16th Extraordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government on Sudan: Gen Salva Kiir's Speech

Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Address to the 16th Extraordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government on Sudan, Wednesday 23rd November, 2010, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Your Excellency, Ato Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chair of IGAD,

Excellencies, Heads of States and Government of IGAD,

Your Excellency, Mr. Jean Ping, Chair of the African Union Commission,

Your Excellency, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, Chair of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel, and colleagues former Presidents Pierre Buyoya and Abdulsalami Abubakar,

Excellencies, Foreign Ministers,

Representatives of the AEC and the UN,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I take this opportunity to thank you IGAD Heads of State and Government for convening this Extraordinary Summit on the Sudan in order to be briefed about the implementation of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which is your own baby.  This gathering comes indeed at a critical moment of the history of our country.  We are now left with just less than two month before the referendum in Southern Sudan takes place on January 9th, 2011.  This auspicious meeting is to us another display of IGAD unwavering commitment to ensure full implementation of the CPA and to also reaffirm its commitment to regional peace and stability. 

From our side, I would like to equally reassure you that the SPLM, the Government and people of Southern Sudan and peace loving Sudanese in general commend your efforts most sincerely.  We are very grateful for your continued interest and attention, and we need your support now more than ever before to peacefully complete the implementation of the CPA.

As you are all aware and I am happy to brief you today that the registrations are going on smoothly and peacefully.  Preliminary information shows that the turnout is quite encouraging particularly throughout Southern Sudan.  There is a lot of enthusiasm and anxiety amongst our people not to miss the golden opportunity to express their rightful desire to either vote for the continued unity of the Sudan or to secede to become a country of their own.   

Distinguished Delegates,

This exercise of the right to self-determination is critical and it remains a formula for maintaining peace today and in the future.  That is why we are doing all we can to ensure that the referendum takes place as scheduled.  We are also cognizant that any delays risk a return to instability and violence and my message to you today is that every effort must be exerted to achieve a timely conduct of the referendum. 

At this juncture, I would also like to commend the efforts of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) and the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB), who are working around the clock to ensure that the exercise take place as scheduled. 

As far as funding is concerned, it is important to admit that there are still difficulties particularly with the National Government in Khartoum, which has deliberately failed to fulfill its obligation to contribute money to the SSRC.  The Government of Southern Sudan has so far released SDG 100 million out of the SDG 150 million it has pledged.  The donors are also struggling to meet their target may the SRSG and the AEC can later on shed more light on the contributions of the international community. 

Politically, the atmosphere is not good particularly in Northern Sudan.  Instead of preaching peace some senior members from the National Government and the National Congress Party (NCP) have been raising tempers in the public by issuing statements that are likely to instigate violence.  I appeal to this august gathering to discourage the Sudanese parties from provocative behavior.  The records are documented that IGAD and the international community should seriously note because should violence erupt there are people to be held responsible. 

In Southern Sudan the platform for campaigns is leveled for both those who would like to propagate for unity and separation.  Regional and international observers are allowed to move freely and they can speak the truth for themselves..  We are desirous and committed to ensure that the referendum in Southern Sudan occurs smoothly and peacefully in order to produce credible results that represent the will of the people. 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 are exerting all efforts to ensure that the credibility of this referendum is beyond question.

What is badly required of IGAD and other guarantors of the CPA is to mobilize support for the outcome of the referendum in Southern Sudan and the rest of the international community to ensure a peaceful transition.

We are also deeply concerned by the lack of progress in resolving the outstanding issues of the CPA:

1.  Abyei

2.  North-South border demarcation

3.  Post-referendum arrangements

Meantime, we are genuinely willing to negotiate with our brothers and sisters in the North.  We are committed to work in a spirit of partnership to create peaceful and sustainable good relations between Northern and Southern Sudan regardless of the outcome of the referendum.  I have said it time and again that 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 state too.  There should be no room for fear about the future because I have also reiterated several times that even if Southern Sudan separates from the North it will not shift to the Indian Ocean or to the Atlantic Coast.  Instead we will be sharing the longest border between us and I would like to reassure you that the security of Northern Sudanese in the South will remain our priority and we request our Northern partners to do the same for Southern Sudanese in the North.  Thus, 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 and we still have a lot of work ahead of us to improve the lives of our people.

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 as a whole.  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.  In order to achieve that we have been reaching out to Southern Sudanese of all walks of life on the referendum and the future of Southern Sudan irrespective of the expected outcome of the exercise.  We have been holding successful meetings of ‘All-Southern Sudanese Political Parties’ in Juba and most of you may have already come across the resolutions.  We are also engaging leaders of Other Armed Groups (OAGs) to discuss the transition in case of secession outcome. 

In a nutshell, Sudan requires a lot of help from IGAD, the AU, UN and the international community.  The country has myriads of problems – it is yet to implement fully Popular Consultations in 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.  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 to agree for peaceful settlement.    

In conclusion, the CPA is the roadmap for success in the Sudan, particularly when the referendum is peacefully implemented. Now, as the greatest moment of our history approaches, it is up to all of us to ensure that the referendum is conducted peacefully and without delay.

Once again, we commend the efforts of IGAD, the AU, the UN and the International Community for the continued support for peace in our country and our people.  On our part we will do our utmost best not only to reciprocate your efforts but to work for a favorable environment for economic development and sustainable peace in the region.  We are optimistic about the future and with your efforts we will make it together.

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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