Khartoum, 11 September 2012--On assuming my duties as Joint Special Representative on 22 January 2010, I noted that the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur, UNAMID, was here to help in bringing about peace and stability in Darfur and set for myself and the Mission, four priority goals namely: proactive support to the peace process, contribute to enhancing relations between Chad and Sudan, facilitate and strengthen security for the civilian population and UN staff and encourage, support and facilitate the transition from emergency relief to early recovery where possible. I pledged to give my very best to work with all stakeholders to help achieve these objectives as outlined in the mandate of the Mission.
I am gratified to note that barely 31 months on, all the set goals and objectives have largely been met. The Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) was signed in July 2011. As acknowledged both within and outside the Sudan, the DDPD remains a viable peace document that paves the way for a better future for all Darfuris, as it addresses the root causes of the conflict and its consequences. I travelled extensively in and around Darfur, met and engaged with the Sudanese Government, armed movements, internally displaced persons, civil society groups, and international partners to garner support for peace in the region. In all these encounters, particularly with ordinary Darfuris both in IDP camps and in the larger society, the message was the same: an end to hostility and the need for peace and development. The population has suffered too long and too deeply and it is indeed time to bring succour to them.
As I depart the Mission, am pleased to note that concrete steps in the implementation of the Doha Document have been taken. I urge the signatory parties to remain committed and ensure full implementation of all the DDPD provisions in a timely manner as the DDPD holds the promise of concrete improvements in the lives of the Darfurian people in a safe and secure environment. It is only in such a secure and stable environment that the transition from humanitarian crisis to early recovery and development in Darfur can be enhanced and facilitated by all stakeholders, particularly the major international partners and donors. The DRA, which is mandated to implement the DDPD needs and deserves our support in all aspects of its work.
Since taking up the additional role of Joint Chief Mediator ad interim a year ago, I have endeavoured to seek the support of all stakeholders, particularly the hold-out movements, in coordination and collaboration with major stakeholders including the Government of Sudan. While the road to travel for comprehensive and sustainable peace in Darfur remains hard and long, I remain convinced that with goodwill on all sides, peace is achievable in the short term in Darfur. Let me reiterate that no matter the different positions and strategies of all concerned, it is imperative that the interest of the people of Darfur for peace and stability should remain paramount.
UNAMID has made a positive difference in the lives of people of Darfur, especially the most vulnerable ones. The Mission’s day and night patrols which increased from about 90 a day to an average of over 160 and presence in and near IDP camps have saved thousands of lives. The Mission has indeed come a long way to protect civilians in a more robust manner and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those who are in dire need of it. We have even opened up areas that were previously not accessible over the years, such as Jebel Marra. In addition, the Mission implemented 460 quick impact projects in the areas of education, health, water, women’s development and rule of law. Under tough circumstances, uniformed personnel have been helping in building roads, digging wells, drilling dozens of water boreholes, without craving for publicity. These were just a few of the many achievements of a Mission that is unique in its design and destiny.
While this is the end of my tenure with UNAMID, I am leaving Sudan filled with hope and pride. In the past 2 years and 7 months, I have had the privilege of leading the committed men and women of UNAMID. The hard work undertaken by the national and international staff of UNAMID under difficult circumstance has been a source of personal inspiration. I must acknowledge the 38 men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in active service since inception of the Mission. May their souls rest in peace. The best tribute we can pay to their memory is to re-double our efforts in the implementation of the Mission’s mandate and ensure that they did not die in vain.
I would like also to acknowledge the work of Mr. Djibril Bassolé, my predecessor as Joint Chief Mediator and the unwavering commitment and personal focus of the Qatari Deputy Prime Minister Al Mahmoud and the generosity and commitment of the Amir of the State of Qatar. Together with the leadership of the parties to the DDPD, the United Nations Country Team, the Diplomatic Corps, the men and women of UNAMID and the people of Darfur we have laid a strong foundation for a new future in Darfur. – a future of peace, stability, recovery and development. Together, let us continue to support the parties to the DDPD as they build on this foundation. I say together, because Darfur and Sudan will remain with me - and you can rest assured that I will continue to promote peace in Darfur wherever I may be and in whatever capacity I find myself in the future.
Thank you and may Allah let peace prevail in Darfur and in the Sudan.