President Salva Kiir’s Address to the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Sudan

President Salva Kiir’s Address to the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Sudan at the UN General Headquarters, New York
 
Friday, 24 September 2010
 
 
Your Excellency, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon,
 
Your Excellency, President of the United States of America, Barrak Obama,
 
Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
 
Excellencies, Foreign Ministers,
 
Representatives of International Agencies,
 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
First, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for the initiative to host this important meeting.  We have entered a critical moment in the history of Sudan.  It is important that the international community come together today to make clear its views about the way forward for Sudan. 
 
I would also like to thank all the leaders and representatives of countries and international institutions present in this meeting today. We are very grateful for your interest and attention, and we need your support now more than ever before to peacefully complete the implementation of the comprehensive peace Agreement.
 
The CPA is a historical achievement because it ended decades of civil war in Sudan and affirmed the right of the people of Southern Sudan to self-determination.  It remains the cornerstone for maintaining peace today and in the future.  I would like to underline our absolute commitment to fully implement every article of the CPA because it is the key to peace and avoid the risk of a return to a devastating war. 
 
As you all know, a vital moment is approaching for the holding of the referenda in Southern Sudan and Abyei, to take place on January 9 2011 as agreed in the CPA.  The referenda must take place on time, for the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei to exercise their right to self-determination.  This is the bottom line and a hard won right whose ultimate price is more than 4 million lives lost during the long two civil wars since independence in 1956.
 
We are doing all we can to ensure that the referenda take place as scheduled.  We are also cognizant that any delays risk a return to instability and violence of a massive scale.  My message to you today is that: it is absolutely crucial that the international community make very clear that any delay or disruption to the timing of the referendum is a risky gamble.
I am also deeply concerned by the continuing delay to implement the binding ruling of the Permanent Court of arbitration on Abyei boundary, as well as the delay in the formation of the Abyei Referendum Commission. The referendum in Abyei is just as crucial to the peace of Sudan as the referendum in the South.  Please let this gathering attend to the Abyei problem as a matter of urgency.  It has always been a worry to us that Abyei may become the potential trigger for a renewed conflict between the South and the North if no solution is found.
 
The CPA has benchmarks: the first is Abyei by which the international community can measure the real commitment of the parties to the CPA and its full implementation.  The second critical benchmark is the registration of voters, including of Southerners living in the North.  The third benchmark is the operation of the Referendum Commission, whose establishment has already been needlessly delayed.  The fourth benchmark is negotiations on post-referendum arrangements, where the parties need to move on expeditiously.  Please be aware of these benchmarks.  I urge the UN Security Council and other international bodies monitoring the agreement to frequently and closely review these and other benchmarks in the coming 100 days before the referenda.  Your close attention is crucial to keeping all parties to their commitments.
We are desirous and committed to ensure that the referenda occur smoothly and peacefully in order to produce credible results that represent the will of the people of Southern Sudan and Abeyi.  This is our goal and I wish to reiterate to you that we will make certain that all opinions and campaigns for unity or separation are given equal opportunity to be heard.   We have also learned lessons from the recent elections, and taken on board observations and recommendations.  Aware of the limitations surrounding, we are taking every step to ensure that the credibility of this referendum is beyond question.
 
I would like us to be realistic about the likely outcome of the referendum.  Nobody should prejudice the result but all signs and opinion survey suggest that, the people of Southern Sudan will overwhelmingly vote for their own independent state. Yes, unity has been given the priority in the CPA but it has not been made an attractive option during the interim period.  We will need the support of the guarantors of the CPA and the rest of the international community to ensure a peaceful transition.
 
As we prepare for the referendum, we have also begun negotiations on post-referendum issues with seriousness and in good faith.  We are genuinely willing to negotiate with our brothers in the North, and are prepared to work in a spirit of partnership to create peaceful and sustainable good relations between Northern and Southern Sudan for the long-term after the Referendum.  It is in our interest to see to it that the North remains a viable state, just as it should be in the interest of the North to see Southern Sudan emerge as a viable one too.  The North is our neighbor, we share a common history.  Moreover, I have reiterated several times that even if Southern Sudan separates from the North it will not shift to the Indian Ocean or move to the Atlantic Coast. 
 
We are committed to sustainable peace and stability irrespective of the outcome of the referendum.  We have achieved a lot in the past few years since the CPA was signed, but we still have a lot of work before us after the referendum. We are committed to establishing transparent and accountable government consistent with the requirements of statehood.  We will uphold democratic principles and guarantee all kinds of freedom.
 
There has been a lot of talk and propaganda about the viability of Southern Sudan as a state if its people chose independence? Let me assure you that Southern Sudan will contribute immensely to peace and the well being of our region of the horn of Africa and our continent.  We have got potentials that, in a free and peaceful environment, can be exploited not just for the development and sustenance of the new state but also for the benefit of the neighboring countries. 
 
I would like to inform you that during the last five years of transition we began rehabilitation and building from nothing, today government institutions are fully established and we are building our capacity to provide services to our people.  What the government of Southern Sudan has achieved in five years is tens of times more than what all governments of Sudan delivered in fifty years.
 
I shall be remiss if I do not mention the two areas of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan.  Being an integral part of the CPA, the people of these areas must also conduct the popular consultations as agreed and negotiate and rectify within the agreement the shortcomings for the final settlement to the conflict.  Similarly, Sudan needs help in order to peacefully resolve the conflict in Darfur.  No new strategy can work for Darfur until all parties are brought to the negotiating table.  I have discussed this several times with Gibril Bassole and we in Southern Sudan are ready to assist him in this endeavor.  
 
Last but not the least, there is another cancer that has been implanted in our region, the LRA.  There is a hidden hand behind this animal and joint efforts must be exerted to remove it.  The LRA have no political objective because they have turned to become mercenaries for other people’s objectives.
Mr. Secretary-General, Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
In conclusion, the CPA is the roadmap for success in the Sudan. This agreement was witnessed and guaranteed by many members of the international community most of whom are present here today.  Now, as the greatest moment of our history approaches, it is up to all of us to ensure that the referendum is conducted without delay or reservation.
 
We have much to do between now and January 2011, but with your help, I am confident we can achieve our common goals.  We will embark on economic development to improve the lives of our people.  Above all building a sustainable and lasting peace for all of the people of Sudan remains our priority.
 
I am grateful for your continued support and interest in my country and our people.  We in the SPLM and Southern Sudan in general are optimistic about the future because peace is sacred and it should not be squandered. 
 
May God continue to bless us and grant us the patience required to achieve the desired goals and objectives for posterity! 
 
Thank you.

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