Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Sudan, at the Security Council Stakeout

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
January 26, 2010


Ambassador Rice: We had an important session on Sudan where we reviewed the progress in the South and with the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the role that UNMIS is playing. It was a discussion in which all members of the Council agreed that this was really a crucial moment as we head into the April elections and we are a year out from the 2011 referendum. The United States underscored that we are first and foremost working closely with all the parties as well as key players in the international community, including the UN, to support full implementation of this Comprehensive Peace Agreement. We also agree that what is transpiring in implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and Darfur are inseparable and our approach to this is holistic.

Secondly, we stressed the importance we attach to the upcoming elections being credible – and credible means that there is security for all of the people of Sudan, including the people of Darfur, whose security remains tenuous and whose participation, therefore, in the elections is uncertain. We have also stressed the vital importance of security for the people in the South, where violence is on the rise and we are very, very concerned that UNMIS take on board and fully implement the portion of its mandate – the critical portion of its mandate – that relates to the protection of civilians. We made that point forcefully in the consultations and we were very gratified to hear from Under Secretary-General Le Roy that that is indeed the intention of the United Nations.

We also stressed that the insecurity in the South – while it is the responsibility of the government of South Sudan to provide security for its people, just as it is the responsibility of the government of Sudan to do so throughout the country – is being exacerbated by an inflow of weapons and munitions. And this is not something that is happening by osmosis, it is something that is happening deliberately. And we are very interested in knowing, and the Council being made aware of, the source of the flow of weapons. And we made that point as well and we hope that the UN will be able to shed some light on that issue in the future.

So it was a worthwhile discussion. I think there was a good deal of unanimity in the approach of the Council members, and I was gratified by the assurances that Under Secretary-General Le Roy provided about the future orientation of UNMIS in this critical period. Thank you.

Reporter: Ambassador, on the last point you made about the weapons flowing in, there have been many reports obviously that these are in part coming from the North. Is the U.S. concerned that this may actually be the case?

Ambassador Rice: Yes.

Reporter: Have you been trying to put pressure on the government or spoken with members of the government to encourage them not to do this or to discourage this?

Ambassador Rice: Part of the basis for the concern – although we are interested also in ascertaining the facts and we think the UN as a neutral party is best able to help in doing that – is there is a long history of the North fueling conflict in various parts of the periphery, including the South, by encouraging the arming of the population. So it is on that basis, as well as some anecdotal reports and some sporadic reporting, that we have that concern. But I imagine that weapons are also coming from elsewhere and we would like a full accounting.

Reporter: Can you speak about calls for a boycott of voting in South Kordofan state? There is some issue with the census that they disagree with. Do you see that as a problem for the election and what does the U.S. make of Chad saying that it doesn’t want to renew the MINURCAT mission for Darfur, you know, people coming into Chad from Darfur?

Ambassador Rice: Well, with respect to South Kordofan – while there have been some positive steps of late, for example the adoption of the election law and the adoption of the referendum laws – there are still many critical issues with respect to implementation of the CPA that remain unresolved, including how to deal with the census. So these are issues on which we are urging the parties to come to swift agreement. Also the demarcation in Abyei is another example. These unresolved issues with respect to the CPA are urgent and our view is there that they merit the close attention of the parties and we, as a country working to support full implementation of the CPA, are making that clearly known to both sides. And that is an integral part of our diplomacy and the work of the President’s Special Envoy, General Scott Gration.

With respect to MINURCAT, I think there have been a number of instances in this context and elsewhere where the governments have expressed some reservation about the continuation a UN presence. That’s something that I think in any instance we would take into account, but I think it’s frankly premature to come to any conclusion about what the ultimate implication of that might be.

Reporter: Ambassador, two things. First, are there any recent developments in terms of this flow of arms, in terms of the quantity and the type that you can call our attention to? And what is your level of confidence that the April elections are, that the planning and preparations are all in place and that they are going to come off and be successful?

Ambassador Rice: With respect to the weapons, we heard today from the UN that it is not just small arms but some heavier munitions that seem to be flowing in. We weren’t given specifics on that. But we have seen, in the violence that is taking place in the South, a higher degree of sophistication and lethality of the weapons employed, and that’s a source of concern. Remind me of the second piece?

Reporter: Your degree of confidence that everything is in place for successful April elections.

Ambassador Rice: I wouldn’t say I am confident. I think there is still a great deal of work to be done. We were gratified that the registration process proceeded relatively peacefully. But there is a great deal that needs to be done between now and April, and the role of the United Nations is important in that regard. We are not pessimistic but I wouldn’t say that we are optimistic.

Reporter: Ambassador, just a question about the flow of arms. There have been some reports that at least some of these weapons are coming up from Kenya. Do you give any credence to that?

Ambassador Rice: I think in a region where you have porous borders, and this is clearly one, that there are undoubtedly weapons coming from all directions. I think the issue is to find out what is the principle source, what is the motivation behind the flow of those weapons. Is this simply small arms trafficking of the sort that we see throughout the continent or is it actually a deliberate effort to sow instability? Thank you.

Reporter: Ambassador, how do you respond to this article in the Huffington Post by Mr. Grenell saying that your absence away is undermining the American position at the Security Council?

Ambassador Rice: I haven’t had an opportunity to read Mr. Grenell’s Huffington Post piece, so I can’t comment on it specifically. But let me say this. I am pleased to serve as the U.S. Perm Rep to the United Nations as well as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet and a Principal on his National Security Council. I am typically in New York, and have been over the past year, about four days a week, Monday through Thursday, and in Washington more often than not on Fridays. When I am here in New York I participate in the deliberations of the National Security Council, when I am in Washington I am doing my UN job. And frankly, I think that when we are in negotiations with partners on the Security Council, when I speak for the Administration, whether behind closed doors in consultations or in private – there’s an understanding among my colleagues that I am speaking authoritatively as one of the President’s senior advisors, and I think that frankly, very much enhances our ability to get things done, and I think the record speaks for itself.

We had a very productive year last year, and we look forward to one this year. Our substantive accomplishments in partnership with others on the Security Council, whether it was the implementation of the toughest sanctions regime in the world to date on North Korea, or the passage of the historic Security Council Resolution on nonproliferation and disarmament with the American President chairing the Security Council for the first time, the important steps to strengthen protection of civilians, particularly women and girls in armed conflict, or strengthening and revising the 1267 regime. I think the record speaks for itself and its one that certainly I and Washington are quite proud of.

Thank you.


PRN: 2010/016