Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen, I am pleased to be present here on behalf of the Government of India at Nairobi in this stadium on this historic occasion to witness the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. This signing ceremony is symbolic of the enduring unity of the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic peoples of the Sudan.
This historic Peace Agreement negotiated between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM under the aegis of the Inter Governmental Authority on Development chaired by the Kenyan President, is witness to the end of two decades of conflict and the peaceful solution through negotiation on a variety of issues of discord, resulting in eight comprehensive protocols.
India reiterates its continuing support to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Sudan. The Peace Agreement is evidence of the high statesmanship of the leaders of the Government of Sudan and the SPLM. India will continue to work with the Sudan in this path of further political devolution and economic progress and development.
India shares with the African countries a common historic heritage and confronts the same development problems for our peoples. India's substantial bilateral relations with the African nations covering many sectors over many decades, have been strengthened with the formation of the African Union, a union that integrates the continent.
India and Africa are involved in several initiatives which are of mutual benefit. Our commitment to the development of Africa was underlined by our pledge of $ 200 million for the NEPAD; and a Credit Line of $ 500 million to the Team nine initiative in West Africa. Our space agency Indian Space Research Organisation is working on our Presidential initiative to enhance connectivity in the areas of education and telecommunications as well as development programmes such as health, environment etc. through satellite linkages.
I reiterate on behalf of the Government and people of India our continuing commitment to the unity, integrity and development of the Sudan, following on this historic peace agreement under the aegis of the IGAD, our gratitude to our hosts, the Kenyan Government which has played a key role in ensuring the success of this peace process in this strategic region of Africa and our commitment to enhancing our relations with all African nations and the African Union.
January 9, 2005
Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi