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Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you to ASG Keita for her visit. Since it is the first time that we take the floor on this agenda item, let me briefly outline Germany’s approach to the situation in Darfur and Sudan more broadly.
To start with, we couldn’t agree more with Mrs. Keita that a political solution to the conflict in Darfur is key for sustainable peace in Darfur. Germany supported this approach in 2011 and 2012, our last time on the Council, and our actions today are guided by the same vision.
This is why we support the mediation process between the Government and the armed groups. Today, we encourage all parties, the Government of Sudan and the Darfuri armed groups to build on the positive dynamics of the pre-negotiation agreement signed in Berlin in December last year. Progress needs to be made urgently.
At the same time, we have to recognize that the peace process in Darfur cannot be separated from the overall political dynamics in Sudan. Since mid-December 2018, a substantial number of Sudanese have demonstrated peacefully for the respect of human rights, rule of law and a political transition. By announcing the state of emergency on 22 February, President Bashir has limited the scope for rule of law and human rights in Sudan.
In this situation, it is necessary to look even closer at the benchmarks for a withdrawal of UNAMID, in particular the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. We call upon the government of Sudan to respond to the legitimate grievances of the Sudanese population – politically and without force.
Mr. President, building sustainable peace requires a long-term strategy. To avoid relapse into conflict in Darfur, current transition processes from peacekeeping to peacebuilding needs the full support and attention of the Council and the international community, the UN system, and the support of the host government.
The visit by ASG Keita, ASG Fernandez-Taranco and ASG Wahba reflects priorities for UN engagement: peacekeeping, peacebuilding, long-term development. Germany supports these priorities and we consider it our joint responsibility to ensure that the decade-long international engagement in Darfur delivers concrete and lasting results, for the people of Darfur. In this context, I would like to make three concluding points:
- First, we have to do everything so that UNAMID – as long as it is deployed in Darfur – delivers against the mandated tasks; ALL mandated tasks. This means peacekeeping, to start with and as a priority of course, but also mediation, including intercommunal mediation, peacebuilding and support to IDPs. The Presidential Statement of December 2018 clearly outlines the benchmarks that need to be achieved. An integrated transition strategy and cooperation among all relevant UN entities is therefore of utmost importance. The upcoming strategic review should therefore be used to assess this UN engagement comprehensively and make recommendations on the UN reconfiguration.
- Secondly, we see it as the responsibility of the international community, and in particular the Security Council, to ensure that a relapse into conflict is prevented. Any transition is challenging; and any transition demands responsibility and adequate attention. We need to make sure that UNAMID continues to receive the sufficient political support and sufficient financial means – including programmatic funding - to implement its mandate. This includes operational peacebuilding and stabilization measures. We also need to make sure that a strong-enough UN presence on the ground needs to be built up in parallel with the UNAMID draw-down that will be in a position to support consolidation of the peacekeeping gains already achieved and continues to advance mediation, peacebuilding, in particular in the security sector, and development tasks. Germany is committed to taking on responsibility in this regard as co-penholder with UK on the UNAMID file.
- Thirdly and lastly: Germany is convinced that we can only succeed in close collaboration with the Government of Sudan. But this must be a partnership built on mutual trust. Resolving the still existing issues around access for UNAMID to parts of Darfur, demonstrating tangible progress in establishing a presence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sudan with access to Darfur and human rights monitoring capacities, as well as engaging with the Peacebuilding Commission – these are steps that would increase our trust on the international level, as much as working towards progress in the mediation process, as well as on intercommunal matters such as land and water.
Thank you, Mr. President.