We stand at a critical time in Sudan’s history. It has been four years since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the longest running civil war in Africa. We only have 164 days until historic national elections in February 2010 and only 403 days until the January 2011 referendum on self-determination for South Sudan. Meanwhile, a final decision on the Abyei border region remains outstanding. Before elections occur, though, it is vitally important to address the parts of the CPA that have not yet been implemented or that have fallen short. It is for all these reasons that I convened the “Forum for Supporters of the CPA” -- to refocus and revitalize the international community’s commitment to tackling the challenges of further CPA implementation and to strengthen support for it. This effort brought together representatives from 33 countries and international organizations, including delegations from the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The goal of the forum was to take a comprehensive look at all the outstanding issues and to build consensus around resolving those highest priority issues that currently impede the full implementation of the CPA. In this spirit, I invited all key stakeholders to Washington to participate and weigh in on ways we can collectively help support this crucial enterprise. I also convened a Special Envoys Council, consisting of Sudan envoys from around the world, to highlight and identify the challenges and roadblocks facing the CPA along with broader issues of peace and stability across Sudan. I then participated in an NGO forum to elicit feedback and ideas from the humanitarian, advocacy and civil society communities on how government efforts and private efforts can support each other. Finally, I convened three working groups to build on the discussions from the general session of the conference. These working groups focused on the three most critical areas facing implementation of the CPA: governance, security, and economic issues, and in the days and weeks ahead will produce a series of concrete steps and recommendations that the international community, along with the parties, can take to accelerate CPA implementation.
I am proud to say that the conference was a huge success! We were able to identify and address both achievements and shortcomings of the international community’s role in the implementation of the CPA, and we had productive discussions with the delegations from the NCP and SPLM on how we can work together to ensure better implementation of the remaining elements of the CPA. By assisting the parties in Sudan, the United States and its international partners can help create the environment necessary for historic elections next year. By working together, we can pave the way for a stable, secure, and prosperous Sudan. Thank you for your continued support.