U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he fully supports the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended Sudan's decades-long civil war. He says he told southern Sudan's president that the CPA is essential for achieving peace throughout the country. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Juba, Sudan.
Juba was in a festive mood. The people of the city came out in large numbers to welcome the U.N. leader with song and dance as he began a tightly packed day of official meetings and public speeches. Mr. Ban's first stop was the tomb of the former leader of the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army, John Garang. He died in a plane crash shortly after becoming President of southern Sudan in 2005.
In a subsequent meeting with Salva Kiir, who assumed the presidency after Mr. Garang's death, Mr. Ban invoked Mr. Garang's name and memory to pledge his support for the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
"John Garang was a great leader. He was a man of uncommon vision. A man determined to unify this country. The CPA is the lasting vision of John Garang. It is now the duty of people in the North and South and the international community and the United Nations to implement this CPA as soon as possible," he said.
The peace agreement, signed between the northern Islamist government and the southern rebels in 2005, provided for the creation of a unity government as well as power and wealth sharing arrangements. But officials in south Sudan say efforts to implement key parts of the accord with the Sudanese government have failed, and they have called on the international community to intervene.
President Kiir welcomed the Secretary-General and said he was pleased that he came to Juba to see for himself the situation on the ground. "What I would just want to tell you is that I have briefed him about the progress that we have made and of issues that we have postponed, that we have not foreseen. He has taken note of what we have noted," he said.
Later in the day, the Secretary-General told a group of students that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is the blueprint for long-term peace in the country. At an address at Juba University, he told the students they represent the promise of a new Sudan, a country at peace.
He said it was they who, ultimately, will work to build a lasting peace.