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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

United Nations Security Council Public Meeting on Sudan; Statement by Ambassador Gerhard Pfanzelter, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, on behalf of the European Union.

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia?, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Liechtenstein, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

Let me start by thanking Ambassador Jones-Parry for his briefing on the Security Council mission to the Sudan and the region. The European Union shares his general assessment of the situation and of what needs to be done urgently to bring peace to Darfur and stability to the region. We welcome the regional approach taken by the Council in its mission – in visiting Khartum, Darfur, Southern Sudan, Chad and Addis Ababa – since the problems in this region are inter-linked and show no respect for political boundaries.

It has now been almost two months since the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed. We have welcomed this agreement as the indispensable basis for lasting peace and security and an end to the suffering of millions of people in Darfur. The EU will continue to work for the full and rapid implementation of the DPA, urges the remaining factions to commit themselves to the DPA and calls on all parties to implement the DPA without delay. Apparently, there still are a number of misunderstandings in the Sudan about the DPA, the role of the African Union Mission in Darfur (AMIS) and the role of the UN – all of which are closely linked. This underlines the need to explain the agreement and its benefits better to the people in the region. Most importantly, the refugees and IDPs in their camps – both in Darfur and in neighbouring Chad – as well as the civilians outside the camps need to feel an urgent and visible improvement in their everyday living conditions. We believe that the following steps are necessary:

• First, the worsening humanitarian situation demands immediate action. Attacks on humanitarian workers are a particularly worrying development and must be stopped immediately. The EU calls on the Government of Sudan and all parties in Darfur to remove immediately any existing obstacles to the delivery of aid and to end any obstruction of humanitarian work or assistance rendered to AMIS. The Sudanese Government must comply fully with the commitments undertaken in the Joint Communiqué of 3 July 2004 signed with the UN.

• Second, protection of civilians must be urgently provided, their rights assured and impunity for abusers ended. We call on the Government of Sudan to bring the perpetrators to justice for crimes committed in Darfur and to stop the violence against internally displaced persons, especially sexual violence against women and girls. In this regard, we would like to recall the observation by the ICC prosecutor in this chamber on 14 June that protection of victims and witnesses is inexistant and needs to urgently be strengthened. We reiterate our full support for the ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of human rights abuses in Darfur and urge all parties, in particular the Government of Sudan, to fully cooperate with the ICC.

• Third, AMIS needs to be strengthened in order to be able to fulfil its mandate as effectively as possible, in particular taking into account the new tasks arising from the DPA. Together with other international partners, the EU will continue to provide planning, technical, financial and equipment support to both the military and police components of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). Together with the AU and the UN, we are organising a conference on AMIS on 18 July in Brussels.

• Fourth, there is a strong need to ensure a smooth transition from AMIS to a UN-led operation in Darfur. We are encouraged by the unity of opinion on this subject between the Security Council mission and the African Union in Addis Ababa. The joint UN/AU assessment mission to Darfur, which has just returned to New York, has our full support and we are looking forward to the Secretary-General’s recommendations on a future UN mission. As Secretary-General Annan said last Friday, the situation on the ground in Darfur is indefensible. If a government cannot fulfil its Responsibility to Protect its own citizens, it has an obligation to accept outside help. We therefore strongly urge the Government of Sudan to accept the help of the UN in implementing the DPA and in bringing actual peace to Darfur and, to this end, to welcome the planned UN mission in Darfur, which will have a strong African character.

• The measures outlined above are designed to support the implementation of the DPA. Those who obstruct these steps as well as those who obstruct the DPA in other ways bear responsibility for their actions. In this context, we continue to believe that sanctions must be applied against those who impede the peace process, constitute a threat to stability in Darfur and the region, commit violations of international humanitarian or human rights law or other atrocities or violate the arms embargo, as set out in Security Council Resolution 1591. The European Union therefore welcomes the action taken by the Security Council as, inter alia, per resolution 1672 of 25 April.

• Finally, we believe that the International Community needs to show strong, continued commitment, beyond AMIS and the establishment of a UN operation, to help the people of Darfur secure peace and long-term development in the region. The EU is ready to respond positively to requests for support to the implementation of the DPA, including in relation to the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation which has a crucial role to play in reconciliation and the construction of a new Darfur by involving all the components of Darfur’s civil society in the implementation process on the ground. We underline the urgent need for the establishment of the structures of this dialogue so that it can begin its work promptly. Furthermore, the pledging conference on initiating reconstruction and development of Darfur, to be organised by the Netherlands later this year, is another important opportunity for the International Community to show its support.

The EU remains deeply concerned about the regional destabilisation caused by the Darfur crisis in Chad and the Central African Republic and by increasing insecurity in the Darfur refugee camps in Chad. The Security Council mission’s report bears testimony to the appalling situation in refugee camps and the suffering of the local population in Chad, as well as to the danger of the camps serving as recruiting centers for rebel groups and a breeding ground for a further downward spiral. If not addressed effectively, the situation in Chad has the potential for an escalation of the current crisis beyond control. We call on Sudan and Chad to comply fully with their obligations set out in the Tripoli agreement of 8 February – in line with their obligations under the UN and AU charters – to put an end to any direct or indirect support to rebel groups in the other country, with a view to securing peace at their common borders.

While the situation in Darfur and in Chad certainly warrants our undivided attention, we must not forget that the situation in Southern Sudan also remains fragile. One-and-a-half years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), implementation of important parts of the agreement is behind schedule and difficult issues remain to be solved. The EU reaffirms its commitment to continue supporting the implementation of the CPA, including through its participation in the Assessment and Evaluation Commission, since the CPA offers the only way to a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Sudan that delivers for all its citizens, no matter where they live.

In this context, we welcome the signing of an agreement on a ceasefire and a framework for substantive peace talks between the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front in Asmara on 20 June. This agreement was not only essential due to the withdrawal of SPLA forces in line with the CPA but, in particular, for a peaceful solution to the existing problems in Eastern Sudan. We call on both sides to start substantive negotiations in good faith immediately and to invite international observers to this process.

The particular problem of the LRA also needs specific attention by all players involved. The LRA must be stopped from carrying out its activities terrorizing populations in the whole region of Northern Uganda, Southern Sudan and the Northeastern DRC. We recognize the intentions of the Government of South Sudan to persuade the LRA to enter into serious peace negotiations with the Government of Uganda, and hope that this could lead to a definitive dissolution of the LRA, while scrupulously respecting the arrest mandates and injuctions from the ICC.

The Security Council mission to the Sudan has concluded that the conflict in Darfur is particularly complex and that the UN needs a range of policies to tackle it. This complexity applies to the situation in other parts of the country as well. However, the UN is already engaged in a multi-faceted peacekeeping operation in South Sudan and, with the support of the whole international community, it is willing to take on the challenges in Darfur. It is our collective duty to make sure that all players involved understand that accepting the help of the UN is in their own best interest. This is what we owe the people in Darfur, Southern Sudan and Chad.

*Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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