For a Darfur Peace Settlement

Posted in Africa | 01-May-07 | Source: International Crisis Group

An African Union soldier stands guard in the village of Gos Beina during an AU patrol in Darfur in 2006.

Nairobi/Brussels, 30 April 2007: The international community needs to complement efforts to get peacekeepers on the ground with a new approach to negotiating a political settlement if there is to be peace in Darfur.

Darfur: Revitalising the Peace Process,* the latest International Crisis Group report, proposes a comprehensive strategy to achieve a political settlement and end the tragedy. While there has been marginally less fighting for two months, the security situation has deteriorated since the government and one of three rebel factions signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in May 2006. Peace will remain elusive unless the international community coordinates better to surmount obstacles, including the ruling National Congress Party’s pursuit of military victory and increasing rebel divisions.

Deploying an effective African Union/UN hybrid peacekeeping force to protect civilians and establishing a workable ceasefire is vital, and further Khartoum delays can be expected despite recent agreement on more support for the African Union contingent. But new impetus in the moribund peace process is equally vital. “The DPA has failed because it did not resolve the conflict’s root causes, too few rebels signed, and inadequate representation in negotiation has meant a lack of support in Darfur”, says David Mozersky, Horn of Africa Project Director. “A revised political agreement is the only chance for lasting peace”.

Talks must respond to the conflict’s complex nature and can be built on the framework established by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the mainly North-South civil war in 2005. To maximise chances of success, the AU/UN mediation team needs to build a new international consensus on strategy and pursue three prerequisites for peace: help the rebels unify and develop a common agenda so that they can negotiate coherently; broaden participation to include more of Darfur’s constituencies; and strengthen the structure of the new negotiations. The mediation team must also make the NCP understand that a solution requires greater power sharing than what was in the DPA, and it should avoid setting artificial negotiating deadlines.

For negotiations to produce an agreement with a chance to be implemented, the international community will have to adjust its approach to Khartoum, which will continue to wage war and defy its international obligations as long as it does not face punitive, multilateral measures. A U.S.-China understanding is central to changing its perception, which in turn requires Beijing to recognise that continuation of the crisis threatens its legitimate interests and investments in Sudan.

“There is no easy solution. Ending this crisis needs creative thinking”, says Francois Grignon, Crisis Group’s Africa Director. “Without intense international engagement and cooperation before new talks, the crisis will continue ravaging Darfur and could revive the deadly conflict in the South and further destabilise the entire region”.

To find out more, visit our “Crisis in Darfur” page, which has links to Crisis Group’s reports and opinion pieces on the conflict, details of our advocacy efforts to date, links to other resources, and information on what you can do to support Crisis Group’s efforts.

Contacts: Nadim Hasbani (Bruxelles) 32 (0) 2 536 00 71
Kimberly Abbott (Washington) 1 202 785 1601
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*Read the full Crisis Group report on our website:

The International Crisis Group (Crisis Group) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation covering over 50 crisis-affected countries and territories across four continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.