OPENING STATEMENT OF THE JUSTICE & EQUALITY MOVEMENT (JEM)
ON THE OCCASION OF SUDAN CALL SIGNING THE PEACE & NATIONAL DIALOGUE ROADMAP, 8 AUG 2016
;Your Excellency, President Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the AUHIP –
Your Excellency, Deputy Joint Special Representative/Joint Chief Mediator of UNAMID –
; Honourable Ambassadors, Special Envoys and Representatives of the UN, AU, IGAD –
;Friends from Sudan –
; Observers and members of the press –
On behalf of Justice and Equality Movement Sudan (JEM), I would like to thank all of you for your presence here today for the signing of the peace & national dialogue Roadmap Agreement. I would especially like to thank the AUHIP for organizing this event, and for their persevering endeavours to help us bring durable peace and security to Sudan and all of its people. Special thanks are also due to Ambassador Donald Booth and the rest of honourable Special Envoys, ambassadors, and international partners for their understanding of our concerns and the efforts they put forward with all the parties to address the Sudan Call’s concerns regarding the Roadmap.
The Sudan Call member organizations who were invited to the “Strategic Consultations” in March declined to sign the Roadmap for both procedural and substantive reasons. The Sudan Call felt that its views on the Roadmap were not given due consideration and that there was an attempt to impose readymade solutions upon the Sudan Call. We strongly believe that agreements concluded with the full participation, willingness, and acceptance of all the relevant parties are more likely to be honoured and implemented than forced agreements. We are therefore glad that, in the months since the March “Strategic Consultations,” we have been able to engage more fully in discussions on the Roadmap and have had our concerns addressed.
The signing of the Roadmap, today, takes place against the backdrop of a dire humanitarian situation in Darfur, South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile regions and as the vast majority of Sudanese citizens endure severe economic hardships. The suffering of our citizens and the challenges of maintaining a united Sudan have been of the utmost importance to the Sudan Call in its consideration of its position on the Roadmap.
The signing of the Roadmap is a milestone in the search for peace and reconciliation in Sudan. However, in our own view, there remain numerous difficulties ahead on the road to a peaceful settlement of disputes and political reconciliation. The signing of the Roadmap should immediately lead to a verifiable cessation of hostilities agreement and pave the way for unhindered humanitarian access to alleviate the unbearable suffering of the conflict-affected populations and others urgently in need of humanitarian relief. Such an agreement will create a conducive environment for both political negotiations on the particularities of Darfur and the Two Areas, as well as for undertaking efforts conducting a truly inclusive, comprehensive, and genuine national dialogue. To successfully build upon this Roadmap and achieve durable peace and national reconciliation in Sudan, it will require strong political will and sacrifices from all parties.
We are further committed to contemplating any ideas or processes that are consistent with the provisions of AUPSC Communiqués 456 and 539, which call upon the parties to stop the ongoing conflicts and engage in comprehensive political negotiations and an inclusive national dialogue. A truly inclusive, comprehensive, and genuine national dialogue can only move forward after an all-inclusive preparatory conference that sets the dialogue procedures, rules, and mechanisms. Therefore, convening an inclusive preparatory conference and creating a conducive environment for genuine peace talks and comprehensive national dialogue remain paramount priorities for peace.
JEM is here today, with the rest of the Sudan Call member organizations, to move forward—with open hearts and minds, good faith, and determination—towards durable peace and an inclusive national dialogue. We remain committed to a just and comprehensive peaceful settlement that addresses the root causes of the conflicts in Sudan. We are ready to immediately engage in talks of cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access, which should not take long to conclude an agreement. We shall not disappoint the people of Sudan who are longing for a peaceful settlement that will bring an end to their suffering and provide them with prospects for a bright future.
Once again, as we sit here today, people across Sudan suffer as a result of ongoing conflicts. Recognizing their plight, it is the responsibility of the parties here today to undertake, with great urgency, good faith discussions that will lead to unhindered and unimpeded humanitarian access to all war affected areas, an inclusive and comprehensive national dialogue, and a legitimate peace process to bring durable peace and comprehensive political solutions to all of Sudan.
Dr. Gibril Ibrahim
8 August 2016