Today marks the beginning of the final year of Sudan’s landmark Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). This year will be a turning point in Sudan’s history. With just six months remaining until the referenda for Abyei and Southern Sudan are due to be held, a tremendous amount of work is required to ensure continued peace and stability in Sudan beyond the expiry of the CPA
The members of the Troika reaffirm our support for credible, peaceful referenda in January 2011, the outcomes of which are respected by all. We congratulate the members of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission on their appointment and urge them quickly to begin planning this important event, and to take full advantage of the international assistance available.
We are encouraged by discussions between the parties to the CPA on their post-referendum relationship. We welcome the signing of the Mekelle Memorandum of Understanding on June 23 and the expected launch of formal talks on July 10. We urge the parties to accelerate these discussions to ensure a solid foundation for long-term friendly and sustainable relations between North and South no matter the outcome of the referendum.
However, major challenges remain and must be addressed with increased urgency: in particular, appointment of the Abyei Referendum Commission; demarcation of the North/South border; and further progress on popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. The Abyei referendum is an essential milestone of the CPA that cannot be overlooked and must be completed on time. It is critical that the parties focus on these vital challenges in order to ensure continued peace and stability.
We are deeply concerned at the actions of the Sudanese Authorities since the election, which have further undermined civil and political rights, including the arrest of opposition politicians, journalists and peaceful protestors. We urge national and local authorities in the north, south, and Abyei area to ensure a conducive political environment in the lead up to the referenda.
In Darfur, the security situation continues to deteriorate, including ceasefire violations by the Government of Sudan and rebel groups and increased inter-tribal fighting and kidnappings. We remain deeply concerned by the Government of Sudan’s use of aerial bombings and local militias. We urge all parties to end violence, commit to a sustained and permanent ceasefire, and engage fully and constructively in the AU-UN led peace talks. Threats to humanitarian organisations and UNAMID personnel, and its impact on delivery of humanitarian assistance in Darfur, are unacceptable. Parties must ensure safe and unhindered access of humanitarian organizations to populations in need.
The next year presents great challenges but also great opportunities for Sudan. Now is the time to look forward, not backward, to achieve a lasting peace and we reiterate our Governments’ commitment to working with the Sudanese people, the African Union High Level Implementation Panel, the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Assessment and Evaluation Commission, and other regional and international partners, to do so.