The European Union welcomes the 20 September announcement of the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU). This is a significant and historic step towards peace in Sudan. The EU congratulates both the National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for the courage they have shown in taking forward the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and welcomes the representation of other political parties in this Government. The EU now calls on the GNU to move forward quickly with other aspects of the implementation of the CPA, including as a first step the establishment of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission to monitor progress on this.

The European Union also welcomes the opening of the preparatory workshops for the next round of the African Union-led Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks on Darfur in Abuja on 15 September 2005. It calls on all parties to participate in the forthcoming negotiations without pre-conditions, and to negotiate flexibly and in good faith with a view to reaching a just and lasting peace settlement for Darfur very soon.

The EU also expresses its grave concern about recent reports of serious clashes in Darfur, apparently involving members of the armed movements, the Government of Sudan and Arab militias, including most recently on the Eastern slopes of the Jebel Marra, and in Sheiria, South Darfur. The EU calls on all the belligerents immediately to rein in their fighters and to ensure that their forces respect international law, as well as the N’djamena Ceasefire agreement and the Abuja Protocols. All those involved have a responsibility to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, and any attempt to undermine the Abuja peace process is unacceptable. The EU looks forward to the rapid conclusion of the AU mission in Sudan’s investigation into these recent incidents.

Following the recent reports of the UN Secretary-General, the EU also condemns the considerable rise in abductions, harassment, extortion and looting, and notes that such actions are having a seriously detrimental effect on the vital delivery of humanitarian assistance. The EU therefore calls on all sides, and particularly the SLM/A, to rein in their fighters and to ensure their forces respect international law.

The EU reiterates its commitment to a resolution of all conflicts across the country, including in Darfur; to the implementation of the CPA; and to the establishment of a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Sudan.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

Ref: 12490/05 (Presse 239)