Sumario: 28 January 2008, Brussels - EU Council Conclusions on Sudan/Chad/Central African Republic, 2846th External Relations Council meeting.
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
1. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is the basis for sustainable peace and development throughout Sudan and its implementation must be pursued as a key priority. Therefore the Council welcomes that the parties to the CPA have resumed their cooperation in the Government of National Unity (GNU) and agreed on the full and timely implementation of all the provisions of the CPA. The Council urges the parties to ensure their commitments are honoured, including on still outstanding issues such as the status of Abyei and the formation, training and deployment of the Joint Integrated Units (JIU). It also calls for concrete steps to revitalise and strengthen the Assessment and Evaluation Commission. The Council supports the important role of UNMIS and encourages the parties to take full advantage of its presence and mandate, including its tasks to provide support to reconciliation in all its aspects, emphasising the role of women and civil society, and with regard to the necessary preparation (including the census) for the conduct of the general elections in 2009.
2. The Council welcomes the transfer of authority from AMIS to UNAMID for the operation in Darfur and underlines the need to address the considerable challenges facing the deployment of UNAMID. It calls on the Sudanese authorities, notably the GNU, to lend their full support to the effective establishment of UNAMID, including necessary technical and administrative arrangements for this purpose and to accept all troops deemed necessary by the UN and the AU for successful discharge of its mandate. In this context, the Council deplores the unwillingness of the Sudanese Authorities to accept Sweden's and Norway's contributions to UNAMID. Furthermore, the Council strongly condemns the attack on 7 January by elements of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on a UNAMID supply convoy and calls on the Government of Sudan (GoS) to fulfil its promises of full cooperation. The Council reiterates its readiness to take necessary measures, notably within a UN-framework, against any party that impedes the establishment of an effective UNAMID force.
3. The Council attaches utmost importance to the continued, unimpeded and safe humanitarian access to the population in Darfur. It urges the GoS to respect its commitment to a Moratorium on restrictions and obstacles to all humanitarian work in Darfur, as set out in the Joint Communique on this matter, and to review issues of concern through established channels (for example the High Level Committee). The Council welcomes the recent announcement of the extension of this Moratorium on restrictions and obstacles to all humanitarian work in Darfur. In this connection, the Council stands ready to consider further measures, notably within a UN-framework, against any party that undermines peace and security in Darfur or the region by committing acts of violence and especially against any party that obstructs humanitarian access.
4. There can be no impunity for the crimes committed in Darfur. The Council calls on the GoS to cooperate unconditionally with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to surrender the two individuals for whom it issued arrest warrants on 27 April 2007 in relation to alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.
5. The Council calls on all parties in the Darfur conflict to cease their hostilities and engage in the peace process mediated by the UN and AU Special Envoys. It underlines that the effectiveness of UNAMID will only be guaranteed if an inclusive political agreement between the parties to the conflict in Darfur is reached. The Council therefore recalls its position that any party failing to engage constructively in the peace process is to be considered as an obstacle to peace and that it will promote appropriate further measures against it, notably in the UN framework.
6. The Council is seriously concerned over the deterioration of the security situation in the border region of Sudan and Chad, including the recent attacks by rebel groups from Darfur in eastern Chad as well as the incursions of Chadian armed forces into Sudan. The Council urges the Chadian and the Sudanese governments to abstain from any action that could further destabilise the current situation whilst exercising the utmost restraint and settling differences through dialogue and diplomatic channels. The Council urges the governments of Sudan and Chad to terminate support to armed groups operating in Eastern Chad or Darfur and recalls their responsibility in accordance with their agreements to prevent armed groups from crossing the common border.
7. Deploring the renewed attacks by Chadian rebel groups, the Council stresses the importance and urgency to foster a continuous peace process between the Chadian government and the armed rebel groups. In this perspective the Council welcomes the efforts of regional neighbours, particularly Libya. It also welcomes the progress made in implementing the accord of 13 August 2007 committing the Chadian authorities to work closely with the unarmed political opposition in addressing defined shortfalls notably in view of the legislative elections in 2009. In this context, the Council calls upon the still active armed rebel groups to abandon all attempts of further pursuing military options and instead, pursuing a democratic path. It reminds all parties that an internal political settlement remains the only viable perspective for peace and stability in Chad.
8. The Council launched the military bridging operation EUFOR Tchad/RCA. It authorised the EU operation commander, with immediate effect, to release the activation order in order to execute the deployment of the forces and start the execution of the mission. The Council reaffirms its full commitment to contribute to the implementation of the UNSC-Resolution 1778 (2007) which authorises the deployment in Chad and Central African Republic of a multidimensional presence, including the EU providing the military element of it. In accordance with this resolution, the EU conducts this military bridging operation for a period of 12 months from the declaration of Initial Operational Capability which is planned to be reached in March 2008. A mid mandate review after 6 months, conducted in conjunction with the UN, will assess the need for a possible UN follow-on capability.
9. In conducting this operation the EU is stepping up its longstanding action in support of efforts to tackle the crisis in Darfur and to address its regional ramifications, notably in Eastern Chad and North-eastern Central African Republic. In this context, EUFOR Tchad/RCA will ensure a high degree of coordination with UNAMID. The deployment of this EU operation has been welcomed by both the governments of Chad and Central African republic. EUFOR Tchad/RCA will actively work for the improvement of the security situation in Chad and Central African Republic. It will contribute to protecting civilians in danger, particularly displaced persons and refugees, to facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid and the free movement of humanitarian personnel and to protecting UN personnel, facilities, installations and equipment. It is part of the EU's multi-faceted support to the area, which includes European Commission support to the UN police mission in Chad. The European Commission and Member States will also continue their ongoing development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
10. The Council underlined that the bridging military operation EUFOR Tchad/RCA will be conducted in a neutral, impartial and independent manner. Throughout the mission, EUFOR Tchad/RCA will coordinate closely with the United Nations and cooperate with the Governments of Chad and the Central African Republic.
11. Systematic mainstreaming of Human Rights, Gender Issues and Child Protection (in line with UNSC - Resolution 1612 and the Checklist for the Protection of Children affected by Armed Conflict in ESDP Operations) into operational planning and in the execution of the operation is to be ensured by specially designated personnel at all levels.
12. The operation will be commanded from the EU Operations Head Quarter (OHQ) in Mont Valérien (Paris) by Lieutenant General Patrick NASH (Ireland); the Force in theatre will be commanded from Abeche (Chad) by Brigadier General Jean-Philippe Ganascia (France). The operation will cooperate closely with the UN mission MINURCAT and with the humanitarian and development organisations present in Chad and CAR. "