SUDAN WATCH: Garang's speech to Sudan's parliament: Seek forgiveness and tolerance and give peace a chance

Monday, May 02, 2005

Garang's speech to Sudan's parliament: Seek forgiveness and tolerance and give peace a chance

On April 30, 2005 in a 20-minute speech to Sudan's parliament [broadcast live by Sudanese TV and delivered on his behalf by Nhial Deng Nhial, a senior aide] former Sudanese rebel chief John Garang urged citizens to ensure that the recently signed peace agreement was fully implemented so as stabilise and develop Sudan. He also urged the international community to honour pledges made during the recent conference in Norway over the reconstruction of southern Sudan.

On commencement of the speech, he asked everyone to "rise and observe one minute silence in memory and honour of our nation's fallen heroes, from both sides of the divide, who paid the ultimate sacrifice." [The silence was observed]

Unusually [Europe doesn't get much appreciation from Sudan or the U.S. - which is why I making a point of blowing Europe's trumpet here] he said thank you and paid tribute to peace partners, saying:
"The efforts, which the SPLM made in realising a consensus and peace under the auspices of IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) led by Kenya, achieved substantial support from the friends of IGAD, Britain, Italy and blessed with the signing of the peace agreement in January 2004 in Nairobi.

Allow me, therefore, to greet in your name the Sudanese people and recognise the governments of the aforementioned countries. You were our friends, supporters during difficult times."
Here in this excerpt, best of all, he asks everyone to seek forgiveness and tolerance and give peace a chance:
"The implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement does not only give peace a chance but also creates an opportunity for Sudanese people to, wisely and optimally, seek forgiveness and tolerance as well reconstruct a strong Sudan based on equality and justice. The comprehensive peace agreement is a good agreement, if wholly implemented, and could be used as a model for the resolution of other conflicts in Sudan, Africa and world."
See full text of John Garang's speech - courtesy BBC Monitoring Service via Sudan Tribune, May 1, 2005.

We want peace
Photo: We want peace..peace

Further reading:

May 1, 2005: Former Sudan Foes Dance to Celebrate Constitution - Reuters report by Opheera McDoom - Government ministers and former rebels danced and embraced in Khartoum on Saturday to celebrate the start of work on a new constitution which will pave the way for a government of national unity in Sudan.
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Irish troops requested for Sudan

The UN has asked the government to send Irish troops to southern Sudan to monitor the fragile ceasefire, reports Stephen O'Brien in the London Times May 1, 2005. Excerpt:

Lieutenant General James Shreenan, chief of staff of the Defence Forces, has asked for volunteers throughout the army and is likely to meet the number required even though 150 Irish officers are already serving overseas. The army is carrying out a risk assessment to categorise the level of threat posed by the peace monitoring mission before the government makes a final decision on whether to send Irish personnel.

Willie O'Dea, the defence minister, said the Sudanese assignment would be one of the more dangerous postings in the history of Irish peacekeeping overseas, but he said he would withhold judgment until the risk assessment report was complete and would bring a recommendation to cabinet where the final decision would be made.

The mission was requested by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to support the peace agreement for southern Sudan signed in January by the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

Ireland has seconded one army officer to the troubled region of Darfur in western Sudan, and has provided financial support for the African Union Mission in Sudan. The government has also pledged 15m Irish pounds for the recovery and reconstruction of Sudan from 2005 to 2007, as part of a 4.5 billion USD international aid package.

Two million people died in a bitter civil war in Sudan, and while peace talks continue between warring southern Sudanese factions in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, some observers are concerned that not all the influential militia leaders of the region are participating.



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