Ladies and gentlemen,
·We have entered a critical period in the history of the Sudan. Whatever the outcome of the referendum on self determination for the people of Southern Sudan, the future - not only of the Sudan - but also of the whole region depend on an orderly process forward. It is mandatory that preparations for the referendum are conducted in a transparent manner. The vote itself must be free and fair. A proper process will give a credible result and credibility gives legitimacy.
· Remember: the CPA does not only specify one referendum - but two. The referendum on whether Abyei will remain in the Northern Sudan, or to join the Southern Sudan, will take place at the same time as the Southern Sudan referendum. The CPA clearly states that in Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile there shall be popular consultations on the future status of these states.
· In recent weeks there has been progress with regard to the referendum. I appreciate the Parties’ commitment to deal with outstanding issues in an expedite manner. Yet, the fact remains that key elements of the CPA have not been fully implemented and talks on post-CPA arrangements are “sluggish”.
·So, this is serious. - Because now we have a situation where many complicated tasks must be completed in very little time. As said to the Parties when I visited the Sudan in May-June: this is your process. Which means: you will own the success of an orderly transition to the post-CPA period, and you will be responsible for a failure. Our role is to support you in your endeavors.
· Moreover, nobody is a more important partner to you than the so-called “other side”. If you are able find sustainable solutions, the benefits you will reap will far outweigh any incentive that any of us can put on the table. And vice versa, your failure to find good solutions will have negative consequences far more serious than any disincentives I can think of.
· The petroleum sector is an example. The CPA provided a framework for the management of the sector and for revenue sharing. The outcome of the referendum will have implications for how this is done in the next period. However, irrespective of the outcome of the referendum, I believe you can find a win-win solution. I appreciate that our experts have been able to work together with you on these issues during the interim period. And I can assure you that we will continue to do so also after the referendum.
· Negotiations on post-CPA issues need to address the broader institutional framework for political and economic relations between the North and South. The governors’ conference that brings together the key decision makers in the ten states that lay along the North-South border is an example of the way forward. It allows both debate on pending issues and efficient decision making.
· Now, what is our role, as members of the international community and friends of the Sudan, and (some of us) as witnesses to the CPA: We must continue to support you and work together with you to find good solutions to the issues you are facing with regard to the CPA and negotiations on post-referendum arrangements. As members of the international community we can assist the Parties to the CPA to move forward if we address the legitimate concerns that both of you have regarding the period after the CPA.
· The recent meeting in Brussels on capacity building for the Southern Sudan is a good example of the kind of exercises we need. We look forward to participating in similar meetings that relates to other parts of the Sudan.
· Norway’s commitment is to the Sudan and this remains irrespective of the outcome of the referendum. - Which means that we will continue to engage with the whole country if there is a vote for unity, and we will engage with both states if the people of the Southern Sudan vote for secession.
· To conclude: it is a decisive period for the Sudan and the world community. In the remaining weeks (before the referendum) it is of utmost importance that you make progress on the most critical issues. The structures are in place and we are ready to help. I urge you to come together and make bold decisions, now when it is time to act. Thank you."