Home | News    Saturday 19 February 2011

Enough Project puts out road map for new international process to end Darfur conflict

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February 18, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — The Washington-based Enough Project called on the US Administration to launch of a post Doha "proactive mediation style" to end the eight year conflict in Darfur saying any effort to domesticate the conflict will be unproductive.

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A child looks inside a shelter at Sakale Wali IDPs camp in the South Darfur town of Nyala May 29, 2010. (Reuters)

"The Obama Administration can build on its success helping to achieve a credible and timely southern referendum by partnering with the United Nations and key Security Council member states at the highest level to reinvigorate the Darfur peace process," said the group in a 15-page roadmap released on 15 February.

In the proposed peace plan, Enough called to organize "High-level political negotiations outside of Sudan between the various parties to the conflict," including the government of Sudan, four rebel groups and the civil society.

Sudanese government is pressing the mediation in Doha to conclude the peace talks with the rebel groups to start an internal process to end the conflict aiming to involve civil society, and tribal leaders besides elected executive and legislative organs.

Khartoum said it would not accept any new international initiative to organize talks between the rebels and the government pointing out that any group can ink the agreement that it intends to sign with armed groups participating in the Doha process.

The group said a proactive process "defined by direct contact between the parties with the mediators present" should be hosted outside Sudan because the current security situation and the implementation of emergency law in the region, among others, do not provide suitable atmosphere to hold an internal peace process.

The road map also says that the current head of the AU High Level Panel Thabo Mbeki and the UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari should focus their efforts respectively on post South Sudan referendum and Darfur peacekeeping issues.

Efforts led by the Joint chief Mediator Dijibril Bassole suffered from the lack of visible international support and the competing efforts of other regional and international figures who allowed the Sudanese government a margin of movement and put pressure on the mediation.

The former US envoy to Sudan Scott Gration despite his formal support to the Doha process dedicated his time to the CPA implementation and backed also Khartoum’s plans to bring the peace process inside the country. Also his efforts in Darfur were hindered by his tumultuous relationship with rebel groups.

The proposed peace plan stresses on the need to bring to the negotiating table the Justice and equality Movement (JEM), Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM) and the two factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Abdel Wahid Al Nur and Minni Minnawi.

The US government has a special role to play to get all the rebel groups into the peace negotiations, the road map underlines.

"The United States should develop options such as the possibility of targeted sanctions that could help bring intransigent but necessary rebel representatives to the table," Enough further said.

Also civil society participation and coordination with the governments that have relations with Darfur armed groups are seen as key to bring the rebels to the comprehensive process. The road map cites the relations of the rebels with the South Sudan which can play a role to deliver rebels to the peace talks.

Speaking about Khartoum government the proposed plan says The US can continue its commitment to normalize gradually bilateral relations with Sudan and remove sanctions after the resolution of Darfur conflict.

"The United States should continue to adhere to the roadmap laid out by the administration in late 2010, which ties increased normalization of relations between the U.S. and North Sudan specifically to conditions in Darfur."

The Sudanese government and former South African president Mbeki intend to initiate two processes aiming to promote peace in Darfur from inside the Sudan. The government says the resettlement of the IDPs and refugees and development are also part of its project. While the head of the African panel stresses on the dialogue between the tribal and civil society groups.

The two processes, which converge at certain level, are separate from the engagement of civil society organizations and tribal leaders as it is designed by the mediation in Doha where the civil groups are part of an inclusive process and not opposed to the rebels.

Khartoum and Mbeki agree that the main cause of conflict in Darfur is tribal attacks for the control of water sources and pastures. They say addressing this issue implies to erect civil society groups as main actors to negotiate among them an end to the conflict.

The peace plan proposed by Enough group says civil society participation should be initiated and monitored by the international mediation. "The process should be focused on the kind of reconciliation that has been initiated in Darfur in recent months by Bassolé’s mediation team," it stresses.

The group further urges to "promote an enabling environment" for successful civil society consultations. In this regard, the road map points out the need to "repeal of the state of emergency law and the national security law in order to create a conducive environment for free and fair consultations.

It also considers crucial "that no civilians will be punished as result of their participation. Should any such backlash occur, the U.S. would need to vehemently condemn whichever party was responsible, and demonstrate clear consequences for this behavior".

The plan was referring to Kalma clashes between the partisans of Doha talks and those who are opposed to the participation of IDPs in the civil society consultation held in Doha in July 2010.

The state minister Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud in statements told a Qatari daily on Friday that the mediation will release a timetable for the talks between the government and the rebel groups present in Doha, JEM and LJM..

On the talks with the LJM the mediation will submit new proposal on the pending issues particularly the status of the region and the attribution of a post of vice-president of the republic to Darfur region. With regard to the negotiations with JEM the mediators will organize talks on the basis of the peace document. However in the second situation the parties might be forced to extend the talks beyond the end of the month.

Sudanese government said it plans to conclude the talks before the end of July in order to adopt a new constitution for the country with the separation of South Sudan.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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