Sudan: Joint NGO Statement on US Policy, 4/30/99

Sudan: Joint NGO Statement on US Policy, 4/30/99


American branches of CARE, Oxfam and Save the Children ask US Government to re-establish diplomatic contact with Government of Sudan, forge comprehensive cease-fire, gain access to Nuba Mountains

Contact: Cynthia Glocker, CARE USA, (404) 681-4579, ext. 453
Wendy Driscoll, CARE, (254-2) 716 724 in Nairobi Peggy Connolly, Oxfam America, (617) 728-2403 Renee Wessels, Save the Children USA, (202) 530-4375

WHAT: The American branches of three leading humanitarian organizations today called on the United States government to change its policy toward Sudan. In a joint statement delivered to senior US government policymakers, including US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, CARE USA, Oxfam America and Save the Children USA asked the United States to adopt a "Peace First" policy aimed at bringing Sudan's decades-long war to an end, and warned of a "catastrophic renewal of famine and war" in the absence of significant progress towards peace.

The three organizations noted with interest today the announcement by the Clinton administration that it will consider food and medicine shipments on a case by case basis to Sudan and other countries that are presently under economic sanctions.

"The international community-including the United States government-has not applied sufficient priority to this, Africa's worst war," the agencies said in the joint statement. "The war is one of the major causes of instability in the entire region. If it continues, the only guarantee will be the death and suffering of many more innocent people both in Sudan and in affected neighboring countries."

US POLICY: Specifically, the agencies called on the US government to:

1. Promote a comprehensive cease-fire before the current limited cease-fire ends in mid-May. 2. Support and reinforce the latest efforts by the IGAD Partners Forum (IPF) and the United Nations to strengthen the peace process, including helping the Partners Forum and the United Nations to establish a timetable for a serious peace process. 3. Work with the Partners Forum and the United Nations to establish the means to objectively monitor adherence by all parties to the peace process timetable, and hold them accountable. 4. Re-establish regular US diplomatic contacts with Sudanese officials (government) that emphasize peace as the primary way to achieve stability and development in the region. 5. Engage in a range of actions to help persuade the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and its regional allies to accept a comprehensive cease-fire and increase their commitment to the peace process. 6. Support continued access to all communities for humanitarian assistance, particularly in the Nuba Mountains. 7. Find ways to help bring into this process those parties currently marginalised both in north and south Sudan. 8. Commit to humanitarian assistance, particularly that which will stimulate longer-term development as the peace process moves forward. 9. Seek out and support prominent Sudanese individuals and third party nations with influential contacts in the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement to find a way out of the current stalemate between the warring parties. 10. Take a leading role in persuading all third parties to terminate their financial and military assistance to all sides in the war.

The agencies noted some positive actions by the US government to date, including an exchange of letters between Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering and the Sudanese foreign minister, Mustapha Osman, and preliminary attempts to strengthen the peace process.

"But the US must put more impetus behind a serious and urgent peace process," the agencies noted. "...Peace is the only hope for progress and to prevent further catastrophe."

REFERENDUM: The agencies stated their support for a referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan, but noted that "self-determination should not be seen as synonymous with secession, but rather as a process to consider all options, including sustainable unity."

The agencies stressed that the Sudanese government, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, as well as various Sudanese militia and warlords were pursuing an unwinnable war, and noted that humanitarian assistance alone is not capable of stemming the conflict.

SUDAN: Sudan has been devastated by a civil war for 32 of the last 43 years. According to some estimates two million people have died. This is more than the combined casualties of this decade's conflicts in Bosnia, Chechnya, Somalia and Rwanda. In 1998 alone, an estimated 60,000 Sudanese were killed by famine-related diseases. Many more have suffered sickness, injury, displacement, and loss of assets and livelihoods. The United Nations recently forecast 2.4 million people currently at risk in five areas of south Sudan, including Bahr el Ghazal, and an estimated 4 million people displaced.

CARE, Oxfam and Save the Children are committed to improving the livelihood security of vulnerable people in Sudan regardless of ethnic origins, political associations, religious beliefs or gender. On October 26, 1998, the three agencies, along with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), briefed members of the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Sudan.


Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 18:33:57 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: SUDAN: Joint NGO Statement on US Policy [19990430]

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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