Today, an important deadline in the Sudan peace process has come and gone – with no agreement between the two negotiating parties in sight. November 30th was set as the original deadline for the North’s NCP and the South’s SPLM to agree on, and the National Assembly to approve, the terms of a bill that would govern how the South’s vote for independence in 2011 would take place. The consequences of missing this deadline are significant: without referendum legislation, preparations for the important vote cannot begin. The South’s self-determination referendum is slated to take place just over a year from now, and indications clearly point to southerners choosing independence.
The failure to make today’s deadline is largely attributed to Sudan’s ruling party, the NCP, who has not only negotiated in bad faith, but has continued to undermine peace throughout Sudan. One month after the release of the Obama administration’s Sudan policy, the situation on the ground has further deteriorated. Violence against civilians continues unabated in Darfur and in southern Sudan. The conditions for free and fair elections to take place have been blocked by the NCP. In today’s newly-released strategy paper, “What To Do About Sudan Now?”, Enough calls for the Obama administration to follow through on its own policy by responding to the NCP’s actions with a set of multilateral consequences.
John Prendergast, the report’s author and co-founder of Enough, says:
For Sudan watchers and activists, the advent of the Obama administration provided great promise. To fulfill that promise, the United States must respond firmly to the NCP’s divide and destroy tactics by forging a coalition of nations willing to implement a set of multilateral pressures and consequences that will prevent full-scale war from breaking out again in Sudan.
Photo: Election officials speak to a group of prospective voters at a voter registration booth in Juba, southern Sudan. (Enough/Maggie Fick)