The following communiqué was issued after the high-level meeting on Sudan, held in New York, 24 September:
On 24 September 2010, the United Nations Secretary-General convened a high-level meeting on Sudan to mobilize international support for the Sudanese parties’ full and timely implementation of the final phase of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), including the referenda on the self-determination of the people of Southern Sudan and on the status of Abyei, and for the peace processes for Darfur and eastern Sudan.
The participants recognized the CPA parties’ commitment to the Sudanese peace process and welcomed the progress they have made in addressing complex issues under difficult circumstances over the past five years.
While working to make unity attractive and recognizing the right to self-determination of the people of Southern Sudan, the CPA parties expressed strong commitment to make all efforts to ensure peaceful, credible, timely and free referenda that reflect the will of the Sudanese people of these areas, as provided for in the CPA. They further committed to overcome the remaining political and technical challenges and to ensure the referenda are held on 9 January 2011, as stipulated in the CPA. The CPA parties reiterated their primary responsibility for successful CPA implementation and thanked the international community for its support.
The participants voiced strong support to both CPA parties and confirmed their commitment to respect the outcome of credible referenda and to assist the Sudanese achieve sustainable peace throughout Sudan in the post-referenda period. They noted the delays in the preparations for the referenda and called for the urgent establishment of the Abyei Referendum Commission and for the acceleration of the work of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission. They expressed willingness to assist the joint efforts by the parties to expedite these processes.
The CPA parties recognized that, regardless of the outcome of the referenda, their relationship will remain essential for managing the transition process, implementing the post-referenda arrangements and maintaining peace and prosperity in the region. In this regard, the participants welcomed the CPA parties’ commitment to resolve as a matter of urgency critical post-referenda arrangements — including border management, security, citizenship, migration issues, debts, assets and natural resources — while also putting in place a framework to resolve all outstanding CPA issues in a peaceful, mutually beneficial manner, as agreed in Mekelle, Ethiopia on 23 June 2010.
Participants also stressed the importance of inclusive, timely and credible popular consultations processes in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan States, in accordance with the CPA. They committed to support these processes.
The participants welcomed the United Nations provision of technical and logistical assistance to the CPA parties’ referenda preparations, particularly the key support role played by the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). Participants also expressed support for the United Nations Secretary-General’s Panel on the Referenda in Sudan and committed themselves to work with the Panel to ensure its impartiality, independence and effectiveness.
Participants welcomed the work of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, working in close coordination with UNMIS, to provide a forum for the CPA parties to comprehensively resolve post-referenda issues. Participants also welcomed the support of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and other regional and international partners of Sudan.
The humanitarian situation in Southern Sudan was of particular concern in the meeting and participants agreed that adequate international funding was necessary to alleviate the suffering of the affected populations in the coming year. Participants also highlighted the urgent need to assist Southern Sudan develop its governance capacities, in order to ensure functioning, accountable institutions regardless of the outcome of the Southern Sudan referendum. They welcomed the meeting held in Brussels on 17 September, in which the Government of Southern Sudan put forward a framework to address the immediate functional priorities in the South.
Participants welcomed efforts to reach a comprehensive, inclusive solution to the conflict in Darfur and the 20 September 2010 announcement of a preliminary draft peace document to be further discussed by the parties in Doha. They expressed support for the work of the Joint Darfur Mediator and the Government of Qatar and welcomed the engagement of the Government of Sudan, the Liberation and Justice Movement and civil society in the process. Participants urged all armed movements that continue to abstain from the peace process to join without preconditions or further delays.
Participants expressed support for the principles guiding the Doha negotiations, including a ceasefire and other security arrangements, including the integration of armed elements into Government security institutions, greater authority for Darfur, fair representation of Darfurians at all levels of Government, and other provisions to ensure adequate compensation, justice, reconciliation, wealth-sharing and economic development in the region.
Participants voiced concern about the security situation in Darfur, including clashes between armed forces and groups, attacks on peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel and civilians. In this context, they appreciated the Government of Sudan’s approval of a new strategy for Darfur and noted the role it could play, within humanitarian principles, towards a comprehensive solution to the conflict in Darfur. They called on all parties to immediately cease hostilities and allow unrestricted freedom of movement and access to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the humanitarian community throughout Darfur.
Participants welcomed commitments by the Government of Sudan to end impunity, bring all perpetrators of crimes to justice and protect civilians in Darfur, and reiterated the international community’s readiness to work with the Government to effectively implement these commitments, including the Government's effort to establish partnerships with local and international communities.
Participants reiterated their strong support for UNAMID, particularly its mandate giving priority to the protection of civilians and facilitating humanitarian delivery, as well as the priority given to UNAMID’s continuing efforts to promote the engagement of all Darfurian stakeholders in support of and to complement the African Union-United Nations political process in Darfur. They took note of relevant Security Council resolutions and the need to support efforts to halt illegal arms flows into Darfur.
On eastern Sudan, participants noted progress on the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement and highlighted the need to finalise implementation of the provisions regarding rehabilitation, recovery and development, and expressed support for donor investment in eastern Sudan, including through the Eastern Sudan International Conference in Kuwait in December 2010.
Participants expressed appreciation for the work of IGAD in brokering the CPA, with the support of other regional and international partners of Sudan, including the African Union and the United Nations. Participants committed to empower and support the CPA parties as they complete implementation of the CPA, resolve post-referenda arrangements, and work to achieve sustainable peace throughout Sudan in the post-referenda period.
Finally, while the referendum on the self-determination of the people of Southern Sudan is an important benchmark of the CPA, participants stressed that it does not mark the end of the CPA parties’ obligations to work together for a peaceful transition. The core objective of the international community and all stakeholders in Sudan is the peaceful coexistence of the people of Sudan, democratic governance, accountability, equality, respect, justice and establishment of the conditions for conflict-affected communities to build strong, sustainable livelihoods.