.
Because today, the Council meets amid violence and the threat of further conflict. In Southern Kordofan, escalating violence has lead to the displacement of at least 60,000 civilians, including 30-40,000 from Kadugli town. Civilians elsewhere in Southern Kordofan state have suffered the effects of aerial bombardment by Sudanese Armed Forces. This we unreservedly condemn, as we condemn summary executions, and other abuses reportedly committed by both sides. The United Kingdom calls on all parties immediately to ceasefire, and for all crimes against civilians to be fully investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.
We urge UNMIS to do all it can to implement its Chapter VII mandate to protect civilians, and remind the Government of Sudan of its primary responsibility in this respect.
The humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan is deeply concerning. The United Kingdom calls urgently on all parties to provide full and unimpeded access for UNMIS, and for humanitarian workers. It is unacceptable that humanitarian access is being restricted by closure of airspace, in particular the closure to the UN of Kadugli airport; road blocks; the laying of landmines; and imposition of other movement restrictions. Full humanitarian access must be provided now, and steps taken to ensure that is maintained after 9 July.
We welcome the fact that negotiations continue in Addis Ababa. All parties must commit to reaching an agreement without delay on new security arrangements for Southern Kordofan state, which will ensure the safety of the civilian population, and enable them to express their views on their future governance through a credible Popular Consultation process, as provided for in the CPA. New security arrangements must also be put in place for Blue Nile state. We call on all parties there to maintain calm.
In Abyei, we have seen little change on the ground. The Sudanese Armed Forces remain in control of the Abyei area in violation of the CPA. They must now withdraw as demanded by this Council and stipulated in the Abyei Agreement signed today. For now, the situation remains tense. Further clashes have been reported between SAF and SPLA, and Agok town has been shelled. The number of civilians displaced has now reached more than 100,000. The rains are setting in and humanitarian access is still not being permitted.
Given the gravity of the situation, it is clear that the parties must implement, without delay their commitments under the Abyei Agreement. This was signed today following negotiations in Addis Ababa under the auspices of President Mbeki, and including a commitment to withdraw all SAF, SPLA and other forces. The parties must also ensure that a ceasefire in Southern Kordofan is established and new security arrangements for the two areas set up. We welcome President Mbeki confirmation the negotiations on this are continuing in Addis Ababa.
The parties must also engage seriously and without further delay on the future status of Abyei in line with the provisions of the CPA and the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. This needs to be completed before 9 July, when South Sudan gains its independence.
We have repeatedly stated our belief that the security of both Sudan and South Sudan would be greatly strengthened by a single United Nations presence in Abyei and the two areas after 9 July, which could also support the parties in their management of the common border. The events of the last few weeks show that such a presence may also be necessary to maintain international peace and security. Reports of 6,000 IDPs gathering around the UNMIS Head Quarters in Kadugli for protection, underline the risks that the civilian population face, if there is no continued UN presence after 9 July. We are ready and willing to enter a dialogue with both parties on this subject. We believe that there are clear benefits to the parties in a continued international presence to allow monitoring and verification of the agreements that they reach.
We are today, on 20 June, three weeks away from the independence of South Sudan. We call on both CPA parties to reflect, amidst the noise of conflict, on the future they want to deliver for their people. The statesmanship, which delivered a peaceful referendum on 9 January, is urgently needed now. Both parties must renounce violence and negotiate in earnest in order to provide a secure and prosperous future for their states.
Thank you, Mr President.