Enough co-Chair John Prendergast spent yesterday afternoon on Capitol Hill discussing U.S. relations with Sudan during a roundtable discussion with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Prendergast was joined by Sudan experts Roger Winter, Jerry Fowler, Michael Gerson, and Timothy Carney, as well as by U.S. Senators on the foreign relations committee. Below are a few highlights:
- The back and forth between senators and regional experts quickly moved to address the increasingly likely issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. In particular, the discussion focused on the internal politics of Bashir’s National Congress Party, or NCP, and the stalled progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA.
- John Prendergast noted that regional politics in the Arab world—particularly Sudan’s relationship with Egypt, which has been on ice for a while now— as well as tensions within the NCP itself could push Bashir out of power in the wake of an indictment. All of the experts further underscored the necessity of looking at Sudan holistically and emphasized the fact that the recurrent tensions between the North and South and the crisis in Darfur are symptoms of the same problem: the hoarding of wealth and power by ruling elites in the capital, Khartoum, to the exclusion of everyone else.
- Roger Winter stressed that the next six months will be crucial for the implementation of the CPA, which he feels is in dangerous risk of collapse.
- Senator Feingold wisely connected the dots, not only between peace in Darfur and throughout Sudan, but between the region’s numerous and interconnected conflicts.
- Jerry Fowler of the Save Darfur Coalition noted that UNAMID cannot do what it needs to do unless it is accompanied by a comprehensive peace process to end the Darfur conflict.