UNGA: Sudan

Opening remarks by Foreign Minister of Norway, Ine Eriksen Søreide, on the situation in Sudan, 30 September 2021. This UNGA76 high-level virtual side event was co-hosted by Norway and the UN Secretary General.

Secretary General Guterres, Prime Minister Hamdok, Distinguished Speakers and other participants, ladies and gentlemen: It is with great pleasure that Norway co-hosts this event. We value this opportunity to reconfirm our commitment to our friends in the Sudan, and partners in the international community. 

We all remember the historic events in 2019. What began as a small protest led to a broad national movement for change. The point of no return came when the people in the street were joined by democratic-minded members of the armed forces and security forces. You were all united around the call for freedom, peace, and justice. 

It was a revolution of the people, but I want to recognise the critical role of civilian and military leaders. Together, you responded to an historic opportunity. Now, you have a joint and shared responsibility to protect the transition and make irreversible changes. You are in the same boat. 

The transition has an agreed script: the Constitutional Declaration and the Juba Peace Agreement. Success requires cooperation and dialogue. In this case, success is free and fair elections.

The world responded in 2019. This meeting is just the latest demonstration that the international community stands with the people of the Sudan as they – you – move forward.

But while we recognize the progress you have made, and the sacrifices, we also recognize that there is work to be done. The peace process cannot be complete before all non-signatories sign their peace agreements with the Government.

I call on the SPLM/Abdul Aziz and the Government to return to Juba to continue to negotiate on the basis of the signed Declaration of Principles. It is possible to find good solutions to outstanding issues within the borders of the sovereign state.

Progress on the reform agenda of the Constitutional Declaration and the Juba Peace Agreement will send a strong signal to the public that the government is working together. It will demonstrate that change is irreversible. It will demonstrate that the people of the marginalized areas, not least in Eastern Sudan, have much to gain from the transformation that is taking place. Finally, it will demonstrate that peace in the Sudan is possible.

I want to highlight the importance of the next steps. Establishing the Transitional Legislative Council will broaden the representation and consolidate the democratic basis on the path towards elections. It is very welcome that Sudan has now announced the establishment of the independent Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism. This will be a useful instrument to find workable solutions to address outstanding issues and find workable solutions to issues that arise as peace agreements are implemented.

Lastly, the work on the revised constitution is key. We know that we cannot take democracy for granted unless firmly anchored in solid institutions. Nor can we take a transition to democracy for granted. We were reminded of this just last week, when we saw the news that the Sudanese armed forces had quelled an attempt to disrupt the transition. We are relieved that this attempt was stopped before it made lasting damage. 

To see a New Sudan is our common purpose with you. We are committed to supporting you in achieving this. As we made clear in our recent troika statement: Those who would seek to undermine the civilian-led transition should understand that Sudan’s international partners stand firmly behind the people of Sudan and their transitional government.