The situation in the Sudan - Security Council, 9041st Meeting

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24-May-2022 01:28:33
Lack of progress on political track will lead to humanitarian disaster in Sudan, Secretary-General’s Special Representative warns Security Council.

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The lack of progress on the political track will result in humanitarian disaster in Sudan, the Head of the United Nations special political mission in that country told the Security Council today, as members diverged over the conditions under which international support should be provided.

Volker Perthes, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), told members that the situation has remained precarious since his last briefing. “Time is short for the Sudanese to reach a political solution to forge a way out of this crisis,” he warned, emphasizing that it is up to the Sudanese authorities to create an environment conducive to the success of the trilateral mechanism — involving the United Nations, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) — to facilitate intra-Sudanese dialogue.

Outlining developments since March, he said the authorities have released 86 detainees across the country and that violence by security forces against protestors appears to have decreased overall, although violations still occur. He emphasized that, if the authorities want to build trust, “it is time for all violence to end”. He reported that his Office has urged the authorities to make clear to the public that they support dialogue as the only way to reach a political solution and to release detainees, cease arbitrary arrests and lift the state of emergency.

He went on to note that the trilateral mechanism held initial talks in April with key components of society and the political scene, with broad, diverse participation. Furthermore, on 12 May, the Office of the Special Representative began indirect talks on core issues with the parties. However, he pointed out that the effects of political instability, economic crisis, poor harvests and global supply shocks are having a “disastrous” impact. “If a solution to the current impasse is not found,” he warned, “the consequences will be felt beyond Sudan’s borders and for a generation.”

In the ensuing discussion, many Council members called upon Sudan’s military to make progress on confidence-building measures, including by releasing all political detainees and lifting the state of emergency. They stressed that restoring a civilian-led Government will enable both economic reform and the resumption of international support for Sudan. Others, while contemplating the upcoming renewal of the Mission’s mandate, emphasized the need for UNITAMS to hew strictly to its mandate in line with conditions on the ground. Members also welcomed the start of the second phase of the intra-Sudanese dialogue under the trilateral mechanism.

Kenya’s representative, also speaking for Gabon and Ghana, appealed to all actors – civilian and military – to take advantage of that platform and move expeditiously towards agreement on a viable democratic transition. Cautioning that lack of progress on the political track risks wiping out the initial gains made in economic and structural reforms, he also urged the international donor community and international financial institutions to reconsider the temporary suspension of aid to Sudan during the current global food crisis.

China’s delegate echoed that point, noting that the decision by certain countries and organizations to suspend assistance “will not help Sudan get out of its current plight”. Pointing out that the parties have demonstrated willingness to continue with the political transition despite differences on specific issues, he called on the international community to provide constructive help and avoid picking sides.

Norway’s representative emphasized the responsibility of Sudan’s authorities to mobilize the political will and resources necessary to implement the Joint Security Keeping Force as well as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration plans. An inclusive political settlement is the surest path to economic recovery, development and an improved humanitarian situation, she said, joining others in stressing that a stable situation will enable international partners to provide more support than the current precarious circumstances allow.

Sudan’s representative pointed out that, whereas work continues to form a civilian Government through democratic elections and to implement the Juba Peace Agreement, it is difficult to act alone. The international community must provide the needed technical and financial support, and UNITAMS is vital in that regard, he emphasized. He went on to state that development assistance cannot be linked to political considerations — as that would endanger peacebuilding — stressing that the international community must invest in the peace process because prosperity will help resolve conflict within communities.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Albania, Brazil, Russian Federation, India, France, Mexico, Ireland and the United States.

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:31 a.m.

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