Minister Bernier Announces Major Canadian Engagement for Peace in Sudan
The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, while visiting Sudan, announced Canadian support for peace efforts in that country, as well as financial support to address the humanitarian and early-recovery needs of people affected by war there.
"Canada is at the forefront of international efforts to promote peace in Sudan, and Darfur in particular. Canadian airlift and other assistance was vital to the operation of the African Union Peacekeeping Force in Darfur, which has now been replaced by UNAMID, the African Union-United Nations hybrid mission," said Minister Bernier. "I am proud to announce that Canada is taking another step, as we will invest up to $275 million in Sudan during 2008-09 in three areas: security, diplomacy and aid. This includes our assessed contributions for UN peacekeeping missions there."
Referring to his meetings on March 25 in Khartoum with the Sudanese Foreign Minister, Deng Alor Kuol, and with presidential adviser Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Minister Bernier said, "I had productive and frank discussions with Sudanese officials in Khartoum. I conveyed to them Canada's concern about the violence and humanitarian crisis in Darfur and the need for swift and full deployment of UNAMID. I called upon them to do their utmost to bring peace to Darfur. I also underscored Canada's concerns about the human rights situation and with the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Southern Sudan."
"Our government is deeply concerned with the security and well-being of the Sudanese people," said the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation. "This major Canadian contribution will alleviate malnutrition, and increase access to water, education and health services in communities welcoming displaced persons in Darfur and across the rest of the country. It will also improve the security of the Sudanese by supporting demining efforts."
Minister Bernier travelled to El Fasher in Darfur on March 26, where he met Canadian peacekeeping troops with UNAMID and visited an internally displaced persons camp.
"Part of our contribution will be $40 million for equipment and training for African troops with the hybrid force, making Canada the second-largest voluntary financial supporter of UNAMID," Minister Bernier added. "Having witnessed first-hand the plight of civilians displaced by fighting in Darfur, I stressed the urgent need to establish security in the region by increasing UNAMID's operating capacity."
The Minister will travel to Juba in Southern Sudan on March 27, where he will meet officials of the Government of Southern Sudan in order to demonstrate Canada's support for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Von: http://news.gc.ca, 27.03.2008