Thank you, Mr. President. And thanks to Under-Secretary-General LaCroix and Assistant Secretary General Gilmour for your briefings on the latest developments in Darfur and UNAMID.
Since our last briefing in April, the United States has become increasingly concerned that political uncertainty in Khartoum is adversely impacting the situation in Darfur. Stability there is intertwined with the rest of the country and the region, as other speakers have noted.
Mr. President, the gravity of several recent incidents in Darfur is especially troubling. These incidents call into question the commitment of the Transitional Military Council to respect the rights of Darfuris and to act in good faith to find durable peace. In this regard, reports of an attack on civilians in Al-Deleij in Central Darfur on June 9 are deeply disturbing. This attack led to a number of casualties, and we call for UNAMID to investigate.
Beyond Darfur, Sudan’s security forces reported use of violence last week to break up a peaceful sit-in is also alarming. The incident outside of the Sudanese armed forces headquarters in Khartoum killed more than 100 unarmed protestors and wounded hundreds more. Reports that the TMC forces have directed such violence against civilians, obstructed medical care, blocked access to the internet, and restricted media and civil society raise serious questions about the their willingness to negotiate a transition to a civilian-led government.
The United States strongly condemns the killing, beating, and sexual assault of protesters and other civilians. We call on the TMC to stop these attacks and create a more conducive environment for renewed political negotiations with the Forces of Freedom and Change coalition.
Mr. President, continued international support for UNAMID must be considered in the context of good faith efforts by the TMC to responsibly maintain basic services for the people of Sudan, and the TMC’s progress in facilitating a sustainable political solution for the country.
The TMC can take steps to show that they’re ready to negotiate. Allowing for an independent investigation of the events in Khartoum, and holding those responsible for the recent violence accountable would be a welcomed first step. Beyond this, allowing all political voices to freely express their opinions and withdrawing the Rapid Support Forces and other militia from Khartoum would demonstrate further good will.
The United States supports the African Union Peace and Security Council’s June 6 communiqué, the AU’s decision to suspend Sudan’s membership, and its strong message on the need to transition quickly to a civilian-led government. We also welcome the recent diplomatic initiative by the Ethiopian Prime Minister, undertaken along with the AU and IGAD, to engage the TMC and the opposition. These efforts will help encourage a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
We urge all parties to continue the process toward a civilian transition in an atmosphere of calm, and we are ready to work with our partners in the Council and the region to support these efforts.
I thank you, Mr. President.