Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 22, 2023
Thank you, Madam President. And let me thank Special Representative Perthes for your sobering briefing. And I would also like to take the opportunity to welcome your new deputy SRSG, Nkweta-Salami, to her new role. I welcome the participation of the AU Commissioner, as well as the IGAD Executive Secretary, and also the PR from Sudan.
SRSG Perthes, the work you and your team have done to advance UNITAMS’ mandate in the current environment is truly impressive, and we appreciate that you are doing this under extremely challenging conditions. Now more than ever, it is critical that the Council signal its full support for the mission.
Colleagues, this past weekend, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States announced that the Sudanese security forces agreed to a short-term ceasefire and humanitarian arrangement. We call on both parties to fulfill their obligations under the seven-day ceasefire and allow for humanitarian aid and relief assistance to reach those in desperate need.
The United States remains committed to bringing a sustained end to the conflict in Sudan, a conflict that has inflicted immense pain and suffering on the Sudanese people. We have heard disturbing reports of attacks on civilians, airstrikes on hospitals, sexual and gender-based violence, and looting. We must all do our part to bring about peace and stability. And we must do so with urgency. There is no time to waste.
To this end, we are in close cooperation with our partners, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the African Union, IGAD, the League of Arab States, and partners in the Quad, Troika, and Friends of Sudan. The United States welcomes the May 11th Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan, which recognized the obligations of both sides under international humanitarian law to respect human rights and facilitate humanitarian assistance. These obligations align with the goals and intent of the AU’s April 20th communique and support the AU’s forthcoming roadmap for de-escalation.
As we work toward peace, the United States is committed to addressing the dire humanitarian needs on the ground. More than 24 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance, a 57 percent increase over previous estimates. Humanitarian agencies, national NGOs, civil society organizations, professional unions, and neighborhood-based resistance committees are going to incredible lengths to deliver food, provide medical care, re-supply hospitals, and support evacuations. But they cannot do this heroic work without unhindered humanitarian access.
All parties must allow for immediate, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access for those in need and those displaced by the fighting. We support the UN’s leadership in marshaling resources for the Sudanese people, including through the newly revised humanitarian response plan, and we look forward to closely coordinating efforts.
For our part, the United States is committed to helping support the needs of the more than 250,000 people who have crossed into neighboring countries in search of safety, and the more than 840,000 people who are displaced inside Sudan and cannot leave due to fighting, fuel shortages, or fear.
At the same time, we must not forget the needs of the 1.1 million refugees who were in Sudan prior to the fighting. We appreciate and commend the work of neighboring countries that have welcomed Sudanese arrivals. And we encourage all countries to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers have access to protection, and can eventually return to their countries of origin, voluntarily and when conditions permit.
Finally, I’ll note that the United States continues to engage with Sudanese civilian leaders, resistance committees, and civil society to establish a civilian-led democratic government as soon as possible.
The United States stands with the people of Sudan as they push for freedom, peace, and justice under civilian democratic rule. And we continue to send a clear message to Sudanese security forces: End this senseless conflict once and for all.
Thank you, Madam President.