Statement of the Chairperson of the African Union Ministerial Post Conflict Reconstruction Committee on the Sudan: Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the Oslo Donors Conference, 11 - 12 April 2005

CHAIR OF THIS AUGUST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE SUDAN,
MS HILDE F JOHNSON,
THE VICE PRESIDENT OF SUDAN, MR ALI OSMAN TAHA,
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SPLM, DR JOHN GARANG de MABIOR,
YOUR EXCELLENCIES
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

On behalf of the African Union, as the chairperson of the post conflict reconstruction Ministerial Committee of the Sudan, I take this opportunity to thank the Kingdom and people of Norway for hosting this historic international donors conference on the Sudan. Allow me, Chair, to recognise the international partners present here today, for their continued solidarity and support to the Sudan peace process. We will obviously count on them in Sudan's efforts to reconstruct and develop her economy and infrastructure. This support and solidarity is particularly needed in the South and the other war affected areas.

The African Union would like to commend both the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement, working with international partners, for taking this process a step forward by jointly articulating their reconstruction and development needs. This process will contribute toward the consolidation of peace and tackling the challenges that lie ahead.

The reconstruction and development of the Sudan poses political and socio-economic challenges for the Sudan and the region. These challenges can only be confronted squarely if there continues to be strong political will and commitment of all involved, especially the Sudanese themselves.

The African Union, in establishing this committee on post conflict reconstruction of Sudan as whose Chair we address you today, took a conscious decision to accompany the Sudanese in their long journey towards sustainable peace and development, and to provide them with the political support necessary to realise their efforts. This Committee, comprising of Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and the Sudan, stands ready to meet even at the highest level if necessary, to ensure that the implementation of commitments contained in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and avails itself to assist in resolving whatever bottlenecks that may arise.

A visit to the south and the war affected areas of the Sudan as we have recently undertaken, and a close reading of the report of the Joint Assessment Mission will leave no one in doubt of how enormous and complex are Sudan's developmental needs. Evidently Sudan's past political, economic and structural rigidities have resulted in deep cycles of underdevelopment, poverty and wide spread incidence of disease. In the coming years, the Sudan will need to mobilise all its available resources, and these are not negligible, in order to face these accumulated challenges. This huge gathering in this hall today signifies that the international community as whole recognises the enormity of the challenges, which the Sudan should not be left to face alone.

In the course of today and tomorrow we shall hear mind-boggling facts and figures about the Sudan. We shall be told of the statistics on poor health care, lack of education short life expectancy, food and water shortages and non-existent or decaying infrastructure. We shall be reminded of the fragility of peace in the Sudan and the interdependence of peace and development. Indeed we shall be reminded that peace can not be delivered peace meal to the Sudan, Sudan needs and must have comprehensive peace, peace in the south, peace in Darfur, and peace in the everywhere.

The African Union recognises the inevitable need for its Member States, though themselves poor and beset by challenges almost as daunting as Sudan's to embrace our duty to fully assist our Sudanese brothers and Sisters in the tasks ahead. The African Union is committed to making a contribution in areas where we can add value based on our principles and approach and comparative advantages, capacities, and in line with our vision of promoting peace, unity, democracy and development on our continent.

In this regard, we will closely consider the JAM report which contains detailed projects as agreed to by the Sudanese parties themselves. We shall particularly focus Africa's response to areas such as capacity building, infrastructure programmes, institutional and political transformation. To these efforts we shall mobilise African resources towards the implementations of the identified quick impact projects.

We also urge the continued and strong international support for the successful implementation the agreement and to efforts towards lasting peace in the whole of the Sudan. To enable the Sudan hold her end of the development deal, there is an urgent need to free and unlock her national resources. To this end we call for the cancellation of debt and the lifting of all trade and economic sanctions against the Sudan.

In conclusion, while recognising the ever-growing competing world wide challenges confronting mankind today, the African Union, nonetheless, calls on the international community to continue working with the Sudanese people for the successful implementation of the CPA with the same determination and resolve that helped bring about the agreement.

Africa appeals for concrete, focused and time-bound response from this Conference for the successful implementation of the peace agreement to achieve a lasting solution to the myriad of problems in the Sudan.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 - 990 4853

C/o Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag x152
Pretoria
0001

11 April 2005


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