Hillary Clinton and Foreign Ministers Talking Sudan at the Security Council

Here is a live feed from a meeting of foreign ministers at the Security Council this morning.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UK Foreign Minister William Hague and others will discuss the upcoming referenda in South Sudan. (For which voter registration began yesterday).   I’ll post updates below.  The meeting should start around 9: 30 am, EST.

[Edit: Council meeting concluded, so I took down the live feed.]

UPDATE:  UK FM William Hague reads a very long Presidential Statement from the entire Security Council. Some quickly jotted down notes of highlights:

Council underlines support for implementation of CPA Peace and holding referenda on time.  Welcomes the start of registration and encourages further efforts that the referendum are held on time.   Concerned about delay about release of full funding for election.  Calls on parties to respect the outcome of the credible refferendum.  Requests all parties to refrain from unilateral action.   Urges parties to resume negotiations on Abyei.  And urges parties to respect the rights of northerners in the south and southerners in the north.

Affirms support for Qatar peace process for Darfur and encourages all rebel movements to join negotiations without preconditions.  Expresses concern about attacks on civilians by militia and expresses willingness to take measures.  Deep concern about aerial bombardment by government of sudan and attacks by armed groups.  Calls for halting arms flows.

FM Hague: This is a defining moment for Sudan.  Most important event of UK’s presidency of the Security Council.

Secretary Clinton (Paraphrasing): The referendum for southern sudan be held peacefully and on time on January 9th, and the results must be respected in Sudan and around the world.  It is up to the political leaders to chose peace or confrontation, but it is up to all of us to help them make their decision.  Respect for rights of southerners in the north and northerners in the south.

USA and international community will hold South and North to their committment to an on-time referrendum in Abyei.

On Darfur: USA still deeply concerned.  Journalists and activists arrested, some merely for speaking to the Security Council.  USA urges government not to target civilians or use proxy militias and allow for humanitarian assistance, including for victims of sexual violence.

Clinton says USA will work to relieve Sudan of its international debt should Sudan commit to peaceful resolution of conflict in Dafur and implement CPA, peacefully and on time.

UPDATE:  Transcript of Clinton’s remarks:

Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the United
Nations Security Council Ministerial Meeting on Sudan, November 16, 2010

Thank you very much, and thank you for that excellent statement.

I want to commend the United Kingdom for calling this important session,
giving us the opportunity to help chart a way toward a durable peace for
all of the people of Sudan.  And I want to commend the Security Council
for their recent visit to Sudan, which was extremely important.

I also want to thank the Secretary General for his excellent briefing
and his personal involvement in the efforts to find a durable peace,
Special Representative Menkerios for his skillful efforts on behalf of
the people of Sudan.  I commend the work of the African Union’s
High-Level Implementation Panel, led by President Mbeki, as well as the
efforts of the African Union-UN Joint Mission for Darfur, especially
Joint Special Representative Gambari and Chief Mediator Bassole.

I particularly appreciate the excellent presentations by both His
Excellency Minister Karti and Mr. Pagan Amum.  I thought both of them,
if we could translate their words into action immediately, would have
demonstrated unequivocally the commitment to find a way toward a durable
peace that we seek.

Yesterday marked a milestone in the history of Sudan.  Voters from
Southern Sudan began lining up to register for the referendum by which
they will decide their own future.  Holding this referendum, resolving
the status of Abyei, and all of the conditions of the CPA represent the
promise of self-determination made to the Sudanese people under the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005.  The United States believes that
these are promises that must be kept.  It is critical to peace and
stability, not only for Sudan but also for the neighbors, some of whom
are here today, and the rest of Africa represented by others, that the
referendum for Southern Sudan be held peacefully and on time on January
9th.  And regardless of the outcome, the will of the people must be
respected by all parties in Sudan and around the world.

Because we have already seen the alternative.  The alternative, the
unacceptable alternative, is Sudan’s past, more than four decades of
recurring conflict, two million people dead, millions more displaced,
simmering tensions that stall development and perpetuate poverty, then
erupt again to darken the lives of another generation of Sudanese

In the next 55 days, the Government of Sudan can ensure a brighter
future, one that does offer peace, opportunity, and hope.  But there is
a huge amount of work to be done in these next 55 days.  And I agree
completely with Minister Karti and with Mr. Amum; each member state must
do its utmost to help.  None of us should look back and wish we had done
more.  As President Obama has said, although no outsider can dictate
events on the ground in Sudan, it is up to the political leaders and the
people of Sudan whether they will choose peace or confrontation.  But it
is up to all of us to help them not only make the right choice but then
to implement it to the benefit of all their people.

It was particularly heartening last week to see the defense ministers
from Khartoum and Juba hold a rare joint press conference to say that no
matter what differences and disputes might arise from the referendum
process, they will be resolved through political dialogue.  The minister
said, and I quote, “There will be no return to war.”  And we all
fervently hope that is the case.

But to fulfill that promise, the North and South must promptly forge
agreements on the crucial issues that will arise in 2011:  oil revenue
distribution, border demarcation, international treaties, security
arrangements, citizenship rights, and the protection of vulnerable
civilians, including Southerners in the North and Northerners in the
South.  The fate of 44 million Sudanese depends on their leaders’
willingness to work together to resolve these issues.

Most urgently, the parties must make the tough compromises necessary to
settle the status of Abyei.  They must find a way forward that both
upholds the rights of the Ngok Dinka and the other residents of Abyei as
well as the nomadic peoples like the Misseriya who regularly pass
through the area.  And they must do so promptly because preparations for
the referendum on Abyei have fallen behind schedule and tensions will
continue to rise.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement agreed to by both parties calls for
this referendum.  It also states that the parties themselves can agree
to change it.  However, unless the parties reach a mutual agreement that
is acceptable to all the people of Abyei, the United States and the
international community will continue to hold them to their commitment
to an on-time referendum, as promised in the CPA.

But even as we focus on the future of Southern Sudan, Abyei, and all of
Sudan, we remain deeply concerned about Darfur.  Violence is
intensifying, human rights violations continue, arms flow despite the
embargo, journalists and activists are arrested – some merely for
speaking to members of this Security Council – UN peacekeepers are
kidnapped.  This is all unacceptable.

The United States stands ready to work with the Council to support peace
efforts in Darfur and we call on all parties to participate in the Doha
talks without delay or preconditions.  We urge the government not to
target civilians or use proxy militia or support the Janjaweed and other
irregular forces, or prevent freedom of movement of UN personnel and aid
workers.  In Darfur and elsewhere, the Government of Sudan must live up
to its international obligations to respect human rights; to allow
humanitarian assistance; to protect civilians, including victims of
sexual violence; to ensure that refugees and internally displaced people
can return in safety and with dignity; and to bring those responsible
for atrocities to justice.

As President Obama said here in New York, accountability sends a
powerful message that certain behavior, including genocide, is not
acceptable.  Because in the 21st century, we must uphold universal rules
and values.  Officials throughout Sudan, both North and South, have a
particular responsibility in the run-up to the voting.  They must avoid
inflammatory rhetoric, quell rumors, and dampen animosities.  They must
allow unfettered campaigning by all sides and ensure that voters can
travel safely to their polling places.

The voting must take place on time, without violence, and in an
atmosphere of calm.  I commend the Sudanese people, North and South, and
the international community for working hard to make that possible.  And
we are beginning to see results.  Nearly 33,000 voter registration books
have been printed and delivered, enough to register nearly 5 million
Southern Sudanese voters in the North and South.  Booklets to register
another 350,000 voters believed to be living abroad have also been
shipped.  More than 1,000 Sudanese election observers have been trained.
And the Carter Center and European Union are also deploying monitors.
Russia has generously committed to providing four helicopters that will
be used to assist UNMIS in its many critical tasks.

But more must be done, and so we urge all UN member states to support
the UN mission in Sudan, and we hope that the Government of Sudan will
continue to fund, with help from others, the South Sudan Referendum
Commission going forward.

Now, as we plan this effort, it is essential to include women.  It’s
unusual that I’m the only woman at the table for the Security Council,
so speaking on behalf of all women, let me just say that women are
critical to every step of building, negotiating, and keeping the peace
in Sudan.  Lasting peace and prosperity will not be achieved if half the
population is excluded from that process.  In country after country, as
we discussed with the implementation of Resolution 1325, we have seen
that the underlying issues that cause conflicts are more likely to recur
and less likely to be resolved if women are not involved at the peace
table.  In both the North and the South, we certainly hope that women
will be brought in to the highest levels of government.

The Sudanese people want peace and the United States wants to help them
achieve it.  We have engaged in intensive diplomacy to help accomplish
that.  We have spent more than $200 million to help mitigate conflict,
provide election security, create economic opportunities, and fund voter
registration, education, and observation.  We have sent Special Envoy
Scott Gration, Ambassador Princeton Lyman, Ambassador Barrie Walkley,
and a whole raft of people to try to increase our presence in Southern
Sudan as well as to work with both the government in Khartoum and the
SPLM in Juba.

And this month, the Chairman of our Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
Senator John Kerry, traveled to Khartoum with a special message on
behalf of President Obama.  The message was this:  If Sudan chooses the
path of peace, the Government of Sudan can have a dramatically improved
relationship with the United States, including normalization of
relations between our two countries.

To demonstrate our commitment to improving U.S.-Sudanese relations, the
United States has already taken two steps.  First, we have changed our
policies to ease the sale of agricultural and irrigation equipment to
Sudan, which will boost food production and decrease the need for
international food aid.  Second, to help Sudan’s economy grow, the
United States has supported the creation of a group to work on ways to
ease Sudan’s national debt, consistent with international debt relief

Now, these are steps we’ve already taken, but we are prepared to do much
more.  If the Government of Sudan fulfills the CPA, if it resolves the
future of Abyei, if it holds Southern Sudan’s referendum on January 9th
and then recognizes the will of the Sudanese people in the South, then
the United States is prepared to begin the process of withdrawing Sudan
from our list of state sponsors of terrorism.  This would be done in
accordance with our laws on terrorism.  If the Government of Sudan
commits to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Darfur and takes
other steps toward peace and accountability, the Obama Administration is
prepared to offer Sudan a path to the ending of U.S. sanctions, working
toward international debt relief, increasing trade and investment, and
forging a mutually beneficial relationship.

We are well aware that it takes not only skill, but courage for Sudan’s
leaders in both the North and the South to implement the Comprehensive
Peace Agreement, to promote dignity and human rights, to ease suffering
and work toward a durable peace, and to include in that peace Darfur.
But the world will stand with both of you if you can and do take these
steps.  We think that the path to peace and prosperity, to good
neighborliness, to partnership and cooperation for all Sudanese is
clear.  It is up to the Government of Sudan, it is up to the SPLM in the
South to decide whether to walk that path.  If it does, the United
States stands ready to assist you and, most importantly, to assist the
next generation of Sudanese children so that they can have a future
without war and conflict.  Thank you, Mr. President.