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5/25/2005 7:42am

DAY, 25 MAY 2005
Today is observed throughout Africa as Africa Day. It is a day set aside to mark the establishment of the Organisation of the African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the Africa Union (AU), 42 years ago. On the threshold of our first anniversary since deployment in Darfur, it is fitting that we should be marking this day formally. The presence of the AU forces, CivPol and the civilian support staff in the Sudan clearly exemplifies the essence and spirit of the AU, which is one of solidarity and identification with the joys and travails of fellow Africans wherever they may be.

Let me say that those countries that have so generously and admirably contributed their troops and policemen and women to the first major African Peace Support Operations under the aegis of the AU deserve to be singled out for commendation and congratulated for being part of an important historical landmark. They have indeed made great sacrifices at the expense of national commitments to send their personnel to Darfur. We salute all Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), and I am happy they have already signalled that we can continue to count on their support as we move into the next phase of our enhancement.

Let me reiterate what you must have heard from almost every visitor and all visiting delegations: AMIS has been exemplary in the performance of its duties, and its men and women in uniform have maintained high discipline and professionalism and demonstrated excellent team work. Thank you all for being such excellent ambassadors of our continent.

Indeed, I have no doubt that no other force could have performed as creditably as you, given our initial hasty deployment without adequate planning, equipment, logistics or infrastructure. On top of all these, the vast and harsh environment of Darfur did not make it any easier. Despite these obstacles you have succeeded in such a short time to considerably improve the security situation in Darfur, thus enabling a more effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.

Indeed, we have now begun to see the beginnings of voluntary return of the IDPs to their villages. As you are aware, the PSC has approved the enhancement of the force to 6,171 and the CivPol component to 1560 by September 2005, with the possibility of further enhancement to 12,300 and appropriate numbers of CivPol by January 2006. This will throw up both challenges and opportunities in the mission area, but I am confident you will rise to the occasion as you have demonstrated before.

I take this opportunity to convey to you special greetings from the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Prof Alpha Konare who is not only proud of your efforts but inspired by your example and therefore spares no effort in mobilising support both within Africa and internationally.

May I also take this opportunity to thank our hosts, the Government and people of the Sudan, especially the President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omar Hassan Al Bashir, First Vice President Usta Ali OsmanTaha, Ministers, the Walis of the three Darfur states and their ministers and the leadership of the SLA/M and JEM for the warm reception and cooperation that have facilitated our tasks. We also acknowledge the invaluable support of our partners and donors, especially the UN and the EU, without which this mission would not have come this far. We also express our special thanks to the governments of the US, Canada, UK, Netherlands and Norway among others, for the confidence they have in the AU and their continuous generous assistance to AMIS.

May we all in AMIS celebrate Africa Day with pride in our achievements in Darfur, and may we all again be inspired to face the future with renewed vigour, loyalty and dedication to our collective responsibility to protect lives and provide enabling environment for the political settlement of the conflict. We must succeed in our mission. Africa, in partnership and cooperation with our partners must succeed. God bless and protect you all.

25 May 2005

Best regards ,
African Union Mission in Sudan(AMIS)

E_mail : [email protected]

[email protected]

Tel : (00249)183-582207/9

Cell : (00249)-912174276

Fax : (002491)-83-582206

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