Beyond Sudan's Latest North-South Crisis

Posted in Africa | 13-Mar-08 | Source: International Crisis Group

Nairobi/Brussels, 13 March 2008: Sudan’s North-South peace will remain at risk and Darfur will be unsolvable unless the parties to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the international community actively recommit to its implementation.

Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement: Beyond the Crisis,* the latest policy briefing from the International Crisis Group, describes how a crisis over the CPA at the end of 2007 was settled but that the underlying problems still threaten the deal which ended the generation-long civil war in which at least two million people died.

In October 2007, the Sudan Liberation People’s Movement (SPLM) suspended its participation in the Government of National Unity because the National Congress Party (NCP) was not implementing key aspects of the CPA. After two months of military posturing and aggressive rhetoric, the parties agreed on a series of measures, and the SPLM re-joined the government on 27 December. There has been progress on most issues, but there are few guarantees that the new commitments and timetables will be honoured.

“The CPA contains the seeds to a national transformation, and the beginning of the end of Sudan’s multiple conflicts”, says David Mozersky, Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director. “Full implementation is ultimately in the best interest of both the NCP and SPLM”.

The risk of new fighting is growing in the oil-rich Abyei area, and three main factors still put the CPA at risk. First and foremost, some in the NCP continue to view full implementation and the promised 2009 elections as a threat to its survival and are undermining core aspects of the deal. Secondly, the SPLM remains divided on its priorities, between those who favour a southern-first strategy and those who support a national agenda. The infighting has weakened CPA implementation, and the SPLM should use its May 2008 National Convention to reconcile the splits. Thirdly, the international guarantors and the UN remain dangerously disengaged, due in part to preoccupation with Darfur and in part to a lack of consensu s on the way forward.

Both parties must urgently re-commit to full CPA implementation. The international community must also re-engage robustly in support of the still shaky deal, most immediately to help resolve the crisis in Abyei, and must recognise that CPA implementation would create the best environment for peace in Darfur and beyond. International policies should no longer be bifurcated between the CPA and Darfur. Sudan’s conflicts are outgrowths of a common set of national problems.

“Both parties calculate that a return to war is not in their best present interests, and they have more to gain working together”, says François Grignon, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. “But there is great distrust, and if peace is to hold, they must rededicate themselves to the CPA and broaden its national support”.

Contacts: Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels) +32 (0) 2 541 1635
Kimberly Abbott (Washington) +1 202 785 1601

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The International Crisis Group (Crisis Group) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation covering some 60 crisis-affected countries and territories across four continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.