Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 8, 2020
Thank you, Jerry. And Barbara, welcome to the Council. I am so excited that I will be able to spend at least a couple weeks with you and welcome you; we are very excited to have you here and looking forward to working alongside you. And thank you so much, Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo and Under-Secretary-General LaCroix, for your remarks today.
Three months ago, we met to discuss the latest developments in Sudan and the role of UNITAMS. At that time, Sudan’s transitional government and opposition groups had just signed an ambitious agreement in Juba. That agreement set the groundwork for long-term peace, justice, and stability for those who, for far too long, have endured atrocities and cycles of violence and atrocities.
As we said then, the United States is encouraged by the willingness of the parties to this agreement to come to the table in a spirit of good faith to address the long-standing causes of instability and conflict in Sudan.
However, we remain deeply concerned about the situation on the ground. As the Secretary-General detailed in his most recent report, spikes in civil unrest, insecurity in Darfur, and ongoing ethnic and tribal clashes in East Sudan signal a difficult path forward. Failure to address the root causes of conflict could upend the Juba Agreement and reverse recent progress.
One step in the right direction is the Sudanese government’s National Plan for Civilian Protection. The United States is particularly encouraged by the plan’s outline for developing an early warning system and devising specific nomadic routes. However, we recognize the limitations the transitional government faces in trying to implement the plan. As they proceed, we encourage the transitional government to engage in robust outreach, transparent information-sharing, and consultations with affected communities.
UNITAMS, in particular, can play a valuable role in supporting civilian protection efforts and helping with the political transition and peace processes. But the mission cannot truly deliver on its mandate if it lacks leadership. We encourage the appointment of a Special Representative to begin leading UNITAMS as soon as possible. Six months is far too long to have existed without leadership, especially given the needs on the ground.
With the anticipated departure of UNAMID from Sudan, it is vital that its drawdown occurs in a responsible manner and that there is a smooth transition to the new special political mission. There are key UNAMID responsibilities that should continue under UNITAMS and are within its mandate, including robust training of police, rule of law support, and other issues listed in the Juba Agreement.
The United States is committed to supporting the transitional government. We anticipate Sudan’s State Sponsors of Terrorism designation will be rescinded very soon based on the President’s certification that Sudan has met the necessary statutory criteria. We are confident that this development will herald a new phase in the relationship between Sudan and the United States and open new and expanded opportunities in Sudan’s relationship with the international community.
Lastly, we commend the Sudanese people for their generosity in welcoming their Ethiopian neighbors. It is heartening and so reassuring to see people who are already facing significant challenges themselves embracing humanity and sharing what they have.
Thank you, Mr. President.