Sudan: Peace or war, unity or secession?

Type Journal Article - Economic Indicators
Title Sudan: Peace or war, unity or secession?
Volume 6
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 10
The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the ruling National Congress
Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army has been under enormous
strain since its inception, but has so far just about held together. It now faces its ultimate test
as preparations proceed for two referendums that will decide the fate of Sudan. In January
2011 the people of Southern Sudan are due to vote for or against continued unity and the
people of the oil-rich Abyei area are set to decide whether to join the North or the South.
Nationwide elections took place in April 2010, a year later than originally scheduled. Fears
that they might kill off the CPA process and plunge North and South back into war were not
realised, but the electoral process was extremely flawed and, in the eyes of many, lacked
genuine legitimacy. The international community has accepted the victory of President alBashir,
for whom the International Criminal Court issued a warrant of arrest in March 2009, in
the national presidential contest. Virtually all observers expect the South to vote
overwhelmingly for secession. The outcome in Abyei is much more uncertain. Many
observers remain apprehensive that President al-Bashir’s NCP will either prevent the
referendums from happening, or reject one or both of their verdicts. Debate has also begun
about whether a successor agreement to the CPA, which expires in July 2011, will be
needed to regulate future relationships between the North and an independent South. The
dominant view is that one will.
There are a host of other major obstacles to building a durable Sudanese peace that must
also be overcome in the months ahead – not least, Darfur. The Darfur Peace Agreement of
May 2006, did not bring peace. Internationally-brokered negotiations with (and between) the
many protagonists continue, often taking a step forward, then one back. Levels of violence
diminished during 2009 but are now rising again. Efforts to replace the African Union (AU)
peacekeeping force with a stronger United Nations/AU ‘hybrid’ force have proceeded
painfully slowly. The UN/AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) remains under-strength and is short
of essential equipment. In Eastern Sudan, the Sudanese Government and rebels reached a
peace agreement in October 2006. Implementation has been slow and peace remains
fragile. Sudan’s conflicts continue to have a major ‘regional dimension’, with neighbouring
Chad, Central African Republic and Uganda heavily affected. If the CPA does fail, the effects
will also ripple around the Horn of Africa.
The British Government has been a strong supporter of the CPA process. Along with the US
and Norway, it is a ‘co-guarantor’ of the CPA. The development budget for Sudan of the
outgoing Labour administration was £115 million for 2009/10 and £140 million for 2010/11.
Funding has been focused on: power-sharing and democratisation; wealth-sharing; security,
justice and reconciliation; public institutions and basic services; and natural resource
management and climate change. The British Government has also been a major contributor
towards humanitarian operations in Sudan and a sponsor of the UN Mission in Sudan

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