QUESTION: My first question is about the UN [Security Council] resolution [requesting that a UN assessment team be sent to Darfur] that we saw yesterday. How happy were you with the final draft?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, I think the resolution is a good step and I think it builds on something yesterday, or the day before, that was equally important which is the statement by the African Union Peace and Security Council. Together what those two positions represent is the coming together of Africa and the coming together of the international community to emphasis the importance of the Abuja Peace Accord and the follow-up. The key now is the follow-up
Just to give you a flavor, one, we need to get more food into Darfur. The World Food Program announced about the time that we were concluding the agreement that the were going to have to cut rations for people in Darfur So President Bush announced that even though we have already provided 85% of the food that we will provide more and will use some ships at sea. I think the European Union has come in with an initial contribution
An equally important issue is including security on the ground. Yes, we have an agreement and the terms are such that it creates the right incentives for people to be mobilized, the Janjaweed , and eventually integrate rebel forces. But you still have a very dangerous situation. So anything that can be done to strengthen the current AMIS of the African Union forces is important. We have been in touch with the Rwandans who were considering perhaps adding some troops. It is one of the reasons why President Bush has encouraged NATO to try to help in a planning sense
Third, and this is what relates to the resolution, you want to get the UN forces in as quickly as you can. But one has to recognize that it is still going to take time to assemble those forces and get them into place. And then what is equally as important is trying to encourage all the different rebel groups to participate in this. That is what the African Union is trying to do this week. And get the government to follow through on its obligations One always has to keep in mind that two million people that are struggling in these camps. And, even today I heard that some of the NGOs are pulling out of some areas because they are concerned about some of the on-going risks and violence
QUESTION: the Sudanese government has a week to accept allowing the military experts from the UN and the AU, hopefully to follow-up with the UN troops as you clearly stated are important. Do you think that the Sudanese government will accept this one week deadline and what if they don't?()
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, I certainly hope so. We have been in touch with a number of the Sudanese officials, especially Vice President Taha, and reminded them that they had stated that they wanted to have a peace agreement before they brought in UN forces. So know we all worked hard at a peace agreement so it is time to take the next step. I saw a statement by the Minister of Information made yesterday saying they would work with this AU-UN team. I am pleased that the AU-UN team is moving promptly but I would even like to see quicker action Frankly, I don't think one needs to take too many more trips to get a sense of what one needs to do to deploy the forces. In other words, there is experience of people on the ground now
QUESTION: We know what the Security Council has come up with but what can the US Government do to help persuade Khartoum to hurry up, so to speak, the entrance of the UN troops? What sort of incentives can you offer?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, the starting point is that the government in Khartoum itself recognized, starting with the North-South Accord which ended the 21 year old civil war, that the old pattern of behavior was counter productive and self destructive. And there was a need through the North-South CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) and now through the Darfur Peace Accord, the DPA, to create a new structure for Sudanese politics. Because at heart what both these agreements go to is the fact that the center in Khartoum has for centuries basically has been dominating regional peripheries Second, this Darfur Peace Accord creates an opportunity for them to rescue what are after all two million of their own people, and to create an opportunity to win not only international acceptability but create peace for their own interests ()
QUESTION: Speaking about the Abuja peace accord, were you satisfied with the Sudanese government's position? And do you think it can last without the remaining two factions signing up to the peace accord?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: The first one, it is important to keep in mind the role that the US played, but also the role the African Union played. We were mediators. This was an agreement between the government and the rebel movements. I am pleased that the government accepted the Accord with the amendments, which were in both the security but in some of the political and economic issues
As for your second question about the rebel movements... One needs to recall that because of the history of Darfur and also because of the recent history of the terrible genocide, there is a lot of fear and there is a lot of distrust. So, part of this again is overcoming fear and distrust and that takes more than words on paper It was also striking that even on the day that the agreement was signed that some of Abdel Wahid's followers broke with him and wanted to sign the peace accord. They sent a letter associating themselves. I know that there was a group of tribal leaders who also associated themselves with the process. So it would certainly be preferable if Abdel Wahid's faction can move forward with this as well
There is one other step that I want to draw your attention to. The Accord developed and we helped refine this, a Darfur-Darfur dialogue. And it is important to keep in mind that while the rebels leaders represent constituencies, there are other groups and other tribes in Darfur who have been really been neutral in this process Now the way this should ultimately be decided, this is in the agreement, is through elections But there is a political power sharing arrangement for a few years until you move to the elections, and a transitional Darfur authority. The Darfur-Darfur dialogue is quite important because it allows the area to broaden the participation so it includes rebel movements and others
Right now a lot of people don't know what is in the Accord. It is 85-90 pages, and there is a lot of disinformation on it
QUESTION: How do you assess the AU's role? Have you been satisfied with their role especially in the peace process, but also their forces?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, I think one needs to put this in perspective There were some very serious efforts by very dedicated people. But first take the forces. It was a very important thing that those African forces got into Darfur as soon as they did, and they have tried to improve the situation on the ground. But as everyone has acknowledged including the African Union and its commanders, it is not enough
Then, in the area of the diplomatic mediation, former Tanzanian Prime Minister Salim Salim I think exhibited extraordinary patience and decency and intelligence trying to bring the rebel movements together with the government. From what I could see this was not a traditional negotiation. Rebel movements would often state their demands, but they would then not put them in words on paper. And so I think the African Union mediating team did a very good job
QUESTION: How soon do you see the possibility for the AU forces to be supported by international forces of the UN?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, I would like to see it as soon as possible... Number one as I mentioned: there already are Rwandan forces and good troops on the ground. If we can add to those forces over the course of the coming weeks and months, that is very important to do. The second possibility is that I do believe that with the support of some NATO and EU countries, you can have some logistical support and planning and operational support during the course of this summer possibly. And then the third is to get the UN forces there as soon as possible. Some people have said it could be done start to bring them in by September, some it will take longer
QUESTION: About demobilization and disarming obligations, the Janjaweed and other militia, who will monitor it and how confident are you that this can be done effectively enough to bring peace to Sudan?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: The government of Sudan has the obligation to neutralize and disarm its forces. But the agreement didn't have a specification of how; it said that the government is suppose to develop a plan within 37 days. What we worked in our discussions with the movements to proceed to build their confidence which is to include a series of provisions that the government plan had to incorporate, including dealing with their heavier arms and sort of then how they would use some of their time phases to do the integration That is to be verified by the African Union. And then, third, there is an incentive which is that the rebel forces don't have to start move to their assembly areas until the government has taken its step and the African Union has verified it. So if the government wants to bring the rebels to peace, it has to take this step and the African Union has to monitor it
It is a very dangerous place. The Janjaweed have been very, very violent. They have been used as a counter-insurgency force, but some of them also reflect various tribal groups and conflicts. A lot of these people, you know, everybody is armed and you have conflicts between people who have herders and those who have been settled agriculturists. So that is one reason why it is important to complement the agreement with an international force to try to help keep the peace. But I think the sad reality is that, you know, the violence isn't finished. There is a chance to end. There is a chance to bring peace, but it still remains a very dangerous and fragile environment.