Ambassador Raff Bukun-Olu Onemola
Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY
20th June, 2011
Nigeria is immensely grateful to President Thabo Mbeki for his tireless commitments to find a durable solution to the crisis in Darfur and in the Sudan in general. We are also grateful for the leadership Mr. Menkerios has provided to the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) under very difficult circumstances. We welcome the participation of the representative of the Government of the Sudan and of the representative of Southern Sudan, and we thank them for their contribution.
Nothing casts a darker shadow on the hopes for peaceful relations between North and South Sudan in the era following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) than the spectre of renewed conflict. We are therefore deeply concerned about the unauthorized military activities in Abeyi and the fighting along the disputed border between the North and South since 5 June 2011. There are reports of the Sudanese Army amassing heavy weaponry in Southern Kordofan amid intermittent fighting and heavy artillery shelling. We feel that the outbreak of fresh hostilities is palpable.
The situation is quite clearly at a tipping point. Neither the Sudan nor the international community can afford a renewed conflict, which would undo much of the progress achieved since the signing of the CPA in 2005. The obligation at this crucial junction is to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate further.
In that context we welcome the high-level meeting between President Al-Bashir and VicePresident Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa and the agreements on temporary arrangements for the administration and security of the Abyei Area that were reached today. We commend both leaders for their courage and commitment to dialogue and negotiation. We also commend the African Union High-Level Panel under the leadership of President Mbeki for facilitating the agreement.
As we welcome the good news of a major breakthrough by the parties, the real significance of the temporary agreement lies in its effective implementation. Both parties must now pursue all efforts to implement a decision to demilitarize the Abyei Area, withdraw all military troops from the zone and deploy in the territory an interim security force composed of Ethiopian troops. Indeed, the agreement should serve as an impetus for intensified strategic level discussions of the political and security arrangements between the North and the South. In that regard, we welcome the agreement by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia to contribute peacekeepers to facilitate the implementation of the agreement between the parties.
Nigeria reiterates its firm support for the Security Council’s presidential statement of 3 June (S/PRST/2011/12) and calls on both parties to firmly embrace the ongoing high-level negotiations under the auspices of the African Union Panel. If continued in good faith, those discussions could result in agreements on the outstanding CPA and postreferendum issues before 9 July.
We urge the NCP and SPLM to full implement, and without delay, all the provisions of the Kadugli agreements. Our commitment to achieving a peaceful, equitable and mutually beneficial relationship between North and South Sudan requires that we remain engaged with the parties to the CPA. We must not only assist them to devise a framework for continued dialogue beyond July; we must also play an important role in their geo-political transformation into two viable States.
The impact of the deteriorating security situation on the civilian population is all too evident. Abyei, the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan have all seen mass displacements caused by genuine emergencies. That situation makes an urgent case for enhanced international humanitarian aid. We commend the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization and other humanitarian agencies for their relief support for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.
The parties should respect humanitarian principles and allow all humanitarian personnel timely and unfettered access to vulnerable communities, including those who have taken refuge outside the UNMIS compound in Kaldugi. Conditions should be created to allow the prompt and safe return of IDPs to their homes. All parties must also refrain from attacks on peacekeepers and respect the mandate of UNMIS.
In addition, as we await the emergence of South Sudan on 9 July, there should be no unilateral action by the parties. Actions must be realistic and consistent with the spirit of the CPA and the package agreement reached. They must build on the achievements reached to date between the parties and continue to work closely with UNMIS and the African Union High Level Panel under the leadership of President Mbeki.