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Remarks at the Oslo Donors Conference on Sudan

Remarks at the Oslo Donors' Conference on Sudan

Robert Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State

Oslo, Norway
April 12, 2005

10:00 a.m.

Thank you very much Madam Chairperson.

I appreciate the opportunity to be here with all of you. President Bush and Secretary of State Rice hope to help create a new opportunity for the people of Sudan and they asked me to join you here today as we seek to do so.

But first I want to thank the Norwegian government and the people of Norway for being such gracious hosts. I value greatly the leadership and the council of Prime Minister Bondevik and Foreign Minister Petersen and, of course, Development Minister Frafjord Johnson. It says a great deal that the Norwegians are celebrating their centennial anniversary of modern independence by trying to help others around the world, and that's one of the many reasons why the United States is proud to be an ally and friend of Norway.

Now, we've witnessed many, many tragedies in Sudan, but we are now drawn together because there's a possibility, a hope to change that past. There's an opportunity, although very challenging to achieve, to enable Sudan to become a place of peaceful reconciliation. To give Sudan a new political start, as a democracy, and to clear a path to the people of Sudan to make a better life. Many of you are far more expert about Sudan's strife yet I'd like to share with you this morning how I see where we are today and where we might go.

The Comprehensive Peace Accord between North and South signed in January was a major achievement. I have taken part in some difficult negotiations over the years, but I could see that this one was staggering in the scope of problems and conflicts to overcome, so I compliment the Sudanese who achieved this accord. I greatly respect the key role that was played by the inter-governmental authority on development with the mediation of Kenya's General Sumbeiywo. I want to thank the many other countries, our troika partners, Norway, the U.K. as well as the E.U. and Italy, as the co-chair of the inter-governmental authorities for reform. Canada, the African Union and many others that have made important contributions.

I am very pleased that American leaders, Ambassador Danforth, Secretary Powell, AID Administrator Andrew Natsios, supported by a committed African Bureau team persevered for the prospects of peace. And I am proud of the many American aid workers, governmental and non-governmental, who have sacrificed and risked their lives to help the Sudanese people. It is an honor to serve with them.

We know that the CPA Accord is only a start, but it's a vital beginning. I see many key moments for countries and regions and divisions between East and West, North and South, between governments and peoples. This is a time of choosing for Sudan. There are two possible paths.

There is now the real possibility of an upward spiral for Sudan. Steps that could reinforce the momentum for good. The CPA provides for the end of a struggle between North and South, steps toward new democratic government, and for strengthening development with the people of Sudan. Equally important, the accord offers a framework and incentives to overcome conflicts throughout Sudan, particularly in Darfur. The CPA's provisions for federalism, decentralization of power to states trying to share Sudan's natural wealth, human rights and fundamental freedoms apply to all of Sudan. Yet the CPA must be implemented by its parties. All of us must act to support them financially and politically if they are to take the positive steps upward.

There is also, however, a possible second path. Sudan could slide into a downward spiral. The violence and atrocities in Darfur cast a dangerous shadow over our work. Many tens of thousands have been killed since that cruel conflict began. Hundreds of thousands have fled as refugees and millions ran away from their homes and are still dispossessed. If the government of Sudan and all those in Darfur fail to act to end the violence and to help strengthen security, to enable humanitarian groups to have open access in order to do their jobs and to create a serious process for peace, then my country and others will not be able to sustain the CPA fully and Sudan could slip back into the depths.

My country wants to improve the prospects for success for Sudan, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the resolution of conflicts in Darfur. That is why the United States will seek to provide between one and two billion dollars for this cause over the next two years. The United States will commit 853 million dollars for the needs identified in the 2005 Human Work Plan and the Joint Assessment Fisher report, assistance to the African Union Mission, and other necessities in Sudan. President Bush has requested almost another 900 million dollars more for this year or next in the budgets that are now in consideration before the U.S. Congress, which has provided many voices of conscience for Sudan. Together the President's current commitment and the new request total over 1.7 billion dollars. And this support comes on top of the 630 million dollars that the United States devoted to Sudan in 2004.

President Bush's commitment to Sudan is through more than aid. After this meeting I'll travel to Khartoum, Rumbek and Darfur at the request of Secretary Rice. I want to follow up on my initial conversations with Vice President Taha and other government officials by Dr. Garang, and the SPLM leaders as well as the AU representatives, both to learn and to press for the implementation of the CPA and a respite in Darfur.

In Darfur I'll have the chance to try to listen and thank NGO representatives and AU Commanders, and to try to see the situation with my own eyes. To get firmly on the upward spiral we will need the commitment and leadership of key figures in Sudan. The CPA must be implemented through an inclusive, transparent process extending to all parties, ethnic groups and regions of Sudan. The Government of National Unity, leading the democratic development, offers the soundest basis for resolution of the conflicts.

I'm pleased to see that the SPLM delegation arrived in Khartoum earlier this month, and I look forward to meeting their representatives there when I visit. We need the government and the SPLM to follow through on the CPA agreement with dispatch. Please form the national constitutional view commission without delay; please complete and properly ratify the interim constitution and then stand up the government of national unity and the government of southern Sudan. These steps are the foundation on which the CPA provisions for sharing power and wealth, as well as concerning security, must be based.

It would also be of great use if the Sudanese government lifted the State of Emergency so as to allow other parties to be able to operate freely. Beginning the withdrawal of troops from Juba would offer an excellent signal to build confidence. We need the key Sudanese parties to help all of us help you by following through on your accord.

There is also no time to waste in Darfur, where millions of people endure a precarious and frightening existence. The leaders of Sudan must recognize that the eyes of the world are on Darfur. The recent U.N. actions on sanctions and accountability as well as on peacekeeping have pressed this point home. For the United States and other countries to back Sudan, to assist it on the path for better relations with the world, we need to see an end to the process, a return to peace in Darfur. The government must stop the Arab militias and hold people accountable for atrocities.

Just in the past week there was another attack on a village in south Darfur. The world knows what is happening in Darfur and the government cannot escape the consequences of that knowledge. We urge the government to work with the African Union to monitor military flights. We hope the SPLM can help by working with the Darfur rebels who adhere to the ceasefire and its protocols. All parties must comply with the U.N. Security Council Resolutions: the government, militias, rebels, tribal leaders. Full humanitarian access and more secure conditions will permit people first to try to achieve basic sustenance, then to move home voluntarily, facilitated by a trial reconciliation process.

Intimidation and harassment must stop.

Working with the AU and other parties, including NGOs, that have brought some valuable expertise, we also need to get the Abuja Peace Talks on track. With these steps we can achieve substantial support and open new possibilities for Sudan.

As this conference symbolizes, however, countries around the world must act in concert to give Sudan an upward spiral. U.N. Security Resolution 1590 offers a 10,000-troop U.N. Peace Monitoring Mission to support the CPA, to coordinate with the AU mission in Darfur, and to encourage national reconciliation and respect for human rights. We need to support rapid deployment. The AU is also considering a recommendation to expand its very valuable mission to Darfur because its team has determined that forces are too few and too thin. The United States has already supplied some 100 million dollars to support the AU mission in Darfur. If the AU decides to increase its forces in Darfur, as we hope it will, America would like to work, with others, to determine how best to support this enhancement. I suspect that the AU mission would benefit from personnel to help with the planning of its arrangements, logistics, transportation and communication. I hope to have a chance to discuss with AU representatives their possible interest and cooperation with NATO, the EU and individual states.

Last week on another trip I took to Europe, I outlined America's strong interest in working together with our NATO allies and EU partners to assist Sudan. My discussions with the NATO council and the European Commission pointed to some very important opportunities for cooperation. And what would be a better cause for Americans, for Europeans and Africans to rally to than the cause of Sudan?

Yet the U.N. is pointing to the need for some greater contributions now. According to the U.N. report on its 2005 Work Plan, as of March 31, commitments and pledges met only 32 percent of the 1.5 billion dollar requirement. And of that sum 54 percent was from the United States. In addition, together we need to apply and supply the 2.6 billion dollars to support the North-South CPA according to the joint assessment mission that was co-led by the World Bank and the U.N.

I see that many here call for more attention to Sudan and I hope that this Oslo Conference prompts countries to match their published interest with real contributions. I'm very pleased to see that there are others here from the Asian-Pacific, and the States of the Gulf. We will have to work together and we need coordination among donors. As the U.N. has alerted us in recent days, there's an urgent need to commit food assistance to prevent a break in the pipeline for food. And we also face crucial needs in the south: roads, schools, access to health care, training, so that the new Southern Sudan Civil Authority can demonstrate effective governance. I am especially pleased to see the role of women's organizations trying to foster civil society in a new Sudan.

I recognize that many demands on our governments' attention, and of our publics, gave a considerable set of competition. Yet the trials of millions of people in Sudan are testing our humanity as well as that of the Sudanese themselves.

There is a chance to save this country. There are decisive steps just ahead of us and other strides that must follow closely thereafter. We need to combine humanitarian cause with basic security while also pressing forward with the political framework that is the key to move to peaceful reconciliation. We look to the Sudanese to show the way. The people of Sudan have already demonstrated extraordinary fortitude and resilience.

Working with all of you, the United States wants to sustain and strengthen their resolve, their sense of hope, their opportunity. I look forward to working with all of you and your countries as we do so. In a brief time I've been able to learn much from many of you, and I look forward to continuing to do so.

Thank you very much. 2005/399

Released on April 12, 2005


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