Speech by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the opening of the trilateral Business Day with the Sudan and South Sudan

29.01.2013 - Speech

--Translation of advance text--

Fellow Foreign Minister Karti,
Ambassador Osman,
Dr Liebing,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome you today to this trilateral Business Day with the Sudan and South Sudan here in the Weltsaal of the Federal Foreign Office.

I’d like to thank the German-African Business Association and the Ghorfa Chamber of Commerce for their dedication in hosting this conference. I’m delighted that so many business representatives from the Sudan, South Sudan and Germany have joined us at today’s conference.

At the same time that we are meeting here today, in Addis Ababa the Sudan and South Sudan are negotiating on the issues that still need to be resolved to enable them to co‑exist peacefully in the future. And the pursuit of a balanced and peaceful society is always bound up closely with economic development, business networks and social participation. The implementation of the agreements that have already been made is vital to the two countries’ ability to work productively with each other.

South Sudan and the Sudan have already come a long way. In July 2011, under the German Presidency, the United Nations Security Council cleared the way for the independent state of South Sudan to be accepted into the community of nations.

We all remember South Sudanese independence as a historic moment, not only for the Sudan and South Sudan, but for Africa and the entire world.

Both sides have committed to ceasing all hostilities and working together to address crucial and pressing issues such as oil production. In particular, cross-border traffic and trade should resume and increase. Both sides are engaged in establishing a demilitarized zone along the border and have called upon UNISFA, the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei, to supervise the implementation of the existing agreements.

Germany will continue to support and cultivate the peace process and the work of the UNISFA mission as well as development in the Sudan, South Sudan and Abyei.

This support for peace, reconciliation and economic development takes place in the spirit of the United Nations resolutions. It continues what was begun with the July 2011 UN Security Council decision.

Of course, we will also keep pushing urgently for the problems in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Jonglei, as well as in other places and regions, to be resolved as quickly as possible.

The German Government is engaged in the peace process between the Sudan and South Sudan because the future of the people there is at stake. The region’s vast potential can only be tapped to people’s advantage if key conditions are fulfilled.

Good governance, the rule of law and broad-ranging respect for human and civil rights are absolute prerequisites for a good future in the two countries.

These prerequisites also include enabling civil society and media organizations to do their work freely and without hindrance. These are all issues that we address openly and pointedly with our partners.

A region’s economic development is itself a contribution to stability. Only successful economic development can banish the demon of extremism and violence. Poverty and suffering provide fertile soil for extremism, intolerance, and ideologies that can give rise to terrorism.

That is why forward-looking stabilization policy treats both political and economic approaches as essential. Only through economic development, only through social opportunities for people – especially for those in need – can we stop extremist ideologies and vulnerability to terrorism from taking root.

This conference here in Berlin is blazing a new path. The international community is watching this event with keen interest. This meeting is a chance to show how useful cooperation in a spirit of partnership can be for positive economic development in the Sudan and South Sudan.

Without development there can be no security. Without security there can be no development. The economic and social prospects of every individual, when taken together, will determine their country’s future. This business conference is a contribution to the peaceful development of South Sudan and the Sudan.

The path to peace, reconciliation and cooperation sometimes leads through difficult compromises and concessions, but cooperation is always a more promising route than rivalry and mistrust. We in Europe have learned this from our continent’s difficult history. And now that I have visited Khartoum and Juba, I believe that the lessons we Europeans draw from our history are just as resonant in your two capitals.

The firm conviction that the outcome of cooperation is always preferable to that of confrontation is the core concept of this conference.

The Sudan and South Sudan need to come together again, crossing the border that was created in July 2011. Trade and traffic, investment and exchange need to be promoted if we hope to make development and peace possible.

We know that there are disagreements and differences of opinion among the three of us and between the two of you. The path of resolving these differences is a path of dialogue and exchange and conversation. You have shown this by sending representatives of both your countries to sit beside one another here at the Federal Foreign Office. This also sends a message to people – a message of encouragement, a message that reconciliation is possible.

Of course, in the past year in Khartoum there have been events that have been deeply painful to us here in Germany. Mr Minister, we have spoken about this. This makes it all the more significant that you understood us and reacted immediately.

Freedom and peace belong together. Freedom has a daughter. It is tolerance. And it has a son: respect. Tolerance and respect are at the heart of relations not only between individuals, but also between nations, peoples and religions.

Let us work together in the hope that the border that was drawn in July 2011 no longer divides the people of the Sudan and South Sudan, but rather unites them.

This is my hope for you and for us all.

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