Implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
On 11 October, the Government of South Sudan decided to withdraw its 19 ministers and deputy ministers from the Government of National Unity (GNU) over frustrations that the National Congress Party (NCP) was not moving to implement many aspects of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2004. This withdrawal has worried international observers who fear a resumption of hostilities between North and South Sudan and the sabotaging of peace talks aimed at putting an end to the conflict in Darfur.
In its latest report published on 12 October, the International Crisis Group (ICG) warned that if the international community did not push for the implementation of the CPA, war between the North and South could resume. The report amongst other recommendations pushes for the implementation of the Abyei Protocol. Abyei is an ethnically and politically sensitive region, which is of interest to both sides because of its large oil reserves.
Both the EU and the UN have expressed their concern over this latest setback. On 12 October EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana expressed his concern over the south’s withdrawal warning of the adverse effects this would have for Darfur and the peace talks between the Sudanese Government and Darfuri rebel groups scheduled to take place at the end of October in Libya.
On the same day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the National Congress Party to ‘take the necessary steps to address the outstanding issues related to the implementation of the peace agreement.’
On 13 October the UN’s top official in Sudan, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, met members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), including its leader Salva Kiir in Juba. Zerihoun said he was "encouraged" by the talks after the SPLM "stated the government of the south will remain engaged in discussions and consultations with their partners’ in Khartoum. The following day, Salva Kiir reiterated that despite the withdrawal from the GNU, the south would not resume hostilities.
Darfur Peace Process
Preparations for the peace talks due to take place in Libya at the end of October have been recently been threatened by the continuing armed offensives of the Sudanese Government, disagreement between rebel factions and Southern Sudan’s withdrawal from the Unity Government.
On 11 October, members of rebel groups traveling to Juba to discuss a common position ahead of the peace talks in Libya were besieged in an air strips by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). Three days later, it emerged that the African Union airplane which was transporting the members to Juba was forced, under threat of attack, to make an emergency landing at the airbase. The plane was only allowed to continue after discussions involving the UN.
On 13 October, members from the JEM and the SLM of Ahmed Al Alshafi met at the European Centre in Germany to discuss joint proposals for the Libyan peace talks. The talks centered around the issues of representation, wealth sharing and human rights for Darfur and regional identity for the three federal states of Darfur.
Following the SPLM’s withdrawal from the Government of National Unity, Sharif Harir, leader of the Sudan Liberation Army Unity faction, said that negotiations in the October peace talks have become impossible: ‘under such circumstances it is untenable for the Darfur movements to negotiate with the National Congress Party that is known to dishonor its agreements.’
Human Rights Situation
This week, the chief Prosecuror of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, spoke out against human rights violations taking place in Darfur. In an interview with the Canadian press, he called on people around the world to pressure their Governments to help bring Ahmed Harun, Sudanese Government minister for humanitarian affairs and Ali Kushayb, Janjaweed militia leader, to justice. Kushayb, a militia commander, is wanted by the ICC for 50 counts including murder and intentionally attacking civilians. Harun is wanted by the ICC for 42 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ocampo explained that ‘there is no solution to Darfur if Harun is not arrested… I have a strong case against the minister. Now the Sudan has to arrest him’.
On 15 October Ocampo went on to criticized UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, commenting ‘Justice was not mentioned in the UNSG subsequent reports on Darfur where the UN secretariat developed a three prong approach with a humanitarian, political and security components only.’ Keen to appease the Sudanese Government ahead of the peace talk in Libya, it would seem that the UN Secretary-General is muting any criticism of the regime.
The security situation in Darfur shows no sign of improving as the Sudanese Government continues to ignore UN Security Council resolutions. On 12 October, the UN Panel of Experts accused theGovernment in Sudan of ignoring the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council and continuing offensive over flights in Darfur. The group of experts also accused the National Redemption Front (NRF) and the Minni Minnawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Army of targeting the AU peacekeeping force.
On the humanitarian front, violence towards humanitarian agencies has continued in the Darfur region with ongoing attacks on UN aid workers. Most recently, on 17 October, the UN announced that three truck drivers working for the World Food Program have been killed in two separate attacks while attempting to deliver food aid to Darfur.
The security situation for Darfur’s neighbours is also deteriorating as the border regions become increasingly unstable. On 17 October, Chad declared a state of emergency along the border it shares with Sudan, in order to tackle a new bout of ethnic violence which has flared up as a result of the conflict in Darfur
In an effort to stabilize Sudan’s borders with Chad and the Central African Republic the EU approved on 15 October the deployment of a peacekeeping force that will be sent to Chad and CAR. This decision follows the establishment through UN Security Council Resolution 1778 of 25 September 2007 approving the establishment of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and the deployment of a European Union force with a robust mandate to protect and support the UN mission
Sanctions and Divestment
The US Senate Banking Committee approved legislation which allows companies to divest from Darfur without prosecution by a vote of twenty one to none. This bill is of vital important for those wishing to divest from Darfur without prosecution. So far as many as 20 states and more than 50 universities have divested from Darfur.