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WASHINGTON – The United States and the international community must play an active role in negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan in order to achieve a comprehensive peace deal, according to a new Enough Project paper.
The paper, “Negotiations between the Two Sudans: Where They Have Been, Where They Are Going,” argues that the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, or AUHIP, charged with facilitating the negotiations, must focus its efforts on the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement between Sudan and South Sudan that address the critical issues of transitional financial arrangements, Abyei, and the border.
“The A.U. panel must commit to a process in which the critical issues of oil transit fees, Abyei, and the border are negotiated as a package deal, not in isolation,” said Omer Ismail, Enough Project Sudan expert. “Such a comprehensive approach recognizes the relationship inherent in all outstanding North-South issues and the ultimate bargain that the two sides will have to strike.”
The United States should employ a carrot and stick approach with Sudan that encompasses both the North-South negotiations and the promotion of a comprehensive peace agreement within Sudan that leads to credible elections. This can be achieved through the coordination of the appropriate financiers, in particular, those states that have historically benefited from Sudan’s oil industry, to provide economic assistance to fill Sudan's post-July fiscal gap.
The U.S. government may additionally offer to support the lifting of sanctions and debt relief for Sudan. Any such economic assistance must be conditioned on the resolution and implementation of a North-South package deal and the promotion of a comprehensive peace agreement within Sudan that leads to credible elections, the paper argues.
“The United States has in its possession a number of economic incentives that may make a resolution between the North and South more politically palatable for both sides,” said Amanda Hsiao, Enough Project Sudan field researcher. “These incentives cannot simply be conditioned on a North-South deal, but must be employed toward a negotiated deal encompassing all conflicts in the North, and a process that addresses the fundamental causes of Sudan's chronic instability.”
In the latest round of talks aimed at resolving outstanding issues since South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July, the Republic of South Sudan made considerable concessions while the Government of Sudan lacked the political will to negotiate, the paper says.
“Today, nearly 18 months since the start of the negotiation process, the two parties, the AUHIP, and the greater international community find themselves at a cross-road,” said Jennifer Christian, Enough Project Sudan policy analyst. “Few, if any, lasting agreements have been concluded by the parties. Now, as tensions escalate between Khartoum and Juba, the international community must unite in a concerted diplomatic effort.”
Read the full report: “Negotiations between the Two Sudans: Where They Have Been, Where They Are Going.”