Speaker, South Africa's involvement in Sudan is informed by its strategic foreign policy priority, that peace, security and stability are prerequisites for Africa's socioeconomic development. South Africa is of the view that the resolution of conflict and restoration of peace in the largest country on the continent will not only impact positively on the Horn of Africa, but on the African continent as a whole.
Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA, in 2005 to end the 21-year civil war, South Africa has been actively involved in supporting Sudan in its democratic transformation. South Africa has assisted the government of Southern Sudan to build capacity and develop institutions for governance since 2005.
In addition, South Africa has engaged both the government of national unity and the government of Southern Sudan to strengthen capacity in the police service with a view to developing a culture of democratic policing.
With elections being one of the key elements in the democratic transformation of Sudan, the South African government took a decision to assist the National Elections Commission and to deploy an observer team under the auspices of the African Union. These elections, notwithstanding challenges, are viewed as a positive step towards the democratic transition of Sudan as envisaged in the CPA.
A critical lesson from international involvement in conflict resolution, including South Africa's role in the peace processes, is the need to foster and maintain a common and united international approach regarding the implementation of agreements.
It is also clear that no solutions are possible or sustainable without the active involvement of all parties in the conflict. It is important to emphasise inclusivity and consensus-seeking and to discourage any forms of unilateral action. In January 2011, Sudan will be conducting a historic referendum on the future of the country.
In light of the importance and the sensitivity of the process, it is incumbent on the African Union and the broader international community to work with the parties to reach agreement on the final aspects of the CPA and the post-referendum causes and issues. Failure to agree on these critical issues could set the peace process back and give rise to political tension and instability. In this regard, South Africa will continue to provide support to the AU high-level implementation panel on Darfur under the auspices of former President Thabo Mbeki.
In addition, South Africa will render assistance to the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and other interested parties towards a peaceful resolution to the Darfur conflict. South Africa will also continue its facilitating role as Chair of the Committee on Post- Conflict Reconstruction and Development in the Sudan, as mandated by the African Union. I thank you, hon Speaker. [Applause.]