(Washington, D.C.) November 19, 2007: Despite a false start, the Darfur peace talks in Sirte, Libya can be rescued if the mediation team and its international partners take immediate action to reorient the content, restructure the process, and build the requisite leverage, according to an ENOUGH strategy paper released today.
Authored by ENOUGH co-chair John Prendergast and policy advisor Colin Thomas-Jensen, the report draws on lessons learned from two of Sudan’s recent political negotiations—those that led to the fragile 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the failed 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement.
“The mistakes of Abuja are repeating themselves in Sirte,” says Thomas-Jensen. “The United Nations/African Union joint mediation team made a critical miscalculation by trying to unify and assemble the rebels in Libya without a clearly defined vision for an end state that resonates with Darfur’s civilian population.”
Specifically, the ENOUGH report outlines recommendations for the immediate reworking of the peace talks in three critical areas:
• content: rather than wait for parties to come up with their own proposals, the joint mediation team should author an end state draft agreement that reflects the widely shared concerns of Darfur’s displaced civilians, the principal victims of the conflict;
• process: the talks must be broadened to ensure that all stakeholders in Darfur have ownership over the envisioned end state and ultimately, the final agreement; and countries with the most leverage – the United States, China, France, and the United Kingdom – must deploy full time and fully staffed envoys to the region to support the mediation effort and conduct shuttle diplomacy as needed; and
• leverage: the UN Security Council must impose clear costs for parties that obstruct the peace process; the United States must also provide declassified intelligence to help the International Criminal Court execute additional indictments against those most responsible for crimes against humanity in Darfur.
While a clear end state, tight and inclusive structure and focused leverage are critical for success in Sirte, the report emphasizes that the Darfur peace talks are only one part of a larger solution for Sudan.
"Failure in Libya combined w the unraveling of the CPA would plunge Sudan in its most deadly cycle of conflict yet. A meaningful Darfur peace process would begin by putting proposals on the table that will demonstrate to Darfurians that the real issues will be addressed, thus making participation more appealing to the rebels and civilian populations that give them political support."
To read “A Strategy for Success in Sirte,” go to www.enoughproject.org.