Permanent Representative Says Secretary-General’s Report Contains ‘Exaggerated or Wrong’ Information on Sexual Violence Claims
“Visible” consensus has emerged around several aspects of efforts to establish a functional transitional Government in Sudan, the senior United Nations official in that country told the Security Council today.
However, Volker Perthes, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), warned: “Unless the current trajectory is corrected, Sudan will head towards economic and security collapse, as well as significant humanitarian suffering.”
Presenting an overview of the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the Mission, he noted that Sudan has been without a functioning Government since the military coup d’état of 25 October 2021, while demonstrations against the coup and their violent repression are continuing. As a result, and in the absence of political agreement on a return to an accepted transitional path, the economic, humanitarian and security situations are deteriorating, he said, cautioning: “Time is not on Sudan’s side.”
The United Nations-led broad consultations on a political process — involving more than 800 participants from all parts of the country — have found consensus on many issues, he said, citing the need to end the violence, establish a technocratic Government and an oversight body, and adopt critical legislation. There was also wide-reaching agreement on the need to reconsider the role, size and membership of the Sovereignty Council, he added.
The consultations also found common ground on a minimum of 40 per cent representation of women in transitional institutions, and on mechanisms to advance women’s rights, he continued. Moreover, an overarching consensus emerged around the need for a single, unified, professional army, for the establishment of judicial entities, for the conditions suitable to holding credible elections and for an inclusive constitutional process.
Going forward, he said, the United Nations, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will jointly lead efforts to support Sudan’s political process, drawing on their respective strengths. The intention is to facilitate an inclusive, Sudan-owned and Sudan-led political process, he added. An intensive phase of talks is expected to start in the coming weeks, with a view to returning to constitutional order and an empowered civilian-led Government to steer Sudan through the transitional period.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates welcomed the efforts of UNITAMS to facilitate an intra-Sudanese political process while also expressing concern about the economic, humanitarian and security woes confronting the country.
Ghana’s representative, also speaking for Gabon and Kenya, emphasized that the Mission’s activities should not be conducted in isolation but closely coordinated with those of IGAD and the African Union in the search for a peaceful settlement of the political impasse in Sudan. He added that cooperation between UNITAMS and the regional organizations should develop further into a systematic, operational and strategic partnership adapted to the complex security challenges facing Sudan.
China’s representative called for the early lifting of sanctions against Sudan, stressing the urgent need to strengthen the country’s security capacity. In that regard, benchmarks for lifting the measures must be developed by 31 August, as set out in the relevant resolution, he said.
The United Kingdom’s representative welcomed the collaboration between the United Nations and the African Union on the next phase of talks, aimed at restoring the transition, saying his delegation is also encouraged by the consensus around the need for a civilian cabinet, justice and accountability, and a role for women in the transition.
Sudan’s representative said the role of UNITAMS must be limited to facilitating dialogue between the parties, without attempting to influence the outcome of their consultations. He went on to note that the Government of Sudan continues to implement economic reform and to address the inherited distortions of the economy, including the most recent measure to completely liberalize the exchange rate for the Sudanese pound against foreign currencies. Concerning the Secretary-General’s report, he said it includes “many exaggerated or wrong information, especially on allegations of sexual violence and violations of human rights”. He called for more accurate, impartial documentation.
Also speaking today were representatives of France, United States, Russian Federation, India, Ireland, Albania, Norway, Brazil, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.
The meeting began at 10:18 a.m. and ended at 11:56 a.m.