A Strategy for Comprehensive Peace in Sudan
A Strategy for Comprehensive Peace in Sudan
Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
The U.S. Must Raise the Stakes for Sudan’s Coup Leaders
The U.S. Must Raise the Stakes for Sudan’s Coup Leaders
Report 130 / Africa

A Strategy for Comprehensive Peace in Sudan

Lasting peace in Sudan requires a new strategy, one which tackles its multiple conflicts and potential conflicts in a consistent manner. The overwhelming international concentration on Darfur has come at the expense of the broader quest for peace in the country. Unless a more balanced approach is developed, Darfur will continue to suffer, and new wars are likely.

  • Share
  • Save
  • Print
  • Download PDF Full Report

Executive Summary

Lasting peace in Sudan requires a new strategy, one which tackles its multiple conflicts and potential conflicts in a consistent manner. The overwhelming international concentration on Darfur has come at the expense of the broader quest for peace in the country. Unless a more balanced approach is developed, Darfur will continue to suffer, and new wars are likely. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended Africa’s longest-running civil war, contains the detailed provisions and schedule for governmental reforms and a democratisation process leading to national elections in 2009 which can be the building blocks for peacemaking in Darfur and elsewhere. It is in danger of collapse, however, due to government sabotage and international neglect, the latter a cruel irony in that preoccupation to conclude the CPA negotiations led to initial reluctance to address the developing Darfur crisis in 2003-2004. Urgent efforts are needed to build consensus among the main international players on a strategy for obtaining implementation of key CPA benchmarks.

While Darfur is Sudan’s most pressing regional issue, additional attention is also needed in Kordofan, where armed groups unhappy with CPA implementation threaten new conflict and may link up with insurgents in Darfur; in the far North, where the construction of dams has displaced and angered several communities, and the risk of major conflict is increasing; and in the East, where the 2006 peace agreement has only just begun to be implemented and could easily still fall apart.

If implemented, the CPA would help transform the oppressive governmental system that is at the root of all these conflicts into a more open, transparent, inclusive and democratic one. The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) resists this because it views full implementation as a threat to regime survival. It is undermining the reforms critical to democratisation, as well as the ones that would allow for the promised self-determination referendum in the South in 2011. If the CPA fails – which is increasingly likely – Sudan can be expected to return to full-scale war, with dire implications not only for its own people but for all its neighbours as well.

International efforts over the last three years have lacked consistent leadership and been weakened by disagreements, particularly between Western donor countries and China, Russia and the Arab world. An informal contact group of these major actors, and including the European Union (EU), France, the African Union (AU), the UN and regional countries, is slowly beginning to cooperate more effectively on Darfur, however, and has made some progress over the past four months towards renewing negotiations for a political settlement.

This cooperation needs to be expanded to prioritise core elements of the CPA but growing problems with that agreement are receiving little attention, even though peace in Darfur and elsewhere can only be built on its foundation. The first major implementation deadline – withdrawal of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from the South by 9 July – was missed without an international response. Much of the implementation that has taken place is on paper only; many commissions and other bodies still do not function. The former rebels, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), were expected to be an agent of change in Khartoum but have focused most of their energy on internal southern issues, at the expense of the national agenda.

Consistent international engagement and vigilance is needed. Monitoring the CPA is the primary mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) but it has been without a chief for more than half a year. The Secretary-General must immediately correct this, and UNMIS should refocus on overseeing CPA implementation. The enlarged contact group on Darfur is to meet again in September. It should agree on holding the parties, especially Khartoum, to key CPA benchmarks. The Secretary-General should work with the AU to organise a broad-based international conference at which a comprehensive roadmap for peace in Sudan would be laid out, including those benchmarks, the AU/UN plan for reviving the Darfur political process, and consensus on the diplomatic and economic rewards and punitive measures to be taken with respect to the parties in proportion to action on that roadmap.

Nairobi/Brussels, 26 July 2007

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.