Scroll to top

Negotiations Between the Two Sudans: Where They Have Been, Where They Are Going

No comments

Negotiations Between the Two Sudans: Where They Have Been, Where They Are Going

Posted by Enough Team on December 15, 2011

Negotiations Between the Two Sudans: Where They Have Been, Where They Are Going

Executive Summary:

The last round of negotiations between the government of Sudan, or GoS, and the
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Republic of South Sudan, or SPLM/RSS, saw
significant concessions made by the SPLM/RSS and a lack of political will to negotiate
on the part of Khartoum. Although the two parties remain far apart in their positions,
the SPLM/RSS proposal put forward in the last round paves the way for a comprehensive
deal going forward. By virtue of the dynamics between the two parties, a package
deal inclusive of a transitional financial arrangement for the North, Abyei, and the
border is still the only feasible endgame.

The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, or AUHIP, led by former South
African President Thabo Mbeki, must be focused on achieving such a comprehensive
agreement between the parties, rather than following the inconsistent approach it has
been pursuing, which has yielded few results. To this end, the AUHIP process must
be strengthened by the more active participation of countries that have influence and
leverage over the parties. China, Ethiopia, the Sudan Troika of Norway, the United
Kingdom and the United States, and other relevant actors in the international community
should increase their involvement through a concerted mechanism that would both
pressure the government of Sudan to play a more constructive role as well as support the
AUHIP’s ability to bring the parties together.

The United States should actively pursue 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. In particular, the
U.S. must heighten its engagement in support of the African Union panel by deploying
high-level representatives to future rounds of talks and assuming a leadership role in
coordinating international engagement. The U.S. government can play an essential role
in coordinating states and international financial institutions in the implementation of
an economic roadmap that would offer economic assistance, debt relief, and the lifting
of sanctions to the GoS. All such steps must be conditioned on a resolution of North
South issues, as well as a negotiated settlement and constitutional review process aimed
at addressing the fundamental issues underlying marginalization and conflict within
Sudan. Now is not the time for the U.S. to play a passive role. The stakes are too high,
and the threat of renewed war between the two Sudans is all too real.