(translation of statement made in French)
First of all, I too would like to thank Mr. Alain Le Roy for his presentation and to welcome the presence of Mr. Margelov in the Council.
I would like to make a few comments on various aspects of the issue that we are considering. First of all, in our view, the political process must remain the priority. In that regard, we welcome the efforts of the Chief Joint Mediator, Mr. Bassolé, and the Qatari facilitation, and we hope that the talks suspended last June will resume as quickly as possible.
The Sudanese Government and the Justice and Equality Movement must fulfil the commitments made during the signing of the declaration of intent of 17 February 2009. We hope that the talks are inclusive, and we support the efforts made by Libya with respect to other rebel movements.
We have noted the establishment by the African Union of a High-Level Panel headed by President Mbeki, and we will closely study its forthcoming conclusions.
We think that the humanitarian situation remains of concern. We welcome the efforts of United Nations to work with the Government of the Sudan to prevent the decision to expel 13 non-governmental organizations last March from having too serious consequences. However, as the report of the Secretary-General (S/2009/352) notes, the fall in the number of humanitarian workers in Darfur has harmed the quality of the aid. In the rainy season, the health situation could deteriorate very quickly. We therefore remain very concerned, and we call on the Sudanese authorities to quickly restore an environment conducive to humanitarian activities.
Moreover, the security risks for the civilian population must not be underestimated. We are pleased that the violence has diminished since the establishment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), but it must be noted that we have moved from a situation of conflict to less intense but generalized violence. The tension in relations between Chad and the Sudan is also of great concern, and we call on those two countries to implement their commitments and to refrain from any provocation.
On the deployment of UNAMID, we have noted the information given by Alain Le Roy. The Secretary-General underscores in his report the improved cooperation with the Sudanese authorities for the deployment of the operation. We welcome that, and we hope that the objective set in the report for the deployment of 92 per cent of the force by December can be achieved.
However, we note that, despite the progress brought about by the Tripartite Mechanism, the Sudanese authorities continue to pose significant obstacles. I am thinking in particular of the issue of visas already mentioned by a number of delegations, which Khartoum is slow to issue. More than 100 European personnel in particular, and others from other regions, are waiting for visas, and that situation is unacceptable.
More than ever, the population in Darfur needs a credible force that can contribute to its security. The year 2009 should see the full deployment of UNAMID and also of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad, which to some extent is its counterpart in the regions of Chad and the Central African Republic bordering on Darfur. We call on the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries to increase their efforts in that regard.
We are preparing to renew UNAMID’s mandate. We hope that the negotiations held under the auspices of our British colleagues will soon conclude. The discussion on UNAMID’s mandate should not be held hostage to other difficult issues, such as those of the fight against impunity and of the International Criminal Court. We believe, and everyone knows, that a lasting peace cannot be established without justice, and we note the absence of real efforts of the Sudanese authorities in that area.
In any case, differences of views on this issue should not prevent us from acting collectively and with determination on the other aspects of resolving the crisis in Darfur. We hope that UNAMID will fully carry out its mandate, in particular the tasks entrusted to it as a priority, namely, protecting civilians and providing security for humanitarian assistance.
Finally, we would conclude with a word on the implementation of the comprehensive political agreement as a follow-up to our consultations last week on the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS). At this stage, we are very satisfied that the two parties have indicated their wish to respect the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on Abyei. We hope that the follow-up to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement will continue to be implemented in this manner, in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill on both sides.