Ministerial meeting on Darfur in Paris

After the Ministerial meeting of the international contact group that took place in Paris on June 25th, 2007, to which Canadian Foreign Affairs Peter McKay attended, the Embassy of France in Canada would like to draw the attention on France’s efforts in this region.


France in Darfur

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1. Historical overview of the Darfur crisis

Situated in the western region of Sudan, Darfur has been the centre of sporadic confrontations between communities of Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa cultivators, as well as nomads.

In February 2003, the uprisings increased, the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), which is supported by the cultivators took aim against the government, suggesting that the inhabitants weren’t protected enough, and that the region was marginalized and underdeveloped. A second armed group called the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) made its appearance shortly thereafter.

A counter-insurrection against ethnic groups broke out. The government left the Jinjawid (Arab militia) to attack the villages and their inhabitants.

Nearly 2 million people were displaced throughout Sudan. These displacements, due to atrocities committed by the Janjawid, provoked a massive surge in refugees in Chad (several hundreds of thousands) and has brought about urgent humanitarian issues. More than 200,000 people have been killed during these confrontations.

On May 5th, 2006, a peace agreement was signed by the Sudanese government and a faction of the SLM. As of May 16th, the United Nations (UN) declared its willingness to have an international peace effort dispatched to ensure that the accord was maintained. However, the African Union, and its 7,000 men in position can’t protect the population against the Jinjawid, whereas Khartoum rejects a Blue Helmets intervention.

2. France has been involved in the Darfur crisis for several years

In September 2003, France supported the Chad efforts of mediation, and some French ministers made official visits.

- France brings a political, humanitarian and military support:

    • France has supported a political process that establishes base rules for the Darfur crisis
    • France has worked for the referral of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (resolution 1593) in order to judge the crimes committed in Darfur (war crimes and crimes against humanity).
    • Since 2004, France has dispatched a special envoy for all the negotiation rounds under the mediation of the AU and Chad.
    • Resolution 1706 (August 31st, 2006), planning the deployment of Blue Helmets was co-sponsored by Paris.
    • In 2004, 700 tons of humanitarian cargo was delivered to the refugee camps thanks to the support of the French military.
    • France’s support has represented more than 120 million euros (bilateral contributions and via the European Union).

- Several French NGOs are present in Darfur, such as:

    • Doctors Without Borders (DWB-F), Médecin du Monde France (MDM) et Action Against Hunger (AAH) run several nutrition centres, free health clinics, as well as important medical assistance and the distribution food products and goods.
    • Triangle Génération Humanitaire (TGH), le Comité d’Aide Médicale (CAM) & Solidarités ensure water supply at the refugee camps and run medical rehabilitation programs.
    • Children of the World – Human Rights (CW-HR) heads training programs for teachers and social workers, as well activities for children.
    • Aide médicale Internationale is implementing a program to ensure that the population has access to health care.

3. The Ministerial meeting of the enlarged international contact group (Paris, June 25th, 2007), France has re-launched the international community’s mobilization process

-  Mr. Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, went to Chad and Sudan in the beginning of June 2007. Noticing the urgency of the matter, France would like to follow up on the political process and improve the humanitarian situation.

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Mr. Bernard Kouchner, Minsiter of Foreign and European Affairs, during a trip to Sudan in the beginning of June 2007 : speech made to the press after his meeting with Mr. Lam Akol, his Sudanese counterpart (left) and arrival at Goz Beida, Sudanese refugee camp (right).

    • This improvement is achieved through the deployment of a mixed international humanitarian force, which includes the African Union and United Nations. This proposition was accepted by the Khartoum government.
    • France will contribute to the delivery of goods by aerial means to respond to emergencies prior to rain season.
    • At the request of the Chad Ministry of Social Affairs, France provides Goz Beida with essential humanitarian goods via aircrafts.

-  At the initiative of the President of the Republic, a ministerial meeting took place on June 25th in Paris grouping the European Union, the United Nations and Chad. as well as other partners supporting a resolution to this conflict. Canada was represented by the Hon. Peter MacKay.

The meeting affirmed the unity of the international community in the efforts to resolve the crisis in Darfur. 17 countries, including the United States, China and Russia, plus several regional and international organizations, notably the UN, were represented at a high level.

    • A consensus was reached on giving priority to a political solution brokered jointly by the African Union and the UN. The roadmap now has to be implemented, and this requires the effort of everyone: Sudanese authorities and rebel movements, co-mediators, regional actors and the international community as a whole, which will have to take adequate measures, in the framework of the UN Security Council, against those who refuse to negotiate in the conditions of the roadmap.
    • Participants made a convergent analysis of the cause and effect between the humanitarian emergency and the security emergency in Darfur. A consensus was reached on four areas for action to improve the lot of populations:

- accelerated deployment of UN reinforcements to AMIS;

- reflecting the agreement on the AU/UN hybrid operation in a new Security Council resolution;

- continued support to AMIS: the entire international community must shoulder its responsibility and increase its contribution to the AMIS budget. France for its part will be making an additional contribution of 10 million euros as President Sarkozy announced yesterday;

- lastly, the enlarged Contact Group invited all the parties to respect the cease-fire.

    • The regional situation was also discussed as the emergency also concerns eastern Chad and the northern part of the Central African Republic where there are many refugees and displaced persons and where the violence is continuing.

France is engaged in a major operation in support of humanitarian operation in Chad, organizing an air bridge to help the World Food Program in particular. Other countries, such as Spain, confirmed their willingness to add to the effectiveness of this measure.

As an agreement of the Chadian authorities is emerging in favor of international intervention, we are continuing to work with Chad, the UN and the EU on the preparation of an operation to secure the areas of Chad most affected by the Darfur crisis. There was also the wish that a positive response should be given to the request by the authorities of the Central African Republic for an international presence in the northeast of the country.

    • The participants also expressed their commitment to ensuring, when the time comes, wide support for the reconstruction and development of Darfur and areas affected by the crisis, in Chad and the Central African Republic.
    • Lastly they noted that full and complete implementation of the North-South peace agreement signed in January 2005 in Nairobi was a condition for peace in Darfur.
    • As he announced at the press conference, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner will brief African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare on the results of yesterday’s meeting and confer with him on future stages. A working group of the enlarged Contact Group on Darfur could be held, again at ministerial level, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September./.

Last modified on 16/01/2009

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