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Addressing legal, constitutional and political issues around the role of the armed forces and other security forces is a vital element of any transition from authoritarian rule to democracy.  We commend all the parties present today for their commitment, recorded in the Framework Political Agreement, to the vision of a single, national, unified professional army, reformed and modernized, under democratic civilian control.

Although there is a wealth of experience from other countries which have transitioned from military to civilian rule, or integrated and reformed their security forces, including in Africa, Europe and Latin America, there is no single template for success. Sudan should choose its own unique path.

Nevertheless, those international experiences do indicate some common principles which improve the chances of success in security sector reform. These include a clear vision shared by all parties; a realistic assessment of timeframes and affordability; and an assurance of dignified outcomes and legal certainty for all stakeholders.

Long-term political commitment underpinned by public engagement and support is also vital. In any democracy, the armed forces, police and other security services exist in order to protect and to serve the people, so the people have a legitimate right to a voice on these issues.

As with other workshops in the Final Phase, this workshop is merely the start of a process, and cannot be expected to come up with detailed long-term plans. We respectfully encourage the participants to focus on building the minimum necessary consensus around both the long-term vision, and the immediate next steps following the creation of a new civilian-led transitional government. More detailed work can and should be taken forward by the National Security and Defense Council under the leadership of the Prime Minister, as envisaged in the Framework Political Agreement. The Juba Peace Agreement will remain an essential point of reference, and we urge all signatories to engage fully in these processes. The Quad and Troika stand ready to offer technical support, while respecting Sudanese leadership.

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We welcome this workshop as another important step on the road to a final political agreement. We applaud the commitment by the signatories of the Framework Political Agreement – both military and civilian – to move rapidly to such an agreement, building on the outcomes of the five workshops.  We continue to urge those who have not yet joined the process to consider how they may do so. Expectations are high, and the UN Security Council is following the matter closely following last week’s briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary General.

Finally, we urge the Sudanese stakeholders represented here today to show determination, good faith, flexibility and pragmatism in order to overcome the remaining challenges, and re-establish a civilian-led transition to democracy.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy in Sudan.