I would like to thank the United Kingdom for having organized this debate.
In 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) enabled the Sudan to emerge from a deadly 20-year civil war. Today, we must implement the Peace Agreement in order to avoid a return to violence and civil war. The Peace Agreement must be implemented comprehensively, which means that the referendum on self-determination for Southern Sudan must, as all have said before me, be conducted in appropriate conditions on the planned date — 9 January 2011. To that end, certain actions and initiatives are necessary.
For the Government of the Sudan, the establishment of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission this summer was a first step. Today, the Sudanese Government’s contribution to the budget of the Commission must be paid. Respect for the freedom of expression must be ensured.
Preparing for the referendum also means preparing for the post-referendum process to ensure that, irrespective of the referendum’s outcome, the Southern Sudanese will be able to live in peace with the northern Sudanese. In this respect, we welcome the advance in discussions between the North and the South conducted under the aegis of Mr. Mbeki. We encourage the parties to continue in their constructive efforts and to make concessions where necessary in order to come to an agreement as soon as possible. It must be kept in mind that the cost of any such concessions will be dwarfed by the incomparable gains represented by the possibility of lasting peace in the Sudan. The issue of Abyei in particular needs to be resolved as soon as possible.
It is also incumbent upon the United Nations to play its full role in the referendum process and to support the efforts of the parties. We welcome the work carried out by Special Representative Haile Menkerios and the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS). The expertise and logistical support provided will be crucial over the coming months. We also welcome the establishment of the panel chaired by President Mkapa, which will be able to give us, in coordination with the other observation missions deployed in the Sudan, feedback on the conditions of the preparations for and the holding of the referendums. For its part, the European Union began deploying its first personnel to the field yesterday to participate in the observation of voter registration.
We must also ensure that the military aspect of the UNMIS mandate can be fulfilled under the appropriate conditions. We took note that there has already been some redeployment, as well as of the additional needs described by Mr. Menkerios to allow for better coverage of the territory, especially those areas where tensions may arise. Because the stakes are considerable and the United Nations cannot afford to fail, France supports the reinforcement requested by the Secretariat.
In the current context, we must continue to devote our full attention to Darfur. The war between the Sudanese armed forces and the rebel groups is continuing, as the deadly fighting with the Justice and Equality Movement at the beginning of the month showed.
A political solution is indispensable. In this context, we need to continue to provide our support to the Doha joint mediation efforts. It is unacceptable that the two main rebel groups continue to remain outside of this process. We call on them to join the discussions without delay and without preconditions. To refuse to do so is to refuse peace and to encourage war; it is criminal.
The United Nations, for its part, needs to continue its efforts to protect civilians, as its mandate demands. We are concerned that the military contingent is not meeting the targets set, as the Secretary-General recalled in his last report (S/2010/543). We therefore encourage the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) to strengthen its posture and implement its protection-of-civilians strategy in all circumstances and at all levels with renewed determination.
This means that all limitations on the freedom of movement of UNAMID need to cease completely. This also means that the attacks that the Force continues to be subject to, which constitute war crimes, need to end. It is unacceptable that peacekeepers and civilian personnel of UNAMID continue to be taken hostage on a regular basis.
I should like to conclude by recalling, as underscored in President Mbeki’s report a year ago, that there can be no peace without justice in Darfur. The crimes that have been committed there cannot go unpunished. We therefore call on all States to cooperate with the International Criminal Court pursuant to resolution 1593 (2005).