January 8, 2010
January 9, 2010, marks the 5th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended a decades-long civil war in Sudan. While this agreement represented a groundbreaking achievement when it was signed, many benchmarks are overdue as we approach two vital deadlines: April 2010 parliamentary and presidential elections (already pushed back from 2009) and the 2011 referendum on independence for Southern Sudan. Sudan's democratic and geographic integrity hang in the balance as do the lives of its people.
While the United States has consistently taken the lead on Sudan issues from first declaring genocide in Darfur in July 2004, to playing a major role in brokering the CPA we must once more engage at this crucial juncture. No one doubts that Special Envoy Scott Gration is earnest in his determination to seek peace for all of Sudan; however, the new U.S. policy articulated in October 2009 remains vague due to a lack of specifics on benchmarks, accountability, and sanctions. Ensuring security for the people of Darfur continues to be a struggle for UNAMID peacekeeping troops. Basic governance and infrastructure must be improved in Southern Sudan so that it can function either as a contributing region of Sudan or as a successful independent state, depending on the outcome of the referendum. Unfortunately, the outlook is bleak. Tribal violence in the South is increasing and must not be allowed to disrupt the process. We cannot afford to turn our attention away from Sudan at this crucial and dangerous moment. Instead, the U.S. needs to doggedly pursue CPA implementation while also doing our best to ensure that aid and diplomatic efforts target security, development, and reintegration programs wherever appropriate.
As we observe the anniversary of this landmark pact, we should note that the job is far from done and the U.S. bears a responsibility to the people of Sudan. Let us rededicate ourselves to this cause of bringing peace to Sudan.
Contact: Alison M. Mills (Capuano) 617-621-6208
Contact: Jennifer Allen (Wolf) 202-225-5136