Garang's speech

 at the signing ceremony of S. Sudan peace deal

Sunday January 9. 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2005 year of peace

 

The year 2005 will mark the year of peace not only for the whole of Sudan but equally throughout our sub-region and Africa as a whole.

 

On this joyous day and occasion I greet and salute the people of Sudan from Nimule in the far south to Halfa in the far north, and from Geneinah in the far west to Hamashkoreb and Port Sudan in the east. I greet and salute all the marginalized rural people in Sudan who have suffered in dignified silence for so long. I greet and salute all the farmers, workers and professionals who are the creators of wealth but who have no wealth. And who have seen their living conditions deteriorate over the years.

 

I greet you on the occasion of this peace, which we have just signed, all the Sudanese women everywhere. Women in Sudan, as everywhere in the world, are the marginalized of the marginalized, whose suffering goes beyond description. The Sudanese rural woman, for example, gets up at five o'clock in the morning to walk five kilometres just to get five gallons of water after five hours' walk, spends another five hours working on the family farm and five more hours making the family meal and then she goes to sleep.

 

I greet and salute all our students on this occasion of the peace agreement, all our youths who have borne the brunt of the 21 years of this war, and to whom the future belongs, and urge them to invest in their future and that of the nation in the post-conflict period.

Compatriots, fellow countrymen and women, congratulations - Mabruk all mabruk alaykum. Your movement, the SPLM-SPLA, and the National Congress Party government have delivered to you a comprehensive peace agreement. A just and honourable peace which we have signed today and which you have all witnessed. This is the best Christmas and New Year's gift for the Sudanese people, to our region, and to Africa for 2005.

 

Agreement signals "second republic of the new Sudan"

 

With this peace agreement, we have ended the longest war in Africa - 39 years of two wars since August 1955 out of 50 years of our independence. And if we add the 11 years of Anyanya II, then Sudan had been at war within itself for 49 years, which is the whole of its independence period.

 

With this peace agreement, the SPLM and the National Congress Party government have brought half a century of war to a dignified end - congratulations.

 

With this peace agreement, there will be no more bombs falling from the sky on innocent children and women. Instead of the cries of children and the wailing of women and the pain of the last 21 years of war, peace will bless us once more with hearing the happy giggling of children and the enchanting ululation of women who are excited in happiness for one reason or another.

 

At the political level this agreement affirms the right of self determination for the people of southern Sudan and the right of popular consultation for the people of the Nuba mountains and Blue Nile so that the unity of the Sudan becomes based on the free will of the people instead of on wars and the forced and false unity of the last 49 years.

 

This peace agreement will change the Sudan for ever. Sudan cannot and will never be the same again as this peace agreement will engulf the country in democratic and fundamental transformations, instead of being engulfed in wars as it has always been for the last 184 years - since 1821, when our country was first invaded by outside powers and exposed to the ravages of the slave trade and predatory commerce of all sorts, and since before independence from 1955 in civil wars.

 

This peace agreement coincides with Sudan's 49th independence celebrations. And I agree with what President Bashir said on 31 December [2004] in Naivasha, when we signed the last two documents of the comprehensive peace agreement - that Sudan's independence on 1 January 1956 was not complete because [word indistinct] south. The war we are ending today first broke out in Torit on 18 August 1955. Four months before independence. And so the south, like other marginalized parts of the Sudan were really not part of that independence. With this peace agreement we begin the process of achieving real independence by all Sudanese people and for all the Sudanese people.

 

The signing of this comprehensive peace agreement thus marks the end of what I will correctly call the first republic of the whole Sudan that has lasted 49 years from 1 January 1956 to 31 December 2004, when we signed the last two agreements on comprehensive cease-fire and implementation modalities. And at a personal note, exactly 42 years to the date when I first left Sudan for the bush on 31 December 1962 to join the first war. I hope I will not go to the bush again.

 

This peace agreement therefore signals the beginning of Sudan's second republic of the new Sudan. From here on Sudan for the first time will be a country voluntarily united in justice, honour and dignity for all its citizens regardless of their race, regardless of their religion, regardless of their gender or else if the country fails to rise to this challenge of moving away from the old Sudan to the new Sudan of free and equal citizens, then the union shall be dissolved amicably and peacefully through the right of self determination at the end the six years of the interim period.

 

I call on the Sudanese people to join this peace agreement, to join the SPLM and the National Congress Party in the peace process, because this peace agreement belongs to them. I does not belong to John Garang or the SPLM leadership, it does not belong to [Vice-President] Ali Uthman Taha or President Al-Bashir or to the National Congress Party. This agreement belongs to all of the Sudan, to its neighbours, to Africa, to the Arab world and indeed to the rest of the world. That is why you see this big attendance today, because this peace belongs to all of them.

 

Although the comprehensive peace agreement was negotiated by two parties as a matter of necessity and practicality in order to end the war in the first place, and now that the war is ended, I call on all the Sudanese people and their political forces to build consensus around this comprehensive peace agreement, and use it to end war in other parts of Sudan and to relaunch the Sudan to the promised land of the new Sudan of progress and equality, of opportunity for all Sudanese citizens without distinction.

 

Tribute to "martyrs"; release of POWs

 

Finally and last but not least, I salute all our martyrs and all wounded heroes on both sides. I salute and congratulate all officers, NCOs and soldiers on both sides of the conflict for their heroic sacrifices. I pay tribute and thank our civil population who provided the logistics for the war, especially those in the SPLM-administered areas, for without their contribution this comprehensive peace agreement would not have been possible. It is because of the role played by our civil population in the long war that we have invited some 50 chiefs and traditional leaders representing our civil society at the grassroots. We have also invited the SPLM military band to represent the SPLA rank and file.

 

On this joyous occasion of the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement, as you will recall that the SPLA has always released prisoners of war, we have released so far more than 3,000 prisoners of war at various times over the last 21 years. I here as of today order the immediate release of all prisoners of war that are still under the custody and care of the SPLA.

 

Moment for Tsunami victims

 

It is fitting, as we celebrate this momentous historical landmark, to pause to remember the thousands of fellow human beings who recently perished in both Asia and Africa in one of the planet's worst natural disasters of the modern era.

 

Our hearts go out in grief and solidarity to the peoples of south east Asia in this their hour of tragedy in the hands of a merciless earthquake and tsunamis. As we share the pain and suffering of our fellow human beings in all the countries that have been devastated by the earthquake and the accompanying tsunamis or tidal waves, we also urge the international community, after it has pledged so generously to help alleviate the suffering and rebuild shattered lives in the affected region, to spare some resources to help post-conflict Sudan recover and develop. We therefore look forward to a massive turn out of donors with their pledges at the prospective Oslo donors conference for Sudan which is scheduled soon.

 

"An all-inclusive Sudanese state"

 

Excellencies, compatriots, fellow citizens. In order to understand and appreciate the present historical moment of the signing of the Sudan comprehensive peace agreement, I beg your indulgence to allow me to talk briefly about the problem that we are solving now and to which [Ugandan] President [Yoweri] Museveni referred to before as the problem of people with the turbines and people with ostrich feathers.

 

As I said before, Sudan has been at war within itself for the whole of 49 years of its independence. And as we end this war today, another serious one is intensifying in the western Darfur region while another threatens in eastern Sudan.

 

Why? What is the problem? Why should a community subject itself to generations of war and suffering in so many parts of the country?

 

In our view, the attempts by various Khartoum-based regimes since 1956 to build a monolithic Arab Islamic state with the exclusion of other parameters of the Sudanese diversity constitutes the fundamental problem of the Sudan and defines the Sudanese conflict. The Sudanese state hitherto has excluded the vast majority of the Sudanese people from governance and therefore their marginalization in the political, economic and social fields.

This provoked resistance by the excluded. There have been wars and there continues to be wars in the Sudan simply because the majority of the Sudanese are not stakeholders in the governance.

 

The solution to the fundamental problem of Sudan is to involve an all-inclusive Sudanese state which will uphold the new Sudan. A new political Sudanese dispensation in which all Sudanese are equally stakeholders irrespective of their religion, irrespective of their race, tribe or gender - and if this does not work, then to look for other solutions, such as splitting the country. But we believe that a new Sudan is possible for there are many people in northern Sudan who share with us in SPLM/A, including the National Congress Party, who believe in the universal ideals of humanity, the ideals of liberty, of freedom, justice and equality, of opportunity for all Sudanese citizens.

 

As is the case in the south, the events in Darfur, eastern Sudan and elsewhere have made it clear that we must have an all-inclusive state at the national level and full devolution of power to the various regions of the Sudan, for otherwise it is unlikely that the country would stand a chance of remaining united. But this all-inclusive Sudanese state which we have called the new Sudan must have some basis, for example in history, that makes us one country or one nation. The question is whether there is the basis for the Sudan as a country, and my answer has also been yes, there is. That is, this affirmative answer to this question has guided us and sustained the SPLM for the last 21 years until today. For this purpose I have always wanted to go down the corridors of history and I want to do this very briefly. Again, begging your indulgence, and taking it for that matter - I am guerrilla, I take my time you see.

 

Move forward with the momentum of 5,000 years

 

My presentation, our presentation in the SPLM is that we, the Sudanese, are indeed a historical people and that the new Sudan has an anchor in history. If we cannot find an anchor in history, then we either create one or dissolve the union peacefully. Sometimes it is necessary to go back in order to gain momentum in order to go forward. President Museveni called it something in his language. That is why you see sheep, you see rams moving backward first when they fight. They gain momentum before they lock horns. Recently, in southeast Asia, it was noticed that the tragedy of the earthquake and the tsunamis. First, the sea receded back, and then came forward with devastating force.

 

We very much need to do this exercise in the Sudan. To go back thousands of years so as to rediscover ourselves. Gain momentum and then move forward with the momentum of 5,000 years to propel ourselves and snatch ourselves into history once again. And we have a very long history indeed. Peoples and kingdoms have lived, thrived and disappeared in the geographical area that constitutes the present modern Sudan.

 

Many people will be surprised that in the Bible, in the Old Testament, the Sudan was part of the Garden of Eden, where it is stated in Genesis Chapter 2, Verse 8 to 14, that the Garden of Eden was watered by four rivers. One of them is the White Nile, it is Pessian in the Bible. The one is the Gihon and there is a Gihon Hotel in Addis Ababa. It is the Blue Nile. And to the east by the Tigris and Euphrates. So the Garden of Eden was not a small vegetable garden. It was a vast piece of territory. My own village happens to be just east of the Nile. So I fall in the Garden of Eden. It will surprise many of you that the Prophet Moses was probably married to a Sudanese named Siphorah, as narrated in the book of Numbers.

 

From the Biblical days, we move to the ancient Sudanese kingdoms of Awach, of Ritat, of Anu, of Maida, that are believed to be connected with the present day Dinka, Shiluk, Nuer, other Nilotic tribes and the peoples of central and western Sudan. And at the corridors of history we move to the Kingdom of Merowe [Arabic Marawi] that bequeathed an iron civilization to the rest of Africa. Merhawi got transformed into the Christian kingdoms of Nubia. Then followed the spread of Islam and Arab migrations into the Sudan and subsequent collapse of the last Nubian Christian kingdoms of Makuria, Alawa and Soba in 1504, followed by the rise on the etches of the Islamic Kingdom Sinnar, which was founded by the Fuinsh and Shiluk people.

 

The rest of Sudanese history is familiar to all of us from the Islamic kingdoms of Sinar to the Teko Egyptian occupation, to the first Islamic Mahadisi state, to Anglo-Egyptian condominium to independence in 1956 and the Anyanya movement to 1955 to 1972 to the SPLM/SPLA in 1983, to the second Islamic state in the Sudan of Ingas, with which we negotiated from 1989 and to the comprehensive which we signed today. This is the history of the Sudan and this is how we got here. It has been a long journey of more than 5,000 years to reach Naivasha and Nyayo Stadium today. It is important to know and appreciate where we came from in order to better be able to chart the way forward with the momentum of historical force. That was Sudan in history.

 

National unity through pluralism and democracy

 

As for the contemporary Sudan, we have more than 500 different ethnic groups speaking more than 130 different languages. We have two major religions in the country - Islam and Christianity, and traditional African religious. Our contention in the SPLM/SPLA is that the Sudan belongs equally to all the peoples that now inhabit the country and its history, its diversity and richness is the common heritage of all Sudanese. The comprehensive peace agreement that we have signed today is based on this historical and contemporary objective realities of Sudan. And by implementing the provisions of the comprehensive peace agreement that we signed today, we (?evolve) an all-inclusive form of governance that ensures that all Sudanese are equally stakeholders irrespective of where they come from and this is what will keep our country together.

 

Furthermore, by adapting and applying the form of governance and wealth-sharing arrangements stipulated in the comprehensive peace agreement to other parts of the country with similar afflictions as the south such as Darfur, eastern Sudan and other parts of the country, we can once again become a great nation that is voluntarily united in diversity rather than divided by diversity and forcibly kept under a coerced and fake unity.

 

This is the context and the value of the comprehensive peace agreement we have signed today. It provides the Sudan with a real and perhaps the last opportunity to make a real paradigm shift from the old Sudan of exclusivity to the new Sudan of inclusivity achieved not through force but through the exercise of the right of self-determination.

 

Viewed this way the right of self-determination, which is one of the cornerstones of the comprehensive peace agreement, is a blessing rather then curse as many northern Sudanese fear. I want to assure you that we will all work together with the National Congress Party and other political forces in the Sudan so that we develop a new paradigm so that we keep our country together.

 

Excellencies, distinguished guests, compatriots, ladies and gentlemen, bear with me. I am almost finished. The transformation which shall be engendered by this agreement, which I have alluded to shall be reflected first and foremost in democratic (?mutation) and to which the SPLM is fully committed. Surely by democratic we do not mean return to the sham procedural democracy of the past, which was a camouflage for the perpetuation of vested interest. In that sham democracy civil rights were subject to the whims of rulers. The majority of Sudanese regions remained peripheral to the central power and was treated as an expendable quantum only to be manipulated through political trickery and double-dealing.

 

The transformation envisaged in the comprehensive peace agreement puts an end to all that since it represents a political and socioeconomic paradigm shift which entails the recognition of political diversity by guaranteeing full freedom for political pluralism. The entrenchment of human rights and peoples' rights in the constitution, the upholding of the independence of the judiciary, including the creation of an inviolable constitutional court and commitment to the rule of law by the government and the governed, and the establishment of a truly independent and competent civil service at all levels of government. It also conceptualizes and seeks to realize a recreation of the legislature in a manner that shall ensure rigorous checks and balances and guarantees powers to the government of southern Sudan and to the states powers which can neither be withdrawn nor impaired by other centres of power.

 

Eventually, the comprehensive peace agreement ordains that within a maximum of three to four years governance at all levels shall be mandated by the supreme will of the people through internationally monitored free and fair elections.

 

Economic and social development

 

Excellencies, distinguished guests, compatriots, ladies and gentlemen, the long war to which we have put an end to today impoverished our citizens and reduced our country with tremendous resources to destitution. Without claiming that the new economic paradigm shift, which I have alluded to, is the ultimate panacea for curing the nation's ills, it provides at least a vision and modalities to address the problems besetting the nation in the here and now - while I leave the world hereafter to those who claim to have divine qualifications.

 

In southern Sudan and other war-affected areas, as well as in the slums of our major cities, the baseline from which we shall start development is shocking and I will not bore here with the statistics of the status of these parameters such as prevalence of child malnutrition, primary education, mortality rates among children, rate of maternal mortality, rate of births attended skilled health staff, access to improved water sources. These statistics in southern Sudan, in particular and other war-affected areas are among the worst in the world. To combat this pervasive and humiliating poverty and political disenfranchisement, a general policy framework has chartered out and published in a booklet entitled SPLM Strategic Framework for War to Peace Transition.

 

In summary, the SPLM shall articulate and implement a social, political and economic development strategy and programmes that include the following highlights:

 

First, the SPLM shall adopt an economic development paradigm that emphasizes growth through rural development and transformation of traditional agriculture that is integrated with agro-industries. We must transform the present subsistence traditional agriculture in southern Sudan and other areas through technological innovations, making agriculture the engine of growth. And agriculture as the engine of growth will literally be fuelled by oil - the building of dikes for flood control and canals and underground water development for irrigation will be priorities to guaranteeing crop production.

 

Secondly, the SPLM will change the urban-based and centre of focus development paradigm in favour of rural and decentralized development. The SPLM vision, policy and slogan shall be to take the towns to people in the countryside rather than people to towns, where they end up in slums as happened in many countries with the consequent deterioration in their quality of life. Rural small town planning and rural electrification will therefore be priorities.

 

Thirdly the SPLM shall emphasize and develop new ways of delivery of social services. As we move to the new era of peace, the people of Sudan, particularly the war-affected communities, face formidable social and economic problems and also tremendous opportunities. The major problems there require immediate attention fall in the areas of health, education and water. We must find new ways to rapidly and efficiently deliver these services. For example, constructing windmills all over rural Sudan to provide clean drinking water and build micro-dams for generating small scale hydro-electric power for rural towns as well as the use of solar, wind and bio-gas energy sources.

 

Fourthly, the SPLM shall exert all efforts to build physical infrastructure - roads, rail and river transport and telecommunications. There has never been any tarmac road in the new Sudan since creation, since the days of Adam and Eve, and this is an area the size of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi put together. The SPLM's vision for transport infrastructure is at three levels - to develop regional linkages within southern Sudan and with the neighbours and with northern Sudan and to involve the state and local communities in this infrastructure building.

 

Fifthly and finally, in terms of social and cultural parameters, the SPLM shall adopt the strategies and programmes that shall restore and achieve dignity of people of the Sudan through social and cultural empowerment. Programmes will include information and media, radio, TV, print, promotion of new Sudan art, songs, dances, theatre of new Sudan, sports, development of local languages and cultures by the various communities of the Sudan, archives of the struggle and modern history of Sudan, archaeology, antiquities and ancient history of Sudan, Africa and the Middle East so that we can find our rightful place in the world.

 

"Building national consensus"

 

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, to conclude, the comprehensive peace agreement and safeguards, full compliance with the requirements of the agreement, the SPLM will work in partnership with the National Congress Party. The objectives of this partnership is to ensure a sincere implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement in both letter and spirit and to provide, within the parameters of this agreement, permanent solutions to the problems inherent in Sudan's cultural, social and political diversity.

 

Failure to appreciate the wealth in diversity was another cause of national crisis. For diversity, viewed positively is a mutually [word indistinct] phenomenon and ultimately a source of national cohesion and strength. Viewed otherwise, that is as a source of dissimilarity or distinction, it shall lead inevitably to the ultimate disintegration of the country as threatens today and which at all costs we must avoid.

 

Furthermore, the partnership does not mean abandonment of political allies by any of the two parties. However, this partnership, once safeguarded in the new political dispensation, shall in effect nurture the democratic transformation and political multiplicity, which by their very nature may lead to diverse alliances. But so long as those alliances are based on commitment to the letter and spirit of the peace agreements that will put an end to the longest war in Africa, alliances become assets not liabilities. It is our submission that political struggle in the Sudan shall henceforth translate into competing visions of peace, progress and development and never into the use of force or the threat of the use of force.

 

The SPLM, ladies and gentlemen, will ensure that the new political dispensation is wide enough to accommodate all legitimate political and social forces in the country. It is therefore our hope to achieve popular consensus on those agreements. As the movement that has been fighting against the marginalization of others, we shall not tolerate the exclusion of anybody from this process. The parties to the comprehensive peace agreement share this conviction and we have included in the agreement inclusiveness. In this regard the SPLM will play its role at the national level to work with the National Congress Party and other political forces to ensure full inclusiveness.

 

While the SPLM and the National Congress Party shall be major partners in the initial interim government unity, our understanding of partnership is well rooted in inclusiveness, which means to bring on board all political forces in the Sudan, chief among them the political parties within the National Congress Party umbrella and the political parties within the National Democratic Alliance, which we call upon to complete negotiations with the government of Sudan based on the Jeddah agreement that are holding negotiations in Cairo and so that they get their share in the government of national unity and participate and participate fully in all the national commissions stipulated in the comprehensive peace agreement, especially the national constitution review commission.

 

Finally, on issues that concern southern Sudanese, I want to say a little on south-south dialogue. On building national consensus, the SPLM will also spearhead the south-south dialogue. This dialogue, above all, is to heal wounds and restore fraternity and mutual respect so as to create a healthier political environment that is accommodative all southern Sudanese political forces, both at the level of southern Sudan and at the national level. But south-south dialogue is not only about power. It is about all and (?enviable) democratic exercise based on mature and selfless political discourse among southern Sudanese with a view of galvanizing all our human material resources for the service of our people.

 

Democracy, whether in the north or south, should no longer and solely be a struggle for power but rather as a competition on providing good governance, development and delivering social services for our people and restoring the dignity and wealth of every man and woman. Yet in terms of power-sharing in southern Sudan, I want to assure all that there will be enough room for everybody, including those who have not been associated with theSPLM/SPLA. Even those who for one reason or another were opposed or against the SPLM, there will room for everybody.

 

I want in conclusion to quote, in terms of this inclusiveness, the gospel according to St John that says in St John Chapter 14, Verse 1 and 2: Do not be worried and upset, Jesus told them, believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my father's house and I'm going to prepare a place for you. I would not say if it were not true. So I say to all southern Sudanese on the occasion of this signing of this comprehensive peace agreement, that there will be many rooms in an SPLM-based government in southern Sudan and all are welcome.

 

I also want to assure southern Sudanese in general that the comprehensive peace agreement will not be dishonoured like other agreements that Able Aliao [phonetic] has written a book about entitled: Too Many Agreements Dishonoured. The biggest challenge will be implementation of the peace agreement but we, both the SPLM and the National Congress Party, are committed, fully committed to the implementation of this agreement. There are both external and internal guarantees, organic and external guarantees that will ensure the implementation of this agreement.

 

I want also to assure the SPLA that the experience of Anyanya I will not repeat itself because there are many SPLA soldiers that are worried they will be left by peace. This regards the issue of funding of the armed forces. We solved the issue of funding of the armed adequately. The joint integrated units, component of the SPLA, shall be funded by the government of national unity, not as a separate army from the mother SPLM but as part and parcel of it with the same wage and living conditions.

 

The mother SPLA, on the other hand, will be funded by the government of southern Sudan and the government of southern Sudan has been empowered by the comprehensive peace agreement to raise financial resources from both local and foreign sources and to seek international assistance for that purpose. So there is no reason for concern or alarm.

 

As for those who in the Diaspora, I would like to address them and assure them that the government of southern Sudan as well as the government of national unity will their skills and I take the opportunity of this forum to appeal to all our Diaspora to return home and build our country. As I said before our house has many rooms and Diaspora are welcome to return home and fully participate in the development of southern Sudan, the two areas - Abiey and the whole of Sudan.

 

Tributes and acknowledgements

 

Last but not least, I would like to pay tribute to our fallen heroes and martyrs who sacrificed in order for us celebrate this day on both sides of the conflict. Those, ladies and gentlemen, are the objectives for whose achievements I have exerted all my faculties and energies and efforts, and for which we will cooperate and work together with the National Congress Party. We move in a new direction and achieve the cohesion and the unity of our people and the unity of our country.

 

Finally, let me pay tribute and salute the courage of the party to reach this agreement and in particular President Umar Hasan al-Bashir and Ustadh Ali Uthman Taha, with whom I sat for 16 months and negotiated this agreement. I salute and congratulate them. I also congratulate the two delegations of the SPLM and the government of Sudan and of course Gen Sumbeiywo and before him Ambassador Daniel Mboya, who was the special envoy, also before them, Zachary Onyango, Bethwel Kiplagat, and foreign minister then Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka and now Minister [for Regional Cooperation John] Koech and other ministers in the Kenya government, who have contributed so much; and to the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] envoys of the five countries of IGAD, the facilitators of IGAD, the secretariat. I thank them and congratulate them for guiding the peace process to this successful conclusion.

 

I would also like to thank and commend the IGAD heads of state, ministers, peace envoys and indeed the populace who have been with us through thick and thin, guiding, advising, cajoling and sometimes threatening to abandon the process. They deserve praise. Our thanks go to them and also to the bravery of the people of east Africa, the Horn, the Arab world and the wider international community, who on numerous occasions either volunteered to bring peace to Sudan or did encourage in meaningful manners the ongoing peace process. In this connection, the Nigerian efforts of Abuja I and Abuja II, the joint Egyptian-Libyan initiative, the African Union and the Arab League efforts, who exerted efforts for post-conflict reconstruction.

 

I must also mention a few of the very many names to thank for their contribution to the Sudan peace process, among them are eminent people like President Obasanjo, President Babangida of Nigeria, President Kaunda, Masire, Machel, Nujoma, Chissano, Rawlings, who is here with us today, Mandela of South Africa, Mubarak of Egypt, Qadhafi, Bouteflika, who is here with us today, Jimmy Carter, the late James Grant, and OLS, that has saved millions of lives since 1989, President Bush and his Secretary of State Colin Powell and his special envoy Senator Danforth and Andrew Natsos of USAID, both houses of the US Congress, Prime Minister Tony Blair and his envoys, ambassadors Allan Gulty and McFell, the UN secretary-general and his envoys, ambassadors Sahnun and Pronk, who are here, and a special friend of the Sudan peace process, the Norwegian Minister Hilder Johnson and finally, last but not least, the leaders of this region, led by then President Daniel arap Moi and now by President Mwai Kibaki, President Museveni, [Ethiopian] Prime Minister [Meles] Zenawi, [Eritrean] President [Isayas] Afewerki and the wananchi [citizens] of Kenya and east Africa mzima [as a whole].

 

And finally I pay tribute and thanks to my dear wife Rebecca and the wives of all my colleagues and comrades in the struggle for their patience and contributions, for without their help the bush would not have been bearable. My sincere thanks to all these people. I pay tribute finally to all the Sudanese people, to whom this peace belongs and I say to them and I say to them mobruk ol lekum [congratulations].

 

Thank you very much.