Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Statement on Sudan by US Ambassador to the UN

by US Mission to the UN, June 24, 2008

The third point I would like to make is with regards to the security situation.  I think it’s clear, at least to me and to my delegation, that that’s fundamental.  Without security, or improved security, I mean we can’t have perfect security for some time to come, but without improved security everything is at risk.  I don’t think you can have much political progress in an environment where there is the current degree of insecurity. 

USUN PRESS RELEASE # 163                                                        June 24, 2008

AS DELIVERED

Statement by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Permanent Representative, on the Sudan, in the Security Council, June 24, 2008

Many points have been made; this discussion has gone on for a while so I’ll be brief and make four points:

Point one is to thank the two distinguished envoys [ Mr. Eliasson and Mr. Salim ] for their service and for their briefing today.  They have described the situation well - the challenges that we face.  They have challenged the Security Council.  Now the ball is in our court as to what to do in the face of what they have described.  I would like to emphasize a few points from their briefing and what we need to do.

First of course, the situation could get worse and therefore the first task for us is what can we do to avoid that?  Certainly if the CPA is not implemented, if the North-South agreement falls apart, the situation in Sudan could get a lot worse and therefore it’s very important that we remain attentive to the implementation of the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 2005, between North & South Sudan].  Right after this meeting the Council will issue a PRST with regards to Abyei [an oil region in dispute between North & South] and that should send a good message that this Council remains engaged and focused on the issue of CPA and that has to be a continuing preoccupation or ours in the coming period.

The third point I would like to make is with regards to the security situation.  I think it’s clear, at least to me and to my delegation, that that’s fundamental.  Without security, or improved security, I mean we can’t have perfect security for some time to come, but without improved security everything is at risk.  I don’t think you can have much political progress in an environment where there is the current degree of insecurity.  And I’ll come to the political track later but we know there are many sources of insecurity and addressing all of them simultaneously also is a considerable challenge, you have internal factors and external regional factors that affect the security situation.  But one thing that is very important to help with regard to security is the deployment of an effective UNAMID force.  The Council has expressed itself unanimously on this issue. 

Unfortunately, the deployment has not taken place as expected in terms of the speed, the effectiveness of the force and there are challenges that we need to address – I think we need to be more attentive to in our view.  One is to make sure that we are attentive to the Secretariat, the UN, DPKO does what it needs to do.  Several colleagues spoke about the logistics requirement that needs to be addressed, there are resources available, money that has been dedicated for this effort but I think that has been rather slow.  The UN, the Secretariat, can and should do more and we need to be more attentive to it to make sure that our intent is well understood and all possible speed that can be generated is generated. 

Second is, I think we have not been, frankly, tough enough with the government of Sudan.  I think it has been, shall we say, dragging its feet with regard to the implementation of an effective force and colleagues have not been prepared to incentive it appropriately, this government.  I think we need to look at what can we do.  What should be done to make sure an effective force is in place?  Sometimes the willingness of the government to negotiate on the political track is being used as a shield not to pressure on this other as much as it needs to be pressured.  To deal with this problem we need to focus on this.

And the third one is certainly the issue of getting the right capabilities there and we need to redouble our efforts, all of us, to get the international community where these capabilities are there, whether it is heavy lift or medium lift or helicopters that those capabilities are made available.  For our part, the U.S. is of course spending about $100 million to get the African forces, six thousand of them at least, at the level of capability to be deployed as quickly as possible.  I think we could be more focused to encourage the deployment or unavailability of appropriate assets. 

Also, I think that one factor that effects the situation is the arms in the area and we need to look at the situation with regards to the embargo.  Several colleagues have raised that and see how the embargo is being implemented effectively or not.

The fourth point on the political process, and I want to end this quickly, it’s obviously very important.  Ultimately, without it, there cannot be peace in Darfur or in Sudan.  The challenges have been outlined, I think, very well.  The fragmentation of the rebel movements, the disagreement among rebel groups, the government policies, not only with regard to Darfur – although it has been willing to say it will negotiate I think it has been mentioned that its policy with regard to CPA and the regional rivalries that exist makes this difficult.  We have to look at, are there ways in which we could incentivize the parties to move.  What can we each do or what can we together do, or some subset of us, to do better.  We welcome the imminent appointment of chief mediator, Ambassador Kumalo said we should pray for him, we will do more than that, we will pray for him and we will cooperate with him as well.  I know that he will face a serious challenge that for him to succeed we need to figure out how to incentive the various parties.  But I think it will be a mistake, in my view, if we expect a lot from the political track in the short term given the difficulties that exist.  Therefore I think the sharpened focus needs to be more on the security track to improve the security environment by having more capable forces there.

Last point and I think that the situation that some colleagues have described as gloomy, difficult, leave one to be fatigued and perhaps to say we can’t do much about it, we have to learn to live with this situation.  I think that would be a mistake, I think it is important to restate that it is an important situation, it has a huge implication, not only on political and security terms as was described very ably by the two envoys, but also a terrible humanitarian situation and therefore needs to remain a focus of our efforts, certainly it is of my government, but also we have to recognize that our own credibility as the Council is at stake here given the resolutions that we have passed, the resources that are being spent and are willing to be spent.  So, what we need to do now is to adjust our approach to be more effective than we have been because there is certainly a big gap between where we want to be and where we are and therefore I think the two distinguished envoys have provided us with some issues to consider and to consider them seriously and, again, I want to thank them for their service and for their briefing today.  My country holds both of them in high regards.