Though Sudan’s referenda are fast approaching—and with them, the potential emergence of two new states—both Sudanese actors and international guarantors remain ill-prepared, warned a report released yesterday by a coalition of NGOs, including Enough. International actors must renew engagement on, and support the full implementation of, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in order to prevent a return to war. The authors wrote:
“With six months remaining until 9 January 2011, the scheduled date of the referenda, the run-up to, and outcome of, the vote must be managed with extreme care. The Guarantors to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), who invested considerable effort in obtaining the CPA on 9 January 2005, have both a responsibility and an ability to help Sudan implement the CPA and prevent further conflict. It is imperative that the Guarantors urgently redouble their efforts to ensure adequate preparations for the referenda, and help secure agreements on sensitive issues such as border demarcation and oil sharing.”
Critical pieces of the CPA have seen little to no progress, including preparations for the Abyei referendum (the referendum commission has yet to be formed) and popular consultations—an as-yet vague provision aimed at giving the people of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states a chance to voice their opinions on the CPA. Though less-talked about, the implementation of these two provisions is key to preserving peace in Sudan. The report emphasized: “Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile were sites of some of the heaviest and most violent conflict during the war.” It also pointed out that “the Guarantors should need no reminder that Abyei is prone to outbursts of conflict.”
International guarantors should engage through the international consultative forum hosted by the African Union, the report recommended, the first of which is set to take place this Saturday in Khartoum.
Photo: Abyei town, where some of the worst fighting has broken out since the CPA was signed in 2005 (AP)