The Secretary-General’s message to the ceremony for transfer of authority from AMIS to UNAMID.
31 December 2007---Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted the transfer of authority from the African Union to the AU-UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur in a statement released today and delivered at a ceremony in El Fasher. “The transfer opened a new and profoundly challenging chapter in the history of United Nations peacekeeping," he said.
MESSAGE TO CEREMONY FOR TRANSFER OF AUTHORITY
FROM AMIS TO UNAMID
El Fasher, 31 December 2007
Today, we open a new and profoundly challenging chapter in the history of United Nations peacekeeping. On this last day of 2007, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1769, the authority for the operation in Darfur is transferred from the African Union Mission in Sudan to the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur, or UNAMID. It will be an unprecedented joint operation, requiring a great deal of dedication and the full and unstinting support of the entire international community.
The United Nations and the African Union have worked in intense and close collaboration to prepare for this day. We are determined to deploy the most robust force possible, so that it can carry out effectively the difficult mandate the Security Council has entrusted to it. That means working with troop and police contributing countries to deploy their personnel as quickly as possible. If we are to have a real impact on the situation on the ground within the first half of 2008, these deployments must happen far more swiftly than they have done so far. We must work with contributing countries to do everything in their power to speed up the required pre-deployment preparations, and arrive in the theater of operations as soon as possible. The people of Darfur depend on us.
Beyond what Governments have pledged but not yet deployed, critical gaps remain in the UNAMID force. We have still not received any pledges for ground transportation units and aviation assets. These are essential to the mobility of the force and its ability to adequately protect the civilian population of the vast area of Darfur, whose population is dispersed over the entire region. I appeal to Governments who have them to contribute these critical assets, or to encourage others who might be in a position to do so.
To succeed, UNAMID will need the active cooperation of the Government of Sudan. I am encouraged that Sudan recently agreed to a number of points related to the deployment, and I expect it to follow through on the commitments they have made. I expect the Government of Sudan to see UNAMID as one of the vehicles through which it can bring lasting peace and stability to Darfur. As always, we remain open to dialogue with the Government, while expecting it to work constructively with the UN and AU.
Ultimately, the deployment of UNAMID will only be as effective as the political process it is mandated to support. I therefore urge all the parties to cease all military action and turn their energies, with the support of the AU-UN meditation, to the substance of the negotiations as soon as possible, and to come to the negotiating table to settle their differences. Only after an inclusive peace agreement is reached will the outstanding grievances of all parties be addressed, and the requirements for a lasting solution to the crisis put in place.
As we open this new chapter, I pay tribute to the valiant men and women of the African Union Mission in Sudan, who have given their all in the service of peace -- some making the ultimate sacrifice. Let us move forward decisively and swiftly, to build on their work and close this tragic chapter in Sudan’s history. I send my prayers to all of you serving in UNAMID, for your safety, strength and success.