Mr. President, The United States supports the peacekeepers of UNAMID who continue to play a critical role in the safety and security of the people of Darfur.
We are extremely concerned by the situation on the ground in Darfur. In light of the dangerous situation, we are pleased that the Council has recognized that the enabling environment necessary for a Darfur-based political process does not yet exist.
For any process to achieve lasting peace in Darfur, the ability of the participants to express their free will without fear of harm or retribution must be guaranteed. In Darfur, however, those who speak out are regularly arrested, tortured, or killed.
Mr. President, It is first and foremost the responsibility of the Government of Sudan to create these enabling conditions, and we strongly demand all parties to the conflict agree to an immediate ceasefire and engage in direct negotiation.
UNAMID’s role in bringing peace to Darfur is critical. It’s role, first and foremost, is to protect civilians and secure humanitarian access for millions of vulnerable people.
We are pleased that this resolution affirms that, based on reporting from the field—including UNAMID’s reporting on political, civil, and human rights — the Security Council, taking into account the views of the African Union, will determine whether the enabling conditions necessary for UNAMID to engage in further efforts related to the Darfur-based Political Process have been met.
As civilians continue to be targeted and bombs dropped in Darfur, the United States welcomes UNAMID’s focus on protecting civilians and ensuring humanitarians have the access they need to provide lifesaving assistance. And we call on all parties to the conflict to recommit themselves to serious, comprehensive political negotiations to bring an end to these atrocities.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Chairman Kerry, Ranking Member Lugar, Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here to discuss the historic achievement symbolized by South Sudan’s independence and the opportunities and challenges ahead as Sudan and South Sudan seek to define their future relationship with each other and the international community.
I will discuss below the many tasks and challenges that lie ahead. But first we should recall that a fundamental objective of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement was to provide the people of southern Sudan a choice whether to continue within one country or to separate. The people made that choice in January, voting for separation, and the independence of South Sudan was achieved July 9 without major conflict and with the recognition of the Government of Sudan. All those, in the Congress, among the many public organizations and advocates, the government entities and individuals over two administrations, all those who worked for this over many years should take pride and joy in this achievement.
I was in Juba last Saturday for South Sudan’s independence ceremony. It was a very moving occasion. As President Obama said in his statement recognizing South Sudan, the day reminded us “that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible.” Tens of thousands of people endured sweltering heat for hours to celebrate the birth of their new nation. Sudan was the first country to recognize South Sudan’s independence. This was a historic achievement that represents a new beginning for the people of South Sudan as well as those of Sudan.
Mr. Chairman, this achievement was far from inevitable. Just a year ago, the peace process between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement was stalled. Many doubted whether it would be possible to have an on-time, peaceful referendum for Southern Sudan and whether the Government of Sudan would ever accept the results. A return to open conflict seemed very possible. During that time, President Obama committed to reenergizing the peace effort, and since then, we have intensified our diplomatic engagement with the CPA parties as well as our partners in the African Union, IGAD, Europe and the United Nations. The President himself, the Vice President and his entire national security team have been involved in this effort around the clock. We are grateful for the support that this committee and you in particular, Mr. Chairman, have given to this effort. We also appreciate the efforts that so many Americans have made to keep a spotlight on the situation in Sudan.
Over the last year, the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have demonstrated their capacity to work together on the major task of separation and to overcome great odds in their search for peaceful completion of the CPA. Nevertheless, this period has also been marked by armed clashes along the border, a crisis in Abyei, and fighting currently under way in the northern state of Southern Kordofan. Several critical issues regarding relations between the two states that were to be negotiated by July 9 have not been resolved. Thus the situation remains fraught with serious threats to peace. The two states must work to rekindle the spirit of cooperation that was so evident after the referendum of January 9 and which was promised again by the two leaders in the ceremony of July 9.
The CPA parties have made some progress in their negotiations over the past few months, but as I indicated above some of the most important issues namely oil, Abyei and citizenship remain unresolved. How these outstanding issues are managed over the near term will define the future relationship between Sudan and South Sudan. At the IGAD Summit on July 4, President Bashir and President Kiir committed to continue negotiations beyond July 9. We are urging the parties to quickly return to the negotiating table in the coming days and set a firm deadline for completing this unfinished business. The parties should work with the support of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to finalize mutually-beneficial arrangements, in particular, oil revenues, citizenship, Abyei, and their shared border. Allowing these issues to linger without resolution for too long could destabilize the future relationship between Sudan and South Sudan.
Of particular importance is the contentious issue of Abyei. After months of rising tensions and a buildup of forces by both sides, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) forcefully took over the disputed area of Abyei in May. An estimated 100,000 people were forced to flee their homes. After weeks of intense negotiations, the parties signed an agreement on June 20 outlining temporary arrangements for Abyei, to include the establishment of a new UN peacekeeping force in Abyei and the redeployment of all Sudanese military forces from the area. Secretary of State Clinton met with the parties in Addis Ababa during these talks and played an important role in finalizing this deal. We then led efforts in the UN Security Council to quickly secure a resolution authorizing this new peacekeeping force, which will consist of up to 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers.
The violence that flared in Abyei cannot be allowed to return and jeopardize the larger peace. It is critical that the parties move forward with genuinely implementing this agreement over the coming weeks as they continue to work toward a final arrangement on Abyei. The Ethiopian peacekeepers have begun deploying to Abyei. The SAF and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) must follow through with their commitment to withdraw their forces. Conditions must be put in place to allow those displaced from Abyei to voluntarily return home in safety and dignity as soon as possible. Enormous damage was done to homes and other structures in Abyei and much was looted during the SAF take-over. Considerable assistance will therefore be needed for those returning home. We are working closely with the Ethiopian peacekeeping force, the United Nations humanitarian agencies, and our own USAID to arrange support for a safe, voluntary return. At the same time, as part of their negotiations, the parties need to resolve Abyei’s final status. Negotiations on this matter were delayed by the SAF take-over of the area and the extensive negotiations for assuring the departure of military forces from there. This delay was costly. It will take weeks for the Ethiopian forces to be fully deployed and some time for the displaced to feel it safe to return.
Negotiations on the oil sector are equally important, but they must move on a quicker timetable. By the end of July, there has to be an understanding of how oil will be marketed and sold and to what extent the SPLM will provide some tapering off of reductions of income to the north. Agreement is made more difficult, however, because the SPLM does not want to make such a decision without final agreements on Abyei, the border, and perhaps some other issues. We are thus faced with conflicting timelines. In this situation, it is imperative that if there is no final resolution of oil revenue distribution, there must be an interim agreement by the end of July. Each side has claimed it is ready to shut down the oil flow if there is no agreement, positions that if acted upon would only hurt both sides and above all the people of all Sudan. Thus this issue demands action very soon.
Mr. Chairman, beyond their negotiations with each other, Sudan and South Sudan must also work to establish peace within their respective borders. Despite their separation, both countries have significant diversity and must decide how they will manage that diversity over the coming years. Most immediately, we remain deeply concerned about the situation in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan, an area that is home to tens of thousands of SPLA fighters. The people of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile were promised in the CPA that their political interests would be addressed in a process of popular consultations. Unfortunately, those consultations have not occurred in Southern Kordofan. Tensions increased in Southern Kordofan following the state’s heavily-contested elections in May. The SPLM refused to accept the results of the election in which the sitting Governor was declared the winner. It was in this atmosphere that the Government of Sudan issued an order to the SAF to dissolve the Joint Integrated Units and forcibly disarm SPLA units that remained in the state. On June 5, intense fighting broke out between the SAF and SPLA forces in the state. To date, the fighting has continued, with the SAF carrying out aerial bombardments of SPLA areas. We are extremely concerned by credible allegations of targeted and ethnic-based killings and other gross human rights abuses. These abuses must end, an investigation must be conducted, and perpetrators must be held accountable. The UN estimates that 73,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, and critical access and resupply routes for humanitarian agencies have been blocked.
Negotiations over Southern Kordofan began in Ethiopia in late June under the auspices of the AUHIP. The Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North signed a framework agreement on June 28 outlining new political and security arrangements for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. This agreement has the advantage of calling for addressing political issues at the same time as security ones, which is indispensable for reaching an agreement to cease hostilities and lay the groundwork for a longer term settlement. Unfortunately, President Bashir has raised problems with the framework agreement, which puts negotiations at risk. We continue to call on the parties to return to the negotiating table, to recognize the need to address both political and security issues, and to agree on a cessation of hostilities which would allow unfettered humanitarian access. Despite the opposition of Khartoum, we also continue to call on the Government of Sudan to accept a continued UN presence in the two states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to support a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access, and the establishment of new security arrangements. We believe, and we know that much of the international community agrees, that it is in their interest to do so. The Security Council has expressed its readiness to authorize continued UN operations if Khartoum consents.
Within Sudan, we also remain deeply concerned about the security and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Clashes continue to occur in North and South Darfur between the Government of Sudan and an alliance of Darfur rebel groups, notably the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. The SAF continues to use aerial bombardments as well as proxy militias as part of its military strategy against the movements, thereby resulting in civilian casualties. Conflict and widespread insecurity impact the humanitarian situation negatively and hamper humanitarian organizations from carrying out their activities in the deep field. The GOS continues to obstruct access of UN-African Union peacekeepers and humanitarian organizations struggle to obtain visas and travel permits from the GoS, which undermine the effectiveness and independence of humanitarian efforts. We have consistently pressed the Government of Sudan to provide full and unfettered access for aid workers and peacekeepers, in order to deliver humanitarian assistance across Darfur. Our own humanitarian staff is only able to access Darfur with high level visits. Otherwise, operational access is simply not possible. Although there has been some limited IDP resettlement in West Darfur and a significant increase in seasonal IDP returns for cultivation, around 2 million Darfuris overall remain in IDP camps. Approximately 70,000 additional persons have been displaced since December 2010.
We have invested considerable efforts in pushing the Government of Sudan and the armed movements to commit to serious negotiations in Doha. Two of Darfur’s rebel groups, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have participated in the Doha negotiations. The LJM may sign a peace agreement with the Government of Sudan this week; however LJM has little military strength on the ground. Negotiations between JEM and the Government of Sudan have been suspended since early May, and JEM is currently reconsidering its position on the results of the Doha process. We have emphasized to the Government of Sudan that an agreement with the LJM would be a positive step toward peace, but that it must continue to negotiate with the other armed movements. We also will be applying pressure on the non-negotiating armed movements to return to peace talks.
The position of the armed movements is also of concern. Several of them insist that they do not wish to negotiate on Darfur so much as on changes to the regime in Khartoum, and in some cases are determined to pursue that objective through fighting in and beyond Darfur. This position does not permit realistically peace talks with the Government of Sudan. We will also continue to encourage the non-negotiating armed movements to return to peace talks on Darfur. While the Doha process has now come to an end, other venues can be developed if talks are possible. In this regard, we are currently consulting with the AU, the UN and our international partners on a way forward after Doha that builds on progress achieved in Doha and leads to a more comprehensive settlement.
Any successful peace process must engage not only the armed movements, but also the people of Darfur. The UN and the AU have put forward the initiative of a Darfur Political Process, through which Darfuris would express their views on the way forward for a political settlement. However, we feel strongly that the current security and political environment would not lend itself to a credible or legitimate peace process in Darfur. For this reason, we will be coordinating with the AU and the UN on the necessary enabling conditions that we believe must be in place before the U.S. will support a Darfur-based process.
Mr. Chairman, Sudan needs to end its isolation in the international community and secure a more prosperous future for its people. It has a historic opportunity to do so with the completion of the CPA. Sudan faces an uncertain economic future as it adjusts to a significant loss of oil revenue and continues to shoulder nearly $38 billion of debt. Undoubtedly, Sudan is in need of debt relief, access to the resources of the International Financial Institutions, and a sustainable climate for private investment. Provided Sudan fulfills its obligations under the CPA, the United States is prepared to help.
We have laid out a roadmap to normalize our bilateral relations and taken initial steps in that direction. In February, following a successful referendum, the President began the process of reviewing Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. Last month, the President dispatched Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan to Khartoum to discuss this review and to demonstrate our commitment to this process. Additionally, we have been actively involved in the World Bank technical working group to review the process for Sudan’s debt relief. We have also approved licenses for several American companies wishing to participate in agricultural development in the north.
However, we can only move forward with improved bilateral relations, as outlined in the roadmap, if the Government of Sudan fulfills its obligations under the CPA and demonstrates its commitment to peace within its borders and with its neighbors. A failure to reach a cessation of hostilities will negatively impact this process. U.S. government action to lift remaining U.S. economic sanctions and to request legislative assistance with the removal of applicable foreign assistance restrictions also will be dependent on Sudanese actions in Darfur. We will expect to see concrete actions on humanitarian access, freedom of movement for UNAMID peacekeepers, engagement in peace talks, an end to the use of proxy militias and targeting of civilians, and an improvement in justice and accountability so the reign of impunity in Darfur does not continue. This is not just the position of the United States. It is also the view of other members of the international community and international creditors.
Mr. Chairman, the Government of South Sudan will also depend on international support as it seeks to address its many challenges. South Sudan has some of the lowest development indicators in the world, and its people have high expectations that their lives will improve with independence. Many of its people also remain vulnerable to the activity of armed militias in the border states of Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile to the North, and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the state of Equatoria regions to the south. The United States has provided significant support for South Sudan over the years, and we will remain a steadfast partner as South Sudan seeks to peacefully meet these challenges. The strong ties between our peoples go back many decades, and we want to continue to build on that partnership.
Over 15 countries have offered capacity building assistance to the GOSS. Following the Troika development ministers’ visit in May, USAID is working closely with the AU, UN, ADB, EU, India, China, South Africa, Uganda and others to ensure that the ROSS has a viable human capital plan in place to build capacity for key functions in Juba and state governments. This builds upon the work USAID has done over the last 7 years in the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of South Sudan, health, education, and agriculture. USAID is working with partners to scale up to ensure that stop gap measure along with medium to long term capacities are being addressed. The United States, the UN, the UK, and other donors will focus on building a human rights culture throughout the GOSS, including the SPLA. All the donors will help in economic development. The United States plans in particular to make a major effort in agricultural production, which can help the vast majority of South Sudanese and for which there is much promise.
To succeed and to sustain international support, the Government of South Sudan must demonstrate its commitment to building an effective, democratic and inclusive government that embodies South Sudan’s diversity, respects human rights and delivers services with transparency and accountability. The eyes of the world will indeed be on South Sudan in the weeks and months ahead. The government must deliver on its commitment to a broad-based, inclusive process to write its permanent constitution. The government must also put in place safeguards to prevent corruption and avoid the pitfalls that have befallen many other oil-producing nations. President Kiir made a strong statement in his inaugural address on these very issues. The United States will work with other international partners to provide advice and support for the government to help him implement those pledges.
Mr. Chairman and other members of the committee, the challenges ahead are great, but the historic occasion last Saturday offers a new beginning for the people of South Sudan and Sudan. Now it is up to the leaders and people of South Sudan and Sudan to turn this moment of promise into lasting peace. We will continue to assist them in this hard work. Over the coming months, the Obama administration’s engagement will be unwavering, and we will be a steadfast partner to all those in Sudan and South Sudan who seek a better future of peace and prosperity.
I would like to thank Richard Solomon and the United States Institute for Peace for inviting me to speak today. It’s an honor to be here. My colleagues and I are avid readers of your reports and policy papers, and we greatly appreciate the regular opportunities to participate in the Institute’s many enriching seminars and conferences. You play a vital role in shaping the public’s interest in foreign policy and in keeping the international community focused on the most critical and important global issues. In Africa, the work the Institute has done on Sudan in recent years has complemented our efforts to support the negotiations, promote local conflict resolution, and bolster civil society. We hope you will continue your work on Sudan and South Sudan in the years ahead.
This afternoon I’d like to make some brief remarks about the opportunities and challenges facing the world’s newest nation, South Sudan. Today’s event comes at a critical time as we look ahead to the opportunities and challenges for Sudan and South Sudan. Independence presents a new opportunity for the people of South Sudan, an opportunity to build a new nation that embodies their values and aspirations. It also presents an opportunity for the people of Sudan to redefine their relationship with the international community and pursue a more prosperous future.
We want to see the people of Sudan and South Sudan seize those opportunities and succeed. But to do that, they must establish a stable and durable peace between their two states, and they must work to promote stability and development within their borders. This will not be easy and it will not happen overnight, but it is doable. The Sudanese have demonstrated their capacity over the last year to work together and overcome great odds. The United States is committed to being a steadfast partner as they continue to work out their remaining differences and build the peace and stability that all Sudanese people desire.
This past Saturday, I joined leaders from around the world in recognizing and celebrating South Sudan’s independence. It was one of the most moving occasions of my time as Assistant Secretary. In Juba, tens of thousands of southern Sudanese endured sweltering heat for hours to celebrate the birth of their new nation. The Government of South Sudan organized a day of pageantry and substance. The proclamation of independence was read. President Salva Kiir took the oath of office and unveiled a statue of John Garang. President Kiir spoke eloquently of the sacrifices endured by millions of Sudanese and the challenges South Sudan faces as the newest and one of the poorest states in the world. Sudanese President Bashir was in attendance and congratulated his hosts, and Sudan followed through on its pledge to be the first country to recognize South Sudan’s independence.
It truly was a historic day for the people of South Sudan.
Just a year ago, last Saturday’s celebration appeared impossible. The peace process between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement had stalled. A return to open conflict seemed possible. Many analysts warned the Southern Sudan referendum was at high risk of delay or would be mired in bitter controversy. Little if any preparation was underway, and many observers doubted northern leaders would allow the referendum to proceed or would accept its results.
Recognizing that the CPA and the Southern Referendum were in serious peril, President Obama committed last year to reenergize the peace effort to make sure that the North and South Sudan did not return to a state of conflict. We intensified our diplomatic engagement with the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), as well as our partners in the African Union, IGAD, the United Nations, the EU, and others. The President, the Vice President and the entire national security team were involved in this effort around the clock. The U.S. Special Envoys for Sudan, first Ambassador Scott Gration and then Ambassador Princeton Lyman, shuttled back and forth to the region, working with the parties to move the process forward. A number of Americans – acting individually and through civil society groups – also deserve a vote of thanks for keeping a spotlight on the situation in Sudan.
Against the odds, the people of Sudan and their leaders came together and organized an on-time referendum in January that was peaceful, credibly and reflected the will of the people. And despite moments of tension and crisis, they have worked together over the past months to enable a peaceful separation. For those of you that have followed Sudan’s history over the years, you know the significance of this achievement. But you also know that the situation remains fragile. Serious threats to peace and security remain, and great challenges lie ahead. The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan must continue to foster a spirit of cooperation as they work to resolve these threats and challenges. This is essential. Because even though they are now two separate countries, their peoples share historic, geographic, and economic ties. And they share common interests. The fate of Sudan and South Sudan are intertwined.
Challenges in the Relationship between South Sudan and Sudan
The challenges are formidable. South Sudan has achieved its independence, but it has not secured its future. First and foremost, Sudan and South Sudan must resolve outstanding issues between them. Over recent months, with the support of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, the CPA parties have made progress in their negotiations. However, they failed to reach final resolution on several key issues before July 9. The recent fighting in Abyei and in the border state of Southern Kordofan has added additional complexities to the unresolved issues. President Bashir and President Kiir committed at the IGAD Summit on July 4 that they would continue negotiations on the outstanding issues after July 9. They must now turn those commitments into action. Both the parties must return to the negotiating table. They must work to resolve these issues in the shortest possible timeframe. Allowing these issues to linger without resolution for too long could destabilize the future relationship between Sudan and South Sudan and lead to tensions and potentially renewed conflict.
Abyei: Abyei remains a crucial issue for resolution. On May 20 the Sudanese Armed Forces invaded and occupied Abyei, following an unprovoked attack by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army on a UN convoy escorting Sudanese armed forces. The North’s takeover of Abyei brought widespread looting and caused the displacement of an estimated 100,000 people.
The Obama Administration strongly condemned Khartoum’s actions in Abyei and worked with President Mbeki and his team and the UN Security Council to persuade the parties to reach an agreement on new security arrangements for Abyei that would lead to the withdrawal of Sudanese troops and the protection of Abyei by a neutral force. The parties agreed that a new UN peacekeeping force, consisting of roughly 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers, would be established to maintain security in Abyei, and that all Sudanese military forces would redeploy from the area. It is critical that the parties fully implement this agreement. The violence that flared in Abyei cannot be allowed to return and jeopardize the larger peace. The parties must work with the AU Panel to reach agreement on the area’s future and final status. They also need to resolve the status of five other disputed areas along the border.
Oil: In addition to Abyei, the parties have not sorted out how they will handle oil assets and other financial transition arrangements. Oil and the revenue it generates are indispensable to the prosperity and welfare of all Sudanese – both North and South. Negotiations on oil are of particular urgency. By the end of July, there must be an understanding on how oil in the South will be marketed and sold and to what extent payments will be made to the North. The parties must reach an interim agreement to keep the oil flowing. We have strongly encouraged both parties to refrain from any unilateral actions that could destabilize the oil sector and cause severe economic shocks.
Citizenship: Another crucial issue is citizenship. There continue to be hundreds of thousands of southerners living and working in the North, and a smaller but significant number of northerners in the South. The parties have agreed to work to ensure that no one is left stateless, and they have agreed in principle on a nine-month transition period in which people can adjust their citizenship status. It is critical that both states follow through on this commitment. We have also called on Sudan and South Sudan to guarantee the rights of work, property, residency, and movement for all former and current Sudanese citizens. We continue to discourage any action that might cause people suddenly to become aliens in areas where they have resided and raised their families for decades.
Internal Challenges and Opportunities for South Sudan
Beyond resolving the outstanding issues of its separation from the North, South Sudan also must address its own internal challenges as a newly independent state. The continued activity of armed militia groups and the proliferation of weapons pose an ongoing security threat. South Sudan needs to make substantially more progress on security sector reform and the demobilization and social reintegration of former fighters over the next year. The United States and South Sudan’s other international partners are actively supporting these efforts.
Without question, South Sudan has some of the worst human development indicators in the world. Much of the country has little transportation infrastructure, no formal educational system, limited health services, and no judicial system. There is very little industry or economic infrastructure outside of Juba.
To build a new nation, South Sudan will need coherent and realistic development plans that build local capacity so that the South Sudanese people can, over the long term, do the building themselves rather than become dependent on outsiders and the donor community. USAID along with South Sudan’s other international development partners have been providing technical expertise aimed at increasing the capacity of the new South Sudanese Government. We have worked closely with the Government of South Sudan from the local to the national levels and will continue to do so.
Transparent and democratic processes need to be put into place so that the Southern Sudanese people can hold their government accountable and have adequate input into decision-making. This is also critical if the Government of South Sudan is to sustain international support. The eyes of the world will indeed be on South Sudan in the weeks and months ahead. It must demonstrate its commitment to avoiding the pitfalls that have befallen many other oil-producing nations. President Kiir said the right things in his inauguration speech, and now his Government must deliver. The United States is committed to helping his Government do so.
Internal Challenges and Opportunities for Sudan
Sudan too must address its own internal problems in the months and years ahead. First and foremost, the Government of Sudan must bring an end to the ongoing conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Darfur.
Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile: At the same time that crisis was unfolding in Abyei, fighting broke out in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan, an area that is home to tens of thousands of SPLA fighters. Some 73,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, which continues. Humanitarian access has been severely restricted, and UN peacekeepers have been harassed and blocked from patrolling. On June 28, with the help of the African Union Panel, the parties signed a framework agreement on political and security arrangements for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, but they have not agreed on a cessation of hostilities. And unfortunately, President Bashir has since raised problems with the framework agreement, which puts negotiations at risk. We are continuing to press the parties to bring an end to the fighting, allow unfettered access to humanitarian agencies and to accept a continued UN presence.
Darfur: The Government of Sudan must also finally bring an end to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. A just, inclusive and durable settlement in Darfur is critical for a viable and prosperous Sudan in the future. To achieve such a settlement, the Sudanese Government should find ways to improve the economic situation of the Darfuri people while addressing their political concerns. The government must also seek to bring an end to the culture of impunity that has taken hold in Darfur.
One of Darfur’s rebel groups, the Liberation and Justice Movement may sign a peace agreement with the Government of Sudan this week; however one other major group is still on the fence while other rebel movements have refused to take part in the Doha process. We have emphasized to the Government of Sudan that this agreement would be a positive step toward peace, but that it must continue to negotiate with the other armed movements.
The armed rebel movements in Darfur have contributed to the continuation of this conflict and they must take responsibility for working toward its end. During the days ahead, these groups must choose peace over war and recognize that long-term stability and recovery cannot be gained through additional conflict. We believe the non-negotiating movements must return to the peace talks and seek to conclude an agreement with the Sudanese Government.
Economic situation: In addition to resolving the conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Darfur, the Government of Sudan faces considerable economic challenges. With the loss of oil revenues from the south and a crippling debt estimated at $38 billion, the Government of Sudan needs debt relief, access to the International Financial Institutions and a new infusion of foreign investment. It also needs to revitalize its once promising agriculture sector.
The Government of Sudan showed an encouraging commitment to peace in signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, allowing the referendum to take place, and being the first nation in the world to recognize the independence of the South.
The United States has told the Sudanese Government that we are prepared to improve our bilateral relations if they continue down this path of peace. We have presented them with a roadmap toward normalized relations and taken initial steps in that direction. In February, the President initiated the process of reviewing Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and in June the President’s Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan traveled to Khartoum to discuss this review and to demonstrate our commitment to this process. We have also approved licenses for several American companies wishing to participate in agricultural development in Sudan.
The United States has told the Government of Sudan that we are prepared to help with the country’s challenges, and we have already taken initial steps to that end. However, in line with our roadmap, we can only implement this support if Sudan lives up to its CPA obligations and demonstrates its commitment to peace within its borders. This is not just the position of the United States; it is also the position of many other members of the international community and key international creditors.
The Government of Sudan now has a historic opportunity to end its isolation and redefine its relationship with the international community. We hope that Khartoum will seize this opportunity to secure a more prosperous future for its people.
Opportunities for a Shared Future of Partnership
The challenges ahead are daunting, and a great deal of hard work remains to be done. But in closing, I recall the scene I witnessed in Juba on Saturday. The spirit of hope that permeated the air can be built upon for a better future.
As President Obama noted in his statement, South Sudan’s successful independence is “a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible. A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn. These symbols speak to the blood that has been spilled, the tears that have been shed, the ballots that have been cast, and the hopes that have been realized by so many millions of people.”
Indeed, the light of a new dawn is possible. The people of Sudan and South Sudan have a historic opportunity today to chart a new future based on partnership, cooperation and shared prosperity. We are committed to working with Sudan and South Sudan toward the goal of two viable states at peace with another. The two nations cannot prosper unless the other is stable and economically viable. While they may be two nations, their fates are linked together by their shared history, people, and economics.
The Obama Administration will work with both countries in the weeks and months ahead to realize this promise of a better future for the people in both the South and the North.
Deputy Spokesperson Toner On the Signing of an Agreement by the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement
The United States expresses its gratitude to the Government of Qatar for its extraordinary efforts to bring peace to the troubled region of Darfur. For more than two years, the Government of Qatar has generously hosted African Union/United Nations-sponsored talks between the Government of Sudan and armed rebel movements. The United States appreciates the hard work and important contributions of the former AU/UN Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassolé during this process. We are also particularly grateful for the contributions of Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Bin Abdallah Al Mahmoud.
We welcome the agreement concluded today between the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) and the Government of Sudan. This agreement is a positive step forward on the road toward a lasting solution to the crisis in Darfur. We will continue to press those armed movements which refuse to participate in the peace negotiations – particularly the Sudan Liberation Army factions of Abdel Wahid Al Nur and Minni Minawi – to engage fully in the peace process. The United States urges the Government of Sudan to affirm its openness to additional international negotiations so that a comprehensive peace agreement can be reached with all armed movements.
The conflict in Darfur has inflicted a severe toll on the Darfuri people. The United States continues to advocate peaceful negotiations and political compromise among all parties in order to achieve a durable, just, inclusive, and comprehensive solution to the Darfur crisis.
Thank you very much, Mr. President. On behalf of Ambassador Churkin, with whom I co-led the trip to Sudan, I would like to make the following report.
Unfortunately, the situation in Abyei rapidly deteriorated as we traveled to the region. Thus, our mission had three overriding purposes: first, to urge a halt to the fighting and to restore calm to Abyei; second, to press the North and the South to quickly resolve all outstanding issues necessary to pave the way for two peaceful and successful states beginning on July 9; and third, to better understand what an independent South Sudan will need from the UN and the international community.
The crisis in Abyei affected both our itinerary and our agenda, and we were unable to visit the Abyei area, as planned. But being on the ground in Sudan enabled us to press this critical issue with both parties and to respond to the emerging crisis in real time. That included issuing a strong press statement while we were in Khartoum that called for the immediate withdrawal of all forces from Abyei and its environs.
Our visit to Sudan included travel not only to Khartoum, but to Wau, Juba and Malau.
We began in Khartoum, where we met with several government officials. Foreign Minister Karti unfortunately was ill and did not join our meeting as planned. However, we met with Minister of State for the Presidency Amin Hassan Omer, Ambassador Daffa-Alla Osman, our colleague here, and a number of other Sudanese interlocutors. We reiterated the Council’s commitment to support two viable and successful states as of July 9. We emphasized the need for a peaceful resolution to the Abyei conflict. We deplored the May 19 attack on the UNMIS convoy and pointed out that the escalatory response from the Sudanese Armed Forces was unacceptable and constituted a gross violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
We expressed the Council’s deep concern over the level of violence in Darfur and the Sudanese government’s continued restrictions on humanitarian and UNAMID access. We asked the Government of Sudan to fulfill its commitment to process all UNAMID visas in a timely manner—an urgent issue, given that UNAMID had more than 800 visa requests pending at the time of our meeting. The government said that it would follow through on its visa commitments. It also reaffirmed its support for the Doha process and committed to lifting the State of Emergency in Darfur after the adoption of a final document from the Doha negotiations.
The Council also stressed the need for the government to protect the rights of Southerners living in the North. The government assured us that the basic rights of Southerners in the North would be protected.
The Sudanese canceled a previously scheduled meeting with Vice President Taha at the last minute. As Ambassador Churkin explained at the press conference later that day, this was an important missed opportunity by the government to discuss with the Council Abyei and other pressing issues.
Separately, we received informative briefings on UNMIS and UNAMID that added to our understanding of their work and the challenges that they face in the field day to day. Joint Special Representative Gambari and Force Commander Nyamvumba detailed the increasingly robust posture of UNAMID. We welcomed the news that the mission has increased its patrols to an average of 160 per day, up from approximately 90 per day in late 2010. The humanitarian briefing, however, was dispiriting. We learned that only 250 or so international staff remain in Darfur, which, as you all know, is an area roughly the size of France. That number used to be around 1,000.
In Khartoum, we also met with former President Thabo Mbeki, the chair of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel. He helpfully outlined his efforts to facilitate negotiations on outstanding CPA issues and the key post-referendum arrangements. President Mbeki emphasized that we are at the point where these arrangements must be resolved by the parties at a senior political level. The Council agreed and expressed its strong support for his ongoing work.
We visited the Mayo camp for internally displaced persons on the outskirts of Khartoum, where we heard the concerns of Southerners about a lack of protection, health care, education, and job prospects. Many have lived in the camp for decades, but all expressed a keen desire to return to the South. These hopes remain largely unrealized for this group in the face of poverty, insufficient transportation, and security concerns. Some returnees have reportedly been attacked as they journeyed back to the South.
We met with Misseriya and Ngok Dinka representatives as well during our time in Sudan. We felt that it was critical to hear firsthand from both groups. In each meeting, we emphasized the Council’s commitment to implementing the CPA and finding a peaceful solution to the crisis in Abyei.
After Khartoum, the Council visited Wau in Western Bahr El Ghazal, South Sudan. We were moved by the deep commitment of the staff at the Mary Health Center. Excuse me, Help Center. Our tour of its health clinic, school, and related facilities underscored the lack of infrastructure throughout the South. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with students and representatives of civil society organizations. They described their excitement for independence, as well as the vast challenges still to be overcome. Several asked for the international community’s help in demarcating the North-South border and helping create a buffer zone between Northern and Southern forces. We heard repeatedly of the economic hardship caused by the North’s recent closure of several border crossings. Above all, we heard a strong yearning for greater educational opportunities and better health care.
From Wau, we went to Juba, where the Council had a productive meeting with President Salva Kiir, Vice President Riek Machar and Government of South Sudan’s ministers. We reiterated our view that the fates and well-being of the peoples of the North and South are intertwined and urged both parties to resume and intensify their dialogue to resolve the status of Abyei and all remaining issues. We reiterated our grave concern regarding events in Abyei, including the Council’s condemnation of the SPLA attack on the UN convoy on May 19. President Kiir agreed that stability in the South depends on a stable neighbor in the North. He provided a broad overview of the remaining CPA and post-referendum issues and, with respect to Abyei, expressed regret to the United Nations for the attack on its convoy.
The Council traveled by helicopter to Malau, a small village in Jonglei State, to view a demonstration by a newly-formed livestock-protection unit. The tour of Malau underscored the magnitude of the challenges facing the South, particularly with respect to internal security. While the livestock-protection unit is a worthy initiative, the economic, social, and political effects of cattle rustling and associated child abduction remain daunting.
We later visited Jebel Kujur, a way station in Juba, operated by the UNHCR, where vulnerable returnees are provided with food, water, and medical services while IOM arranges for their onward transport. We spoke with recent returnees as they waited to load their possessions onto buses to continue their journey to other parts of the South. Nearly 341,000 Southerners living in the North have returned to Southern Sudan and the Three Areas between October 30, of last year and May 3, of 2011.
We made a point, again, of including civil society groups in as much of our program as possible. In particular, we had a working lunch in Juba with a wide range of representatives of nongovernmental organizations. Their work to provide services is inspiring.
The Council also conducted an important initial discussion regarding the successor mission to UNMIS, which we are continuing in New York. Last week’s consultations were another important step in this ongoing assessment.
Mr. President, throughout our time in Sudan, we emphasized the Council’s commitment to the full implementation of the CPA—and the need for the parties to resolve outstanding issues before the South’s independence on July 9. The crisis in Abyei only reiterates the urgency of meeting this deadline. We urge the leaders with whom we met to act quickly to reach the political compromises necessary to facilitate two peaceful and successful states emerging next month, when we will welcome the Republic of South Sudan to the international community.
Thank you, Mr. President.
The White House Blog
A Comprehensive Strategy for Sudan
Posted by Scott Gration
This morning Secretary Clinton announced the results of this Administration’s Sudan policy review, accompanied by Ambassador Rice and myself. The strategy is the result of months of serious and extensive deliberations and considerations of the complex challenges by the most senior levels of this Administration. It provides the integrated and comprehensive approach that the issues in Sudan require, and it is focused on achieving verifiable progress on the ground.
This strategy includes three primary strategic objectives: first, a definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur; second, implementation of the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that results in a peaceful post-2011 Sudan, or an orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with each other; and third, ensuring that Sudan does not provide a safe haven for international terrorists.To achieve these objectives, we are committed to using all levers of American influence. Fundamental to our approach is a policy of broad, deep engagement for lasting change on the ground. That includes engagement with the National Congress Party (NCP), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Darfuri armed movements and civil society, as well as countries in the region and the broader international community. Crucial to these efforts will be a frank dialog with the Government of Sudan about what needs to be accomplished, how the bilateral relationship can improve with verifiable improvements in conditions on the ground, and how strong pressures will be exerted on Sudan if conditions remain the same or worsen.
The situation is urgent. Time is short. Failure is not an option. The United States is committed to working for a sustainable, lasting peace in Darfur and full implementation of the North-South CPA. We are focused on verifiable progress on the ground.
If you want to read more information about our new comprehensive strategy for Sudan, I encourage you to read President Obama’s statement, Secretary Clinton’s remarks, and the public strategy document.
Scott Gration is the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan.
AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Madam Secretary, thank you so very, very much. The support that President Obama and Secretary Clinton have given to this process has been extraordinary and sustained, and with all that’s on your plate I don’t know how you do it. But we have worked so hard in this Administration and so many people to keep Sudan from falling back into civil war, where millions of people die, and to achieve a peaceful outcome. I’m very grateful to you and to the President for the privilege of taking on this position.
I also want to pay tribute to Scott Gration, who put so much of himself, his heart and soul, into this process for the last two-plus years. And Scott, thank you for everything you’ve done.
We only have 100 days before July 9th, when the South is to become fully independent. They have a lot of tough issues to negotiate. This – these are going to be hard negotiations, they’re going to be tough, there’s going to be fights about this and that and the other thing. But the parties are engaged. I leave Saturday for meetings in both Ethiopia and Sudan, where the parties are engaged in a whole range of these issues. I agree with you that Abyei will be one of the tough issues to resolve, and we’re working very closely with our partners, the African Union, the British, the Norwegians, and many others, to help the parties reach that agreement.
We’re also deeply concerned, as you said, about Darfur, about the continuing problems of violence there, the many, many, almost 2 million people who have been displaced and who are still living in camps. I’m delighted, relieved, that Ambassador Dane Smith continues to be our point person on Darfur, providing a great deal of energy, leadership, knowledge, and experience. He leaves next week to join the negotiations in Doha, which have taken on new life and have new promise, and we’re going to make an intensive effort there to see if that agreement can be reached, which opens the doors for more peace in Darfur.
I know, Madam Secretary, you have more commitments to make today, and I’m happy to stay here and answer questions, but I just want to say again the support that comes from the President and yourself matters in Sudan. They know it, they realize it, and it makes a big difference. So thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am going to leave you after I say hello to everyone. Thank you so much. (Inaudible.) Thank you very much for your hard work. (Inaudible.)
MR. TONER: I think Ambassador Lyman can take a couple of questions.
QUESTION: Andy Quinn from Reuters. Hi, Ambassador Lyman.
AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Hi.
AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Thank you.
QUESTION: I have a couple of questions. The first is UN peacekeeping forces in Sudan yesterday were confirming the (inaudible) report from satellite imagery indicating not only a buildup of forces in Abyei, but also heavy weaponry. I’m wondering if you have – what information we have about that, where the weapons might be coming from, what we can do to stop that? Doesn’t that mean that Abyei is lurking into a significantly more perilous period right now if you’ve got heavy weapons?
And the second question is just where we stand on the roadmap with normalization for Khartoum. Are they doing what they need to do to get where we want them to be?
AMBASSADOR LYMAN: On your – on the question on Abyei, those active forces are coming in from both sides. On the North, they’re coming in in the form of militias – PDFs they’re called. But they’re getting more arms, more heavily armed, and that’s what the UN is very concerned about. From the South, it’s coming from the SPLA, the Southern army. And both are in violation of – as the Secretary said, because neither side is supposed to have armed forces in Abyei.
There is an agreement that has been reached on how to have those forces be withdrawn, but it hasn’t been implemented. It does involve the UN being a verifying and monitoring group. The UN has to strengthen itself to play that role. We’re going to have some discussions on that when I go out this weekend.
It is a very tense situation, because this is taking place with the migration not taking – being blocked, and that creates tension in and of itself. So we have to work on two fronts. We have to try and ease this immediate security problem, but I don’t think we’re going to get the tensions really resolved until the people in Abyei know what’s going to happen to them, and particularly by July. Are they going to remain in the North, are they going to move to the South? Who – and that the Sudanese leadership has to address.
Now, on your second question on the roadmap, well, we’ve laid out to the government the pathway to normalization. The first big step on that roadmap was to not only allow but to accept the results of the referendum. They did that. And the President, as he had indicated, said he would then respond by beginning the process to examine whether Sudan could be taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism. That process involved a review of how they’re doing on those issues directly and to move it forward. We hope that that can be done and reach those conclusions by July.
The other elements in the normalization which are very important are completing the very tasks under the CPA to which the Secretary alluded. They include Abyei very explicitly in our roadmap and they mean reaching sufficient agreement on oil and the other issues. All those have been laid out for the government. We’re moving – they’re moving on some. We’re pushing hard on the others. And I think they do understand exactly how the timetable works.
QUESTION: Yes, Ambassador. Bill Jones from Executive Intelligence Review. There has been much concern about the economic situation in Southern Sudan, and some of the representatives have talked about the need for a Marshall Plan of sorts. I was wondering what ideas do you have in bringing to bear the economic forces which can begin to work on the infrastructure and other problems that they have in Southern Sudan.
AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Here’s the irony of Southern Sudan: It has an oil income which is not insubstantial, but it’s an extraordinarily poor area. It has almost no roads. Agriculture was totally devastated by the civil wars. The literacy rate – the lack of literacy, I think Scott and I were talking about this yesterday and he was saying literacy may be as much – at most 15 percent. So you’re dealing with a country that’s going to become independent that lacks resources, lacks real government capability of delivering it.
So yes, there will have to be international resources. We have a very substantial aid program there now. It’s one of the largest on the African continent. And other donors are coming in, and once they join the World Bank and the IMF they’ll have access to those resources. But the real task for them will be creating a governing structure and a set of economic priorities that allows those resources to be well used, including their own, including their oil revenue, et cetera. Agriculture is going to be key. Education is going to be key. They have to obviously improve infrastructure. They have to have really good governance so they manage these resources very well. So I think all these things are there. Our AID mission is developing longer-term plans. We’ve been working with them now for several years, but particularly trying to build up that governance capacity but also doing some agriculture, health, and other programs. And we’re now developing a longer-term strategy on it.
I might add, though, what people miss is there’s a great deal of poverty in Northern Sudan. And it’s very important when this peace process is completed and when there is peace in Darfur that the North has to engage on its own economic issues and problems. That’s why normalization is important for them so they can access the resources of the international community and help alleviate the poverty that exists in the North. So we want to see two viable states, the North and the South, because without that viability on both sides, you’re not going to have peace in that area.
MR. TONER: Dave Gollust, VOA.
QUESTION: Do you believe that the situation in Darfur has kind of languished with all the attention on the North-South issue? Can you give us sort of a status report of where things stand? And just – can you achieve your aims there without dealing directly with President Bashir?
AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Well, first of all, watching Scott Gration over the last six months that I’ve been here, Darfur was never flagging. He was there very many times. But it’s true that a lot of international attention was on the referendum and meeting these very important milestones. But we – the Darfur problem is one of those things that has lingered so much too long. What – there has been this Doha process of peace that’s gone on for two years, didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. We’ve had a resurgence of violence in parts of Darfur.
What’s happened most recently is that the Doha process has suddenly taken on life. JEM, which is one of the big rebel groups, has now joined or rejoined the process. They’re working from the same text. President Bashir was there yesterday saying we support the Doha process, which is a step forward, because they weren’t clear on that. Dane is going out there next week. So that’s an important step. But for – that’s only one step. The government really has to come to grips with the changes that they must make to make Darfur a peaceful, successful way. And they’ve got a long way to go on that. It’s a big challenge because they just lost a big chunk of their territory in the South. How do they deal with a situation like this and what does it mean for the future of the North? But we’re not flagging on it and we’re going to give it a lot of attention.
MR. TONER: One more question? Thank you very much.
AMBASSADOR LYMAN: I want to thank my wife. She puts up with all this (inaudible). (Laughter.) Thank you all.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
The United States strongly supports international efforts to bring those responsible for genocide and war crimes in Darfur to justice and believes that there cannot be a lasting peace in Darfur without accountability. We continue to call on the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court.
Testimony by Earl Gast Acting Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Africa U.S. Agency for International Development
Responding to Humanitarian Needs, Supporting Peace, and Implementing Development Priorities in Sudan
Before the Committee on Foreign Relations
United States Senate
July 30, 2009
Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the humanitarian situation in Darfur and our support for comprehensive peace and stability in Sudan. I am pleased to join my colleague, Special Envoy Scott Gration, on this panel and would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the excellent cooperation and coordination between USAID and the Special Envoy’s office.
The U.S. Government has provided more than $6 billion in assistance to the people of Sudan since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. We have helped to stand up a new regional government tasked with rebuilding and governing the war-torn South. We have conducted wide-ranging civic education programs and immunized children. We have supported life-saving humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. We have worked to improve economic opportunities and public infrastructure. We have provided food aid, and we have supported Sudan’s farmers and entrepreneurs.
We have saved lives, and we have improved living conditions for millions of Sudanese.
But with the continuing challenges Darfur and with less than 24 months left to follow the CPA’s roadmap for consolidating peace, our most critical tasks lie ahead.
The situation for the 4.7 million people affected by the conflict in Darfur remains intolerable. While we have managed to fill many of the gaps left by the expulsion of 13 international NGOs in March, these measures are temporary and must be replaced by a more sustainable, long-term strategy that is finally accompanied by sustainable, long-term peace. Compounding the situation, carjackings, staff abductions and assaults, break-ins targeting NGO facilities, and ongoing military campaigns still impede the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Darfur and have resulted in both temporary and permanent suspensions of life-saving programs. Constant insecurity and violence continue to be the primary factors limiting the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Meanwhile, Sudanese expectations that they would benefit from the peace that came in 2005 remain high-and often unmet. The frustration of many Sudanese is summed up by what a Nuba man from Southern Kordofan, told a USAID partner not long ago: “The peace is now three years, and there are supposed to be tangible things. The government should have expressed its presence; but for us here, there is no government.” The time for achieving substantive improvements in governance is running out, as the national elections and the referenda on unity draw near. The critical window during which we can contribute to genuine transformation via the CPA roadmap will soon close.
As the Special Envoy has noted, the U.S. Government approach to Sudan’s multiple challenges requires complex and creative solutions, implemented in cooperation with government officials, tribal leaders, and civil society representatives throughout Sudan. And it requires us to make a political commitment that matches the enormous financial and human commitment that we have dedicated to the Sudanese people over the years.
Even before the Government of Sudan expelled 13 international aid organizations in March, there were significant assistance gaps across Darfur. The upsurge in fighting in South Darfur in early 2009, for example, displaced over 30,000 people, and in February, the UN World Food Program (WFP) was unable to reach over 500,000 people in need of food aid.
The NGO expulsion significantly increased the humanitarian challenges and drastically reduced USAID’s ability to deliver assistance to people in need both in Darfur and in the Three Areas.
In Darfur, the expulsions jeopardized food aid to more than a million people and health services to more than 650,000 Sudanese, according to a March 24 assessment conducted jointly by the United Nations and the Sudanese Government. More than half of USAID-funded humanitarian programs in Darfur closed, and 40 percent of the delivery capacity of our main food aid partner, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) was lost. In just one day, much of Darfur’s humanitarian infrastructure, which took years to establish and thousands of people to staff, was wiped out.
From the moment the Sudanese Government announced the expulsions, we have worked with our partners to mitigate the impact. NGOs stocked health clinics and nutrition centers with months of supplies. WFP conducted a two-month food distribution through remaining NGOs and local food committees. To ensure that services continue, agencies have shifted existing operations, are providing supplemental assistance, and are relying on community members to provide food, safe drinking water, health care, and shelter to the most vulnerable people. Remaining NGOs have scaled up their services and expanded their areas of operation to address gaps in assistance, and Sudanese Government officials have staffed some health clinics.
We have, so far, averted a greater humanitarian crisis.
However, these measures are merely stopgaps. They rely on temporary staffing and strain already limited resources. They are not sustainable.
We must focus not simply on the quantitative aspects of filling assistance gaps, but the qualitative aspects that make programs effective and allow them to continue. This means ensuring that programs meet technical quality standards, that they are adequately managed and staffed, and that assistance meets international norms and standards for humanitarian action. Although immediate gaps have been addressed through the extraordinary efforts of the United Nations, NGOs still operating in Sudan, and parts of the government, the expulsion severely impacted the quality of programming and the ability to accurately monitor the distribution and impact of assistance. Despite our best efforts, many basic humanitarian needs remain unmet. Even before the expulsions, NGO access to affected populations in Darfur was limited and inconsistent. Simply restoring assistance to pre-expulsion levels would still leave many people in need.
In the immediate aftermath of the expulsions, the United States sent a clear message that the ultimate responsibility for the well-being of the Sudanese people solely rests on the shoulders of the Sudanese Government. In coordination with USAID, Special Envoy Gration successfully negotiated with the Sudanese Government to allow new NGOs to fill gaps in assistance, which is enabling USAID and its partners to begin the process of rebuilding humanitarian operations. Some new projects are already underway. These efforts will reintroduce lost capacity and program quality to Darfur.
However, bureaucratic obstacles and insecurity continue to hamper our efforts to rebuild the humanitarian infrastructure. The registration of new NGOs has been time-consuming, and many Sudanese Government commitments remain unmet or only partially implemented. For example, the Government of Sudan has yet to return USAID-funded assets that were confiscated from our partner NGOs when they were expelled.
There has also been a marked lack of progress in enhancing the NGO operating environment in the Three Areas, where the NGO expulsions significantly altered the humanitarian, recovery, and development landscape. The expulsion of leading USAID partners and subsequent seizure of their program assets and equipment severely undermined the operating environment and has threatened the stability of these war-torn areas. Due to the unique nature of the Three Areas’ governance systems, humanitarian programs in the parts of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) went largely uninterrupted. However, many assistance programs in northern-controlled areas were halted. This dynamic has created an imbalanced distribution of assistance, which only reinforces conflict lines rather than fostering integration. Although two new organizations have recently started work in the Three Areas, the current lack of capacity and loss of confidence among remaining NGOs, coupled with the likely delays to re-establishing programs now that the rainy season has begun, will further exacerbate the risk for conflict. The Government of Sudan and the United Nations have yet to finalize joint communiqués that will formalize operating procedures for programs in the Three Areas-and which are vital to safeguarding the conduct of programs in this critical region.
The U.S. Government has worked closely with the Government of Sudan, the United Nations, other donors, and humanitarian agencies to increase their access and capacity to address the gaps created by the expulsions. We must continue to coordinate and engage with these entities to ensure that humanitarian, recovery, and development programming proceed without impediment, and that aid agencies are able to operate freely.
Darfur IDP Returns
We have recently received reports that some of Darfur’s displaced people have returned home. While we believe that some of these returns are seasonal in nature, we look forward to the day when the 2.7 million people who were driven from their homes by this conflict can return safely and securely to their villages. While not all of them will choose to return home, we are prepared to shift our assistance to support voluntary returns, and as elsewhere around the world, the international community will look to ensure that those returns are certified as voluntary by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees or the International Organization for Migration. We call upon the Government of Sudan to support the operations of these organizations in Darfur so that they can undertake this vital task. USAID will not deviate from its responsibility to safeguard the rights and protection of displaced people.
At the same time, we must leverage our coordination and engagement to prepare for the upcoming historic milestones of holding national elections and referenda on self-determination for Abyei and Southern Sudan, which could result in the creation of a new independent country.
The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) did not exist before 2005. Every government structure and system has had to be crafted from scratch. The committed men and women who serve in the government are not career politicians, nor have they benefited from the lessons of a life lived in a democratic, transparent state. That’s why building the capacity of the GOSS is a cornerstone of USAID’s strategy in Sudan, and central to the successful implementation of the CPA.
Initially, the GOSS had no offices, no pens, no paper, and no staff to undertake the most basic tasks needed for a government to function. But with our assistance, the key GOSS ministries have established systems for hiring people, for formulating budgets, and for establishing office systems. This has required tremendous dedication on the part of GOSS officials, who have been willing to roll up their sleeves and persevere through each one of these processes.
Considerable progress has been made in establishing functioning institutions where there previously were none. Ministries are functional, revenue is coming in, payments are being made, and a legal framework is being built. But development gains have been slow, and a recent fiscal crisis has highlighted that many fundamentals of good governance need to be improved. International NGOs are still the primary providers of basic services. Few roads have been paved and other infrastructure remains equally underdeveloped. Government at every level still needs to forge stronger, more consistent linkages between policy priorities and development, legislation, and budget capacity. High expectations for tangible benefits of peace remain unmet, especially in communities most affected by the war, where tensions and instability continue to threaten progress. Episodes of clan violence, as well as violence committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, have increased, taking scores of lives in recent weeks alone.
To bolster investments in strengthening the Government of Southern Sudan, USAID has launched a program that enhances the ability of local governments to provide peace dividends, defuse conflict, and promote stabilization in the Three Areas and key Southern states. USAID also played a key role in a joint donor-GOSS compact to strengthen the government’s fiscal responsibility and financial management, representing a renewed commitment and redoubled cooperation to deliver the peace dividends promised by the CPA. We all are seeking to help support the establishment of a just, accountable, democratic government able to deliver basic services, whether the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei choose unity with the North or independence in the 2011 referendum.
And we cannot speak of the CPA without noting the precarious footing of elections. Elections were designed to be a central component of the broader strategy to transform Sudan democratically under the CPA, and our support to the national election process remains firm. But the hurdles are daunting.
As you likely know, the date for elections has been pushed back several times from the CPA-mandate of July 2009. While the postponements were intended to allow for adequate preparation, ongoing delays pose increasing risks. Just nine months remain until the designated polling date, yet there is no public budget for the elections. The electoral law-which establishes an electoral system that would be highly complicated, even in countries with a long democratic tradition-was passed more than two years after the deadline specified in the CPA. The National Election Commission (NEC) still hasn’t fully established its 26 subsidiary commissions throughout the country, nor has it received its full operating budget. In addition, the failure to resolve technical questions related to northern census data spurred key Southern political leaders to reject the census results, making the use of those results to delimit electoral constituencies highly sensitive. Finally, the logistical and political challenges of implementing credible elections in Darfur cannot be understated. Massive civic and voter education will be required to engage Darfur’s displaced people and the vast populations in the South that have low levels of literacy and little or no experience with past elections.
So, given the current status of election preparations, are our expectations too high? Do we believe it is too late to have credible elections in Sudan? No. It is too early to predict whether or not these elections will be credible, when so many administrative decisions are outstanding. Until key decisions are made, the ability of our central election administration program to move forward as intended will be severely limited. However, our programs to increase civic participation and observe the entire electoral process will continue, in coordination with the National Election Commission. We are coordinating with the United Nations and other international partners to bolster a credible outcome to this daunting but historic election for Sudan.
Before concluding, on behalf of USAID, I want to express our appreciation to Senator Kaufman, a member of this Committee, who recently in a statement on the Senate floor, paid tribute to John Granville, one of 91 Agency employees who have lost their lives in the performance of their duties overseas.
In honor of John Granville and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, USAID is establishing the Granville-Rahama Staff Care Award, which will recognize USAID employees who make significant contributions to the morale and well-being of Agency staff. Our staff work in some of the most difficult, dangerous environments in the world, and the tragedy of John and Abdelrahman’s deaths reminded us of how important it is to promote a caring work environment and to help our staff cope with stress in the workplace.
In addition, the John Granville Secondary School is currently under construction and due to open this fall in Sudan’s Blue Nile State. John had a special attachment to Blue Nile, and the fact that a school is being built in his name with the support and cooperation of the U.S. Government, the Sudanese Government, and the Government of Southern Sudan is a fitting memorial to a man who dedicated his life to helping Sudan’s people.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of USAID. We certainly appreciate your continued dedication to the Sudanese people and your commitment to peace and stability throughout the continent.
I welcome any questions you might have for me at this time.
Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Sudan and Haiti at the Security Council Stakeout
Ambassador Rice: Good afternoon everyone. We just completed an important session in the open chamber on Sudan. And in that session I had the opportunity to underscore the congratulations that President Obama expressed to the people of Sudan for this historic referendum that has just occurred peacefully and, by all accounts, credibly.
It was a real milestone in the history of Sudan and for the people of Sudan and we obviously, like the people of Sudan, await the process of determining the results. And we urge all to remain calm and peaceful, as they have been throughout this process, as the results are awaited. We have expressed our real concern about the violence in Abyei and the border region that unfortunately occurred during the process of the referendum. We have urged all to work, as they pledged to do, to resolve the differences that remain on Abyei and other outstanding CPA issues peacefully.
I underscored our praise not only for the people of Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan and the Government of Sudan for what they all did to make this referendum possible, but I also underscored our personal appreciation for UNMIS and for the leadership of SRSG Menkerios, who were really instrumental in ensuring that this process occurred peacefully, credibly, and on time. I also took the opportunity to underscore our continued concern about the increased violence in Darfur, as did many other delegations, and to stress that we look forward to a lasting and durable peace with justice for the people of Sudan—North, South, Darfur, and all together. So those were among the very important messages that came out of the Council meeting.
You’ll hear from the president of the Council subsequently a statement on behalf of the entire Council. One of the gratifying things about today’s session, as well as our previous work on Sudan, is that the Council has remained unified in its support for full and timely implementation of the CPA. We all underscored that there are outstanding issues that remain to be resolved but affirmed our commitment to work together to support their resolution.
So with that let me take a couple questions.
Reporter: I have a Haiti question. There are initial reports that “Baby Doc” Duvalier has been detained, and I was wondering if you had anything further on that. And just in general, what do you think his role, if any, should be in coming back and how the UN should deal with that.
Ambassador Rice: Neil, I have been in the Council all morning and I haven’t seen any such report, so I can’t comment on them with any specificity.
Reporter: What about his presence there?
Ambassador Rice: I think that it is clearly a tense and fragile time in Haiti, given the unresolved issues around the election, given the cholera epidemic, and it’s certainly in the interests of the people of Haiti for there to be peaceful and cooperative efforts to resolve the outstanding issues related to the elections.
Reporter: Did you see that Sudan is moving in the right direction (inaudible)
Ambassador Rice: One of the critical issues for the United States, and indeed for the entire international community, has been successful implementation of the CPA. And the successful completion of the referendum for the South is obviously a critical and historic milestone along the path to full implementation of the CPA. We welcome that, we have congratulated the CPA parties for making that possible, and above all the people of Sudan. We continue to want to ensure that the results of the referendum are fully respected, that the outstanding issues of Abyei and the many other issues related to wealth sharing, to borders, to citizenship—that you know well—among others, are also resolved urgently and through constructive negotiations among the parties. And obviously, also, as I said in the Council, and as many other countries have underscored, we remain very much concerned about the situation in Darfur. But clearly the events of the past week were very positive and an encouraging step, and we congratulate all concerned.
Reporter: Ambassador, we have now entered an election year for Secretary General. What is the US view of the Secretary General’s performance in the first term? Does it support him and is there concern on the part of the US Mission about the chairman of the House and Foreign Affairs Committee tying US dues to performance of the UN as the Republican majority takes over the House?
Ambassador Rice: On the second question, let me say that I very much look forward to working with leaders of both Houses on the important issue of our budget request, and President Obama has made clear that we’re fully committed to paying our dues in full and on time. And that remains the strong view of the Administration and we’ll be looking forward to working with Congress to ensure that that’s possible.
With respect to the Secretary General’s – the Secretary General election, which is upcoming, Bill, this will not be the forum in which I announce a US position but clearly the United States has worked very constructively and productively with this Secretary General. We have been grateful for his leadership on a number of important issues, and we continue to talk about the ways we can work together to strengthen this institution, to make it more efficient, more cost effective, and to improve its performance. Thank you.