On the eve of southern Sudan's historic referendum, the Obama administration has thrown its full diplomatic weight behind negotiations to secure final implementation of Sudan's 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and prevent the resumption of all-out war. A new Enough Project report by guest author and former State Department official Jeff Millington looks to history at this critical juncture for lessons on securing a peaceful future for all Sudanese.
The report, "Lessons from the Past: Reflections on U.S. Efforts to Bring Peace to Sudan," provides a personal account of Millington's involvement in the negotiations that resulted in the 2005 peace agreement between North and South, and identifies key determinants of successful peacemaking.
"[T]he most important lesson to come out of our past engagement on Sudan is that the United States must be prepared to stay the course, that we cannot let other pressing issues divert our focus, and that we must be prepared for the long haul," writes Millington, who served in a variety of roles during the CPA negotiations, including director of East African Affairs and Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. "This worked before and can work again, if we are prepared to commit."
With time running out, and international mediators continuing to push the two Sudanese parties toward agreement on a host of flashpoints, Millington’s narrative is a hopeful reminder that robust diplomacy has secured peace in Sudan in the past and can still do so today.
Photo: Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir Mayardit, left, raises hands with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, center, and Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha following his swearing-in ceremony as Sudan's first vice president in Khartoum in 2005. (AP)