Home | Press Releases    Thursday 24 July 2003 (Date first published: 24 July 2003).

Press Release on IGAD Framework for Peace in Sudan

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UNION OF SUDAN AFRICAN PARTIES (USAP)

July 24th 2003

The USAP secretariat met on 20.07.2003 and reviewed the IGAD Draft Proposal for peace in the Sudan presented to the two parties: GOS and SPLM/A delegations in Nakuru, and the subsequent reaction of the latter to the Framework. Having had no access to the reportedly comprehensive document treating all issues of war and peace in the Sudan, USAP only relied on sketchy information gathered from the press releases made by the parties to the negotiations and information obtained from both the local and international media.

After lengthy and exhaustive deliberations of the subject matter, the secretariat profoundly appreciated the role played by IGAD mediators and the partners to produce a compromising document for the parties to use as the basis for negotiating a final agreement. In fact there could not have been any better formula in such an intricate and highly-charged situation, except to discuss the points one by one, giving room to compromises, which is what the framework was intended for. The SPLM/A graciously accepted the draft as the basis for the negotiation and this is in line with the norms of negotiations although it is not true that the draft is hundred percent in favour of the South and the marginalised areas.

Similarly, the GOS was expected to be equally appreciative of the great amount of efforts and resources IGAD and its partners have invested into Sudan’s peace process for the realization of a just and honourable peace in the Sudan during their long period at the helm of conflict resolution in the Sudan. But alas! The government delegation at Nakuru rejected the framework in its totality. Not only did they describe the document as totally unfair, unworkable and contradictory to the Machakos Protocol, but also described IGAD secretariat and the Partners of IGAD as a biased lot.

We were stunned and filled with disbelief, although we were not surprised at this decision taken by the GOS, which is tantamount to a slap in the face of IGAD mediators and the facilitators. This wholesale rejection which lacks elucidation of what is wrong with the framework could not have come at the worst moment, especially the fact that the GOS and SPLM/A were told in advance that they were going to discuss a framework prepared by the mediators; it was not accidental. No doubt the manner of rejection by the government undiplomatic and ruefully ill-timed because the Sudanese people and the whole world were convinced that the Sudanese were finally out of their half a century nightmare, given the balanced intensive contacts IGAD Secretariat and the Peace Envoys had undertaken to collect the necessary data from the various stakeholders.

On the other hand, USAP strongly deplores the unfortunate reactions by GOS top leadership to the IGAD framework because the capacity of the terminology and the expressions they used fall below the level of those well placed leaders. The shifting of the war of words to IGAD and its partners who have no interest except to help us the Sudanese find a fair and lasting solution to the problems which came about as a result of our own making is indeed a tragedy. Targeting IGAD at this moment in time is a clear indication that the GOS is out to torpedo the draft peace agreement at the eleventh hour. The Sudanese and the international community will prove us right following this uncalled for controversy for having said that the GOS was not negotiating in good faith under IGAD as there was a fear that they would back out from the talks any time, at short notice, and look for an alternative forum.

? The GOS has embarked on a new strategy aimed at putting the credibility of IGAD mediators and facilitators to question, accusing them of being bias with the intention of scaring them from pursing their noble commitment to the end.

? The GOS continues to threaten to withdraw from the IGAD peace talks and has been advancing publicly impossible conditions to be fulfilled before the resumption of negotiations, such as the demand to change the proposed framework.

? The GOS is demanding the inclusion of new peace envoys to participate in the IGAD peace negotiations at this advanced stage after the framework has already been tabled for discussion. Egypt and South Africa were mentioned. This is obviously a delaying tactic to mark time until a final decision to withdraw from the talks is taken.

? The GOS has been mobilizing its supporters especially the southern constitutional post holders to conduct negative campaigns internally and externally against IGAD Framework. The forum for discussion of the Draft framework is at Nakuru so transferring discussion for public debate is completely unethical, and therefore unacceptable.

In our view the Draft proposals which gave the south the position of vice presidency, 50% in the share of oil revenue, National Capital free for all religions, separate army for the South during the interim period and 35% of the political and civil service positions in the central government were intended to make unity attractive. The Southern Sudanese expected the Gos to support the draft framework, if they were genuinely looking for unity based on equality for all citizens. However, it is now crystal clear, that the GOS wants unity without a price and on its own terms. As such, our hopes for peace are becoming bleak, day by day under this tense and confused political atmosphere. With the numerous threats by the GOS, the IGAD initiatives is at stake and the situation can only be averted if the GOS courageously takes a decision to go back to Nakuru without preconditions in the interest of the public.

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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