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Sudan: Peace Steps, Peace Gaps

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Jul 19, 2005 (050719)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

This month Sudan has taken several new steps towards peace: a new government of national unity in Khartoum, a new declaration of principles agreed between Khartoum and rebels in Darfur on future negotiations, and arrival of additional contingents of African Union peacekeeping troops for Darfur. But even the force of 7,700 expected to be in place by the end of September is widely agreed to be insufficient to protect civilians in most of Darfur.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains two short updates from the UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks, a press release from the African Union, and a call from the International Crisis Group for more rapid deployment of a larger force with a stronger mandate in Darfur.

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins with additional background and links on Sudan, see http://www.africafocus.org/country/sudan.php For extensive and frequent updates, visit http://www.sudantribune.com and http://www.reliefweb.int

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++

Sudan: New government must show peace dividend - mediator

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
http://www.irinnews.org

[The material contained in IRIN reports may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.]

Nairobi, 11 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - The new Sudanese government of national unity, sworn into office on Saturday, must reach out to former adversaries and show its people tangible peace dividends, the chief mediator in Sudan's peace process has said.

"The main task of the government of national unity is not about words and documents now, it is about the hearts and minds of the Sudanese people," Lt Gen (rtd) Lazaro Sumbeiywo, said on Monday.

"Politically, the new government has to be inclusive and offer the olive branch to former adversaries," Sumbeiywo, who was named mediator by the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), told IRIN in an interview.

IGAD sponsored lengthy talks between the government in Khartoum and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). The two parties signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on 9 January in Nairobi, Kenya, paving the way for the new government of national unity.

The chairman of the SPLM/A, John Garang, was sworn in as First Vice President, while Umar al-Bashir retained the presidency of Africa's largest country.

"In the north," Sumbeiywo added, "that means getting the National Democratic Alliance [NDA, the main coalition of northern opposition parties] fully on board, and stopping conflict in Darfur and in the east with the Beja rebels. In the south, a solution has to be found for the South Sudan Defence Force [SSDF, a government-aligned southern militia group]."

He stressed: "The government has to show the people that there is a tangible peace dividend. They must see war stop, and that schools and roads are being built - things that have not been done for the past 50 years.

"In terms of demobilisation and disarmament, a lot of ground-work has been done already. Many people will be happy to hand in their arms, but the new government must give them something to do in their community," he added.

Separately, the Darfur programme coordinator for the Justice Africa advocacy organisation, Hafiz Mohamed, said he felt the Sudanese peace process was moving in the right direction.

He warned, however, that several key players had not been involved in the negotiations that led to the CPA.

"They [the government of national unity] have to focus on the conflicts in Darfur and the east that are still going on," he urged. "The most important is the political will to do something about it and we hope the new government of Garang himself will take on this problem and convince the other parties."

"If you want the CPA to be comprehensive, you have to make sure other groups feel they are part of the process," he added. "You have to include them to overcome the difficulties and achieve progress in the implementation of the peace agreement - many groups feel alienated right now."

The Popular Congress, the Ummah party and the Communist Party recently formed an alliance with a number of smaller parties to form an opposition to the government of national unity.

"They will be part of the process and will challenge the present government. They will have a role to play, even when they are not part of the government," Mohamed said.

The NDA, which recently signed the Cairo agreement with the Sudanese government and endorsed the CPA, is also not yet part of the unified government.

"The issues that have not been resolved yet are the future of the NDA armed groups and the size of NDA representation in the new government. As their share will be very small, it is not clear whether they will accept it," Mohamed said.

"The government urgently has to address the social and economic issues as well," he said. "Seventy percent of the Sudanese people live below the poverty line."

During Saturday's ceremony, the leaders of the National Congress Party and the SPLM/A signed the new interim constitution.

"Today, 9 July 2005, is Sudan's day," Garang said.

The CPA provides for a government based on a transitional constitution and a six-year interim period. Following this interim period, a referendum would decide whether the south was to remain part of the country or become independent.

"I welcome brother Garang and his movement and you will find full cooperation from our side," al-Bashir said as he was sworn in as President.

The outgoing First Vice President, Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha, was appointed Second Vice President of the Republic of Sudan.

The Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, the Arab League chief, Amr Mussa, the Deputy US Secretary of State, Robert Zoellick, and heads of state from the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda were among the dignitaries who attended the inauguration.

Annan said the UN was concerned about the situation in Darfur in the west, and in the states of Kassala and Red Sea in eastern Sudan.

"The peace process between north and south must be made irreversible, which it will not be unless it takes root in the east and in the west as well," he said.

On Sunday, al-Bashir issued a decree ending the country's 16-year-old state of emergency - which gave authorities wide powers to detain people without charge and to crack down on opposition forces - in all the states of Sudan except the three strife-torn states of Darfur and two eastern states bordering Eritrea.


Sudan: AU $200 m short for Darfur peacekeeping

Addis Ababa, 8 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - The African Union (AU) warned on Friday that it faced a US $200 million shortfall for its peacekeeping operations in the war-ravaged western Sudanese region of Darfur.

The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Said Djinnit, said the shortfall was "a source of concern" to the 53-nation bloc in its bid to resolve the conflict in Darfur.

"Our partners should realise we have a financial gap," Djinnit told journalists at a press conference at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. "We have a shortfall of around $200 million as of today. It is a source of concern."

His comments came as 680 Nigerian troops prepared to fly into the conflict-ridden region on Saturday as part of an expanded peacekeeping force of 7,000 troops.

Currently the AU has around 3,200 peacekeepers in Sudan but the organisation plans to more than double its force by the end of September, Djinnit added.

"By the end of September we will have all the troops on the ground," he said. The AU, Djinnit said, was trying to secure support from Canada, and would also receive some funding from a 250 million ($298.6 million) European Union peace fund set up last year.

Djinnit told reporters that attacks in Darfur had decreased, and praised a new deal agreed by the Sudanese government and two Darfur rebel groups on ground rules to resolve the conflict. The deal was signed on 5 July in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

In May, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to wealthy nations to back the AU with cash and military hardware for the peacekeeping mission. He told a pledging conference at the AU headquarters that "time was running out" to help refugees and families displaced by the war that flared up in February 2003.

Aid workers estimate that two million people have been affected by the Darfur conflict since 2003. The war pits Sudanese government troops and militias allegedly allied to it, against rebels fighting to end the perceived marginalisation of and discrimination against Darfur's inhabitants by the state.


African Union (AU)

13 Jul 2005

Document available on http://www.reliefweb.int and on http://www.africa-union.org

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union welcomes the progress made in Darfur

1 - Following the successful convening of the 5th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Mr. Alpha Oumar Konare, wishes to express satisfaction for the progress being achieved in the Peace process in Darfur. He commends the Sudanese parties, the AU Special Envoy for Darfur, the representatives of the African mediators and facilitators, as well as the AU partners for the successful conclusion of the 5th Round of the Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks, with the signing, on 5 July 2005 of the Declaration of Principles (DoP). The DoP paves the way for the substantive discussion on the important issues of power and wealth sharing, as well as on security arrangements, to consolidate peace in Darfur. The process would require serious preparations, in which the African Union will be fully engaged in the forthcoming weeks.

2 - The Chairperson also hopes that the signing of the DoP will further encourage the Sudanese Parties to continue to maintain the calm, which has been prevailing in Darfur over the last weeks. He seized the opportunity to urge the Parties to exercise maximum restraint.

3 - On its part the African Union continues to do its utmost to enhance AMIS' capacity. In this regard, the Chairperson of the Commission expresses his satisfaction on the progress made on the deployment of AMIS troops, with more than 600 police officers out of the 815 authorized already deployed, in addition to the full deployment of the military observers. He also expresses satisfaction on the beginning of the 24 hours police monitoring in IDP camps and on the fact that the efforts of the AU, with the strong backing and support of its partners are bearing fruits with the beginning of the deployment of the first Nigerian battalion, as part of the implementation of the decision of the 28th meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), held on 28 April 2005, which decided that AMIS strength be increased to a total of 6,171 military personnel, with an appropriate civilian component, including up to 1,560 civilian police personnel, by the end of September 2005. The Chairperson of the AU Commission would like to stress that every effort is being made to deploy the troops and police as scheduled.

4 - The Chairperson of the AU Commission also wishes to express his appreciation to the AU partners for their commitment to support the AU in its efforts to achieve a lasting peace in Darfur. He wishes, however, to bring to their attention that, while logistical requirements are met, more financial contributions are needed to sustain AMIS. The Chairperson would like to appeal to AU partners to consider providing additional support.

5 - Finally the Chairperson welcomes the positive news from Khartoum, Sudan, that President Omar el-Bashir, Dr. John Garang, Leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and Ali Osman Taha, have respectively been sworn in as President, First Vice President and Second Vice President of the Sudanese Government, as part of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed on 10 January 2005, between the Government of the Sudan, (GoS) and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). He believes that the establishment of the interim-government of the CPA will usher in an era that will lead to a new political dispensation in the country as well as create conducive conditions for the resolution of the conflict in Darfur and the rest of the Sudan.

Addis Ababa, 13 July 2005


The AU's Mission in Darfur: Bridging the Gaps

International Crisis Group
http://www.crisisgroup.org

Africa Briefing N 28

Nairobi/Brussels, 6 July 2005

Overview

[full report available on http://www.crisisgroup.org]

The international community is failing in its responsibility to protect the inhabitants of Darfur, many of whom are still dying or face indefinite displacement from their homes. New thinking and bold action are urgently needed. The consensus to support a rough doubling of the African Union (AU) force to 7,731 troops by the end of September 2005 under the existing mandate is an inadequate response to the crisis. The mandate must be strengthened to prioritise civilian protection, and a force level of at least 12,000 to 15,000 is needed urgently now, not in nearly a year as currently envisaged.

This requires more courageous thinking by the AU, NATO, the European Union (EU), the UN and the U.S. to get adequate force levels on the ground in Darfur with an appropriate civilian protection mandate as quickly as possible, which in practical terms means within the next two months. Otherwise, security will continue to deteriorate, the hope that displaced inhabitants will ever return home will become even more distant, and prospects for a political settlement will remain dim.

While the UN and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have taken the lead in responding to growing humanitarian needs and authorising accountability measures against those responsible for atrocities, the AU has the lead for reaching a political solution to the conflict and monitoring the humanitarian and ceasefire agreements. The AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) has had a positive impact on security in some areas by often going beyond the strict terms of its mandate -- but its ability to protect civilians and humanitarian operations is hamstrung by limited capacity, insufficient resources and political constraints.

The assumption that the Sudanese government will fulfil its responsibilities and continued reliance on its cooperation as a pre-requisite for action against the militias with which it is allied are egregious self-deceptions. Khartoum's interest in seeking a lasting solution to the conflict is disingenuous, and it has systematically flouted numerous commitments to rein in its proxy militias -- collectively known as the Janjaweed. It has consistently opted for cosmetic efforts aimed at appeasing international pressure, minimised the political dimensions of the conflict, and inflamed ethnic divisions to achieve military objectives.

Equally flawed is the concept that the atrocities are African-only problems that require African-only solutions. The well-documented abuses that continue to occur demand broader and more robust international efforts aimed at enhancing the AU's ability to lead. In view of the Sudanese government's abdication of its sovereign duty and to the extent that the AU cannot adequately protect Sudan's civilians, the broader international community has a responsibility to do so.

Civilian protection needs to become the primary objective. Crisis Group recommends the following immediate steps, building on AU efforts, to deploy a multinational military force with sufficient size, operational capacity and mandate:

  • agree on a stronger mandate. The AU must strengthen AMIS's mandate to enable and encourage it to undertake all necessary measures, including offensive action, against any attacks or threats to civilians and humanitarian operations, whether from militias operating with the government or from the rebels. Without a stronger mandate, the ability of AMIS -- or any other international force -- to provide protection will remain extremely limited, regardless of its size;
  • recognise that many more troops are needed. 12,000-15,000 should, in Crisis Group's estimate, be on the ground now to protect villages against further attack or destruction, displaced persons (IDPs) against forced repatriation and intimidation, and women from systematic rape outside the camps, as well as to provide security for humanitarian operations and neutralise the government-supported militias that prey on civilians;
  • support a much more rapid reinforcement of AMIS. The current AU plan is to reach 7,731 -- including 1,560 civilian police -- by September 2005. The AU believes this relatively small force could largely stabilise the situation and that it might then need to go up to 12,300 by the second quarter of 2006 in order also to facilitate the eventual return of the displaced to their homes. Crisis Group believes even the latter number is at the low end of what is required first to provide stability in a still lethal situation, that these troops need to be appropriately equipped, trained and of a quality to undertake a dangerous civilian protection mission and that the AU should consequently approve and commence an immediate increase in AMIS to 12,000-plus highly ready personnel, to be in-country within 60 days. The need for civilian police is especially urgent;
  • provide strong, immediate international support. To meet these objectives, the UN, EU and NATO must offer the AU additional help in force preparation, deployment, sustainment, intelligence, command and control, communications and tactical (day and night) mobility, including the deployment of their own assets and personnel to meet capability gaps as needed;
  • develop a Bridging Force Option. If the AU cannot meet these objectives -- numbers and quality of troops, and time -- NATO should work closely with the AU to deploy its own bridging force and bring the total force up to 12,000 to 15,000 within 60 days and maintain it at that level until the AU can perform the mission entirely with its own personnel. The AU should agree that until such time, its units would come under command and control of the NATO mission. The UN Security Council should authorise the mission with a civilian protection mandate but if it does not, the AU and NATO would need to assume the responsibility and agree on an appropriate mandate. If the Sudanese government does not accept such a mission, NATO and the AU would need to prepare a much larger one to operate in a non-permissive environment; and
  • enforce the Security Council ban on offensive military flights. The AU and NATO should agree on enforcement measures to be applied if Khartoum violates the prohibition in UN Security Council Resolution 1591.


AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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