BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION, ALPHA OUMAR KONARÉ, ON THE INTER-SUDANESE PEACE TALKS ON THE
CONFLICT IN DARFUR
Today is the deadline for the conclusion of the Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks on the Conflict in Darfur as stipulated by the African Union Peace and Security Council meeting on 10 March 2006. This deadline expires now.
The AU has been engaged in mediating between the Sudanese Parties to the conflict in Darfur since 2004 and the current Seventh Round of Talks has been in continuous session for five months. The Mediation has had ample time to explore the positions of the Parties, to listen to their aspirations and grievances. No stone has been left unturned to find genuine ways of addressing the concerns articulated by all the Parties. In effect, the Mediation has strived to be faithful to the appeals of the AU leadership to strike a balance on a just and workable solution, when tabling its final proposals to the Parties.
On 25 April 2006, the Chief Mediator presented to the Parties, as envisaged, a draft Darfur Peace Agreement covering the areas of Power Sharing, Wealth Sharing and Security Arrangements and a provision for holding an inclusive Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation with the intent of achieving Darfur-wide reconciliation. This draft Agreement represents a fair, workable and comprehensive solution to the crisis in Darfur, and is consistent with the Declaration of Principles signed by the Parties, on 5 July 2005. It includes robust mechanisms for bringing the fighting to an end and for addressing the grievances and aspirations of the people of Darfur for political representation, reconciliation, reconstruction and development, in a manner that is consistent with Sudan’s Interim National Constitution. Already, the African Mission in Sudan has taken steps to implement the Security Arrangements arising from the Agreement, which will be executed immediately upon signature of the Agreement.
I have been encouraged by the presence, in Abuja, of the Vice President of the Republic of Sudan, Mr. Ali Osman Taha, and the leaders of the Movements, Mr. Abdul Wahid Mohamed Nour, Mr. Minni Arkou Minawi and Mr. Khalil Ibrahim, and their constructive engagement on the issues. Many significant gaps have been narrowed through bilateral and direct negotiations, as well as through facilitation by the Mediation and the International Partners.
However, I am deeply disappointed that not all the Parties were able to adopt and sign the Darfur Peace Agreement by today’s deadline fixed by the Peace and Security Council and endorsed by the UN Security Council on behalf of the wider international community. I welcome the decision announced by the Government of Sudan to adopt the Agreement and its preparedness to sign it in spite of its strong reservations on certain aspects of it. I strongly urge the Movements to do the same for the sake of the suffering people of Darfur.
I wish to remind the leaders of the Parties now assembled in Abuja that, with every passing day, the civilian population of Darfur continues to suffer and innocent people continue to die from the senseless violence, atrocities and disease. The African Union considers this to be totally unacceptable and calls once again on the Parties to immediately sign the Darfur Peace Agreement so as to bring this terrible conflict to an end. For our part, we undertake that the African Union, working in tandem with the United Nations and the wider international community, will provide all necessary support and guarantees for the full and scrupulous implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement once it is signed. In the interim, I call upon the leaders of all the Parties to remain in Abuja to take advantage of the coming hours and days to resolve all outstanding differences that will pave the way for the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement without any further delay.
In conclusion, I wish to state that the African Union shall hold the Parties and their leaders accountable for their decisions with regard to achieving peace in Darfur. The African Union Chairperson and I hope to be in Abuja shortly, to consult with the Chief Mediator and the host, President Olusegun Obasanjo, and to prevail upon the Parties to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement without any further procrastination or preconditions. The African Union Peace and Security Council will also be meeting in due course to consider further necessary measures that would need to be taken to realize the objectives of the AU and the international community in Darfur.
Addis Ababa, 30 April 2006