On Monday, the 3rd September 2007 at 07: 50 pm Sudan local time, I had the honour and privilege to attend a lecture which was delivered by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in the Friendship Hall at the confluence of White and Blue Nile in Khartoum. The hall was filled up by representatives of the parliamentarians, ministers, diplomats, UN staff, Civil Society Organization staff, Political parties' cadres, journalists, students and youths. The hall was serene before H.E. Ki-Moon took his seat with the Sudan Foreign Minister at his right hand. Everyone present in that big hall was eager to listen to Ki-Moon diplomatic wisdom in the lecture organized by the United Nations Association-Sudan entitled "The Role of the United Nations in a Changing World."
Before he gave his lecture, Ki-Moon presented his brief autobiography with an emphasis that he is a man of practical results and not a philosopher of unrealistic dreams. He said that he loves Sudan and desires to see more of its ?belovedness.' He mentioned that his daughter started her first career as a UNICEF staff in Sudan and she told him a lot of good things about the kindness and friendliness of Sudanese and the richness of their vast land (under the ground, on the surface and in the sky). Indeed, as he said he is a realist and a man of action, he presented his lecture in the concrete context of the Sudan, and particularly Darfur. He said the root cause of the conflicts between the farmers and pastoralist over there is partly a result of global warming and climatic change, which has brought draught and desertified the vast lands of Darfur. His lecture was focused and limited on the role of UN in engaging Sudanese to create a peaceful environment for development in the changing world based on the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Ki-Moon explained the main reasons of his visit to Sudan. He said that he came as a duty of his office to ensure that security and peace come to the war troubled countries like Sudan. He said that he came to quench the thirst of the conflict-affected needy people who are crying for his help. He said that Sudanese need to be proud of their country because it is the largest and the riches in human and natural resources in Africa. He affirmed that Sudan has the potentiality of developing and prospering very fast if, and only if, its people nurtured the will for peace and stability. He affirmed that he is committed as the UN Secretary-General to help and engage the Sudanese authorities and citizens to build a better country for themselves and for generations to come in terms of socio-economic development benefits. However, he strongly believed that it is the very Sudanese who could realize that quest for sustainable peace and prosperity, and who would issue the death certificate for abject poverty.
His Excellency Ki-Moon said that the reform of the international community is a prerequisite for the reform of the UN to continue to be relevant to the changing world. He said that he is in the country to establish the foundation for UN-AU hybrid peace-keeping operation in Darfur, the largest and unique of its kind in the whole world for the first time in UN history. He urged the Sudanese conflicting authorities not to lose that golden opportunity of Multi-national peace-keeping operation, which resulted from earnest and consistent diplomacy - visible and invisible. However, he said that real peace cannot be made and kept by military force. Therefore, he assured the audience that he will work harder for a political solution to Darfur problem as soon as possible, given the readiness of government and rebels to negotiate and come into a dialogical compromise. But before that, Ki-Moon prescribes that ceasefire and end of violence must be attained and observed by all the forces who are involved in Darfur conflicts. Notwithstanding, he said he will continue to exert effort so as to ensure that humanitarian aid get to the needy people on the ground through the help and commitment of international community and aid agencies.
Turning to Southern Sudan side, H.E Ki-Moon said the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is fragile and calling for a rescue. He said he will ensure that Southern Sudan does not slip back to war situation, partly by encouraging the UN agencies to achieve more measurable results of the MDGs for the poor citizens in the forms of schools and big numbers of pupils, hospitals and health centres with lesser number of the sick, and in the form many boreholes and potable water, etc. He said he will try his best to convince the donors to release their reconstruction and development pledges for Southern Sudan. He also said that he will engage the national government through dialogue to be serious and unselective in the implementation of the CPA and realization of peace in Darfur; the conditions that many donors had attached to their assistance. He said that will urge the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) to practice good governance and work harder for development of the region, including enhancement of private small businesses sectors and women involvement in them. He categorically stated that peace building can proceed nowhere without justice and fair institutions.
At the end of the lecture, H.E. Dr. Lam, the Foreign Minister of the Sudan welcomed the UN Secretary-General and thanked him for what he called "lively lecture." He gave a superb short comment, which drew the admiration of the audience with applauding. He said that all things and institutions are changing in the world except the change itself. He said that the big brothers of the international community must change their attitude of locking Africa out of the UN permanent members club. He said that the legacy of the World War I and II is still reigning in UN because by then Africa was not in the war decisions but used only in the war implementation. He urged the Secretary-General to do his best to see to it that Africa is permanently represented in the UN like other continents. He gave the visit of Ki-Moon to Sudan and his presence in the lecture hall as the best touchable example of the change that is taking place for the UN and the government of Sudan. He said that the Sudan Government of National Unity has abandoned the confrontation approach and resorted to constructive dialogue with the international community through the UN and African Union organs. He affirmed that Sudan is a signatory to UN and AU and respects their resolutions, particularly the UN Security Council resolution number 1769 which was passed with popular support as a result of fair dialogue between Sudan and UN-AU. He criticized the attitude of some countries and individuals who look at Sudan as if it is a non-member of UN.
However, Dr. Lam said that for UN peace-keeping operation in Darfur to be meaningful, it must first ensure that it has agreed peace between the government and rebel movements in that area to keep. He said Peace Agreement is a political solution that comes through face-to-face table negotiations and with a compromise that results from the will to give-and-take. Therefore, he confirmed that he and his friends the UN Envoys Yan Eliason and AU envoy Salim Ahamed Salim are doing their best to see to it that a political solution is reached to arrest the insecurity and displacement problems in Darfur. He concluded that it is high time for peace to be attained and honoured in Darfur so that Sudan is able to pull together its rich natural and human resources for a sustainable development in all corners of the country.
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