The upsurge in tribal fighting in southern Sudan this year threatens the stability not just of the country but the entire region, a senior Sudanese official told the General Assembly today, calling for greater commitment from the international community to help bringing last peace.
Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani, an adviser to the Sudanese President and head of his country’s delegation, told the Assembly’s high-level debate that the renewed fighting threatened the positive steps being taken to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the 2005 pact that ended the long-running civil war between north and south.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed since the start of the year in deadly clashes between ethnic groups in southern Sudan, with the most recent attacks earlier this month claiming the lives of more than 100 people and forcing thousands of others to flee their homes.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken out against the violence and warned against retaliatory attacks.
Today, Mr. Salahuddin said “these conflicts threaten not only the stability of the Sudan and the south but also the stability of the whole region,” calling on the Government of Southern Sudan – created as a result of the CPA – to take greater responsibility for maintaining peace and security.
As part of the CPA national legislative elections are scheduled to take place in April next year, and the adviser said his Government remained committed to ensuring they are staged peacefully and successfully.
“We invite the international community to support financially and materially the conduct of elections in deeds and in words,” he said, voicing disappointment that the many donors have not fulfilled their pledges to support the implementation of the CPA, especially regarding the rehabilitation and reintegration of former combatants from the civil war.
During a meeting today between Mr. Ban and Mr. Salahuddin, the Secretary-General emphasized the need for trust and meaningful dialogue between the signatories to the CPA, and called for agreement on the census results as well as for urgent preparations for both the 2010 elections and the 2011 referendum on independence for the south.
Turning to the conflict in Darfur, Mr. Salahuddin said that region was experiencing “positive and far-reaching developments” towards peace, thanks in part to greater cooperation between the Government and the joint African Union-UN peacekeeping force (known as UNAMID).
“That policy has led to far-reaching improvement in the humanitarian situation in Darfur, as recognized and attested by UN documented reports,” he said, adding that there have been “massive” returns of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their home villages across Darfur.
“We, [the] Government, [the] people and [the] international community must seize this opportunity to foster this trend.”
The adviser also stressed his Government’s commitment to the efforts of the Joint AU-UN Mediator, Djibril Bassolé, and Qatar to bring about a lasting peace deal with Darfur’s many rebel groups.