13 July - On the occasion of the 100th Ceasefire Joint Military Committee meeting
Speech by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Sudan
We can congratulate ourselves today for having come a long way together. The ceasefire mechanisms established in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement more than four years ago have by and large preserved the peace between the North and the South.
As a core element of the CPA security structure, the CJMC has played a crucial role in this success. It has helped build confidence; it serves a vital role in diffusing tensions before they erupt; and it has overcome crises through swift action, such as following the clashes in Malakal early this year.
I would once again congratulate the parties to the CPA, the members of the CJMC, and the Chairman of the CJMC, my Force Commander, for this success.
We should use this 100th meeting of the CJMC to also look back and to draw some lessons learned for the future on what has worked and what needs to be improved.
What matters is not the quantity of meetings held but the quality of the discussions and decisions made. What matters most is whether recommendations made by the CJMC are followed up on the political level and implemented on the ground.
It is here, Excellencies, that we have encountered problems.
Many issues on the agenda of the Ceasefire Political Committee (CPC) remain unsolved. Necessary political decisions on outstanding issues have not been taken. Meetings of the Ceasefire Political Committee have been postponed too many times.
Moreover, time for achieving progress is running out. Only 17 months remain until the 2011 referenda. Many issues remain on the agenda of the parties, and preparations for the elections and the referenda need to be made urgently.
Progress on security issues here can help the parties break the impasse in other areas. It can build the necessary confidence and trust of both parties to overcome challenges. This is because - political, economic and security – issues are interconnected.
In this regard, I would like to highlight three issues:
First, on the redeployment of forces: The CJMC has clearly indicated the steps that are required for both parties to reach the 100% figure. These are waiting to be endorsed by the CPC. A political agreement is necessary. It should not be bounced back to the CJMC as so many issues have been. Otherwise, crucial issues will be kept pending forever.
Second, the February clashes in Malakal: These underlined the problems of the Joint Integrated Units. I am encouraged by the parties' willingness to commence with rotating those elements out of the area. Implementing this decision taken by the Joint Defense Board will be a crucial step in ensuring stability in the area.
At the same time, I encourage the parties to recommit themselves to ensuring the JIUs play the role foreseen for them in the CPA. This will require political commitment and resources. UNMIS continues to stand ready to support the parties in any way they agree upon.
Third, the situation in Abyei: The eyes of the world will be on the parties on the 22nd July, when the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration is expected.
I welcome the commitment made by both parties to accept the decision by the PCA. I encourage them to spare no effort to ensure peace and stability prevails.
UNMIS will support the efforts of the parties. But we can only do so according to our mandate and within our capabilities. We are reinforcing our troops and have increased patrols to deter spoilers.
It must not be forgotten that maintaining security and law and order in Abyei, as elsewhere, are the primary responsibility of the Governments of the North and the South. This includes their armed forces, which are those recognized as national armed forces by the CPA.
I visited Abyei myself last week to listen to the various stakeholders and I encouraged them to take the necessary actions to ensure the peace whatever the decision of the PCA.
Specifically, I underlined that only those security institutions allowed by the Abyei Road Map Agreement should be present in the area. These are the Joint Integrated Units and the Joint Integrated Police Unit (JIPU). In particular, I emphasized preserving the command and control and coherence of these is a crucial responsibility of the two parties.
I also encouraged the parties to ensure through their respective armed forces that other armed elements do not enter the Road Map Area. The same applies to the regular SPLA and SAF forces themselves. Entry into the road map area by SPLM or SAF would be a serious breach of the Road Map Agreement and of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It would also undermine the role of UNMIS in assisting the JIUs and JIPU to maintain peace and security in the Abyei Road Map Area.
I repeat, restraint of the parties and their security forces is of the utmost importance. This includes those critical areas outside of the Road Map Area, to which UNMIS is not given access to monitor the situation.
Lastly, I encouraged the parties to engage the local communities in constructive discussions on what impact the decision may have on their traditional lifestyles. Clarity and confidence in a common future in Abyei are required. Rumors and scare-mongering need to be avoided at any cost.
Success in handling the PCA decision will to a large extent determine the prospects for peacefully implementing the CPA itself. It is a test no one should fail.
Excellencies, the 100th CJMC meeting is an occasion to celebrate.
The successes the CJMC have brought over the past few years should be an encouragement and catalyst for our renewed commitment and dedication. While the challenges ahead are daunting I firmly believe that in a joint and decisive effort, they can be addressed. The CPA and its full implementation remains the bedrock for peace and stability in the Sudan and, as a matter of fact, the whole region. Your contribution will continue to be decisive.
I look forward to the further success of the CJMC.
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