Home | News    Thursday 27 February 2014

US cautiously optimistic about Sudanese president’s call for political dialogue

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

February 26, 2014 (WASHINGTON) – The United States said the world will be "watching Sudan carefully" to see what emerges from president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s call last month for comprehensive political dialogue that would bring together all political forces as well as rebel groups.

JPEG - 10.3 kb
Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir delivers a speech in the capital, Khartoum, on 27 January 2014 in which he appealed for a political and economic renaissance in the country (Photo: AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

"The world will be watching Sudan carefully to gauge the seriousness of this initiative, which if truly holistic, inclusive and comprehensive offers an opportunity to address the underlying causes of Sudan’s tragic history of war between its center and its periphery," US special envoy to Sudans Donald Booth told lawmakers at the House of Representatives in a hearing held on Wednesday.

But Booth warned that the Sudanese government should not think the US will be sold on any political process that does not lead to real reform.

"Sudan’s conflicts are indicative of a widespread failure to govern equitably and inclusively, and the international community must not allow Khartoum to continue obscuring national issues by painting them as isolated regional conflicts, nor can we allow them to pass off as credible any superficial national process that does not include and empower representation and participation from all levels and regions of Sudanese society," he said.

"As part of this engagement, it is critical that we unite the international community to show Khartoum that change is both necessary and beneficial," Booth added.

Bashir addressed the nation announcing a 4-point plan for reform "to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalize national identity", calling for political forces to engage in dialogue to agree on the implementation items though he did not specify practical steps to do so.

His speech drew widespread criticism for failing to rise to the level of major surprise as described by Sudanese officials prior to it.

The Sudanese leader said that rebel groups will be accepted into the dialogue only if they lay down arms. But the rebel umbrella known as the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) has brushed aside Bashir’s offer.

The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) and the Popular Congress Party (PCP) are the only opposition parties who so far announced their acceptance to Bashir’s call for national dialogue.

The US official said that Washington is working with other parties such as China, United Kingdom, Norway, African Union (AU), Ethiopia, Egypt and Qatar to pressure Sudan into embracing genuine reforms.

He also cautioned that any improvement in US -Sudanese relations "is predicated on genuine and sustained improvements in how Sudan treats its citizens and adheres to its international obligations".

Sudan has refused to issue Booth a visa to make a second visit since his appointment last year unless he comes with a specific agenda for normalizing ties through lifting sanctions and removing the country from the list of states that sponsor terrorism.

Khartoum also mentioned reciprocity in light of Washington’s refusal to issue Bashir a visa to travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings last September.

SOUTH SUDAN WARRING PARTIES VIOLATING TRUCE

On South Sudan conflict, Booth accused both government and rebel forces of violating the cessation of hostilities agreement brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

"Both parties have continued to violate this agreement and commit abuses against civilians, most recently with the anti-government forces’ assault on Malakal, and before that pro-government forces’ attacks on Leer and Godiang" he said.

"A true cessation of hostilities is our most pressing priority, and the United States Government is providing significant financial support to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-led Monitoring and Verification Mechanism which will monitor and identify violators of the cessation of hostilities agreement," the US official added.

Booth also said that the US is "deeply concerned by reports of serious human rights abuses and violations that have been committed throughout South Sudan by both parties to the conflict, including those reported in the UN’s first report on abuses committed since the conflict began".

He criticized Juba for "progressively" restricting political competition in the country including within the ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) and also curbing free press and civil society groups.

Violence erupted in South Sudan last December in Juba following clashes between rival tribe members within the presidential guards, with president Salva Kiir accusing former vice-president Riek Machar of masterminding an alleged coup attempt to overthrow the government.

Government forces loyal to Kiir, at times assisted by Ugandan troops, battled pro-Machar forces for control of strategic areas.

The UN estimates some 900,000 people have been internally displaced since the conflict broke out.

The envoy stressed that South Sudan government must not be allowed "to return to business as usual with a quick fix and political accommodations for the main protagonists, for the simple reason that this will not bring about a sustainable peace".

"A number of other senior U.S. officials and I have made clear that we, too, are not engaged in business as usual; as one sign of this, I would note that our security assistance to South Sudan is not going forward at this time, and that some of it is being re-programmed to support the regional verification mechanism," he added.

(ST)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Darfur, the most ‘successful’ genocide in a century 2017-04-21 23:16:47 By Eric Reeves The Darfur region of western Sudan has been recognized since 2004 as the site of genocide since 2004 by dozens of political officials and bodies (including the U.S. Congress and (...)

Open Letter to AU and IGAD: Festus Mogae be relieved and JMEC disbanded 2017-04-21 23:12:39 By Dak Buoth It is an opportune time for President Festus Mogae, the Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation commission (JMEC) to pack and go back where he came from. And if he so wishes to (...)

The Nile Basin In Transformation: research uptake and what’s at stake? 2017-04-20 14:55:55 Mohamed s. M. Yassin (Ph.D) The Nile basin territories have witnessed huge transformation since prehistoric era and continue to be subjected to enormous transformations. The transformations (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


HRW denounces "collective punishment" in South Sudan’s Wau 2017-04-15 07:06:48 Human Right Watch South Sudan: New Spate of Ethnic Killings Urgent Need for Justice; UN Should Increase Patrols in Wau (Nairobi, April 14, 2017) – Government soldiers and allied militias (...)

Statement by South Sudanese Communist Party on the National Dialoguel 2017-03-22 05:44:42 The Communist Party of South Sudan On the Initiative of the National Dialogue The initiative taken by the President of the Republic of South Sudan declaring a need for a national dialogue is an (...)

An Appeal to President of the Republic of South Sudan 2017-03-15 07:22:45 Dear. Mr. President, I write to appeal to you for the release of political detainees now in the custody of the National Security Service at Jebel and other detention facilities. In doing this, I (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2017 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.