Honourable Peace Commissioner, dear Friends,
Today, the world celebrates the International Day for Peace. For 38 years now, many countries around the world on this day renew their commitment to non-violence, peace-making, and ending wars. Every year, the International Day for Peace marks 24 hours of global ceasefire to provide hope for people living through armed conflicts and to show that worldwide peace is indeed possible.
In 1918 and 1945, Europe emerged from two world wars, which had killed 85 million people. They were two of the deadliest military conflicts in history. Thus, Europe learned the lessons of war and peace the hard way. In order to prevent a Third World War, European leaders embarked on a unique project of economic integration, democracy and human rights. This is one of the most, if not the most successful peace effort in modern history. It became the European Union.
After 60 years of building this European project, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, not so much because of its role in building peace in Europe, but for its role in establishing world peace. Europe not only builds peace at home, it also exports peace and stability throughout the world.
Today, 3 out of 4 Europeans agree that peace and democracy are the most important achievements of the EU. Two thirds of Europeans are also proud that EU was able to achieve peace. And, 6 out of 10 believe the receiving the Nobel Peace Prize has improved Europe’s global image. And that is why I am happy and honoured to welcome you today at this online celebration of World Peace Day in Khartoum.
Since the two great wars, the world has come a long way. Notably, wars between nations have increasingly given way to wars within nations. The resurgence of ethnic, religious and sectarian conflicts, the growth of secessionist movements, have created failed states and have shown that achieving world peace still requires a lot of efforts. In these new wars, more civilians are killed than soldiers.
Moreover, next to these wars within nations, other wars emerge as well, such as the war against poverty, disease, extremism, terrorism, climate change and wars against brutal regimes and terrorism. They add to the challenge of creating a peaceful and prosperous world order. Europe’s efforts to promote peace are therefore now more needed than ever before and that is why Europe is stepping up its support for peace processes around the world.
War brings violence. And violence never brings permanent peace and stability. In 2019, the Sudanese people taught the world a lesson in this respect. The Sudanese people marched peacefully in the streets and peacefully toppled a dictatorship regime and peacefully created a transitional government and embarked on a peaceful process, which was finally signed on 31st August 2020 in Juba.
The European Union and its member states are proud to have been a strong and visible supporter of this unique peaceful revolution from the start. We are determined to stand by the Sudanese people to see this peace process through to the end, where, next to peace, justice and prosperity for all awaits the country and its people.
The European Union believes the agreement of August 2020 is a milestone for the New Sudan. The on-going democratic and economic transition in Sudan holds the promise of peace, stability and prosperity. If the agreement is implemented in good faith and spirit of cooperation, Sudan may thus not only gain its democratic freedom, but may also rise to become a beacon of stability and hope for all peoples in a troubled region of the Horn of Africa. Sudan deserves our support in this endeavour.
Therefore, on this international Day for Peace, I call on all armed movements to join the peace process. The peoples of Sudan should set aside their differences and look for the greater good of the country and its people and truly become one nation of many backgrounds, unified in peace, equality and peace for all. Now is the time, the opportunity is unique and the people’s voice is clear: Sudan wants lasting peace.
Today, on this World Peace Day, we also commemorate and honour the Sudanese men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace. All the martyrs, IDPs, refugees, widows, orphans, broken families are impressive testimony of our responsibility to bring about lasting peace in Sudan.
Today, I am glad and proud to provide a platform to young Sudanese men and women, creative and talented artists, who want to send a message to all Sudanese, Europeans and indeed the whole world. The message is that the Sudanese people want peace, will work together for peace, are committed to peace and that the glorious and peaceful revolution they organized, reflects the real good values of this country in tolerance and love and respect to each other.
These are great values, which we support as the European Union. I am honoured that today, we are also joined by Peace Commissioner Professor Suleiman Eldebailo, who has made such great efforts to deliver peace to Sudan. He will grace this celebration with some of his valuable remarks, which will inspire us to continue our pursuit for peace.
I wish you all Happy Peace Day and I hope that many, many Sudanese will enjoy this concert of young Sudanese artists, in celebration of peace, justice and prosperity for all.
Let the Celebration Begin!