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Homepage > Regions / Countries > Africa > Horn of Africa > Sudan > The EU/AU Partnership in Darfur: Not Yet a Winning Combination

The EU/AU Partnership in Darfur: Not Yet a Winning Combination

Africa Report N°99 25 Oct 2005

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The African Union’s (AU) intervention in Sudan’s Darfur region tests the effectiveness of its own peace and security structures and those of the European Union (EU). The AU has taken the lead both in the political negotiations between the government and the rebels and in deploying a peace-monitoring mission, the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS). It has had to rely on outside support for AMIS, with nearly two thirds of its funding coming from the EU’s African Peace Facility. The results are mixed. If Darfur is to have stability anytime soon, and the two organisations are to fulfil their ambitions to be major players in crisis prevention and crisis resolution, AMIS must get more troops and a more proactive, civilian-protection mandate, and the EU needs to find ways to go beyond the present limitations of the African Peace Facility in providing assistance.

The EU/AU relationship on Darfur involves a mutually steep learning curve. It has been generally successful from a technical point of view, although coordination within and between each could be much improved, and has laid a foundation for further cooperation between Addis Ababa and Brussels. However, the security situation is worsening, with none of the parties fully respecting the ceasefire, and the political process is stalled. Crisis Group continues to believe that the troop level on the ground in Darfur needs to be brought up to 12,000-15,000 immediately in order to create the requisite security to protect civilians, encourage displaced persons to begin to return home and establish conditions conducive to more productive negotiations for a political settlement.

We have argued elsewhere that a NATO bridging force would be the most practical way of achieving this deployment,[1] but unfortunately neither NATO nor the AU appear prepared to consider such a radical measure. Another option, now being widely discussed, is folding AMIS into the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) operation, established in March 2005 to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM). Such a “double-hatted” UNMIS would, arguably, be a more efficient way of conducting two inter-related peace operations in a single country, give the Darfur peace operation a more secure financial base, and open up a broader pool of potential troop contributing countries than at present. But the planning and deployment of such an extended mission would take many months, and the AU is for the moment quite resistant to winding up its own distinctively AU-badged operation in Darfur.

While Crisis Group believes the UN - and NATO - options need to be very seriously considered further, this policy report focuses on what more can and should be done to meet Darfur’s needs within the present organisational arrangements, involving the continuation of AMIS, and on the basis of financial support coming primarily from Europe.

In this context, the most immediate need is to bring AMIS up to its presently authorised size (7,731), a task that is behind schedule, and make it more effective within the limited terms of its present mandate. Beyond that, AMIS urgently needs to become larger and more militarily powerful, with an expanded Chapter VII-type civilian protection mandate, and with the operation sustainable for as long as it takes for normality to be restored. All this will be possible only with greater international support, but the EU’s €250 million African Peace Facility is already largely committed and not due for regular review until 2007.

Crisis Group has reported frequently on all aspects of Sudan’s complex situation. This policy report, the first in a series that will examine in depth the strengths and weaknesses of the EU’s growing crisis response capability and its more ambitious policies in conflict prevention situations around the world, focuses on how the partnership between Brussels and the AU has been working in Darfur and what should be done to make it more effective.[2]

RECOMMENDATIONS

To the European Union:

1.  Find the political will and the financial means (whether through a restocked African Peace Facility or special budgetary measures) to support an expanded AMIS.

2.  Give the new Special Representative the authority and resources to coordinate effectively the roles of Council, Commission, EU military staff and member states, so that the EU more consistently speaks with one voice on both policy and administrative issues.

3.  Improve coordination with the AU, and do a better job of identifying and assigning personnel to work with the AU who have African expertise and knowledge of EU military structures, including officials seconded from member states.

4.  Mesh its support to the AU more effectively with that of other donors.

5.  Identify a way, at least by 2007 when the authorisation for the African Peace Facility expires, to overcome its prohibition on funding direct military assistance to peace support missions.

6.  Be prepared to support other organisational means of delivering the necessary military support if and when the AU is willing to embrace them.

To the African Union:

7.  Prioritise efforts to reach maximum efficiency within the current AMIS structure, as well as at AU headquarters, including by streamlining donor coordination mechanisms.

8.  Create a better foundation for implementation of the ceasefire by emphasising proactive elements in the current AMIS mandate, such as identifying the territory dominated by each party to the conflict and identifying government-aligned militias.

9.  Press the Sudanese government harder to allow the immediate delivery of equipment donors have provided and which AMIS needs to operate more effectively on the ground in Darfur, in particular 105 Grizzly Armoured Personnel Carriers supplied by Canada.

10.  Begin planning immediately for the urgent expansion of AMIS and the strengthening of its mandate to authorise clearly the proactive protection of civilians, and press the EU and other donors to provide the necessary additional financial, logistical and material help.

11.  Consider very seriously other organisational options, including a NATO bridging force and a "double-hatted" UNMIS operation, for delivering the military support necessary to achieve sustainable peace in Darfur.

Nairobi/Brussels, 25 October 2005


[1] See Crisis Group Africa Briefing N°28, The AU’s Mission in Darfur: Bridging the Gaps, 6 July 2005.
[2] For more detailed analysis of political and security issues in Darfur and their relationship to national issues in Sudan with which the EU and other elements of the international community are involved, see recent Crisis Group reporting, including Africa Briefing N°32, Unifying Darfur’s Rebels: A Prerequisite for Peace, 6 October 2005; Africa Briefing N°30, Garang’s Death: Implications for Peace in Sudan, 9 August 2005; Africa Report N°96, The Khartoum-SPLM Agreement: Sudan’s Uncertain Peace, 25 July 2005; Africa Briefing N°24, A New Sudan Action Plan, 26 April 2005; and Africa Report N°89, Darfur: The Failure to Protect, 8 March 2005.
 
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