Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Sudan

Ambassador Richard Mills
U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 20, 2021


Thank you, Special Representative Perthes, for your briefing and for your efforts to deliver upon UNITAMS mandate. The United States supports your work. We are committed to giving you the necessary tools from the Council to deliver on your mandated tasks.

Before I turn to the UNITAMS mandate, let me join with others who have spoken before me to express the U.S. concern about the killing of two protestors on May 11 in Khartoum. The United States notes the commitment of the Sudanese government to hold accountable those who were responsible for a previous attack on protestors in June 2019. As others have said, these incidents demonstrate the need for further reform and for further restrictions on the use of lethal force.

Let me also extend my delegation’s thanks to the United Kingdom for its efforts to bring the Security Council closer to consensus on the next UNITAMS mandate. We strongly support the draft mandate. We believe prioritizing tasks is key in order for UNITAMS to have maximum impact and support of government priorities. The United States firmly believes the Council can deliver a strong mandate for you, Special Representative Perthes, for the civilian-led transitional government, and, most importantly, for the Sudanese people.

The Security Council last discussed the developments in Sudan two months ago. The United States remains concerned, as we were then, with the transitional government’s efforts and its ability to carry out its most fundamental responsibility: protecting its own people. We have seen recurrences of violence in Darfur, particularly intercommunal violence, which has caused thousands of new displacements – the most Darfur has witnessed since 2015. We cannot let continued violence destroy the Juba Peace Agreement’s prospects for effective peace in Darfur. Fulfillment of the agreement is needed for a successful transition to democracy and stability in Sudan.

We strongly encourage the civilian-led transitional government to commit – with conviction – to ensuring that all Sudanese feel safe and secure in their communities and their livelihoods. That can be achieved by expanding police presence and capacity; by supporting community reconciliation and conflict resolution; and by implementing the Juba Peace Agreement’s sections on security arrangements, land reform, gender equality, and justice, among others. We also continue to encourage the implementation of the Sudanese national action plan in women, peace, and security in line with Resolution 1325.

Despite these concerns, let me be clear that the United States commends the progress in mediation efforts that have occurred under the auspices of the South Sudanese Government aimed at building upon the Juba Peace Agreement and bridging divides between the government of Sudan and armed opposition groups. We also appreciate Special Representative Perthes’ engagement with the South Sudanese Government and the armed groups who have not yet signed the Juba Peace Agreement. We urge the Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – Alhilu to conclude their negotiations and arrive at an agreement that addresses the root causes of their conflict and makes way for the full participation of the Movement in Sudan’s transitional process.

We are disappointed that despite the special representative’s recent engagement, the Sudanese Liberation Movement’s* Abdul Wahid Al Nur continues to refuse to join mediation efforts or to engage constructively in peace negotiations. Such intransigence defies the calls of the millions of brave Sudanese who demanded peace during the revolution. It also undermines the transitional government’s efforts to achieve a negotiated comprehensive peace agreement in accordance with the transitional constitution.

Finally, Mr. President, commitment to the well-being of the Sudanese people, we believe, extends to the turnover of team sites from UN hands to government hands. These spaces were for years investments by the UN, investments in the Sudanese people, aimed at protecting Sudanese and giving them a sense of stability. The failed turnover of multiple sites, which has included violence and ransacking, has severely diminished the appearance of commitment by local leaders to maintain these spaces as sites for good. We call on Sudanese authorities to responsibly transition these team sites to government control and ensure that they do not fall into the wrong hands.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.


*Sudan Liberation Movement