I am pleased to update the House with regard to the UN special session on Sudan I chaired at the UN Security Council on 16 November in New York. The session was attended by: UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon; Head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel, President Mbeki; Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ali Karti; Secretary General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, Pagan Amum; UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Special Representative, Haile Menkerios; UN / African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Joint Special Representative, Ibrahim Gambari; US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; Austrian Minister for European and International Affairs, Dr. Michael Spindelegger; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sven Alkalaj; and Nigerian Foreign Minister, Henry Odein Ajumogobia. Deputy Foreign Ministers from Brazil, Uganda and Japan also attended as did Permanent Representatives from China, Russia, France, Lebanon, Gabon, Mexico and Turkey.
As I made clear to the UN Security Council in my statement, this is a defining moment for Sudan and its people, as they enter the final stages of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It is a period of great risk and therefore a situation that the Security Council cannot ignore; but it is also a time of opportunity that the world cannot let go by. It is vital that the international community stands united and steadfast in its support of the CPA. That is why Sudan is the top priority for the UK’s Presidency of the Security Council this month and why I convened a special session of the Council last week to discuss Sudan.
I welcome the start of voter registration for the referendum on self determination for Southern Sudan which began as scheduled on 15 November. This is the first of a series of essential steps. Early indications suggest that registration is proceeding in an orderly manner. We must all encourage timely and calm completion of this process. The process must be peaceful, credible and reflect the will of the people of Southern Sudan.
We must support the parties in their efforts to agree outstanding CPA issues, particularly on the status of Abyei. I am encouraged by political talks between the parties to address issues of fundamental and long term importance to both North and South, including citizenship, security arrangements, natural resources, assets and liabilities and the North/South border. I welcome the strong leadership of President Mbeki in bringing the parties together and welcome the work of the UN under Special Representative Haile Menkerios.
We must not lose sight of the situation in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands have suffered and died. We must work intensively with all parties involved towards a peaceful and inclusive political settlement, addressing the violence and insecurity, including by combating impunity, and supporting the peace talks in Doha. As I reiterated in New York we strongly support the work of the International Criminal Court in Darfur and urge the Government of Sudan to comply with its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1593.
I strongly support the role of the UN / AU Mission in Darfur under the leadership of Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari. Access for humanitarian workers and peacekeepers must be improved and kidnappings in Darfur must end.
I welcome the role played by the Chief Mediator, Djbril Bassole, and the support of the Government of Qatar. I urge all parties to participate in peace talks to put a definitive end to the misery in Darfur.
A stable Sudan will help build security and prosperity in the region. It will mean that Sudan does not again become a base for terrorism, or a source of refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries. And most importantly, it will help the Sudanese people receive the tangible benefits of peace that have eluded them for so long. We must continue to strive to this end. I will be discussing Sudan at the Foreign Affairs Council today and will use the opportunity to stress the importance of finding solutions to the issues facing Sudan and supporting the parties in their efforts to bring a lasting peace to Sudan.