Thank you, Mr. President. And welcome, it’s great to have you join us in the Council today.
Mr. President, over the past days, we have seen a dramatic and significant series of events unfold in Sudan. However, the demands of the Sudanese for a representative government have not yet been met, and the situation remains tense. Protesters and opposition groups are calling for a quick transition to civilian authority, and the African Union said on April 15 that it will withdraw Sudan’s membership if the transition is not made within 15 days.
We agree with the Sudanese people that the first step is forging a new transitional body that includes leadership and participation by civilians representing the diversity and breadth of Sudanese society.
Mr. President, we are concerned by the impact of the events in Khartoum on the security and stability of Darfur. Including last Saturday’s deadly attack on an IDP camp that other speakers have cited. And we continue to receive reports of violence resulting from protests in Darfur. In addition, the United States is deeply concerned that violence between Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid faction increased during the reporting period. We are also troubled that crimes against displaced persons and vulnerable civilians increased, and with them a rise in fatalities.
Such violence worsens the possibilities for humanitarian response in an already severe situation, and has prevented humanitarian actors from accessing the most vulnerable to provide life-saving services and assistance.
Violence has also prevented UN peacekeepers from carrying out important prevention and response patrols. Despite these challenges, the United States strongly encourages UNAMID to re-double its efforts to address the spike in violence and to prioritize the safety and security of civilians.
Mr. President, the joint UN-AU report on UNAMID’s future, due in May, is an opportunity to provide a set of prioritized benchmarks while also recommending possible trajectories for the mission. The United States expects the strategic report to also consider the events of the last several months and weeks and their impact on the stability and security of Darfur.
Even with the significant events, the government and parties should show measurable and sustainable progress on prioritized benchmarks. In particular, demonstrating the government’s ability and capacity to protect and provide for the Darfur people and addressing root causes of the conflict. Absent such evidence of progress, the United States is supportive of this Council considering all options as we seek to bring long-term peace and stability to Darfur.
The United States commends the people of Sudan for their resilience and commitment to non-violence as they express their legitimate demand for inclusive and representative government that respects and protects human rights.
The United States urges all parties to continue the process toward an inclusive, civilian transition, amid an atmosphere of restraint and calm. Mr. President, we stand ready to work with partners in this Council and the region to support those efforts.
I thank you.