Global perspective Human stories

Sudan’s north-south accord fragile despite recent progress – UN envoy

Sudan’s north-south accord fragile despite recent progress – UN envoy

Special Representative Ashraf Jehangir Qazi
The foundations for a durable peace in Sudan remain fragile in spite of progress in a number of areas covered by the 2005 peace agreement which ended the country’s long-running north-south civil war, a senior United Nations official said today.

Briefing the Security Council on recent developments, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, reported that implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), though behind schedule, remains on track.

The level of mutual cooperation between the two CPA partners – the Khartoum Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – has shown some signs of improvement, he said.

“Nevertheless, the foundation for a durable peace remains fragile,” warned Mr. Qazi, who also heads the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

The Special Representative noted that the security situation remained “precarious” during the past several months, which witnessed deadly fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in the disputed town of Abyei, as well as an attack by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on Omdurman, near the capital.

While the working relationship between North and South Sudan is relatively cordial, the lack of mutual trust and confidence remains a significant obstacle to the goals of “making unity attractive” and a peaceful implementation of the CPA, he stated.

However, he added that “three years down the road the prospects for the CPA are uncertain but not necessarily bleak.” Among other things, he noted the implementation of a recent agreement to settle the conflict over Abyei, the completion of the census enumeration and developments relating to the electoral process.

In addition, he cited progress on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants, and said recovery and development projects have begun to make some difference on the ground.

“Ultimate success, however, will require the parties to realize that peace can only be consolidated through the full implementation of the Abyei road map,” he stressed, echoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who in a recent report warned that the dispute over Abyei remains one of the biggest obstacles to implementing the CPA.

He added that should the CPA unravel the prospects for a peaceful outcome in Darfur will largely disappear. As many as 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed in that western Sudanese region 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.

“A successful implementation of the CPA brightens the prospects for peace in Darfur,” stated Mr. Qazi.

“The perception that an over-focus on Darfur has diverted attention from the need to provide a peace dividend through the implementation of the CPA is real, especially amongst the Southern Sudanese,” he added. “We have to change this perception through an emphatic and tangible recognition of the centrality of the CPA.”

Regarding recent efforts by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to seek an indictment against the Sudanese President on genocide and war crimes charges, Mr. Qazi said he conveyed to the Sudanese Government that the Court is an independent institution and that UNMIS will continue to implement its mandate in the country.