Secretary-General sounds alarm on fragility of Sudan’s north-south peace accord

1 August 2008

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending Sudan’s long-running north-south civil war has faced some of its most “volatile and challenging” months since it was signed in 2005, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes in a report made public today.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending Sudan’s long-running north-south civil war has faced some of its most “volatile and challenging” months since it was signed in 2005, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes in a report made public today.

Recent incidents – including the May attack by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on Omdurman, near the capital Khartoum, and fighting between the Sudanese armed forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in Abyei – serve as “stark reminders of the fragility of peace in the Sudan,” Mr. Ban says in his latest report on the accord.

Additionally, he notes that such instability highlights how the people of Sudan would suffer if the CPA – which he characterizes as “the bedrock for sustainable peace in the Sudan” – were to fail.

Steps taken to consolidate the peace agreement have been thwarted by the crisis in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, where as many as 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed as a result of direct combat, disease or malnutrition since 2003. Another 2.7 million people have been displaced because of fighting between rebels, Government forces and allied militiamen known as the Janjaweed.

“Ultimately, peace in the Sudan is indivisible,” the report states, given that Darfur is part of the north and the CPA is the basis of the peace process between north and south.

One of the biggest obstacles to implementing the accord, the Secretary-General says, has been the disputed town of Abyei, which lies in an oil-rich area close to the boundary between north and south Sudan.

“The root cause of the problem has been the failure of the two parties to agree on an approach to implement the Abyei Protocol,” he notes, referring to the agreement to end the deadly fighting in the town.

In June, the National Congress Party and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) agreed on a road map to resolve the Abyei dispute, including through arbitration.

Mr. Ban says that implementing this road map in good faith would spur progress in other areas, and urges both sides to complete their redeployment out of the area as soon as possible.

But the Abyei issue should not overshadow the other areas where improvements towards achieving the CPA need to be made, he warns.

The Secretary-General congratulates the parties for having implemented a key benchmark of the peace accord, conducting a national census, but calls for the prompt demarcation of the 1 January 1956 border.

“The delay in this process has caused the two sides to deploy forces along border areas to attain better bargaining positions, creating a de factor border line as a consequence.”

 

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