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TEXT- Darfur Peace Agreement: A just peace or peace at all costs?

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By John A. Akec*

April 38, 2006 (LONDON) — The government of Sudan and Darfur armed Movements have been given 48 hours ending Friday night to present opinion on a draft Darfur Peace Agreement proposed by African Union mediators after more than two years of grilling negotiations. If signed, it will put an end to a devastating war that broke out in January 2002 and which has claimed more than 300,000 lives and displaced 1.5 million people from their homes.

SENIOR ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT

The agreement offers Darfur Movements a position of
Senior Assistant to the President in the Government of
National Unity (GONU), who will be the fourth
highest-ranking official in the government and will
exercise wide powers and political influence. SLA/M
and JEM will nominate 3 persons among whom the
President will choose a Senior Assistant. An Advisor
to the President from Darfur will also be appointed by
the Senior Assistant to the President.

TRANSITIONAL DARFUR REGIONAL AUTHORITY

According to the Draft Peace Agreement seen by
this author, a Transitional Darfur Regional Authority
(TDRA) will be set up that will be charged with
responsibility of implementing Darfur Peace Agreement
(DPA), supervising reconstruction and economic
development, and helping in return and resettlement of
the refugees. It will consist mainly of the Senior
Assistant to the President, the Governors of the three
Darfur States, Heads of the Darfur Rehabilitation and
Resettlement Commission, Darfur Reconstruction and
Development Fund, Darfur Land Commission, Darfur
Security Commission, and Darfur Peace and
Reconciliation Council. SLA/M and JEM will have
representatives in TDRA. Also, a nominee of SLA/M and
JEM will be governor of one of 3 Darfur States, in
addition to 2 cabinet ministers and 1 advisor to the
governor in each of the 3 states. The Senior Assistant
to the President will head Transitional Darfur
Regional Authority (TDA)

REPRESENTATION IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Darfur Movements will also have three state ministers in
the federal government, one cabinet minister in the
executive of Khartoum State, in addition of four
cabinet ministers already held by Darfurians in the
government of national unity. The Darfur Movements
will also occupy 12 seats in the National Legislative
Assembly .

WEALTH SHARING

In wealth sharing, the share of Darfur will be worked
out by a new body called Fiscal and Financial
Allocation and Monitoring Commission (FFAMC) that will
be formed as part of this agreement. FFAMC will be an
independent body that will make recommendations about
the formula to be used for funds allocations to the
President and the National Legislative Assembly. A
Panel of Experts aid FFAMC in its work. Members of the
Panel will be nominated by FFAMC and approved by the
National Legislative Assembly. Darfur will be
appropriately represented. Mechanisms have been
deigned into FFAMC in order to protect its
independence against government interference.

To speed up reconstruction process of the war ravaged
region, Darfur will receive a payment of US$ 300
million from the National Account Fund in 2006, and
another two consecutive payments of US$ 200 million in
2007 and 2008. This is in addition to its allocation
from National Account as will be determined by the
FFAMC.

ONE DARFUR REFERUNDUM

There will be a referundum by July 2010 at the latest
in which Darfurians will decide between the
amalgamation of current three Darfur States into one
administrative unit called Darfur Region, or retaining
the status quo of three self-governing Darfur States
with no Region. There will also be a boundary
commission to delinate Darfur’s North-South boundary
as of first of January 1956.

REBELS DISARMED, DEMOBILISED, OR REDEPLOYED

The SLM/A and JEM combatants will be disarmed,
demobilised, or redeployed. Those qualified and
competent will be integrated into Sudan Armed Forces.
The agreement calls for fair representation of
Darfurians at all levels of Sudan Armed Forces and
security organs. The combatants who will be integrated
into Sudan Armed Forces will not be transferred away
from Darfur region in the next 5 years and are
protected from being laid off by any new redundancy
plans in the armed forces over that same period. The
government of Sudan will also be required to downsize
its forces in Darfur and in border with Chad. The
process will be heavily monitored and policed by
Security Commission through African Union Mission in
Sudan (AMIS).

Since April 2004, the government of Sudan has been
negotiating with Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and
Justice and Equality Movement to bring a peaceful end
to war in Darfur. In March 2006, the UN and African
Union peace mediators gave Darfur warring parties a
deadline to reach an agreement by 30th April 2006. On
Tuesday 25th April 2006, the AU’s chief mediator,
Salim Ahmed Salim, presented to the government of
Sudan, and the Darfur Movements with a draft peace
agreement which he described as ’balanced and fair" to
all the parties. All the parties were given 48 hours
to respond to AU draft proposals.

Both the SLM/A and JEM demanded for the position of
vice president (currently held by Ali Osman Taha), the
governorship of Khartoum State, 8 federal cabinet
ministers, and a single Darfur State (or region)
instead of the current 3 unconnected but
self-governing states. In addition, SLA and JEM are
demanding compensation for each individual who
suffered loss in the war.

On its part, the NCP dominated government of Sudan is
ready to make concessions without compromising its 52
percent majority in the National Assembly, and the
post of vice president, and argues that administering
Darfur as 3 states will bring power closer to people.

One glaring problem with this agreement is that SLA/M
and JEM combined will still lack the majority to
decidedly influence policies in the 3 Darfur States to
achieve their goals for taking up arms. Hence, while
Darfur Movements will be represented in the
government, they cannot dictate the terms to the
current Darfur states administration that was
installed by the government of Sudan. This situation
is unlike that of the Government of Southern Sudan
where 70 percent of the executive and Legislative
Assembly, and executive and legislative of branches of
10 Southern States, are held by the SPLM.

Furthermore, the agreement talks about what will be
done and how it will be done. It does not give
specific numbers or targets or how much is good
enough. This is a great weakness as it leaves much to
be decided in future. It is potential minefield for
conflict, greed, and dishonesty. In order to succeed,
the implementation of the agreement will demand very
close involvement of the international partners and
third parties to verify, interpret, or arbitrate
disputes.

In fact, this agreement with its dependence on third
parties to monitor compliance with terms of the
agreement, it will open up Sudan to the greatest
international community ever.

Sudan government is optimistic that a deal will be
struck on Sunday 30 April 2006, which is the deadline
set by the UN to warring parties in Darfur to reach an
agreement. SLA/M leader Abdalwaheed Al-Nur said that
it would be impossible to sign the draft agreement as
it leaves out much of Movements demands, specially
that related to the position of the vice president. As
of Friday night, JEM was yet to send their comments on
the draft agreement to the AU mediators.

Implemented correctly, the agreement can bring justice
and peace. And without spelling out how much is just,
it leaves the agreement hanging on the good faith of
the government of Sudan and the willingness of the
international community to closely get involved. And
that is a minefield.

It should go without saying that much energy has been
injected into the negotiating process since the vice
president Ali Osman Taha joined the Abuja peace talks
earlier this month. The miracle maker that he is,
there could still be many surprises in the pipeline
that could dramatically change the situation between
now and Sunday, 30 April 06.

(ST)

* Sudanese Political Analyst based in London.http://johnakecsouthsudan.blogspot.com/

Word - 407 kb
Draft of Darfur Peace Agreement
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