With Sudan’s voting period now over, and preliminary assessments on the conduct of elections out from the U.S., and international and domestic observers, many policy questions still remain. The White House statement released Tuesday, found here, was certainly more forthright than prior equivocations on what the administration expected of the exercise, but fell short of issuing any final judgment on the process.
Enough’s John Prendergast and Omer Ismail recently sat down with Jimmy Mulla of Voices for Sudan for an engaging policy discussion over the implications of U.S. policy toward Sudan’s elections and how the Obama administration should proceed. Sudan’s election, the three policy experts emphasized, was not just a means to an end, but an important exercise unto itself, one that was meant to empower the Sudanese people with deciding who would govern their country:
Some in the international community argue that taking the deeply flawed elections in stride paves the way for a smoother southern referendum on self-determination next year. By permitting Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party its victory, the NCP will be less inclined to meddle with South Sudan’s milestone vote next January, so the quid pro quo argument goes. Prendergast, Ismail, and Mulla disagree:
History shows that what is urgently needed is a diplomatic strategy that emphasizes strong international engagement and a willingness to use pressures when appropriate:
Strong diplomatic efforts will be critical in ensuring the implementation of the many provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that remain, and in pushing forward the Darfur peace process. Meanwhile, elections have not fully come to a close, yet. With the second postponement of results announced today, and tensions rising in parts of the country, international vigilance is more important than ever.
For more on U.S. policy in Sudan, watch the entire discussion here: