|Photo credit: UN Photo/Olivier Chassot|
Sudan has been torn by war since independence in 1956. The civil war between North, and South has left some 2 million people dead and many more that have fled their homeland. At the end of 2003, the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) reached a peace agreement mediated by the US, Britain, Norway and Italy. The agreement aims for a ceasefire, sets out conditions for power-sharing and creates a mechanism to determine the future of the South. However, strategic interests of outside powers and escalating violence in Darfur have rendered a quick conclusion on the peace deal impossible. Sudan's large oil deposits are central to the ongoing violence, as foreign governments and companies vie for lucrative concessions. As the North-South conflict eased, rebels in the western Darfur province challenged the government and were met with savage repression. In July 2004, UN Security Council Resolution 1556 endorsed the deployment of a protection force by the African Union (AU) to monitor the April 2004 ceasefire in Darfur. In November 2004, the Security Council held an extraordinary meeting in Nairobi, but the efforts of some Council members to impose sanctions on Khartoum were thwarted by China and Russia, veto-wielding members with significant oil interests. On January 9, 2005, the Sudanese government and the SPLA signed the Naivasha peace protocols, officially ending the North-South conflict. Yet many obstacles continue to block implementation.
Following months of discussion, the Council adopted three important resolutions in March 2005. To oversee the implementation of the North-South peace agreement, Council members decided to deploy a UN peacekeeping mission to Southern Sudan (UNMIS). The Council further agreed to refer perpetrators of human rights abuses to the International Criminal Court despite Washington's long-standing opposition to the Court. In response to armed parties' failure to comply with previous resolutions, the Council also ordered a travel ban and a freeze of assets for human rights violators. But human rights violations continue to take place in Sudan and violence rages on in Darfur. The conflict has spread across Sudan's western border with Chad. The AU peacekeeping force - called the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) - has an insufficient mandate and inadequate international support, and has been left under-manned, poorly funded and ill-equipped to respond to the rapidly deteriorating conflict. As a result, Secretary General Kofi Annan decided to seek the integration of the AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (AMIS) into UNMIS. Progress in this effort has lagged, however, as the plan has encountered opposition within the Security Council as well as from Khartoum.
In this report, the Secretary General reemphasizes that peace in the south of Sudan remains fragile after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended a decades long north-south conflict. Ban Ki-Moon stresses that while the situation in Darfur aggravates the peace process, the indictment of Bashir has a major impact on political dynamics related to the CPA. He states that ICC actions "have diverted much attention at a time when outstanding issues related to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement require the parties' cooperation and renewed commitment."
In this report to the Security Council, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon argues that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the long-running Sudanese civil war, remains fragile. Clashes between northern and southern troops in the oil-rich city of Abyei in May 2008 and the situation in the western region of Darfur have blocked implementation of the CPA. Ban warns that peace in Sudan is indivisible, and that the CPA could fall through anytime, leading Sudan back into a full-scale civil war.
After threatening further sanctions to prod Khartoum into acquiescence, UN Security Council members unanimously passed Resolution 1769, a watered-down version of earlier proposals. The resolution espouses UNAMID, a hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping mission to Darfur, comprised of 20,000 military personnel and 6,000 police. UNAMID will act under Chapter VII to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement and to protect civilians and aid workers. The UN has yet to secure the cooperation of all of Darfur's rebel groups, which will be crucial to UNAMID's success.
In addition to extending the UN Mission in Southern Sudan (UNMIS) for 6 months, the Security Council calls on the Secretary General to appoint "urgently" a new special representative for Sudan. The resolution also expresses co