Sudan: Groups Outline "Urgent Steps" Required to Advance Darfur Peace Process - AfricanPath.com
All Africa reports, "The piecemeal approach to ending violence in Darfur is in “shambles” and must be overhauled now if the peace process is to succeed, according to a report released by two leading Darfur activist groups. In a joint strategy paper authored by ENOUGH Project co-chair John Prendergast and Save Darfur Coalition president Jerry Fowler, the activist leaders urged an end to the current fractured peace-making approach by using as a model the Comprehensive Peace Agreement – which ended decades of war in southern Sudan. In addition to pressing for a Sudan-wide focused diplomacy, the report urges the appointment of a single, empowered mediator, who is backed by a “Quartet” of senior-level envoys from the U.S., U.K., France and China.
“To date, international actors, including the United States, China, France, and the United Nations, have sought more to manage the Darfur crisis piecemeal rather than solve it completely,” the report says. “Now is the time to appoint an empowered mediator and support that mediator with an international Quartet of powers that have leverage and interests in Sudan. The mediator and Quartet must simultaneously protect humanitarian access, push for full and effective deployment of the UN-AU civilian protection force authorized last July, and vigorously pursue a viable peace process.”
Erstwhile efforts to advance peace in Darfur have been largely stillborn, because of a duplicitous central government and fractured and fractious rebel movements. Despite repeated ceasefire agreements and high-profile attempts to conduct meaningful negotiations between the rebels and the government, violence still persists and Darfurian civilians continue to suffer. Noting that the critical UNAMID peacekeeping mission is moving forward “fitfully” despite monumental Sudanese obstruction, the report says the peace process has not witnessed similar progress.
“While full and effective deployment of that force is necessary to save lives, it ultimately will prove insufficient unless it is accompanied by a viable peace process,” the report says. “Unfortunately, the current peace process is in shambles.”
The report urges the appointment of a “single, empowered” mediator in lieu of the present joint AU-U.N. envoy structure, which is marred by diffused responsibility and, consequently, diffused effectiveness. Activists say the mediator must have the full support of Quartet diplomats and should be empowered to act on all peace process issues with the authority to isolate would-be spoilers to the overall effort.
The groups underscored the need for a Sudan-wide approach in addressing the Darfur conflict, an approach that has been largely absent during the past several years.
“The problems of Darfur cannot be solved without solving the problems of Sudan and vice-versa,” the report says. “The time has come, finally, to get it right in Sudan. The long-suffering Sudanese people deserve as much.”