|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 concerns over the restrictions imposed on UNMIS, and urges Khartoum to implement immediately its commitment to support, protect and facilitate all humanitarian operations in Darfur. It further calls upon all rebel groups who have not done so, to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement.
The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan established oil revenue sharing, but it has not delivered the expected transparency. In this report, Global Witness identifies why the numbers given by the government and oil companies do not match, and recommends an independent audit of the oil sector. The oil sharing agreement is a cornerstone for maintaining peace in Sudan, especially if South Sudan secedes. (Global Witness)
This report by Human Rights First gives an overview of the arms transfers to Sudan from 2004-2006. China, Russia, Spain, Turkey and other countries violated the 2004 Security Council arms embargo that requires all governments to prevent the sale or supply of weapons to Sudan. The US, the UK, France and Sweden also possibly violate the embargo because they did not take all possible measures to prevent the transfer of arms by third countries to Sudan.
This Darfur Consortium report concludes that the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) fails millions of Darfurians every day. The report argues that even though UNAMID lacks basic equipment and troops, it could still do more to escort civilians and increase patrols. The report urges donor countries to fulfill their promises to provide troops and equipment, but also argues that UNAMID must do more to ensure the day-to-day protection of displaced peoples and aid workers.
Oil drives conflict in Sudan, according to Fatal Transactions. The report notes that the Sudanese government undermines a peace-deal signed in 2005 between the North and South of the country by failing to move troops from oil producing areas in the South, and refusing to demarcate a border between the North and South that would evenly distribution oil fields. The author argues that state-owned oil companies from China, Malaysia and India perpetuate the conflict by providing the Sudanese government with military and financial support in exchange for drilling rights.
This report by Small Arms Survey notes that France uses an EU multilateral force (EUFOR) to protect its preferred ruler in Chad, Idriss Deby. The French justify the existence of the force by claiming EUFOR provides humanitarian relief to refugees affected by the conflict in Darfur. However, the author, Jerome Tubiana argues that France's involvement in the force undermines the legitimacy of the UN, and places humanitarian workers at risk of attack. Rather than a military intervention in the conflict, Tubiana suggests that the UN establish peace talks between opposition groups in Chad and the government, as well as between Chad and Sudan.
The United Nations remains "dangerously disengaged" in solidifying a North-South peace agreement in Sudan due to its preoccupation with the conflict in Darfur. In 2005, opposing factions the Sudan Liberation People's Movement (SLPM) and the National Congress Party (NCP) signed a peace deal that ended civil war in Sudan. Yet, as the International Crisis Group reports, the UN has failed to follow up on this deal. As a result, the NCP refuses to move its troops from oil-producing areas of Sudan, and the SLPM has rearmed in protest. The report urges the UN to "re-engage robustly" to support the failing peace plan.
This Humanitarian Policy Group brief analyzes the nexus between humanitarian, political and military action within Darfur. Questioning the impartiality of aid agencies in formulating policy positions, the report claims that traditional notions of neutrality are being eroded. This "non-permissive advocacy", has led to "high levels of insecurity for aid workers, and continuous efforts by the Sudanese government to curtail what it believes to be â€˜political' activities."
As the Security Council discusses extension of the weapons ban on Sudan, Amnesty International calls for the UN to "strengthen the monitoring and verification mechanisms of the UN arms embargo to improve â€¦ implementation." Currently the wording of UN Resolution 1591 allows countries to supply arms to the Sudanese government as long as they are not used in the country. Amnesty calls on governments to stop transferring weapons to Khartoum, in line with international law obligations not to supply weapons knowing that the recipient is likely to use them to violate international law.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports an alarming rise in attacks against civilians in Chad by Sudanese government-backed Janjaweed militias and Chadian rebel groups. According to HRW, the Janjaweed carry out in Chad what they have done in Darfur since 2003: "killing civilians, burning villages and looting cattle in attacks that show signs of ethnic bias." HRW calls on the government of Sudan, the African Union, and the UN Security Council to urgently authorize a transition of the AU peacekeeping force in Darfur to a UN mission to prevent the expansion of "ethnic cleansing" into Chad.
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Hostility prevails between the two Sudans, despite the peace deal signed last September. While the deal originally pulled the two states back from the brink of war, it is now causing troops to be amassed on either side of the border. The peace agreement is disputed by parties in both north and south, notably the oil industry, the military, Islamist groups, and civil society. To add to the discontent, South Sudan's independence has severely weakened both economies, which has impacted the governments’ ability to implement the peace deal. Although the situation is being monitored in the Security Council, there is much competition for attention, given the Council’s heavy involvement with Mali, the DRC, Syria and upcoming elections in Kenya. (Think Africa Press)
China’s economic interests in Sudan and South Sudan have caused a shift in its principle of non-intervention. In May 2012, China did not abstain or veto the Security Council’s resolution to impose sanctions on Sudan to stop the human rights abuses in its post-war governmental transition. In fact, China pressed Sudan to abide by international norms. As a Chinese official commented, China can no longer afford to be just a passive bystander in countries in which it has substantial economic interests. But China can also use its Security Council seat to shield such countries from international sanctions when needed. As Chinese interest in African resources grows, it is likely to adopt a more pragmatic strategy concerning non-intervention. (Al Jazeera)
A landmark cooperation agreement has been signed between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan last week. After years of civil war and the shutdown of South Sudan’s oil production in January, the agreement includes the restart of oil exports and a demilitarized border zone. Despite these achievements, Washington has pointed out that both countries still need to decide on an agreement on the border areas of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile state. However, the US economic sanctions on Sudan and its inclusion of Sudan on the US terrorism list clearly mark the US’ own national and economic interests in the region. (African Arguments)
After four days of intense negotiations, Sudan’s president al-Bashir and South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir have come to an agreement on the establishment of a demilitarized border buffer zone and on the resumption of oil export. The latter was based on an oil deal that was reached last month after the South Sudan’s decision to shut down of oil production in January. Despite the agreement on these issues, a number of major questions remain to be resolved. The two countries failed to agree on the disputed Abyei region and on other border zones claimed by both countries. (Al Jazeera)
Despite the tentative oil agreement of 3 August, many issues remain unresolved between Sudan and South Sudan. Following Juba’s decision to shut down oil production in January and the dire economic consequences it has brought about for both countries, the need to settle the oil deal is crucial. The agreement, however, has not yet been signed and is dependent on other unresolved problems. Khartoum insists on coupling the finalizing of an oil agreement with security issues in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state. This OpenDemocracy article, however, advocates for the pursuit of parallel negotiations focusing on “underlying center-periphery causes” of the conflict. (OpenDemocracy)
After numerous failed negotiations, Sudan and South Sudan finally managed to settle the long disputed transit of oil at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa this month. Disagreement over the transport of South Sudanese oil through Sudan led South Sudan to shut down the production of oil altogether in January, with alarming consequences for both economies. Despite the Sudans’ Oil Agreement leading the way to greater cooperation between the two countries, many issues still remain. The main obstacle to the possibility of peaceful co-existence is the lack of clear borders and border security. Since the independence of South Sudan, conflict endures in Abyei, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. (Think Africa Press)
This Al Jazeera article discusses the protests in North Sudan which, at the surface, appear to be a reaction to the government’s austerity measures but are truly about the removal of the Bashir government. One of the factors that has added to the indignation of Sudanese citizens is the fact that one party, the National Congress Party (NCP), has ruled Sudan for the last 23 years. In addition, the ongoing conflicts in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and South Kordofan as well as the split of the two Sudans are the immediate consequence of Khartoum's failed policies towards Sudan's multi-ethnic population. The author argues that protests in Sudan will persist and even increase despite the government's repression. (AlJazeera)
On July 9, South Sudan celebrated the first anniversary of its independence. Insecurity, a brutal separation from North Sudan, corruption, inter-ethnic clashes, underdevelopment, and an economic crisis following the shutdown of the oil industry are all underlying factors that have hindered the construction of a viable South Sudanese state. What this article fails to mention, however, is how the interference of Western powers, which all have their own geostrategic and economic interest in the region, has worsened the situation in the country. (Guardian)
Sudanese students have been protesting in Khartoum, calling for the fall of President al-Bashir’s government. The protests began on June 17 in anticipation of austerity measures intended to reduce a $2.4 billion budget deficit. Since the South Sudan secession in July 2011, Sudan lost 75 percent of its oil revenue to South Sudan and has been faced with an economic crisis. The crisis, as well as armed conflict along the borders, the absence of any agreement with South Sudan on revenue from oil deposits, and a flawed political system could ultimately lead to al-Bashir’s downfall. (Middle East Online)
Colum Lynch reports on the Security Council’s decision yesterday to condemn both Sudan and South Sudan for cross-border attacks. This comes after a de facto
war, in the border area of Heglig, as well as by proxy in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. The move by the Security Council to temper hostilities between the two nations is a step in the right direction, but the implicit threat of sanctions is misjudged. The loss of oil revenues in the North and the effects of the oil shutdown in the South have already crippled both economies, and sanctions could further encourage cross-border raiding. The nascent South in particular could quickly become ungovernable. An agreement over oil revenues needs to be made, and a UN or AU monitoring force deployed to the border, to avert human disaster and open war. (Foreign Policy
Looking at the relationship between North and South Sudan, this Counterpunch
article points out that the conflict involves outside actors that all have their own geopolitical interests. The US, Russia and China, but also Israel and neighboring Arab and African countries are fueling the conflict by supplying weapons to both countries and are exploiting the situation to their own advantage. International Crisis Group has urged the UN Security Council to take action in the region. However, taking into account the US’ support of Juba and Russia and China’s backing of Khartoum, these opposing interests prevent the UN from taking any course of action. (Counterpunch)
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UNMIS has released a report on the violence occurring in the Southern Kordofan region. According to this report, these atrocities could be considered as crimes against humanity and war crimes. North and South Sudan are fighting over the control of the Abyei and Kordofan regions, two important oil-producing areas. (Al Jazeera
The Republic of South Sudan will become independent from north Sudan on Saturday July 9, 2011, but, their immediate future will remain inextricably linked through the oil industry. Hopes for longer term security and peace between the two states depends on how the two governments manage their interactions over oil, which is the lifeblood of both economies. The majority of oil revenues come from oil drilled in the south but oil pipelines are controlled in the north. South Sudan will be born as one of the poorest, most underdeveloped countries and will need to put oil revenues towards insecurity alleviation, education, health, infrastructural development and building participatory institutions. (Christian Science Monitor)
South Sudan becomes the world's newest nation on 9 July 2011. Independence is the final step of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended decades of north-south civil war. Though the south had some autonomy from north Sudan following the CPA and was able to commence post-conflict state building, concerns have been raised regarding the transition. Constitutional changes have been forced through, attempts to restrict the media have been made, executive powers have increased, and violence has been used, to resolve conflicts between rebel groups. Attempts should be made to ensure that new institutions are participatory and provide necessary checks and balances on the exercise of power. (IRIN)
South Sudan has expanded its armed force, which is estimated at costing more than 50 percent of government’s total expenditure. This is in spite of a two-year-old US$55 million demobilization and disarmament program (DDR) sponsored by international donors. Lydia Stone, author of the Small Arms Survey report, says that greater security is achieved by keeping soldiers in the army and paying them a salary rather than by demanding that they integrate into a broken society that offers little hope of finding a livelihood. Further, aid workers must be sensitive not to demean the role of women in armed conflict. More than half the DDR caseload consists of women. (IRIN)
The author celebrates the independence of south Sudan from north Sudan after five decades of guerrilla struggle and two million lives lost. However, the author also highlights the problems the Republic of South Sudan will face. At least half-dozen rebel groups, constituted along ethnic lines, remain. The government is dominated by the Dinka whilst some rebel armies are commanded by members of the Nuer, historic rivals. Poverty, insecurity, illiteracy are issues the newly independent state will have to contend with. It is unclear how profits from oil reserves in the south will be shared between north and south Sudan. However, it will be necessary to put the profits towards insecurity alleviation, education, health and infrastructural development. (New York Times)
The renewed hostilities between the governments of North and South Sudan have made it unlikely that there will be large scale returns of Southern Sudanese persons living in Northern Sudan following independence on July 9.Southerners currently in the North are concerned about their legal status, especially because many are living in camps with no access to humanitarian aid unlike registered internally displaced people. The government of the North has also indicated that there will be no opportunities for dual citizenship for Southerners, making their legal status even more dubious. (IRIN News)
The number of people displaced as a result of conflict in the disputed Sudanese area of Abyei has risen to nearly 100,000. On May 21 2011, the army of northern Sudan violently seized the oil-rich border town of Abyei. The action drove out the Ngok Dinka and there were claims that they were being replaced with members of the semi-nomadic Misseriya tribe (sympathetic to the North) leading to fears of ethnic cleansing. The violence is taking place just weeks before Southern Sudan formally separates from the rest of the country, following a referendum held in January. (UN News)
A new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report outlines increases in serious human rights abuses in Darfur. It states that Government forces continue to violate the laws of war in their military operations against rebel forces with impunity. Clear patterns of abuses (often based on ethnicity), an intensification of human rights violations against civil society activists and documented instances of government security forces assaulting residents of camps for displaced people by suppressing peaceful student demonstrations and engaging in sexual violence are outlined in the report. The Government continues to restrict access to much of Darfur and so HRW caution that it has not been possible to adduce the full extent of human suffering there. (Human Rights Watch)
The army of northern Sudan has violently seized the oil-rich border town of Abyei. In January 2011, the residents of Abyei were unable, due to threats from armed militia, to vote in a referendum on whether to remain a part of north Sudan or join a newly formed south Sudan. North Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, has refused to accept the borders recommended by the Abyei Boundaries Commission and a decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The government of north Sudan is creating an imbalance in the demographic of the region by driving the Ngok Dinka out of Abyei and replacing them with members of the semi-nomadic Misseriya tribe (sympathetic to the North) which will impact upon the result of any referendum on the future of Abyei. (New York Times)
Northern Sudan’s army has seized control of Abyei, forcing thousands to flee and bringing the country to the brink of civil war. The south of Sudan will secede from the north in July 2011. Residents of the contested oil-rich region of Abyei were due to vote in a referendum to decide whether or not to join South Sudan. The referendum was postponed indefinitely when the South Sudanese government rejected the Arab Misseriya peoples’ vote. Philip Aguer, South Sudan’s spokesperson, warned the North that it risked shattering the 2005 peace deal that ended two decades of war. (Los Angeles Times
The head of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur voiced deep concern after Sudanese military forces carried out air strikes against a town and a village in the south of the war-wracked region. Ibrahim Gambari, the head of UNAMID and the Joint UN-AU Special Representative, said “civilians are invariably the real and most numerous victims in any conflict,” he said. “I call upon all parties to exercise the utmost restraint in the use of lethal force. All belligerents have a moral responsibility and obligation to respect humanitarian law and the rights of the innocent caught in the violence.” He has also called for the immediate and unconditional release of two civilian members of UN staff arrested by Sudanese authorities. (UN News)
From January 9 to January 15 South Sudan voted in the referendum that marked the final stage of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to end the Sudanese civil war. Early reports suggest that the South has voted to secede, but the final results of the referendum have not been released. Additionally, the border region of Abyei has yet to vote because of on-going disputes over whether nomadic tribes have the right to participate in the referendum. The challenge now will be implementing the results of the referendum and determining the status of resource rich Abyei could be contentious. (IRIN)
Voting has begun in South Sudan, in a referendum to determine whether the semi-autonomous region will become an independent nation. For many, the outcome is a done deal, with the secession likely to succeed. The impact on the region, however, is far more uncertain and may only become apparent in the medium to long term. South Sudan is faced with extreme poverty and poor infrastructure and must settle more than 190,000 displaced people. In this context, the viability of an independent nation is questionable. (Council on Foreign Relations)
In January 2011, Southern Sudan will be able to vote for independence and observers think it is likely that the South will choose secession. The southern Sudanese leaders have asked for an increase in the number of UN peacekeepers to create a buffer zone in anticipation of the outcome, but the UN will only be able to reinforce its presence in specific areas. Representatives from the Bashir government in the north have stated they are committed to peace, but they have also railed against the upcoming referendum. Observers are concerned that the vote will cause a return to violence. (allafrica.com)
The Security Council is concerned over delays by the government in Khartoum in releasing funding for the January 9 referendum in South Sudan and the oil-rich region of Abyei. Voter registration is underway but there is a huge amount of work to be done over the next 55 days to ensure the vote is not delayed. The referendum is the final phase of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of civil war. Relief agencies are stockpiling supplies in potential hot spots in southern Sudan and the border areas, in preparation for the worst possible outcome of the vote - a return to civil war. (Al Jazeera)
The forthcoming referendum on the future of Abyei, an oil-rich district claimed by North and South Sudan, will be delayed, according to North Sudanese officials. The referendum was scheduled for January 2011, and the UN is moving peacekeeping troops to the border between North and South Sudan in preparation. Local politicians in the South have responded angrily to the suggestion of delays. Voter registration is a controversial issue which is central to the North's call for a postponement of the referendum. (Open Democracy)
With the referendum on independence for southern Sudan less than four months away, the Obama administration has begun a diplomatic effort to "rescue" the US-backed peace plan. President Obama will meet with two of Sudan's leaders next week at the UN meeting to insure that the referendum runs smoothly. In past meetings at the UN where the future of Sudan was discussed, representatives from South Sudan were not allowed in the discussion. (Washington Post)
Nicholas Kristof accuses the Obama Administration of poor strategic and policy planning with respect to the conflict in Sudan. The Department of State, under the leadership of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the US Mission to the UN, headed by Ambassador Susan Rice, are proposing vastly different strategies to the Oval Office. Fearing that the January referendum for South Sudanese independence will lead to renewed violence in various regions throughout Sudan, Kristof argues that the US should be more proactively engaged as Sudan prepares for the elections. But is it the responsibility of the US to resolve Sudan's conflict, or should the Sudanese be trusted to handle their own affairs? (New York Times)
For the third time since August 2009, UNAMID forces were abducted in Darfur. Since March, at least 19 foreigners have been abducted in the volatile western region of Sudan. Humanitarian aid workers and UN peacekeepers have been increasingly regular targets of violence, which has put pressure on the peace-making operation in the region. In this most recent incident, two Jordanian UNAMID officers were kidnapped by a rebel faction in Darfur. They have been released and will return to Jordan, but does this event indicate that those charged with keeping and building peace are in more and more danger in conflict environments? (Al Jazeera)
The Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari, reported to the UN Security Council that the security situation in Darfur has deteriorated. There has been some progress in peace talks between the Government of Sudan and a major opposition group (the Justice and Equality Movement), but fighting continues in the western Sudanese region. Members of the Council have expressed their disappointment and commitment to the people of the region. However, Gambari's report reveals that despite the rhetoric, the Council has not succeeded in bringing peace to the region. (CNN)
UNICEF and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan's main rebel group, will sign an agreement that allows UNICEF access to JEM bases and locations to ensure that the group is not using child soldiers. JEM representatives maintain that the group has never used child soldiers, but the UN has in the past accused JEM, among other groups, of using such soldiers.The Sudanese government has asserted that the deal is illegal. However, UNICEF maintains that the agreement is for the good of Sudanese children, 6000 of whom are estimated to exist in the Darfur region alone. (Al Jazeera on Youtube)
According to a report written by a coalition of international NGOs, the United Nations and the Sudanese government are "alarmingly" unprepared for the January referendum on south Sudan's independence. A commission to oversee the national referendum was approved last month, but voter registration has yet to begin. The report urges the referendum's guarantors-the African Union, the US, and the EU-to devote more diplomatic, financial and technical resources to Sudan at this critical moment. (Al Jazeera)
Abyei is a region in southern Sudan with a mixed population and a history of conflict. On July 6th, five ethnic Dinka villagers were killed. Local officials suspect that the attacks were perpetrated by members of an Arabic-speaking ethnic group, the Misseriya. They claim that the murders were motivated by a desire to rid the area of its ethnic Dinka residents in preparation for the January referendum for Southern Sudanese independence. These accusations support the widely-accepted belief that ethnicity will play an important role in determining the status of the oil-rich southern region. (BBC News)
The Carter Center which monitored Sudan's recent elections, has questioned the accuracy of the results. The group stated that the vote count was: "chaotic, non-transparent and vulnerable to electoral manipulation." Further, the Center argues that intimidation and violence impacted the fairness of the vote. (BBC News)
Sudan's President, Omar al-Bashir, has been re-elected with sixty-eight-percent of the vote, in the country's first multi-party elections in twenty-four years. The elections have been criticized for falling well below international standards and for allowing Bashir, who awaits prosecution at the International Criminal Court, to participate. Salva Kir, the President of Southern Sudan has also been re-elected with 92.99% of the vote. Bashir is expected to form a coalition government with Kir as the country heads towards the referendum on Southern independence in 2011. (Guardian)
Yasir Arman of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement, the chief opposition candidate for president, has withdrawn from the upcoming elections arguing that the electoral process is neither free nor fair. But the US envoy to Sudan, the country's election commission and President Omar al-Bashir have all agreed that the elections must go ahead as planned. Yasir Arman stated that the SPLM will nevertheless be contesting the elections in the south, as they are keen to press ahead with the referendum on secession. (Christian Science Monitor)
Things are gradually improving in Southern Sudan. As revenues rise from the South's oil fields, schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructures that have been closed for decades are reopening. The facilities are poor and lacking running water and electricity, but the very fact they are open demonstrates improvement. Roads are also being repaired allowing thousands of internally displaced persons to return to their homes. Most importantly, a feeling of freedom and liberty is spreading in the south, preceding the referendum on the South's independence in January 2011. (Guardian)
In April 2010, Sudan will be holding its first multi-party elections in over twenty years. But Sudanese groups and NGO Human Rights Watch have both expressed strong doubts about the freeness and fairness of the elections. Seventeen parties have demanded that the elections be postponed until next November, so that laws concerning national security and media may be amended. (Guardian)
Khartoum will offer rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement government posts in the upcoming peace deal. The initial peace framework includes a ceasefire and intends to incorporate the JEM into Sudan's army. The Sudan Liberation Army, another main rebel group in Sudan, has however rejected the peace framework. (Reuters)
The already unstable peace-agreement in Sudan has taken a further major hit. At least 139 people have been killed in tribal clashes between the Nuer and the Dinka in Souther Sudan. Aid groups in the country are calling for international action to avert a humanitarian disaster and a return to civil war. (Guardian)
365 days remain until Sudan holds the referendum that decides whether the South of the country will gain its autonomy. It will be a year fraught with difficulty. A combination of "rising violence, chronic poverty and political tensions" has already put the 2005 peace agreement in jeopardy. A further reason for tension: if the South gains autonomy, it will control approximately 87% of Sudan's oil-revenue. (Guardian)
After five years of peace, experts fear Sudan is sliding back towards civil war. The major obstacle to peace in Sudan is oil. Unity State, on the border of North Sudan, produces half the country's oil. Under the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the North must hand Unity State over to the South. At present, the oil fields in Unity State remain under the guard of northern security forces and all profits continue to flow to the government in Khartoum. The likelihood the North will give up the source of two thirds of its income is looking increasingly doubtful.. (The Independent
Violent protests have erupted in Khartoum over the government's handling of the upcoming April 2010 elections, leading to the arrest of several members of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) from southern Sudan. Political tension has been building ahead of the elections, which are expected to pave the way for a referendum in 2011 on the independence of the South. If Sudan doesn't meet the conditions for free and fair elections, the North-South conflict could easily be rekindled. (The Guardian)
The African Union met this week to discuss a new Panel Report on justice and reconciliation in Darfur. The report shifts attention away from humanitarian issues and human rights violations, and onto the cause of the political crisis (which it identifies as the imbalance of power and wealth.) De Waal applauds the call to bring the Sudanese people to the centre of the process and is hopeful that the changed focus will set a fresh political solution in motion. (SSRC)
The independence referendum for Sudan is scheduled for January 2011. However, The North has been showing signs of stalling and delaying the vote - ignoring the promises of The Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005. McLure examines the dangers that would come from postponement. If the referendum is delayed, there is a strong possibility that the South would unilaterally announce its independence, and a third civil war would break out. (Newsweek)
In theory, US sanctions against Sudan promote the interests of the Sudanese community. In reality, the sanctions damage these interests, inflicting harm on the poorest people, and entrapping the country in poverty and conflict. The author supports General J. Scott Gration's call for sanctions to be lifted. He argues that peace and stability in Sudan depend upon recognition and strengthening of economic and political human rights which require the US to remove the sanctions that limit these rights and allow Sudan to begin a journey toward recovery. (Social Science Research Council)
Although the conflict in Darfur is now officially over, Sudan and its neighbor Chad are still waging a proxy war via rebel militias in the region. Omar al-Bashir and Idriss Déby have repeatedly accused each other of funding rebels, and both governments have deployed soldiers along the border. Any initiative to establish durable peace in the region will have to include Chad, as well as its international supporters Libya and France. (IWPR)
This in-depth report by Global Witness warns of the potential resurgence of the conflict between Northern and Southern Sudan over oil resources. In 2005, a peace agreement ended 22 years of war with the promise that Sudan's oil revenues would be divided up between north and south. But the Southern government does not trust the figures published by Khartoum on its earnings from the oil industry. A return to the conflict is likely if the revenues from oil are not more transparent.
General Martin Agwai, retiring commander of the joint UN and African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, has announced that the situation in the region has moved from full-blown conflict to "security issues." The rebel groups have split into many factions, so the real problem is now political rather than military, says Agwai. His statement has been met with criticism from some analysts and aid workers, but the drop in the number of deaths and displacements suggests that the situation has changed substantially. (BBC News)
By labeling the situation in Darfur as "genocide", the "Save Darfur" movement has popularized a black and white reading of the conflict, with one ethnic group cast as the victims and the other as the executioners. Although this simplified version of the situation has allowed for a greater coverage of the issue in Western media, it has also led to a deep misunderstanding of the conflict's dynamics. Because of this mischaracterization, the response of the international community to the crisis has been misdirected. (The Christian Science Monitor)
The "Save Darfur" movement is losing its credibility. More an "advertising campaign" than a mass movement, the coalition has continued to press the "genocide" story and the notion of a battle of good against evil. The campaign has overstated the Darfur death toll and it has failed to address the responsibility of the rebel side of the conflict. (Pambazuka)
The African Union (AU), the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference have asked the Security Council to invoke Article 16 of the Rome Statute, which would defer the indictment of Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir for 12 months. The Council remains divided over this issue as France, the US and the UK are opposed to Article 16. The AU and other groups argue that deferring the case will stabilize the situation in Sudan and see Bashir's indictment as a political act by the West. (Inter Press Service
The 2005 comprehensive peace agreement between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and the central Khartoum government requires the two parties to share the country's oil on an equal basis. But after the SPLA signed an oil agreement with Kenya in September 2008, both Khartoum and the SPLA have re-armed. The UN cannot prevent the two sides from re-arming since the 2005 weapon embargo only applies to the western region of Darfur. (Inter Press Service)
This report by the Institute for Security Studies argues that the ICC has jurisdiction over alleged crimes by citizens of countries that did not sign the ICC's Rome Statute. The ICC and the UN have concluded a â€˜relationship agreement' committing both parties to respect each other's status and mandate. Although Sudan is not an ICC member and not all UN members have signed the relationship agreement separately, the author still argues that Sudan must accept the ICC's indictment of Sudanese president Al-Bashir.
UN Special Representative for Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, rejects claims that the UN peacekeeping mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) did nothing during clashes between government and rebel forces in May 2008. UNMIS, Qazi argues, successfully evacuated humanitarian workers and safeguarded over 100 civilians. He admits, though, that because of its weak mandate, UNMIS was powerless to enforce peace between both sides' strong military forces. (ReliefWeb)
General Martin Agwai of the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), argues that UN and AU member states have not reached a political solution in Darfur because they pressure the Sudanese government, but ignore the rebels. Agwai argues that UNAMID must shift its diplomatic efforts in order to engage all 30 rebel groups and create a united front to negotiate peace with the Sudanese government. (UN News Service)
General Martin Luther Agwai, the Force Commander of the UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) claims that peacekeeping has become a deadly business. In this article, Agwai argues that UNAMID remains under equipped and cannot maintain military peace on the ground in the absence of an ongoing political peace process. He urges the UN and its member states to engage the Sudanese government and the Darfur rebels to ensure that the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement come into effect. Then, UNAMID's peacekeepers would have a peace to keep. (Mail and Guardian)
After the incursion of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) into southern Sudan in 2002, Uganda and Sudan forged an agreement allowing Ugandan forces to pursue military targets in southern Sudan. However, following accusations that Ugandan forces attacked Sudanese civilians during military operations in June 2008, the South Sudan Government is demanding the withdrawal of all Ugandan troops from Sudanese territory. Relations between both nations remain tense as the South Sudanese Army takes full responsibility to guard civilians against LRA attacks. (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)
This Chatham House report argues that instead of handling each conflict separately, the UN and the African Union (AU) should deal with the Horn of Africa as if it were a "Regional Security Complex." The report urges the UN and AU to cooperate with local religious and civil society leaders to better integrate peacekeeping efforts in the region. By doing so, policymakers can further political and economic integration in the Horn region and avoid basing their efforts on richer countries' agendas.
This Tehran Times article argues that UN officials who are trying to solve the conflict in Darfur must cooperate with international peacekeeping efforts to normalize relations between Chad and Sudan. The UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) cannot keep the peace in the region while relations between Sudan and Chad are strained. The article urges coordination between UNAMID, EU peacekeepers in Chad and the UN mission in the Central African Republic and Chad to enforce the border and end the conflict between both nations. (Tehran Times)
Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir and southern leader Salva Kiir have signed a peace agreement to end the conflict over oil-rich Abyei region. The new plan includes an interim administration for the region, which would demarcate a temporary border and assist in the return of displaced peoples. Kiir argues that the agreement will ensure that the region's oil resources are used for reconstruction along the north-south border, and states that the UN will have free access to the area in order to help displaced people return home safely. (al-Jazeera)
Climate change triggers conflict over water resources in Sudan. As temperatures rise and rainfall drops in Sudan, pastoral herders and agricultural farmers clash over shared water reserves. However, while this report warns of the dangers of climate change, it also illustrates that the pastoral Kawahla tribe and farming Gawamha people of Sudan offer a useful model of conflict resolution. The two groups have learnt to adapt to the changes in climate – by increasing trade, making use of livestock byproducts on crops, and using community forums to mediate disputes over scarce water access. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)
The Sudanese government attempts to manipulate a national census and maintain control of the country's rich oil reserves, says Inter Press Service. The census is part of a UN backed Comprehensive Peace Agreement leading to the equitable sharing of oil resources between the North and South, based on population distribution. The author notes that by preventing the return of refugees to the South, the government believes it may control a larger percentage of oil revenues.
The Sudanese National Congress Party (NCP) fails to implement key aspects of a peace-deal between the North and South of Sudan, according to the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS). The NCP signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in 2005, which promised to share oil revenues between the North and South. However, the NCP refuses to move troops from oil producing areas, obscures government oil assets and fails to abide by a boundary commission ruling for the North and South of Sudan. (UNMIS)
The United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) officially took over from the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) on December 31, 2007. The UNAMID force has 9,000 troops deployed out of the mandated 26,000 and lacks adequate equipment such as helicopters. However, despite these setbacks talks resumed this week between the Sudanese Armed Force and UNAMID officials to discuss greater access to refugee camps and increased protection of the internally displaced. (UN News
This joint NGO report argues that a calculated campaign of obstruction by the Sudanese government, "interminably delays the deployment of UNAMID." Criticizing UN member states for a lack of support, the report claims that the people of Darfur will continue to suffer as long as there is no effective peacekeeping force on the ground. The authors call for a strong Security Council Presidential Statement condemning the actions of the Sudanese government, and they demand that UN member states fulfill their commitment in supplying critical equipment.
This Friedrich Ebert Stiftung factsheet gives an overview of hybrid peacekeeping missions from 1948 to 2007. The report focuses on the combined missions of the United Nations and the African Union in Darfur (UNAMID), which is the largest and most expensive mission in UN peacekeeping history with a projected cost of US$ 2.6 billion in its first year. The authors stress that UNAMID's success depends on several factors like the willingness of countries to contribute troops and the political situation in Sudan.
The UN sent experts to analyze Sudan's crisis from September 2006 to August 2007. The Expert Panel report
indicates that the Sudanese government and rebel groups do not respect the UN arms embargo, and continue to traffic weapons through Chad and Eritrea's borders. As a result of constant hostilities from all the parties involved, the Sudanese government and rebel groups, disenable the possibility of a peace process. Several international humanitarian and human rights law have been violated and the experts recommend a stronger UN presence in the whole of Sudan. (UN News
The author argues that "coercive diplomacy" does not work, and that the peace talks in Libya on October 27 will not succeed without an established common position among Darfur Rebel Movements. The UN Security Council Resolutions on Darfur remain ineffective if the Sudanese government continues its military operations. (Sudan Tribune)
After visiting Sudan, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon declares that Darfur suffers from a humanitarian, political and environmental crisis, and the international community should address the root causes of the conflict. The Secretary General also remarked that to deal with Darfur efficiently, the UN must not neglect South Sudan and the peace agreement signed two years ago. He does not see a possibility for peace without the fulfillment of all the country's basic needs. Although the UN Security Council approved 26,000 peacekeepers in the region, "no peacekeeping mission can succeed without a peace to keep." (Washington Post)
Mahmood Mamdani argues in Pambazuka that a UN mission without a political agreement between the warring parties will not promote peace in Darfur. On the contrary, he fears that without a cease-fire the peacekeeping mission will appear as a "military intervention." The failure of the May 2006 Darfur peace agreement led to increasing enthusiasm for a military solution by some international NGOs, who doubted the effectiveness of the African Union Mission. Western countries cut their funding and support for the AU mission, insuring it would not succeed. Those who favored a military solution then pushed for the establishment of a UN force to "salvage" the situation. The current "hybrid" operation will have many more military assets, but a political agreement remains the key.
Amnesty International accuses Sudan of violating the arms embargo imposed by the Security Council. The NGO bases its claims on photographs of officials transferring containers from a Russian Antonov 12 fighter plane onto military vehicles and Sudanese helicopters at El Geneina airport in Darfur. Additionally, locals revealed that these helicopters provide arms for government troops and Janjaweed militias in Darfur. Amnesty calls on the Security Council to enforce the embargo, for example by stationing UN observers at all points of entry. (BBC)
This San Francisco Chronicle article argues that the UN, some NGOs, Hollywood and college campuses have spotlighted Darfur at the expense of another, potentially greater conflict in Sudan which has already killed over two million people. Although the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) technically ended the 21-year North-South civil war, former diplomats and Sudanese officials worry that the CPA will collapse over oil ownership. Likely, the oil-rich south will secede in a referendum scheduled for 2011 under the CPA, and this will renew the fighting.
The New York Times reveals that the "Save Darfur" campaign greatly inflated the number of deaths in order to heighten the sense of crisis in Darfur and press for intervention. Experts have contested the widely advertised death toll of 400,000 and the most reliable estimate suggests that there were 131,000 excess deaths in Darfur as of June 2005, after which date, United Nations and relief groups register a sharp drop. According to the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disaster, most deaths were due to malnutrition and disease, not violence. "Ultimately, the inflated claims fuel a death race in which aid and action are based not on facts but on which advocacy group yells the loudest," concludes the article. Facts were manipulated in order to promote a policy of humanitarian intervention.
China's special envoy to Darfur, Liu Guijin, expresses frustration that western media, NGOs and US politicians have cast China as a dark, oil-hungry player in the conflict in Sudan, and this, despite the fact that 8.7 percent of Africa's oil goes to China versus nearly 70 percent to Europe and the US. Liu says that Beijing promotes a negotiated, political solution to conflict in Sudan, and that no peacekeeping mission can successfully function without Khartoum's blessing. China attributes Darfur's conflict to poverty and calls for aid and infrastructure development to support a negotiated solution. (China Daily)
According to a UN Environmental Program report, degradation and desertification influence conflict in Darfur. The Sudanese government's manipulation and appropriation of such scarce resources as land, water and especially oil exacerbate conflict-inciting tensions. For example, in eastern Sudan, Khartoum diverted limited water from grazing land to commercial irrigation, leading to fighting in the region. (New York Times)
Since oil multinationals discovered Sudanese oil in the 1970s, they have perpetuated Khartoum's repressive policies, including the North-South and Darfur conflicts. This Third World Quarterly article attributes decades of multinational corporation (MNC) policy in Sudan not only to the corporations themselves, but especially to their home governments. These include home countries and companies such as the EU (Lundin), Canada (Talisman), the United States (Chevron), and more recently China (China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)) and India (Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC) of India). Similar relationships between home governments, oil multinationals and host governments exacerbate conflict in other oil-rich countries.
Water scarcity exacerbates conflict in Darfur, which has suffered two seven-year droughts in the past two decades. But Boston University scientists led by Farouk El-Baz believe that the discovery of an underground lake might alleviate conflict. Both Egypt and UN peacekeeping forces will participate in drilling up to 1,000 wells, which would allow sedentary ethnic Africans as well as Arab nomads to maintain their lifestyles. (Associated Press)
In this Washington Post column, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon discusses the role of climate change behind the conflict in Darfur. Ban asserts that underneath the sociopolitical unrest, the real reason for the conflict is an ecological crisis. Since the 1980s, a sharp temperature rise in the Indian Ocean has caused a 40 per cent drop in Sub-Saharan Africa precipitation levels. The resulting water shortage triggered the violence between black farmers and Arab nomads in Darfur. Ban proposes economic development as the solution and urges UN member states to work in conjunction with Khartoum, humanitarian agencies and NGOs to cater to Darfur's urgent needs.
The African Union (AU), the Arab League, China, Egypt, Russia and Sudan decried Bush's unilateral sanctions on government-run oil enterprises in Sudan. Arab League Secretary General Amir Moussa cites the shortcomings of previous sanctions as reason not to apply new ones. Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol downplayed the predicted positive effects of sanctions and attributed them to US self-interest. The US is pressuring the UN Security Council to tighten sanctions, too. Sudan, China and the AU claimed that sanctions will only complicate conflict in Sudan. China, Egypt and Russia propose diplomacy rather than sanctions. (Standard-Nairobi)
The Christian Science Monitor analyzes the US Treasury's blacklisting system - in essence a list of "Specially Designated Nationals" – comparing it with broader forms of national sanctions. Adam Szubin, head of US Office of Foreign Assets Control, says that the narrowness of the sanctions can make them more effective than broad sweeping embargos by targeting individuals who have allegedly violated international code.
Following the US decision to press for broader sanctions against Sudan in the Security Council, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon asks again for more time before introducing a new sanctions package, to secure the deployment of the hybrid peacekeeping force that the UN and African Union have now agreed on in detail. The US has also announced tougher national sanctions that will bar another 31 Sudanese companies from US trade and financial dealings, and target two top Sudanese government officials. (Agence France Presse)
While the myriad activists rally to intervene in Darfur, where several hundred thousand innocents have died, far fewer people – politicians and public alike – acknowledge the estimated 3-4 million deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This Guardian article argues that the perceived ethnic make-up of the groups in conflict in Darfur – "Arab killers" versus "African victims" - is one reason for the disproportionate attention given to Sudan. The other reason, the author claims, is oil interest, particularly that of China and the US. The article says that "liberal interventionism" is prone to double standards and disaster.
Despite Britain's accusing the Sudanese government of complicity in violence in Darfur and calling for sanctions against Khartoum, the UK has provided military training for the Sudanese armed forces. Even with the Sudanese government's serious human rights violations, nine high ranking Sudanese military personnel attended British military schools in 2006-7.(Scotsman)
This Asia Times Online piece describes Darfur as the battleground for the petroleum geopolitical competition between the US and China. The US has criticized China's financial and other initiatives to secure raw materials in Sub-Saharan Africa, although securing oil has long been at the heart of Washington's own foreign policy. The article surmises that the US eagerness to label the Darfur crisis as "genocide" is a move to open up the possibility of NATO "regime change" intervention. Further, the writer accuses the US of fueling the conflict in the region by training the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army and pouring arms into the region.
Critics blame China for propping up Sudan since 2000 by pumping money into the country in exchange for oil. Until recently, China has not put any pressure on the Sudanese government to act on the violence in Darfur and has opposed UN sanctions against the country. Agence France Presse suggests that China's stance may stem from its principle of non-interference in the affairs of other countries. Yitzhak Shichor, an East Asia expert at the University of Haifa, says that China expects reciprocal non-interference in its own affairs from the international community.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres says that without a comprehensive political solution in Darfur, peacekeeping operations there can only have limited effectiveness. Gutteres confirms that despite the increasing security risk, UNHCR is planning to increase its presence in West Darfur. Eritrea, which is on good terms with Sudan, says that it is trying to bring all the rebel factions to the negotiating table with the Sudanese government. (Reuters)
Khartoum says that it is willing to discuss the deployment of a UN-African Union (AU) hybrid force in Darfur, but that it will not accept the force "under Western blackmail." Sudanese Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail criticizes the US and UK for their sanctions threat. He adds that UN funding of AU troops is the way forward for the region. (Reuters)
Khartoum's Ambassador to the UN Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem condemns the leaked UN report about disguised planes carrying weapons into the country, saying that it was a deliberate attempt to overshadow positive peacekeeping developments in the region. The report came right after Khartoum's acceptance of a UN bolstering force in Darfur, and amidst pressure on the Sudanese government from the US and UK either to accept a large UN-African Union hybrid force or face sanctions. (Reuters)
The Christian Science Monitor analyzes possible reasons for Sudan's acceptance of UN troops and looks at international reactions to this development. Some analysts feel that China, who has just started to pressure Sudan, made the difference, whilst skeptics say that Khartoum is continuing to string the international community along with its inconsistent actions. Meanwhile, the UK and US continue to put pressure on the country, threatening sanctions if the government does not accept a large UN peacekeeping force in the near future.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and African Union Chief Executive Alpha Oumar Konare announce that following Khartoum's acceptance of Kofi Annan's peace plan for Darfur, a 3,000 strong UN peacekeeping force will be deployed in the region by June. They confirm that alongside military deployment, they will intensify efforts to achieve a political solution with the Sudanese government in order to address the crisis continuing in the region. Ban and Konare stress the intention to follow the troop reinforcement with a 20,000-strong hybrid UN-AU force. (Associated Press)
A confidential report of the UN sanction committee on Sudan finds that the Khartoum government is flying weapons into Darfur in contravention of Security Council resolutions. The leaked report says that disguised planes are being used for aerial surveillance and the bombardment of villages and adds that rebel groups fighting the Khartoum government are also guilty of violating UN resolutions, peace treaty agreements and humanitarian standards. The Panel of Experts recommend that the Security Council tighten the arms embargo imposed on Khartoum. Critics may question the timing and intention of such revelations, as after months of bargaining, the government of Sudan has just accepted UN peacekeepers' reinforcement of the African Union's mission in Darfur. (New York Times)
Assistant Foreign Minister of China Zhai Jun says that there is "much hope" for resolving the conflict in Sudan and is therefore not in favor of "hasty" measures such as imposing broader sanctions on the country. He urges the international community to listen to the views of the Sudanese government and to engage in dialogue with Khartoum on a basis of equal-footing which he believes is more effective than simply telling the government how to act. (Associated Press)
China's Assistant Foreign Minister, Zhai Jun says that China has "exercised all possible efforts, political, economic and others and advised our Sudanese brothers to accept Annan's plan" for the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Darfur. China has recently been criticized for protecting the Sudanese government as a key economic partner. Zhai praised flexibility in the plan but says that there must be "mutual consultations on an equal basis" on the matter. (Associated Press)
Following the death of five African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon asks the US and UK to delay their plans for sanctions against Sudan, saying that he needs more time to press the government in Khartoum to allow more UN peacekeepers into the region. Ban says that he has reached an agreement with Sudanese President Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir to hold discussions with the African Union in Addis Ababa to discuss a plan to send a reinforced UN peacekeeping force of more than 2,250 troops to Darfur. (Washington Post)
In a Joint Communique with the UN the Sudanese government pledges support and protection for all humanitarian operations giving aid to the people of Darfur. Khartoum commits amongst other measures to facilitate the entry of aid workers by changing visa and customs procedures. Representatives of the UN, the Sudanese government, NGOs and the international community will form a committee to monitor and regulate government obligations under the agreement. (MaximsNews)
The US and UK consider new sanctions against Sudan that would among other things impose travel bans and freeze assets of individuals linked with the events in Darfur. The US administration says that its plans to impose unilateral sanctions are part of a plan to gain Khartoum's co-operation in allowing a joint UN/African Union force into the region. In addition to the US imposed sanctions, the UK hopes that the UN will also impose sanctions against Sudan widening the existing arms embargo and imposing a no-fly zone over Darfur. (Reuters)