Ambassador Rice: Good afternoon everyone. I just want to comment briefly on the discussion we are having this morning in the Council on Sudan and South Sudan. We received a very detailed briefing from former President Thabo Mbeki of the African Union High-Level Panel, and, of course, he was joined by Special Envoy Haile Menkerios.
From the United States’ point of view, we certainly appreciated the detail and the substance that that briefing provided, and we’re especially grateful to Thabo Mbeki and the high-level panel as well as to Mr. Menkerios for their very energetic and tireless efforts to move the parties towards some important incremental progress.
We certainly—the United States—welcome the steps that have been take of late in the immediate aftermath of the August 2nd deadline imposed by Resolution 2046. The fact that there is now an agreement, it seems, on oil revenue is an important and encouraging step, and indeed the parallel agreements that both the SPLM-North and the government in Khartoum appear to have struck with the tripartite mechanism for humanitarian access in the Two Areas is also encouraging.
But as we have seen in the past, it is vitally important that all such agreements be fully and faithfully implemented. And with respect to the Two Areas and the humanitarian situation, there is great urgency that we attach to this given the gravity of the humanitarian situation and its rapid deterioration.
But having said that, there are many outstanding issues, including those in the African Union Roadmap and Resolution 2046, that remain unresolved, unaddressed, unimplemented. And it’s certainly our strong view that building on the progress of these two important steps that I just described, it is vitally important for the two parties to complete implementation of Resolution 2046. As I’ve often said in the Council, it is not a Chinese menu from which the parties can pick and choose, it is an entire multi-course meal that they are both obliged to eat together.
So we are we’re very much encouraging the two sides to continue, to return to the negotiating table, to resolve the remaining issues, remaining mindful of the fact that this Council has been very clear in underscoring its intention to consider additional measures, including under Article 41 of the Charter if there is not full implementation of those agreements that have been reached or if, in fact, the remaining issues are not addressed successfully at the negotiating table.
I’m happy to take a few questions.
Reporter: So just one question on Sudan. South Sudan said they agreed to a deal under pressure from international powers. They didn’t say which countries. Do you have the impression that this is a workable accord that will be carried out? And is there a new deadline then for when you will consider further measures?
Ambassador Rice: We believe it needs to be a workable agreement that both sides carry out because it is in their interests that they do so. And I think that certainly we have been encouraged by the constructive decisions that both sides have taken—but of course the Republic of South Sudan in particular—on the oil revenue-sharing agreement that followed very constructive discussions that Secretary Clinton had in Juba, and we have supported and commended the decision to reach an agreement, which will benefit the people of South Sudan as well as the people of Sudan.
I’m not going to get in the business of predicting the likelihood of full compliance. I think the reality is we have seen agreements in the past that have been signed on paper and never implemented on the ground, and we could talk about several of those. In this instance, however, given that the two parties must understand that the African Union and the United Nations Security Council are dead serious about implementation of their decisions and resolutions; that, in the case of the Security Council, we’ve made very clear under Chapter VII that these are binding obligations and failure to comply could well result in consequences from this Council on either or both parties; but most importantly, as I said at the outset, these are decisions that are taken in the interests of both sides, and, for this reason, I think there is reason to be hopeful that they will be implemented.