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Statement by Dr Salim Ahmed Salim AU Special Envoy and Chief Mediator
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May 1, 2006 - 3:50:00 PM

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               AFRICAN UNION

 

 

UNION AFRICAINE

 

UNIÃO AFRICANA

Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA     B.P. 3243   Telephone: (251-11) 551 3822  Fax: (251-11) 551 9321
E-mail: [email protected]                                     website:  www.africa-union.org

 

 

Statement by Dr Salim Ahmed Salim,

AU Special Envoy and Chief Mediator

30 April 2006

 

 

Today could be a joyous and historic day for the people of Darfur, or it could be a setback. The choice lies squarely with the political leaders assembled here in Abuja. They have it in their power to sign an agreement and usher in a new era of peace in Darfur, or to continue the needless bloodshed and suffering of the people of that troubled land.

 

Today is a day when statesmanship is required, when the mettle of leaders is truly tested.

 

Today is the day when the Parties to the conflict should stop thinking about their particular interpretation of what is right and what is wrong, and rise to the challenge of making peace.  I have been involved in many exercises in making peace. I know that making peace has always demanded exceptional leadership. Making peace is not for the fainthearted, the parochial and the narrow-minded. Making peace is the ultimate expression and test of commitment of organizations and governments to the wellbeing of their people. That is why making peace is never simple.

 

We are not asking you, the Government of Sudan, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, to make a simple decision. There are only hard choices. There is no half-heartedness in peace and no short cut. For us, who have had the privilege to be involved in facilitating this process, we are humbled by today. We are humbled by the monumental responsibility that is on us. The burden of being fair is heavy indeed.

 

In a few minutes, at midnight today on 30 April 2006, we reach the deadline for the conclusion of the Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks on the Conflict in Darfur, as set by the African Union Peace and Security Council at its meeting on 10 March 2006. This is the decisive moment. Over two years of on-and-off peace talks, and five months of continuous session here in Abuja, we have come to the last hour.

 

The Darfur Peace Agreement

 

At the beginning of this week we presented you, the Parties, with the text of the Darfur Peace Agreement. It is eighty-six pages long. But the only page that really matters is the last page, which has the space for the signatures of the Parties.

 

What we have presented to you as our considered opinion has been crafted in close consultation with the international community. A countless number of individuals has lent us their solidarity, support and advice. I am saying, with all sincerety, that this Agreement had the support of the African Union and its member states, the United Nations, the European Union, the League of Arab States, the United States and Canada. They support it because, like us, they are also of the opinion that it is not perfect, but it is fair and just and workable. It paves the way for the restoration of normality in Darfur, laying the foundations for democracy and development.

 

Before presenting this Darfur Peace Agreement to you, the Parties, we agonized over every detail. We considered the pros and cons of every article and paragraph and weighed every word. We were always guided by concern for the people of Darfur and the responsibility for ending their suffering.

 

In working out its proposals, the Mediation was guided by the following principles:

 

1.      The basic principle of fairness and justice, including a need to rectify the suffering undergone by the people of Darfur;

 

2.      To ensure that the proposals are practical and workable, and can be fully and effectively implemented;

 

3.      Working out attainable compromises, which, as much as possible, are compatible with democratic values, rather than encouraging unfulfillable claims by the Parties;

 

4.      To avoid undue tinkering with the Interim National Constitution and especially not to upset the delicate balance between North and South established by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the GoS and the SPLM in Nairobi on 9 January 2005.

 

Power Sharing

 

Let me first reflect upon our proposals on Power Sharing.

 

The central issue we discussed in this regard was the question of Darfur as a region. The Movements demanded that Darfur be declared, by Presidential Decree, to be a region immediately, and that a confirmatory referendum be held later to ratify this act. The GoS, while not averse to the idea of a Region for Darfur, counter-proposed that such a decision be based on the outcome of a popular referendum. The Mediation’s compromise is a win-win formula: to create a Transitional Darfur Regional Authority now, with significant competencies, and with effective representation by the Movements. At the same time, the Movements are to be given a major role in running the three existing States of Darfur. At the end of the interim period, following the elections, an internationally monitored referendum is to be held to determine whether the people of Darfur want to have a Region or to return to the status quo ante of three States.

 

On the borders of Darfur, the Mediation proposal is that the northern border shall return to the border as it existed on 1 January 1956, and the southern border be dealt with according to the provisions of the CPA.

 

Moving on to participation in national governmental institutions, let me first deal with our proposal for the Presidency. The demand of the Movements to have the post of Vice President became difficult to resolve, because the Interim National Constitution provides for only two Vice Presidents, and adding a third post would upset the North-South balance at the level of the Presidency. The proposal of the Mediation, therefore is a Senior Assistant to the President, who will have a wide range of competencies, both with respect to Darfur and nationally, and who will be the fourth-ranking member of the Presidency. Looking at the competencies of the post, one clearly sees that the Senior Assistant has all the attributes of a Vice President, except the name.

 

Moving to representation in the Cabinet, the Mediation proposal is that the existing 3 Ministerial positions and 3 posts of Minister of State should be augmented by one additional Ministerial position and two additional Ministers of State allocated to the Movements. In addition we propose that one Presidential Adviser be a nominee of the Movements.

 

Some difficulties arose with the demand of the Movements for 90 seats for Darfur in the National Assembly. Darfur already has 57 seats and it is not possible to increase the overall number of seats in the National Assembly without doing violence to the Interim National Constitution. According to the criterion of population size, Darfur is entitled to 22% of the 300 seats allocated to the North under the INC, giving a total of 66 seats. Taking this into account and also the availability of some vacant seats, the Mediation proposed 12 seats in the National Assembly for the Movements.

 

Turning to the Movements’ representation in the executives and legislatures of the States of Darfur, we sought a middle way between the claims of the Parties. Our proposal is as follows:

 

-         That the number of seats in each legislature of the three States be increased from the current 48 to 66, with 18 additional seats to be allocated to the Movements;

-         That one Governor and two Deputy Governors be nominees of the Movements;

-         That two ministerial posts and one advisor in each of the three states be allocated to nominees of the Movements.

 

Recognizing that the people of Darfur have a legitimate interest in the national capital, we also proposed that one minister in Khartoum State should be a nominee of the Movements.

 

Wealth Sharing

 

The content of the work of the Commission on Wealth-Sharing was largely technical, giving limited room for major controversies. Indeed, negotiation was conducted with a common understanding that the wealth of Sudan must be shared equitably with a view to enabling each level of government to discharge its legal and constitutional functions and responsibilities to the people of Sudan. It is understood that a key dimension of wealth is fair participation in the decision-making that affects the generation of wealth and allocation of resources.

 

The Mediation held a series of seminars and workshops during the previous rounds of negotiations and in the weeks before the opening of the Seventh Round. These proved extremely helpful to prepare the negotiators and thereby facilitated the process, which allowed for substantial progress.

 

The text of the DPA contains, among other things, a compromise formulation on the four most sensitive issues.

 

The first of these issues is the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs). To facilitate the return of IDPs, the relevant authorities with the assistance of the African Union and the international community, shall ensure their proper protection and dignified treatment. In addition, the government of Sudan is committed to contributing resources to meet urgent needs for the return and resettlement of IDPs and refugees.

 

A second sensitive issue has been the Fiscal and Financial Allocation Monitoring Commission (FFAMC), which is concerned with financial transfers from the central government to the states. Assuming that the formula to be proposed by the FFAMC is not completed in time, a panel of experts is to be appointed to work out a formula to enable the government to make an allocation from the National Revenue Fund to the States, other than the States of Southern Sudan.

 

Our third difficult issue has been the seed money for the Darfur Reconstruction and Development Fund (DRDF). On this issue the Mediation has proposed a compromise, which is that the government shall allocate the sum of US$300 million for the year 2006 and US$200 million for 2007 and 2008 respectively. It is understood that these amounts are to be adjusted on the basis of the Joint Assessment Mission outcome and recommendations.

 

Finally we have the most controversial issue of all: compensation. After painstaking negotiation, the Parties have agreed to establish a Compensation Fund. The Government of Sudan has insisted that compensation should be provided on a communal basis as part of the package for reconstruction, while the Movements demand individual compensation for the victims of war. Until an assessment is made, we are not in a position to place figures on the finance and procedures needed for the Compensation Fund to work.

 

Security Arrangements

 

The security arrangements are a lengthy and complicated part of the document, falling into two sections. The first section is a comprehensive ceasefire and transitional security arrangements. The core of this is three phases over five months. In stage one, the Parties disengage their forces, to their respective areas of control. Demilitarized zones are created along humanitarian supply routes and around camps for internally displaced persons, and in buffer zones that separate the forces of the Parties. In this stage, we also propose that the GoS neutralizes and controls the Janjaweed armed militia, in accordance with a plan that it is obliged to present to the Ceasefire Commission for approval. We also propose extensive measures for providing security to IDP camps including the creation of a community police force, which acts as a temporary guarantee of the safety of IDPs until such time as normality is restored.

 

During phase two, the GoS is required to redeploy its forces to garrisons, while the Movements redeploy to clearly identified zones, with some distance between them and the Sudan Armed Forces. In any place in which there is civilian habitation, or in which the Movements are asked to redeploy, the GoS is required to control and neutralize armed militia, and to begin a process of disarmament by, for example, confiscating heavy weapons and motor vehicles.

 

The fundamental principle of the Security Arrangements chapters is that for each step undertaken by one Party, there is a reciprocal action by the other. This principle also governs the control, neutralization and disarmament of the Janjaweed and other armed militia. This enables the Parties to gain mutual confidence.

 

During phase three, the forces of the Parties engage in limited arms control, placing their heavy weapons in designated secure locations where they can be inspected and supervised by AMIS. At this stage there are also provisions for limited logistical supplies, such as rations, to the forces of the Movements.

 

The Ceasefire provisions contain extensive provisions for strengthening the mandate of AMIS, the Ceasefire Commission and the Joint Commission. We anticipate that these bodies will be well-placed to perform their necessary functions.

 

The second section of the Security Arrangements is the long-term question of the final status of security in Darfur. This includes five main pillars, organized under a new institution which we are calling the Darfur Security Arrangements Implementation Commission, which is to be supported by a Security Advisory Team.

 

The first pillar is provisions for integrating former combatants from the Movements into the Sudan Armed Forces and other security services. This is an essential component of the final security deal.

 

Equally important is a robust mechanism for disarming the Janjaweed and other armed militia. The obligation on the GoS to disarm the Janjaweed, contained in UN Security Council Resolution 1556, is given concrete manifestation in this provision. I am particularly pleased that the GoS has undertaken to fulfill this commitment according to a specific plan and timetable, by adopting this Agreement.

 

The third pillar is the reform of selected security institutions in Darfur, specifically those that have been expanded during the war as paramilitary branches of the army. The aim is to return these to their normal size and function. Alongside this, the civilian police is to have its capacity built so that it can become the instrument of law enforcement in Darfur.

 

Fourth, we are concerned with assembly, disarmament, demobilization and social reintegration of the Movements’ combatants who are not going to be integrated into the army. Lastly, we have addressed community arms control and disarmament.

 

The Force Commander of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) has been closely involved in the security arrangements negotiations, and has meanwhile developed a detailed implementation plan, which means that as soon as an Agreement is signed, AMIS can begin executing its new responsibilities.

 

Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation

 

The final part of the DPA concerns the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation. The need for this was recognized in the Declaration of Principles adopted by the Parties on 5 July 2005. The basis for this was that we recognized that the Parties here in Abuja did not represent all stakeholders in Darfur, and there was a need to bring all others into the process.

 

Let me say this clearly, that the Movements sometimes seem to be offended when we say that they do not necessarily represent all the people of Darfur. This statement should not be viewed as in any way depriving the Movements of legitimacy or in any way reflect badly on their organization. The mark of any aspiring democrat is the fundamental recognition of the plurality of any given society and the fact that there are others than you who deserve to be heard and represented. It is even worse during wartime when representation is distorted. What we are providing through the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation is the opportunity to recognize the existence of others and their legitimacy and to make it possible for you all to hear their side of the story and thereby create the condition for a pluralist political representation. It is not only a matter of principle, it is also good politics.

 

The Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation is envisioned as a conference in which representatives of every Darfurian group can come together to discuss their common future. It will be organized under the auspices of the AU to ensure its independence. Its political function is chiefly to popularize and deepen the DPA. Its social or traditional function is to address a range of issues of local conflict and reconciliation.

 

Conclusion

 

I can tell you without any hesitation that this war in Darfur has shaken Africa to its core and has galvanized sympathy among ordinary people throughout the world. The eyes of Africa and the wider international community are fixed on us here.

 

We want you to know, and to internalize, this simple and strong advice. The consequence of not signing this Agreement, first and foremost, will be a drastic and negative impact on the people of Darfur, whose suffering and death will continue for no reason. Indeed it will be a disaster for the people of Sudan, and for the peace process, and for the Parties.

 

The people of Africa and the world will see any rejection as a major failure of all the Parties.

 

I would like to address in particular the Government of Sudan and its responsibilities, in making sure that this peace agreement is consummated. First, I welcome the acceptance by the Government of the proposed Darfur Peace Agreement and its decision to be ready to sign it. In my numerous and prolonged discussions with the Government including Vice President Ali Osman Taha, I know that there is a number of provisions that they find objectionable, but are nonetheless ready to accept.

 

However, I would also like to remind the Government that leadership and the responsibility of a State does not end there. By definition, Government has a larger responsibility and must act at all times with extra generosity.

 

Honorable delegates of the Government of Sudan, you must walk the extra mile for peace, for the sake of the people of Sudan.

 

Let me turn to the Movements. To be frank, it has often been frustrating for all of us to deal with you. The Abuja process has provided you with recognition and a platform, which has extended legitimacy to your organizations and to your cause. You must not underestimate this asset. Should you decide to walk away from Abuja without an Agreement, you should not count on the same recognition and the same opportunities for political primacy.

 

Honorable delegates of the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, you have made many sacrifices in your struggle for your people. Now is the time for you to show leadership and make the compromises necessary for peace, for the sake of the people of Darfur.

 

Let me remind you, as we say in Africa, “The Struggle Continues.” By signing to this Agreement, you are not required to stop your political struggle, only to now pursue it by peaceful and democratic means. The opportunity is yours to gain through the ballot box what you cannot achieve at the negotiating table here in Abuja.

 

We are now, literally, at the eleventh hour. The deadline that is upon us is for real. I am ready to stop the clock if the Parties here are prepared to negotiate in good faith on the outstanding issues and close the gaps that exist. But we cannot stop the clock just for arguments and more speeches, and we must be assured that we have a strong chance of a positive outcome.

 

Let me finish by saying that, if we walk away from here without a peace deal, the world will not forgive us. There are no winners if this war continues. Everyone of us must share the blame and must live with the guilt of the lives that will be lost and the communities ruined because of the failure to make peace here.

 



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