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MR. J.T. RADEBE, MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA DURING THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE ON THE SITUATION IN THE SUDAN

We welcome the presence of His Excellency, Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations at this historic meeting and we thank him for his statement.

We thank the Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr Alan Le Roy for his briefing.

We also welcome the statements by their Excellencies Vice President Dr Riek Machar Teny of the Republic of South Sudan and Ambassador Osman Permanent Representative of the Republic of Sudan.

On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa we congratulate the Government and people of South Sudan on the independence they have achieved on 9 July 2011.

This was indeed a historic moment for the African continent and the people of South Sudan in their struggle for self-determination. For years the people of South Africa based on their own history, have identified with the aspirations and desire of the people of South Sudan for independence, freedom, justice and self-determination.

On 9 July, the Government of South Africa officially recognised the Republic of South Sudan as a sovereign and independent state.
We hope that the independence of South Sudan will serve as an inspiration to millions of oppressed peoples across the globe who continue to suffer under occupation and colonialism.

Mr. President,

The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 was a major achievement for the people of South Sudan in their struggle for Freedom and in the international community’s efforts to bring a peaceful end to the conflict in Sudan.

The holding of elections in April 2010 and the referendum in January 2011 were significant milestones in the implementation of the CPA.

We commend the leadership of both the North and the South for their commitment and partnership in the successful implemention of these key pillars of the CPA. 

Mr. President,

The 9th of July will go down in history as a significant day when the world witnessed the closure of one of the most painful chapters in the lives of Sudanese. The day equally marked a new beginning filled with hope and expectations as South Sudan became a new independent and sovereign state.

This achievement is a tribute to the late Dr. John Garang who once stated that, “I and those who joined me in the bush and fought for more than twenty years  have brought to you the CPA on a golden plate. Our Mission is accomplished. It is now your turn, especially those who did not have a chance to experience life.”

We pay special tribute to this great African revolutionary who unfortunately did not live to join his fellow compatriots in celebrating this milestone in the implementation of the CPA.

We congratulate both President Al Bashir and President Salva Kiir Mayardit for the exceptional leadership they have demonstrated in the past six years since the signing of the  of the CPA. We welcome the statements delivered by both Presidents in Juba during the day of independence. These positive statements inspire hope and bode well for reconciliation and strengthening of bilateral relations between the two sovereign and independent states which are bound by a common history and share a common destiny as neighbours.

Mr. President,

South Africa is cognizant of the multiplicity of challenges that the new state faces immediately after its birth.  South Sudan is one of the most underdeveloped and poverty-stricken nations in the world.  We are certain that given the same amount of bravery and courage displayed by the people of South Sudan in their struggle for independence will stand them in good stead  as they seek to address all the socio-economic challenges that still lie ahead.

Mr. President,

On the political front there are still key outstanding issues of the CPA that need to be addressed. These include the final status of Abyei and the continuing tensions in Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile. We should not allow these outstanding issues to reverse the gains registered thus far. 

South Africa, therefore, welcomes the agreements signed between the government of Sudan and the SPLM with regards to Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of Abyei, which paved a way for the Security Council to deploy a UN Mission for Abyei. We, however, would like to underscore that the resolution of the Abyei question will go a long way in consolidating peace and stability in the two Sudanese States. In this regard we encourage the Parties to reach a lasting agreement on Abyei, and resolve the situation in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile.

Mr. President,

 We are encouraged by the commitment and desire of both parties to reach an agreement on all these pertinent outstanding issues. We are cognisant of the positive impact the successful resolution of these issues will have in laying the foundation for peaceful co-existence and good neighbourliness.

We will continue to support the efforts of the AU High Level Implementation Panel under the leadership of fomer President Mbeki to assist the two States to resolve all the outsanding issues without delay.

Mr. President,

The fact that the Republic of Sudan, was the first state to recognize the independence of the Republic of South Sudan was not only a symbolic but a further goodwill gesture of brotherhood and friendship.

The African Union Heads of States and Governments, in January this year adopted a  Solemn Declaration, extending their solidarity and that of the entire continent to the people of north Sudan, who have taken the unprecedented and generous step of accepting self-determination for their brethren. This Declaration further stated that Africa legitimately looks forward to the complete normalization of relations between the international community and the Republic of Sudan, to ensure that all the peoples of Sudan can enjoy peace, dignity, democracy and development.

Mr. President,

We cannot overstate the role played by the UN, particularly the Security Council, African Union, IGAD, and the entire International Community in general towards lasting peace and stability in the Sudan. South Africa would like to make a clarion call to all those who have been involved in these efforts to continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of South Sudan as they embark on a journey of state building as well as the solidarity with the Republic of Sudan as they deal with the new reality created by the emergence of a new neighbour.

In this regard, South Africa welcomes the Resolution adopted last week by this Council establishing a new UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). We are particularly pleased with the intergrated nature of this new Mission with a focus on peace-building and support for development based on the principle of ownership. The Mission will play a significant role in supporting the New State in laying a foundation for sustainable development.

Mr. President,

For our part, South Africa will continue to assist with the means at our disposal in building on the Technical Capacity Building programs of the past five years. The sister peoples of both South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan can continue to count on our support to help build and consolidate lasting peace and stability in that part of our continent.

Together with our IBSA partners, India and Brazil, we have committed to mobilise our own resources to support development projects both in the North and South Sudan through the IBSA Poverty Alleviation Fund.

In Conclusion, Mr. President,

We are of the firm view that the resolution of the conflict in Sudan will contribute a great deal to the comprehensive resolution of all the conflicts on the African continent.

In this regard we salute the outstanding work of the African High Level Implementation Panel led by our former President Thabo Mbeki. We also pay tribute to one of our own compatriot, the Special Representative of the Secretary General Haile Menkerios for the exceptional manner in which he discharged his duties. We are grateful to the men and women who served in the UN Mission to Sudan since its deployment. In spite of the harsh and challenging conditions under which they served they dedicated themselves to the noble cause for peace and stability and at times making  the ultimate sacrifice.

To the people of South Sudan your time has indeed come, “It is now your turn.”

I thank you.