Eileen White Read, 202.641.0779
STATEMENT: The Obama Administration Expresses Concern About Arms Flow in Sudan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Enough Project today released statements concerning the Obama administration’s apparent concern about the flow of illegal arms to South Sudan:
John Norris, Executive Director of the Enough Project, noted "It seems significant that the National Security Council deputies held their first quarterly review of Sudan policy and the situation on the ground on January 22. Four days later, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, warned of the increased flow of weaponry into South Sudan while noting ‘a higher degree of sophistication and lethality of the weapons’ being seen in clashes. This strong message from Ambassador Rice suggests that the Obama administration, as reflected in the deliberations of the deputies, is increasingly concerned about the ominous situation on the ground in Sudan ahead of national elections scheduled for April of this year and an independence referendum slated for January 2011.” In her comments, Ambassador Rice observed that the Obama administration believes that some of these weapons are coming from North Sudan, and that heightening tensions were causing weapons to flow into Sudan from ‘all directions.’
John Prendergast, Co-founder of the Enough Project, added, “Sudan’s National Congress Party has followed a similar pattern since it came to power in 1989: arms are delivered to ethnic-based militias in order to divide and destroy areas from which armed opposition springs. The Khartoum regime did this through janjaweed militias in Darfur, and did it for a decade and a half in the South until the war ended there in 2005.”
The Enough Project has warned over the last six months that increasingly sophisticated attacks by the same ethnic-based militias that were used by the National Congress Party in the South during the war is a cause for great alarm. Even without a smoking gun to confirm a pattern of support from the NCP, circumstantial evidence is significant. The Enough Project has also expressed concerned about possible arms deliveries to other southern-based militias by the Government of Southern Sudan, as well as the Government of Southern Sudan’s poorly managed disarmament campaign which has also helped fuel local clashes.
A public ad campaign by the Sudan Now campaign of which Enough is part, highlighted the importance of the deputies meeting last week in setting a new course for Sudan policy and responding to the increasingly serious situation on the ground in Sudan.