As the CPA completes its fifth year of implementation, I would like to compliment the CPA partners and all the other Sudanese political and civil society actors for their continuing efforts and firm commitment to achieving a stable and enduring peace. Their determination has withstood the several challenges they have encountered in implementing the CPA and in achieving a number of successes.
We must not forget the considerable progress that has been made since the signing of the CPA, above all, in bringing an end to Africa's longest running civil-war which destroyed the lives of millions of Sudanese and left a bitter legacy to overcome. The other fundamental achievement since the signing of the CPA has been the fact that the prospect of another civil war has become unacceptable to both the political leadership and the people in the North and South. While progress in resolving specific issues has at times been slow and difficult which has given rise to tensions and concerns about the potential for escalation and conflict, hopefully, a legislative and a political framework for the resolution of crucially important outstanding issues has begun to emerge.
Nevertheless, 2010, which will be the final full year of the Interim Period of the CPA, will present its challenges, and the responses of the two signatory parties will determine whether or not the CPA is successfully implemented and whether or not the peace will be sustained in Sudan. Accordingly, an historic responsibility devolves upon the leadership of the signatory parties not to allow any difficulties, any impediments, or any perceptions to stand in the way of achieving durable peace. In this regard, vital work remains to be done with regard to border demarcation, DDR, capacity building and security sector and legal reform in order to bring about a conducive environment for the conduct of credible and peaceful elections at all levels of government, popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States and the referenda in South Sudan and Abyei.
In negotiating the road ahead the two signatory parties will confront their biggest challenge in building crucially important mutual confidence and making difficult but essential political compromises on a range of issues that will be central to maintaining long term peace and cooperation whatever the outcome of the referenda may be. They will also need to ensure that agreements once reached are implemented. Courage and vision will be called for. However daunting these challenges may appear to be, there is hope in the fact that the past year has already shown us that crises, however difficult and threatening they may seem, can be resolved when the leaders rise to the challenge of preserving the CPA and sustaining the peace.
Finally, I would like to reiterate UNMIS' firm commitment to continue its full support to the implementation of the CPA and it's readiness to assist the parties as they tackle the several challenges that may lie ahead.
My hopes and best wishes are for the people of Sudan in the year ahead.