Thank you, SRSG Perthes, for your comprehensive briefing, and for you and your team’s tireless efforts in an increasingly challenging environment.
Sudan is in a dire situation. The current national crisis may be the worst the country has faced since independence in 1956. While the political deadlock continues, violence has caused immense human suffering in Darfur- with tensions high also in other parts of the country.
The killing and injury of civilians, sexual and gender-based violence, and grave violations against children have been documented. And the economic crisis and poor harvests have led to increased prices and constrained supplies, having an alarming impact on food security.
Against this disturbing backdrop, Norway fully supports the joint efforts of UNITAMS, AU and IGAD to unlock the political crisis. Their role as facilitators is crucial. Yet the search for a sustainable agreement however, should be Sudanese-led and owned.
Historically marginalised groups must also be brought into the process, including women and youth. Let me underline the importance of prioritising their full, equal, and meaningful participation. Any agreement or government resulting from a non-inclusive process will lack credibility with the Sudanese people, and the international community.
Moreover, there will be no real progress until the authorities have established an enabling environment. Violence in response to peaceful demonstrations must stop, and all remaining political detainees released without delay. Ending the state of emergency will also send a positive political signal.
Norway is greatly concerned about negative developments in Darfur. The sub-national violence has ethnic dimensions that reminds us of the situation in 2003/4. This should serve as a warning. The Juba Peace Agreement is important, but only if fully implemented. Swift and effective implementation of the transitional security arrangements, including the Government’s National Plan for Protection of Civilians and the security pillar of the peace agreement, remains critical.
It is also important to address the root causes of recurrent conflicts. But this requires political will, and resources. Mobilising resources - including for the Joint Security Keeping Force and DDR programs - is first and foremost the responsibility of the authorities. With UNITAMS mandated to provide support, including through the Permanent Ceasefire Committee (PCC).
National authorities also bear the primary responsibility for the protection of civilians- including children- and the prevention of conflict. JPA signatories, and non-signatories, must take urgent and concrete actions to de-escalate and reduce risks of further conflicts. And take active steps to refrain from further harming civilians.
Before concluding, let me again stress that an inclusive political settlement is the surest path to economic recovery and development; improvement of the humanitarian situation; and strengthening the protection of civilians.
A stable situation will enable Norway and other partners, together with Sudanese authorities, to do more than current precarious circumstances allow. UNITAMS continues to play a key role in supporting Sudan in reaching this goal. And allow me to be frank: in the current situation, UNITAMS is indispensable. Norway therefore fully supports the renewal of UNITAMS mandate.