January 8, 2010
Eileen White Read, 202.641.0779
Obama Needs to Make Sudan a Priority in 2010:
Fifth Anniversary of Peace Agreement Highlights Urgent Requirement for High-Level Engagement
The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, five years ago was a monumental achievement by the Sudanese parties and by the international community. The CPA ended more than two decades of civil war between Sudan's North and South and set forth a roadmap and timetable for the democratic transformation of the country.
However, five years after the peace was signed, the notion of democratic transformation of Sudan has been abandoned by the ruling National Congress Party and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement, and the potential for a return to all-out war before or after the 2011 self-determination referendum for southern Sudan is more real than ever.
Without high-level engagement by the Obama administration and its international partners, including robust use of pressures and incentives necessary to alter the current calculations of the parties — the kind of engagement that yielded the signing of the CPA — the international community must prepare to accept the consequences of a destabilized and volatile Sudan for years to come.
"The time has come to impose multilateral consequences for actions and decisions that will lead Sudan back to full-scale war," says Enough Co-founder John Prendergast. "President Obama must make the difficult choices to begin ratcheting up pressure, particularly on the ruling NCP, and to build a coalition of countries willing to join the United States in pressuring the parties for peace. Without demonstrating that kind of multilateral resolve, a return to war is inevitable. There must be a cost to war-mongering."
"The international community cannot afford to look the other way as Sudan faces a year fraught with flashpoints that threaten to derail the peace agreement," argues Enough's Juba-based field researcher Maggie Fick. "The people of Sudan have lost confidence in the CPA as a vehicle for a peaceful and democratic future in Sudan, and neither side is working in good faith toward this future."
"The Obama administration has helped secure a number of agreements between the NCP and the SPLM in recent months, but there remains an incredible amount of work that still needs to be done; time is painfully short, and the international community is far from achieving a unified approach to Sudan. That makes for a very dangerous recipe in the days ahead, and the international community must recognize the enormous risks they will take on in Sudan and in the region absent internationally coordinated pressure on all sides to adhere to their commitments," says Enough Executive Director John Norris. "The United States must follow through on its benchmarks-based approach to assessing the progress of the Sudanese parties in their implementation of the CPA and adopt a much more aggressive peacemaking effort in Darfur."