Doha, Tuesday September 08 - 2015 (QNA)
HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud said the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) has been able, by the grace of God and the support of the people of Darfur, to withstand all the challenges and difficulties.
In his opening speech before the 10th meeting of DDPD's Implementation Follow-up Commission, HE Al-Mahmoud said that all concerned parties considered the document as being comprehensive and inclusive. It has further recognized legitimate rights and put an end to the war. It has aptly addressed the humanitarian and marginalization issues, in addition to other national issues. Thus, it has become the terms of reference and the framework for laying down the foundations of sustainable peace in Sudan.
He pointed that there are some variables that are still hindering the implementation of the peace document. However, the humanitarian and security situations in Darfur are now undergoing a noticeable improvement evidenced by the decrease of large military operations during the past period, with only sporadic and limited operations, according to reports and news. Also, there is tangible progress as far as the process of reconstruction and development is concerned, he said.
"Hence, we call on the parties to the Doha Document to accelerate their efforts of addressing the pending issues. We would like to remind them of the U.N. Security Council resolution, which confirmed its support for the document as a solid framework for the peace process in Darfur and further appealed to the aforesaid parties to expedite its implementation”, HE Al-Mahmoud said.
HE the deputy prime minister called upon the parties to take into consideration the opinions and comments of the popular committees of the civil society institutions concerned with the implementation of the Doha document and to consult with these committees on the optimal ways for pushing forward the implementation process.
"Our main concerns remain, as far as the implementation of the document is concerned, is the disruption of the peace process by some non-signatory armed movements, the persistence resort of such movements to violence, the fragmentations and divisions besetting these movements further delaying their joining up with peace. It is unfortunate that even the movements that have joined the peace process came to follow suit and were stricken by divisions. Instead of mutual cooperation and coordination, a fierce competition marked the activities of these movements, each of which was seeking to assert an exclusive prerogative of implementing the peace accord and achieving the power control which is originally the ownership of the people of Darfur. A case in point,is what happened during the inauguration ceremony of the second phase of Darfur development projects in Khartoum late last month”, he said.
"For our part, we do confirm that such divisions among these parties will in no way impact the process of implementing the peace document, nor drag the people of Darfur towards polarization and division. The procedures for selecting the companies competing to win bids of implementation of Darfur development projects will not stop; and this should actually be a primary concern for all parties to the conflict which should refrain from diverting our attention towards minor procedural issues that can be resolved by the administrative and judicial means available”, he added.
Regarding the non-signatory movements, HE Al-Mahmoud appealed to these movements, to consider with strategic and objective vision the peace option and to compare it to the consequences of war and its wanton repercussions.
In this context, He expressed appreciation to the consultations conducted by the Joint Special Representative with the leaders of the non-signatory armed movements in Paris, in the middle of last month, to work with them to reach a lasting settlement of the conflict, as long as that will be done on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.
"Now, the environment has become conducive for the achievement of that goal, particularly after the declaration of the Government of Sudan (GOS) that it is committed to a unilateral declaration of a two-month cease-fire in the different war sites, with a view to building confidence and enabling an inclusive participation for all in the national dialogue. We expect positive reactions from the armed movements regarding this declaration to confirm their commitment to engage in the negotiation to find a peaceful solution to the conflict”, he said.
"We cannot miss this opportunity to touch on an important issue, pertaining to some of the prisoners belonging to movements joining the peace process who are held by non-signatory movements. We demand, from this rostrum, the immediate release of the members of the Justice and Equality Movement (formerly Mohamed Basher's Movement), who are imprisoned by the Justice and Equality Movement (Jibril's wing), especially in light of the recent information conveyed by those who managed to break free from captivity, purporting the existence, in the Movement's prisons, of torture and abuse of prisoners and hostages, whose only guilt was that they have shunned violence and chosen the path of peace”, he added.
"We have taken notice of the decision of the Government of Sudan extending the mandate of the Darfur Regional Authority another year as from last July, following the expiry of its original term. Such a move underlines the determination to proceed forward with the implementation of the Doha accord, and the insistence of the parties concerned on fulfilling their respective obligations under the peace agreement" "This will certainly positively reflects on the internal stability of Sudan as well as the stability of its regional periphery. It will also expedite the implementation of the remainder provisions of the Doha Peace Agreement, especially with regard to the stated programs of the Darfur Regional Authority in areas of reconstruction and development, as well as the resettlement of peace in all the states of Darfur. In light of these developments, we have to express ourselves in terms of priorities in the next stage, a stage which is different from its predecessor as regards challenges and opportunities.
The implementation of the terms of the security arrangements is considered an issue of extreme importance, and there is still some lingering concern about the lack of accelerating the process of these arrangements, especially the low pace of implementation of the demobilization and reintegration operations. In this context, we call on all parties to act diligently towards finalizing the implementation of these arrangements as soon as possible as they have a strong impact on security and stability”, he said.
"Also, one of our most important priorities is to follow-up the implementation of the programme of voluntary return of displaced persons and refugees. Let us here openly express our dissatisfaction with the pace of voluntary repatriation in light of the repeated claims of some of the elders of displaced camps to provide for the returnees adequate security to facilitate their final return to their areas of original settlement without waiting for reconstruction programs," he added calling on the parties concerned to examine all obstacles hindering the way and intensify efforts for the return of displaced persons and refugees to their areas in order to enable them to resume their normal lives and to provide them with basic services.
HE Al-Mahmoud said that one of the priorities is the issue of sustainability of social security and peace, particularly in light of the violent tribal conflict taking place in the localities of Adeela and Abu-Karenka, which resulted in hundreds of casualties and injured persons from the Rezaigat and Maalya tribes.
"It is true that this conflict may be one of the longest tribal conflicts in Darfur, caused by disputes over lands. Yet all possible avenues for the final cessation of such sanguinary conflicts should be explored," he said stressing the need to abide by the decisions of reconciliation and settlement of disputes adopted by conferences on reconciliation and peace”, HE the deputy prime minister and minister of state for cabinet affairs said.
"We equally stress the need to impose prestige of the state, provide all basic services and demand that all the people of Darfur, regardless of their various tribes, adhere to unity and solidarity, while, at the same time, combating all forms of disunity and discord. They should further be reminded of the bonds of kinship, neighborliness and intermarriage, as being the most important pillars of achieving, forgiveness, amnesty and conciliation among tribes. These tribes are effective civil, native and social institutions and, hence, they should be an integral part of the system of government and administration in Darfur as well as a crucial element of the conflict resolution mechanisms”, he added.
"At the core of our priorities in the next phase, is to focus on the reconstruction and development file, considered as the other supplementing facet of the peace process. Yesterday, we discussed here, at the meeting of the Reconstruction Board, the proposed projects, what has been already implemented, in addition to causes of delay as regards the execution of other projects. We don't claim to be fully satisfied with what has been already executed; it is our conviction that the situation could be even better had it not been for the many challenges facing the implementation”, HE Al-Mahmoud said, stressing the need to proceed forward with the implementation process and that the donors fulfill their pledges in order that the required funding be provided for projects aimed at enabling us to move the people of Darfur from the emergency and subsistence phase to the development track.
The order of utmost priorities for the next phase also includes proceeding forward with the finalization of the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue (DDD), which was launched last January, as considered a fundamental pillar in the implementation of the Doha Document, he said adding that this dialogue aims at consolidating peace in Darfur, enhancing confidence-building and encouraging the realization of reconciliation and unity among the people of Darfur in particular, and in Sudan in general.
He stressed that the State of Qatar has repeatedly called on all parties to join it in order that it culminates in its desired goals. "The State of Qatar has further provided the possible financial support to assist the dialogue to maintain continuity. However, we believe that this dialogue doesn't merely require finance, but rather requires a crystal and clear-cut vision, efficient national cadres capable of steering the dialogue, a strong determination to close the ranks of the people of Darfur and bring them together as well as spread peace among them: objectives which are certainly not out of reach of the people of Darfur”, he said.
He pointed out that the U.N. Security Council has extended the mandate of the UNAMID to another year expiring at the end of June 2016, amid talks evolving about the mission exiting from Darfur. In this respect, he called upon the parties concerned to continue with the Joint Working Group consultations for the development of a UNAMID suitable exit strategy. An objective assessment of the humanitarian and security situation should be carried out, particularly that there is agreement among all parties concerned that there should be a gradual withdrawal from the already safe areas.
HE Al-Mahmoud pointed to successive reports, on the occurrence of criminal acts against the UNAMID forces and vehicles of the World Food Program and the looting of their contents. "We, in this Commission, while expressing our strong condemnation of all hostilities and attacks on UNAMID personnel and property, as well as assaults on the humanitarian organizations and their personnel, demand that every efforts be made to arrest the perpetrators of these criminal acts and bring them to Justice and that an ad hoc investigation committees be for that purpose”, he said.
Concluding his speech HE Al-Mahmoud reiterated thanks and appreciation to the UNAMID command, especially the Joint Special Representative, the troop commander, police chief, and the mission staff, for their contributions to the achievement of peace, stability and reconciliation in Darfur. He also extended thanks to the mission for undertaking the role of secretariat for the commission.