Lack of tangible results in key areas may undermine north-south Sudan pact – UN

Lack of tangible results in key areas may undermine north-south Sudan pact – UN

Sudanese refugees returning to South Sudan after years in Central African Republic
The parties to the 2005 peace accord ending the long-running north-south civil war in Sudan deserve credit for striving to overcome their tensions and problems through dialogue, but tangible progress has not been made in key areas, jeopardizing the agreement’s implementation, the United Nations says in a new report.

The report on the situation in Sudan, published today, welcomes the recent good cooperation between the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan in devising a joint plan to achieve economic recovery and development, especially in the areas most affected by the civil war.

This should “contribute to delivering a true ‘peace dividend’ to the people of Sudan,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes in the report, which covers the period since the end of January.

Preserving the partnership between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), signatories to the January 2005 comprehensive peace agreement, is also “fundamental to the success of the peace process.”

But recent clashes and tensions in the Abyei area, an oil-rich region which remains disputed by the two sides, are a potential threat to the agreement and the broader partnership, Mr. Ban says.

“I urge the parties to summon the political will to address difficult outstanding issues, particularly the status of Abyei and the disputed 1 January 1956 border. Further delay in resolving those issues may complicate the situation and lead to unintended conflict.”

Resolution of Abyei, including division of oil revenues derived from the area, is just one issue of many which the report says must be overcome if the CPA is to be fully implemented. The others include border demarcation; the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants; the formation of joint integrated units involving the two sides; and appropriate preparations for the current national census and next year’s scheduled elections.

“Those issues are interlinked. Progress must be made in parallel; delay or confrontation in one area will affect implementation in the other areas.”

Mr. Ban adds that relatively minor amendments are needed to allow the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) to maximize its support to the parties and to help them implement the rest of the CPA, including the arrangements for a peaceful referendum in 2011.

“Our activities should also contribute to laying a foundation for stability post-2011,” regardless of whether there is a federal structure or neighbouring States, the report concludes.