Sudan: Enough is Enough (Reposted from sources cited below)
Sudan peace talks resumed on August 11 in Nairobi, despite strong government opposition to the framework presented by mediators. Observers say the peace process is now at a critical stage, and advance will depend on strong and coordinated pressure from outside parties, particularly the troika of the US, UK, and Norway. With little international attention now focusing on Sudan, analysts say that the U.S. is sending "mixed signals." If pressure for peace is not enough over the next months, the war may again escalate significantly. US leverage (or its absence) will be critical, analysts agree.
This posting contains several documents on the current situation: a press release from the International Crisis Group, a joint statement by Sudanese Catholic and Episcopal Bishops (entitled Enough is Enough: The War Must Stop), and brief excerpts from the latest review by Justice Africa, For additional background and updates see the sources cited, as well as: http://www.hrw.org/africa/sudan.php http://allafrica.com/sudan and http://www.irinnews.org/webspecials/sudan/default.asp
International Crisis Group - Media Release - August 8, 2003
Five Minutes to Midnight in Sudan's Peace Process
[Media Contacts Katy Cronin (London) +44-(0)20-7981 0330 email@example.com Francesca Lawe-Davies (Brussels) +32-(0)2-536 00 65 Jennifer Leonard (Washington) +1-202-785 1601 http://www.crisisweb.org ]
Nairobi/Brussels, 8 August 2003: The round of negotiations that opens on 10 August likely is make or break for peace in Sudan. After fourteen months of the process sponsored by the East African organisation IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development), the combatants must make hard choices in the coming weeks. As importantly, however, the countries facilitating the process need to make clear the benefits of peace and the penalties of more war, notably the U.S., which has caused confusion by inconsistent statements. If this best chance for peace in twenty years is missed, the arms build-up on both sides suggests the war will become more deadly and destructive than ever.
In early July, the mediators presented a draft framework document that proposes solutions for the remaining issues and forms part of a larger set of proposals that have emerged from the process to date. The Sudanese government immediately rejected the framework, while the opposition Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLA) noted reservations but allowed that it could serve as the basis of further negotiations.
It is crucial for the mediating countries from the region and the official observers (U.S., UK, Norway, Italy, the African Union and the United Nations) to get fully behind the process and the IGAD proposals. Specifically, the U.S. and Egypt should provide clear and consistent messages that the IGAD framework represents the sole basis for a workable agreement.
Sustained U.S. pressure on the parties is the single most important factor needed at this point. Regrettably, recent public and private statements by American officials and the lack of high-level U.S. public support for IGAD's proposals have sent potentially damaging mixed signals. Egypt needs to recognise that the IGAD proposals provide the only realistic chance for sustaining Sudan's unity peacefully and that it can best work for that outcome by supporting rather than criticising them.
"IGAD's proposals are the first comprehensive attempt at real power sharing since Sudan's independence", said John Prendergast, Special Adviser to the President of the International Crisis Group. "Through them, a united, peaceful Sudan is possible. That is what makes Khartoum's wholesale rejection so short-sighted. IGAD's framework prioritises unity, and an agreement along the proposed lines will give sustainable peace a chance. The Arab League's strong support for unity will be compromised if its members - particularly Egypt - do not weigh in with Khartoum to support an approach that is built on promotion of unity through real power sharing and equal rights. Greater pressure from those governments, but also from the U.S. and others, is a prerequisite".
The SPLA is also in a difficult position. Many Southern Sudanese would like an agreement that allows them to vote on independence as soon as possible. The SPLA must show leadership in supporting an outcome that makes unity realistic through genuine power sharing at the centre. Otherwise, resumed war is highly likely.
"Although a lesser agreement would be a welcome respite for the people of Sudan", said ICG Analyst David Mozersky, "any agreement that blatantly promoted the eventual independence of the South would likely be derailed by elements in Khartoum, causing the war to restart. Meaningful power sharing in the central government is the only recipe for long-term peace and stability".
The parties should be supported in amending or trading off any parts of the IGAD proposals on which they can agree, but the basic thrust of the framework document needs to be maintained. Any crack in the international community's unanimity would allow the parties to back away from an attainable peace and condemn Sudan to further years of war and famine.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: THE WAR MUST STOP
THE CATHOLIC AND EPISCOPAL BISHOPS OF SUDAN C/o Provincial Liaison Office, P. O. Box 604 Khartoum, Sudan Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We the Catholic and Episcopal Bishops of Sudan, meeting in Lweza, Kampala, Uganda, from 27th July to 2nd August 2003 for a seminar on Transforming Sudanese society from a culture of war to a culture of peace, affirm the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace process for Sudan under the leadership of Kenya as the only viable peace process. It has achieved a great deal and provides a glimpse of hope and optimism to the people of Sudan. We welcome the progress that has been made to date, but we note with concern the current diplomatic impasse in response to the Draft Framework for Resolution of outstanding issues arising out of the elaborations of the Machakos Protocol. The Government of Sudan stated that the proposal was "unfair, contradictory and unfit to constitute a basis for negotiation", while the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army said that it would discuss nothing but this draft when talks resume. These two positions are diametrically opposed to each other, and we urge all interested parties to maintain the integrity of the Machakos Protocol and not to allow the process to collapse.
We, as church leaders, are on the ground with the people throughout Sudan and we experience the pain, trauma and yearnings of the grassroots. We speak on behalf of the voiceless and seek to articulate their legitimate concerns. We believe that these concerns and fears have not been adequately addressed and have not been incorporated fully into the peace process. The people of Sudan demand a peace that is just, democratic and enduring, a peace that will guarantee their security and human rights and allow them to determine their own political future. We are aware of the deep level of mistrust and indeed broken trust within Sudan. While we welcome international pressure on the warring parties to encourage them to conclude a peace agreement, we caution that undue haste could result in an agreement that is not sustainable. We therefore call for credible international assurances of the implementation of the agreement and the security of all the Sudanese people, regardless of their political, ethnic or religious affiliation.
We express our sincere gratitude for the international political will which has brought the process so far forward. We affirm the role of the Troika (USA, UK and Norway) in leading international support for the IGAD process, and Italy and Switzerland for their cooperation with the Troika. The international community has increasingly played a practical role in addressing human suffering in many parts of the world, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo and Sierra Leone. This is a clear responsibility under the UN Charter. However Sudan has not yet received the same level of attention and intervention as other countries. While we welcome the initiatives which have already taken place, we urge the international community to play a decisive role at this critical stage in the Sudanese peace process. In particular we recognize the special role of the USA in global security, the UK's historic connections with Sudan, and Norway's leading role in peace-making, and call on them to exert further effort in ensuring the success of the IGAD process.
We appreciate the care and confidentiality needed to build confidence in negotiations about sensitive and complex issues, but we are concerned that the ownership of the process and its outcome is not shared by all stakeholders. Experience in other conflicts has shown that without inclusivity and transparency there can be no just and lasting peace. We therefore call for the inclusion of civil society and all military and political factions, and for the free dissemination of information regarding the peace process.
Enough is enough. The war must stop. War is not an option. Peace must prevail. The threat to resume the war in the event of a setback in the IGAD process is totally unacceptable and should not be countenanced by any party. The people of Sudan totally reject a return to war. They urgently need a just and peaceful solution to the conflict. The international community must stand in solidarity with the people. Nations and international organisations must ensure that credible sanctions will be instituted against any party that might resort to war and that the people of Sudan will be adequately protected.
For our part, we, as Sudanese Church Leaders, commit ourselves and our churches to participate at every level in the formulation of a new Sudanese society with social structures which mediate grace; to the development of civil leaders and democracy education for our people; to continued advocacy for the cause of peace; and to serve as agents of healing in our communities. We call on all parties in Sudan as well as all people of good will throughout the world to support and assist us in building a just and lasting peace in our beloved country.
1st August 2003
Signed by the Catholic and Episcopal Bishops of Sudan
Together with the Secretaries of SCC and NSCC
Prospects for Peace in Sudan Briefing July-August 2003 Justice Africa (http://www.justiceafrica.org)
7 August 2003
1. The Sudan Peace process is in a crucial stage after the GoS rejected the draft framework for resolution of outstanding issues arising out of the elaboration of the Machakos Protocol presented by the Mediators at the Sixth round of Talks at Nakuru, Kenya, on 12 July. Problems were not unexpected, but the vehemence of the GoS denunciation was surprising. The SPLA has accepted the mediators' proposals as a basis for negotiation, unsurprisingly as they are close to the position it has itself articulated. There is both a substantive and a rhetorical gulf between the parties.
2. Khartoum's rhetoric of rejection could not be matched by any political alternative. The multilateral strategy of the mediators has resulted in solid regional and international support for the IGAD peace process, so that Khartoum has nowhere to turn. The GoS has succeeded in drawing attention to its concerns, and perhaps reassuring some of its internal constituents that it has not forgotten them, but it has no alternative but to return to the peace talks in August. The principal issue of substance now is, in what areas will the mediators bend to Khartoum's concerns? And will any such compromises jeopardise the SPLA's readiness to agree?
3. Meanwhile, the failure of the last round of peace talks has created unpredictability in the peace process. The parties could be uncompromising and the peace momentum could be lost by protracted wrangling on procedural matters. The IGAD mediators and the troika should not underestimate the possibility of the GoS abandoning the peace process if it is assured of a solid internal front. The GoS could still pursue talking at IGAD as a tactic to buy time. If the peace is to be consummated in the next month or so, major leverage will have to be exerted on the parties, which primarily implies a stepped-up high-level U.S. involvement.
The GoS Walks Out and Back In?
4. The GoS rejected the IGAD draft framework document as unbalanced unworkable and impossible to implement. Meanwhile, the SPLA accepted the draft proposal as a framework for further discussion, noting its reservations. The GoS announcement not only stalled the peace process, but also meant that opportunities to explore the parties' red lines in the session could not be pursued.
5. The mediators' strategy in presenting a framework document to the parties, without first having briefed them on its contents and obtained some indication that the negotiations would be able to proceed, proved to be a tactical error. President Bashir's capacity to negotiate depends upon sensitive political calculations and manoeuvre in the fraught political environment of internal GoS politics, is limited. The mediators' approach of negotiating around a blind draft may have expedited the convening of the talks, by minimising pre-talks consultations and the opportunities for prevarication that accompany them, but in this case the gamble did not pay off.
6. Having walked out of Nakuru, the GoS stunned many observers including the Sudanese people with the vehemence of its outburst that included strong statements by the President of the Republic Omer el Beshir. The GoS delegation not only rejected the document as basis for discussion but called it unbalanced, biased and major departure from the Machakos Protocol. The GoS further challenged the credibility of the mediators especially the IGAD Special Envoy General Sumbeiywo. President Beshir even said that IGAD could go to Hell, or soak the draft and drink if, the mediators insisted on its discussion.
7. The GoS asked for a completely new draft proposal before resuming the talks, and stated that it cannot accept the 'Nakuru' document as basis for discussion leading to final agreement. It will therefore attend the coming round armed with that position. A busy round of diplomacy ensued and vigorous attempts to salvage the peace process are underway, with the mediators pushing for the GoS to accept discussion on the basis of an amended document rather than one redrafted from scratch. The parties have provisionally agreed on 11 August as the date for resumption on the peace talks, probably in the Mount Kenya Safari Club. This date may slip, but the mediators are determined that it should not slip by much.
8. JA June briefing warned that despite the optimism, the IGAD Secretariat with the full involvement and support of international backers should put in place 'Plan B' for both parties in the case of the breakdown of the talks. Thus far, a diplomatic 'Plan B' appears to be working, to ensure that Khartoum comes back to the negotiating table. (A resumption of the war in the middle of the rainy season would also not be a logical military move for the GoS.) The need for a humanitarian 'Plan B' still exists, including fall-back provisions for the protection of civilians in the war zone until the parties resume the talks where they stalled.
[full report will be available in on-line archive of this posting at http://www.africaaction.org/docs03/sud0208.htm]
48. Time is running out for a settlement. The 'holistic' approach taken by the mediators is approaching its logical conclusion, which is that the remaining differences between the parties will be bridged chiefly by imposing a compromise. If this is to succeed, it will require a combination of diplomatic finesse and leverage. While the diplomacy will involve a number of actors including the Kenyans, British and Norwegians, the leverage can only come from the U.S., and in the U.S., from a higher-level of political engagement, to administer a short, sharp bout of political pressure.
49. The seventh round of the Sudanese peace talks is the most crucial. It will be a test of the firmness and even-handedness of the IGAD Secretariat and its international partners. It is important to continue to speak with one voice and ensure that no party can walk out of the peace process with impunity. The seventh round must also fix a realistic deadline and clear road map for the conclusion of the peace talks. The cessation of hostilities agreement will expire at the end of September.
50. The difficulties of the last month underline that achieving a settlement is only half the climb. Implementing the agreement will be complicated, protracted and difficult business.
Date distributed (ymd): 030814 Region: East Africa Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+ +US policy focus+
Message-Id: <200308141410.h7EEAqH13365@marduk.africapolicy.org> From: "Africa Action" <email@example.com> Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 10:14:07 -0500 Subject: Sudan: Enough is Enough