, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Speech By President Mwai Kibaki during the 14th Extra-Ordinary Summit Of IGAD Assembly of Heads Of State And Government on the Sudan Peace Process.
Your Excellency Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, and Chairman of IGAD, Excellencies Heads of State and Government, The Executive Secretary of IGAD, Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
Five years ago, we met here in Nairobi to witness the signing of the historic Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended one of Africa’s longest conflicts. The C.P.A., which was negotiated under the auspices of IGAD, not only marked the beginning of a new and brighter future for Sudan, but it also signalled a new era for Africa where African solutions could be applied to African problems through dialogue.
I am therefore pleased to warmly welcome your Excellencies to Nairobi for this Extra-Ordinary Summit of IGAD for a dialogue on the Sudan Peace Process. The Extra-Ordinary Summit is an outcome of a series of consultations between IGAD Member States as well as both parties to the C.P.A.
This Summit comes less than nine months to the end of the six-year interim period provided for in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Our gathering here is of particular significance as it will enable us to take stock of the achievements made and the challenges faced in the implementation of this important Accord. I trust that the meeting will also provide fresh impetus to the process and ensure a smooth and seamless management of any outstanding issues.
You will recall, Excellencies, that IGAD’s engagement in the Sudan Peace Process began in September, 1993 when we established a standing Committee to assist with negotiations to end Sudan’s Civil War. These efforts culminated in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Nairobi in January, 2005. We, however, undertook as IGAD Member States to help our brothers in the Sudan to monitor implementation of the C.P.A., and it is in this regard that we are assembled here today.
I would also like to express my Government’s very sincere appreciation to the two parties to the C.P.A. for their presence at this meeting. I am fully aware of their pressing engagements, especially their campaigns for the forthcoming elections scheduled for next month.
Their participation at this meeting demonstrates their commitment to the full attainment of peace, security and stability in the Sudan, as well as the entire IGAD Sub-region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement a lot has been achieved in the implementation of the Accord. The ceasefire has held and Power-sharing arrangements are in place. Security has largely improved in the Sudan and more efforts have been directed towards post-conflict reconstruction. This is evident by the infrastructural development witnessed in the last five years.
The recent meetings between the two sides have also yielded tangible results especially on key issues. This include agreement on increased representation in Parliament by the SPLM, a consensus on the disputed 2008 population census results, and establishment of a referendum Commission in which the two parties will both be included. I therefore wish to applaud the efforts, sacrifices and the commitments made by the two partners and the entire people of the Sudan in the implementation of the C.P.A. so far.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement is now at a critical and final phase. The country is scheduled to hold its first national elections followed by a Referendum in January next year. These two events are major milestones that will shape the future of Sudan. However, there are a number of issues which still call for urgent attention and continued collaboration. These include: agreement on Post-Referendum arrangements; completion of the demarcation of the North/South Border and that of Abyei; completion of the redeployment of the military forces; and dealing with the intermittent skirmishes in the South.
The continued engagement of IGAD and the International Community during this important period in the history of Sudan is therefore crucial. As IGAD, we are obliged as guarantors to the C.P.A. to remain seized with the quest for sustainable peace, security and stability in the Sudan.
We also remain committed to the pursuit for lasting solutions to conflicts in our region.
We therefore have a responsibility in this regard to encourage our brothers and sisters in the Sudan to continue manifesting the political will and practical resolve to move forward.
It is important that we are candid and honest with each other in assessing the challenges facing implementation of the C.P.A. It is only by being candid that we can assist both the National Congress Party and the SPLM implement the remaining phases of the C.P.A.
This will ensure sustained peace and realization of the desired progress in Sudan beyond the TWENTY ELEVEN referendum. I urge the two parties to continue to fully engage and maintain dialogue, high level contacts and cooperation in order to complete this journey. This long journey through Machakos, Naivasha and finally Nairobi remains the only viable option to sustainable peace, security and stability in Sudan.
Let me also acknowledge the great role played by my predecessor, retired President Daniel arap Moi for his valuable contribution to the Sudan Peace Process. We greatly appreciate his work together with that of retired Lieutenant General Lazarus Sumbeiywo for the dedication and input in the Sudan Peace Process.
I am confident that this Summit will help us to recognize the peace dividends delivered by the C.P.A to the people of Sudan, and the entire IGAD sub-region. The summit also offers us the opportunity to rededicate our efforts to fully implement the remaining provisions of the historic accord.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Finally, let me once again thank you very much indeed for availing yourselves for this important meeting. Your presence here today is a clear reaffirmation of the significant role of IGAD and her partners in the Sudan. I am optimistic that our efforts will bear fruit. I wish you a successful Summit and a peaceful and prosperous future for our brothers and sisters in Sudan.
Thank You And God Bless You All.