As goodwill gesture rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) 4 March released to govt 130 prisoners from S Kordofan; release mediated by Ugandan and S Sudan govt officials. Govt praised move, President Bashir 7 March pardoned 259 members of Darfuri rebel group Justice and Equality Movement and commuted 44 death sentences. SPLM-N 18 March announced resignation of Deputy Chairman Abdelaziz Al-Hilu, who cited his disagreements with lead negotiator and Chairman Yassir Arman over group’s position on autonomy for S Kordofan in post-conflict settlement. Bashir 1 March said first VP Bakri Hasan Saleh would become PM in new govt expected in April, first PM since 1989.
Sudan's government is in survival mode. As it drifts away from its former radical Islamist ideology toward a new foreign policy pragmatism, Western powers should encourage Khartoum to solve the internal wars that have done so much damage to the country and blocked the normalisation of external relations with this increasingly active player in the Middle East.
Talks led by East Africa’s IGAD offer the best chance to end South Sudan’s spreading war. International partners must put aside their disillusionment and rally to the regional body’s new IGAD-PLUS mechanism to help mediators reach a deal.
The two-year-old flare-up of violence in Darfur continues, adding 100,000 people this year to more than 2.5 million who have lost their homes since war began in 2003. Sudanese, regional and international peace processes have stalled. They should restart with parallel initiatives that take into better account all of Darfur’s communities and armed groups.
President Bashir’s year-old promise of national dialogue is faltering through a lack of political will, factional manoeuvring, and looming elections. Though the threat of economic and political crisis has eased, renewed commitment to substantive, structured, broad-based dialogue is vital if Sudan is to escape the cycle of war and humanitarian crisis.
If Darfur is to have durable peace, all parties to the country’s multiple conflicts need to develop a more holistic means of addressing both local conflicts and nationwide grievances.
Unless the marginalisation of Sudan’s East is addressed, renewed war and further fragmentation of the country is a growing possibility.
Khartoum has successfully portrayed the SPLM-N as spoilers in the peace talks and inhibitors to humanitarian aid being delivered to the region. This move is likely an attempt to rehabilitate their image.
On the migration issue in particular, the international community now wants to work with Sudan and it is felt that isolation has not helped come up with solutions.
There are weapons everywhere [in Sudan] and a limited capacity or willingness to do anything about it.
Addis Ababa can win economic and security gains if it perseveres with its impressive commitment to peace efforts in South Sudan. With its new two-year membership on the UN Security Council, Addis Ababa has the opportunity to better connect regionally-led political processes to UN action.
President Museveni will naturally defend Uganda’s short-term interests, but he should also work towards longer-term stability by supporting President Salva Kiir’s pledge to bring peace through ARCSS implementation, negotiations and national dialogue.
Originally published in Daily Monitor
Originally published in Sudan Tribune
Jihadist groups have regrouped in the neglected hinterlands of Sahel countries and are launching attacks from them. To regain control of outlying districts, regional states must do far more to extend services and representation beyond recently recaptured provincial centres.
Public discontent and protests against price rises for pharmaceuticals and fuel have been spreading in Sudan. Khartoum should avoid reacting harshly, and build on its recent relative successes toward a better-balanced budget, resolving internal conflicts and international acceptance.
Originally published in African Arguments