Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in Sudan
We thank ASG Pobee for the briefing. We welcome the Permanent Representative of Sudan, Ambassador Al-Harith Idriss al-Harith Mohamed, to this meeting.
We continue to follow with concern the development of the armed conflict in Sudan. The situation has deteriorated gravely in recent months. There are heavy battles over strategic facilities in the capital region. We note the difficult situation in Nyala and Zalingei and the intensification of the confrontation in El Fasher and North Kordofan. Hostilities are spreading to new territories, leading to numerous casualties, i.a. among civilians. The country is in a state of a humanitarian disaster. The number of displaced persons is record setting.
We continue to call on the parties to the conflict, the Sudanese regular army and the rapid support forces, to show political will and take the necessary steps to cease fire. We believe that disputes can be resolved at the negotiations table.
Unfortunately, to date, none of the numerous mediation initiatives produced significant results, above all in terms of ending the armed confrontation. It is also not encouraging that the whole region is in a vulnerable state, which is influenced by the situation in Sudan and also influences it in return. We welcome the commitment of Sudan and its neighboring states to recovering confidence in the region.
The conflict in Sudan has own historical roots and a complex national context. Therefore any reconciliation efforts need to account for these facts and resonate with all national actors.
Mediation initiatives must not lead to the deepening of contradictions or the growth of mistrust, as we have seen in a number of cases, unfortunately. In our view, it means that the actions of external players are driven by their own interests and not the interests of the Sudanese people. We are strongly opposed to attempts at political and social engineering, including outside Sudan. The Sudanese do not and should not have mediators with a colonial mindset who "know best what to do". Such games can come at a price and make things even more chaotic.
Strong coordination among the mediators and the Sudanese authorities is needed now more than ever in order to achieve tangible results with settlement based on realistic approaches. Recovery of stability in Sudan must be the top priority. Lessons must also be learned from previous unsuccessful attempts.
This being said, the country is in dire need of assistance. We commend the efforts of OCHA and humanitarian organizations that work selflessly on the ground in the most difficult conditions and with limited resources. Traditionally, we encourage humanitarian workers to act strictly in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles of Humanitarian Assistance. But the most important point now is to step up such efforts both within Sudan and in the neighboring countries, which are exposed to an increasing pressure, including due to the large number of refugees.
As we said before, the leadership of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) bears a significant share of responsibility for the current situation. Many of its mandated tasks have remained on paper for many years for various reasons, including the lack of promised financial support from donors.
By our assessments, the humanitarian and economic mechanisms of the United Nations are doing a good job within the limits of the available resources. Separation of these functions from the political component, at the very least, has not affected the effectiveness of assistance to ordinary Sudanese who find themselves in dire conditions.
The mandate of UNITAMS expires on December 3 this year. We have taken note of the plans to hold a strategic review in order to elaborate recommendations for further UN assistance to Sudan. However, we continue to believe that the position of the Government of Sudan on this issue matters the most. Future of UNITAMS is to be defined while taking into account the views of the host country.
In conclusion, we reiterate our unfailing support for territorial integrity, independence, unity, and sovereignty of Sudan.