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Improving Prospects for Peace in South Sudan at the African Union Summit
Improving Prospects for Peace in South Sudan at the African Union Summit
Peacekeeping troops from China, deployed by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), patrol outside the premises of the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Juba, South Sudan, on 4 October 2016. AFP/Albert Gonzalez Farran
Report 288 / Africa

中国在南苏丹的外交政策尝试

中国长期以来抵制对他国事务的干预,但正在南苏丹前所未有地尝试和平缔造者的角色。中国带来了独特的影响力,但也受制于经验与专业知识的不足及地面人员的短缺。这一尝试可能预示着中国的全球角色将更为主动,不过其对冲突的干预仍会因自我利益保护和风险规避而趋于谨慎。

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随着中国的足迹在全球不断延伸,其长期以来采取的不干涉他国内政的外交原则也在不断演变。随着其海外投资和业务联系不断变广加深,中国公民、经济利益和国际声誉所面临的威胁也日益加剧,中国因此不得不直面其传统的“不插手”外交立场的固有局限性。中国做出的逐步调整将深刻定义其在国际舞台的角色。其最引人注目的外交尝试在非洲大陆,而南苏丹是焦点。中国的行动一方面以保护中国公民和国家经济利益为目标,另一方面推动停战、促进人道主义救援。南苏丹因此成为中国采取更主动的国际角色的一个试点。

在此之前,中国曾尝试加深介入苏丹事务,但主要迫于国际舆论的压力。中国长期支持苏丹,因此苏丹政府对达尔富尔叛乱的血腥镇压为中国招致强烈的国际批评,甚至引发了抵制2008年北京奥运会的呼吁。中国因此利用对苏丹政府的影响和在联合国安理会的地位,协助确保苏丹接受联合国于2008年在达尔富尔部署维和部队。2012年,利比亚爆发内战,中国政府成功转移当地公民,此举一方面在国内激发了强烈的民族自豪感,另一方面也提高了中国人和投资者对政府的国际影响力的期望。在这两次事件中,中国拉伸了其传统外交原则的界限,表明当其利益受到威胁时,中国越来越愿意采取主动行动。

当2013年末南苏丹爆发内战时,主张对不干涉内政政策作出更灵活解释的这一派中国决策者们看到了机会,可以尝试用新方法来保护中国的国家利益。在这一过程中起作用的有以下几个因素:国有企业——中国石油天然气总公司在海外有巨额投资,这决定了它的角色既是经济伙伴也是政治参与者;同时,中国与战争调停者和西方大国等其他各方的利益不谋而合,大家共同寻求冲突的结束。通过与西方各国以及负责协调南苏丹和平进程的非洲之角区域性组织——东非政府间发展组织 (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development---IGAD,伊加特)联手合作,中国的决策者相信,自己能够在维护声誉的同时,做出建设性的干预举措。

中国在南苏丹迈出了超越其传统外交政策的重要一步:即便大体上遵守不干涉他国内政的原则,中国仍旧可以利用其影响力,使交战各方回到谈判桌上,弥合西方大国和南苏丹领导人之间的分歧。中国参与在埃塞俄比亚举行的和平会谈进程,在苏丹召开参战派系之间的谨慎会谈,策划联合国安理会的行动,向联合国南苏丹维和行动(UNMISS)派遣维和部队,并加入了2015年8月和平协议的监督机构。

总之,中国仍旧可能反对干涉他国内政,但该外交政策的定义变得更富有弹性空间。中国继续划清界限,拒绝对他国内政事务进行干预;反对政权更迭或单方面军事干预;认为表达尊重,而不是施加压力或惩罚,才是促进合作、改善治理的良方。因为自己是制裁的受害者,也饱受公开批评,所以中国更倾向于通过谨慎的说服工作来解决问题。但当内部冲突跨越国界,威胁到地区安全和稳定,或是造成了大规模的人道主义危机,同时在得到区域和地方当局以及联合国许可时,中国的直接干预行动就变得合理化了。在这些情况下,中国更倾向于支持政治对话,而不是将结果直接强加给谈判各方,除非中国公民或海外投资的安全受到了威胁。

我们很好理解为什么中国在外交政策的转变上采取试探性的步伐。中国知道自己在国际和平与安全努力的领域刚刚崭露头角,特别是通过多边机构展开外交努力方面尚属新手,因而格外注意避免过界行为。中国积极地学习自身的过往经验,同时还借鉴其他潜在和平缔造者的成功和失误。中国外交队伍的人员和培训尚不完备,但中国巨大的经济和政治实力意味着,无论是在南苏丹或其他地方,一旦中国介入,无可避免地会带来传统调解努力无法达到的影响力。

尽管合作方式迥异,但迄今为止在南苏丹的合作使中国、西方国家、其非洲合作伙伴以及南苏丹人民都受益匪浅。各方应该继续贯彻这种合作。现在是南苏丹和平进程的关键时刻,也是中国尝试崭露新角色的重要关口。两者兼顾,互利共赢,至关重要。

北京/内罗毕/朱巴/布鲁塞尔, 2017年7月10日

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, participate in a peace meeting in khartoum on 25 June 2018 ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP
Statement / Africa

Improving Prospects for Peace in South Sudan at the African Union Summit

Talks between President Salva Kiir and former First Vice President Riek Machar in the Sudanese capital Khartoum offer the only, albeit slim, hope of a breakthrough in South Sudan’s brutal civil war. African leaders should offer cautious support during the Nouakchott AU summit.

On 27 June 2018, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former First Vice President Riek Machar, the principal adversaries in South Sudan’s civil war, signed a Declaration of Agreement in Khartoum. The declaration does not resolve major points of contention between the two leaders, deferring them to talks which are ongoing in the Sudanese capital. Moreover, nearly five years of mediation and a 2015 peace deal have failed to end South Sudan’s brutal civil war. Circumspection as to whether the Khartoum negotiations can do so is thus warranted. But for now, those talks offer the only hope, however slim, of a breakthrough. The African Union’s Peace and Security Council, and the leaders of Algeria, Chad, Nigeria, South Africa and Rwanda, who have been involved in past rounds of negotiations, should use their meetings on 30 June in Nouakchott, Mauritania to lend the Khartoum talks cautious support, while laying out clearly what they expect from next steps and the measures they would take against parties obstructing progress.

The 27 June Khartoum Declaration, brokered by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, has three primary objectives. First is a “permanent ceasefire”, coming into effect on 30 June. This will be monitored by the parties themselves, with African forces invited to “supervise” it. Secondly, the parties promised to sign a “Revised Bridging Proposal” to form a new transitional government and revise security arrangements defined in the last peace deal, the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. This bridging proposal sets the stage for a three-year transitional period; negotiations in Khartoum over its provisions are proceeding on the basis of a draft circulated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Horn of Africa regional body leading mediation efforts. Thirdly, the declaration provides for Sudan to work “in collaboration and coordination” with its southern neighbour to secure and rehabilitate oil fields in the former Unity state.

Nearly five years of mediation and a 2015 peace deal have failed to end South Sudan’s brutal civil war.

Machar, who has been allowed to leave his nearly two-year confinement in South Africa for the talks, hopes to assume his prior position as first vice president. The government rejects his return to South Sudanese politics. The deal reportedly on offer for Machar is the freedom to live in another African country but stay out of South Sudan, while his Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) faction would enjoy representation in the new cabinet and other transitional bodies. IGAD has not communicated its final position with regard to Machar.

There are good reasons to regard the declaration with scepticism. The last cessation of hostilities between the parties, which was endorsed by both Kiir and Machar in December 2017, broke down quickly. Moving from the declaration’s vague terms to details on transitional arrangements and power-sharing will be no small feat. Parties could easily revert to their previously deadlocked positions. Machar himself would need to be compelled to relinquish his political role in South Sudan; thus far he has rejected doing so. Other opposition leaders would need to believe the agreement served their interests and that they cannot hold out for a better deal hoping that IGAD leaders’ positions change or U.S. antipathy towards Kiir, which has been growing, works in their favour. For his part, Kiir and his supporters still need to grant a share of power to their rivals and accept rebels’ integration into the security forces on terms that are similar to those they have rejected in the past. Even were the parties to reach a more comprehensive deal on paper, enforcing their compliance in practice would likely prove an uphill struggle.

Moving from the [Khartoum] declaration’s vague terms to details on transitional arrangements and power-sharing will be no small feat.

That said, Bashir’s mediation, endorsed by other IGAD leaders, counts several points in its favour. The threat of a UN arms embargo and UN and AU sanctions against South Sudanese leaders if talks fall apart hangs over the parties. IGAD’s impatience with those leaders is mounting, as is pressure from other African leaders and donors on the regional body to secure a deal. Clear economic dividends for the South Sudanese parties are on the table, namely the revenue from renewed oil production and, potentially, from improved foreign relations; indeed, the agreement with Sudan on the oil fields played a large part in motivating the parties to sign the declaration. Lastly, China, which enjoys leverage as South Sudan’s most significant economic partner, would benefit from the declaration’s provisions on oil production, providing parties further incentive to reach and honour an agreement.

Meetings of the AU Peace and Security Council, and of Algeria, Chad, Nigeria, South Africa and Rwanda (the non-IGAD African states, collectively known as the C5, that have been involved in the South Sudan mediation) – both at the level of heads of state – will take place on 30 June during the Nouakchott AU summit. Those meetings offer African leaders an opportunity to express cautious support for the Khartoum process, pressure parties to adhere to the 30 June ceasefire and nudge them toward a more comprehensive agreement. Next steps should include:

  • African leaders, including the heads of state of IGAD (notably those of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and President Bashir himself) and of non-IGAD member Egypt, given Cairo’s ties to Juba, should push the South Sudanese parties to negotiate and reach a peace agreement that ensures multi-party governance at national and sub-national level. They should signal the Peace and Security Council will impose punitive measures if the ceasefire is violated or progress at talks in Khartoum stalls;
     
  • During their 30 June meeting, the Algerian, Chadian, Nigerian, South African and Rwandan, or C5, heads of state should commit to more consistent diplomatic engagement on South Sudan, including regular conversations with South Sudanese leaders and their IGAD counterparts;
     
  • AU members should discuss – and call for further meetings with IGAD to clarify – the mandate, reporting lines and financing of African forces invited to “supervise” the ceasefire and how these forces relate to IGAD's Ceasefire and Transitional Security Monitoring Mechanism which is currently monitoring on the ground;
     
  • IGAD should establish the new South Sudanese-led ceasefire monitoring body provided for in the declaration and ensure it includes all parties. This would allow security actors ranging from the most senior to local commanders to communicate regularly and act quickly if clashes break out;
     
  • IGAD should clarify its position on Riek Machar and, irrespective of Machar’s status, guarantee his SPLM/A-IO faction representation in transitional arrangements, including the government and local authorities as well as the South Sudanese-led ceasefire monitoring body;
     
  • IGAD leaders should pledge to closely monitor and publicly report on compliance with whatever deal is struck, including by personally intervening in the event of violations to minimise risks of a gradual breakdown, as occurred in 2015-2016; such pledges also would help build donor confidence in IGAD’s commitment to the process;
     
  • The UN Security Council should extend by one month its deadline for considering an arms embargo and/or sanctions in the event of continued fighting or parties’ failure to reach agreement – from 30 June to 30 July. If at that time parties have broken the ceasefire or shown little progress toward a deal it should consider imposing those punitive actions; and
     
  • The AU Peace and Security Council and UN Security Council should take the opportunity of their joint meeting on 19 July to coordinate their efforts on South Sudan and potentially issue a joint communiqué.

The Khartoum declaration and the negotiations ongoing in the Sudanese capital leave much room for doubt. Many South Sudanese would prefer a deal that reflects their aspirations rather than divvying up power and resources among those most responsible for the war plaguing their country. But, at least for now, there is no viable alternative. The choice is not between this process and a better one, but between it and none at all. Besides, while the broad contours of a deal – power sharing between warring groups – are clear, the Khartoum declaration’s ambiguous language means the AU and those African leaders involved in the mediation may still be able to shape a settlement that serves the interests of South Sudan’s population by reducing the instability and violence wracking their country. The Khartoum talks offer at best a slender hope, but one that the AU and African leaders should pursue.