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A ‘Grand Bargain’ for Sudan

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A ‘Grand Bargain’ for Sudan

Posted by Enough Team on November 8, 2010

A 'Grand Bargain' for Sudan

Published on the heels of a U.S. diplomatic blitz this weekend aimed at paving the way for a smooth referendum in southern Sudan in January, Enough’s John Prendergast and actor George Clooney penned this op-ed for the Daily Beast to highlight their proposed peace deal for North and South Sudan. They wrote:

Over the years we've become very good at using phrases to describe our outrage at genocide and other mass atrocities. NOT ON OUR WATCH! NEVER AGAIN! ENOUGH!

What we aren't good at is actually doing something to stop a crisis before it happens.

There are just two short months left until the crucial vote, but war is not inevitable. “The moment requires robust diplomacy, the kind that leaves a bad taste in your mouth but gets the job done,” Clooney and Prendergast wrote.

However, there is broad recognition that if detailed arrangements are not made before the referendum, the credibility of that process and disagreements over a number of contentious issues will likely spark violence in Sudan. Prendergast and Clooney mapped out the terms of the proposed “grand bargain” in the op-ed and offered a more detailed description in a longer “open memorandum.”

Here’s the thumbnail sketch from the op-ed:

  • hold the southern Sudan referendum on time and respect and implement fully the results.
  • transfer the area of Abyei to the South along the borders laid out by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
  • craft a multiyear revenue sharing arrangement in which the oil wealth of Abyei and key border areas could be shared equitably between the North and South, with a small percentage going to the Arab Misseriya border populations for development purposes.
  • demarcate the uncontested 80 percent of the border and refer the remaining 20 percent that is contested to binding international arbitration.
  • create serious minority protections with consideration for joint citizenship for certain populations, backed by significant international consequences for attacks on southerners in the North or northerners in the South.
  • in exchange for actions on North-South and Darfur peace efforts, the U.S. would implement a clear, sequenced, and binding path to normalization of relations that would involve—sequentially—removal of Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, exchange of ambassadors, lifting of unilateral sanctions, and support for bilateral and multilateral debt relief and other economic measures by the international financial institutions.


To help bolster the political will for the United States to stay closely engaged, Sudan Now kicked off a new petition tied to this proposed peace deal. Addressed to Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, President Obama’s point person on Sudan in the White House, the letter calls on the administration to ensure that any incentives offered to the negotiating parties in Sudan are tied to “verifiable and significant progress” on North-South issues and on Darfur. Click here to sign the letter.