Consolidating Peace in Sudan - Jendayi E. Frazer
Consolidating Peace in Sudan
Jendayi E. Frazer, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
Remarks to Center for Strategic and International Studies
June 5, 2006
Good afternoon, and thank you for the warm introduction, Jennifer. It is a pleasure to be here at CSIS.
President George W. Bush takes the issue of Sudan seriously. On his second day as President, he directed then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to resolve the ongoing 22-year civil war between Sudan's north and south.
That focus has not changed. President Bush has made the push for peace throughout Sudan a centerpiece of his Africa agenda. Just as U.S. government commitment and leadership helped to resolve the North-South element of the Sudan conflict, the President's goal has been for the U.S. to lead the way toward stability and calm in Darfur.
Let me be clear at the outset that the overriding goal is the peaceful, democratic transformation of Sudan.
HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN FOCUS
The American public has likewise been incredibly engaged. On April 30, I had the opportunity to speak on behalf of the U.S. government to the thousands of concerned Americans who gathered on the National Mall for the Save Darfur rally.
Our nation has a history of supporting freedom and fighting against oppression and genocide, and I reassured those assembled that this was a priority for their elected leaders and officials at the State Department. This is a subject that has clearly captured the attention of many Americans, including President Bush himself.
Darfur has been a humanitarian crisis of major proportions. Over 200,000 civilians have fled their homes and become refugees in neighboring Chad. There are approximately 1.8 million internally displaced people in Darfur.
Thousands have been killed in horrible acts of violence or died due to famine and disease. Villages have been burned and looted, and there has been widespread, egregious violence against women, including rape.
The U.S. government labeled the crisis genocide, in September 2004. The U.S. remains the only nation to use that term, and it has impelled U.S. government officials to take action, as well as galvanize the international community to act. The U.S., the parties in Darfur, and international observers understand that a political solution is the only way to implement a just and lasting peace.
FROM NEGOTIATION TO SETTLEMENT
The first week of May marked an important turning point in the African Union (AU) led negotiations that had already been underway in Abuja, Nigeria, for two years. On May 1, I traveled with Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick to Abuja. As was the case with the North/South talks, U.S. intervention played a decisive role in supporting an African-led negotiation to achieve peace.
On May 5, the Sudanese Government and the largest rebel group led by Minni Minawi signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). This Agreement represents an important, but fragile first step toward peace and reconciliation. It also marks an historic opportunity to build a peaceful, democratic, and secure future for the people of Darfur.
The North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement provided the framework that made a Darfur accord possible. This highlights a central premise of our efforts: the interrelationship between the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Darfur Peace Agreement. The two must move forward together; if implementation of either agreement falters, it will threaten the viability of the other.
THE AGREEMENT ITSELF The Abuja Agreement has three thematic elements. The first involves security arrangements, the second involves political power sharing, and the last involves wealth sharing.
In the realm of security, the Agreement requires complete, verifiable disarmament of the Janjaweed militia by mid-October of 2006. Various milestones are delineated on the way to this goal, and there is a detailed sequencing that requires the Janjaweed and other armed militias to completely disarm, before rebel forces assemble and prepare for their own disarmament. Following this process, there will be strong rebel force representation in the leadership positions officers and commanders of the Sudanese Armed Forces.
In the political sphere, the Agreement outlines a power-sharing consensus that gives the fourth most senior position within the Sudanese Government of National Unity (GNU) to the rebel movements. This new job, Senior Assistant and Chairperson of the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority, is designed to be the dominant political leader within Darfur, while also serving as the senior representative of Darfur within the GNU.
The Agreement sets out a democratic process for Darfurians to choose their leaders. In July 2010, a popular referendum will allow the people of Darfur to choose whether to establish Darfur as a unitary region with a single government.
Lastly, the Agreement offers a plan for wealth sharing within Sudan. The GNU is slated to create a fund for Darfur's reconstruction and development. Initially, the GNU will contribute $300 million, and then the GNU will contribute $200 million for another two years. The international community is additionally committed to holding a donors conference to pledge additional funds for Darfur this fall, and the Chairperson of the TDRA will be invited to present a summary of the region's needs and priorities at this future convention.
This Agreement is comprehensive in its reach, and has the potential to be enormously beneficial for the people of Darfur, who have suffered so much in this conflict.
THE CHALLENGE AHEAD Much work lies ahead, if we are to successfully implement the Darfur Peace Agreement. As many of you may know, the Abdelwahid-led faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement failed to meet the May 31 deadline imposed by the AU. The U.S. Government believes that these groups are failing to seize a tremendous opportunity and are contributing to the continuation of suffering by the people of Darfur.
We are continuing to work hard to make this agreement as inclusive as possible. Minni Minawi has made clear his desire to work with all Darfurians. We have urged the SPLM and others to reach out to Abdel Wahid. But the agreement is not open to re-negotiation.
At the same time, the AU must move ahead quickly to implement the agreement as signed. We must not waste any time. The U.S. is providing strong support for the implementation.
Let me touch on some of what we are doing: working with the AU to set up peace secretariats that can serve as central points for implementation; supporting outreach to the people of Darfur to explain the agreement; providing advisers on security issues; and increasing the number of U.S. military observers working with the African Union forces.
Successful implementation of the Darfur agreement can only be accomplished with improved security on the ground. We are focusing on strengthening the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in the short term, while also planning its transition to a robust UN peacekeeping operation. The supplemental request pending with the Congress contains $173 million for the African Union. We have taken the lead within NATO to obtain NATO assistance that is vitally needed to strengthen AMIS.
We are pushing for a UN Security Council resolution to authorize deployment of a robust Chapter VII force for Darfur following the current assessment mission. Let me take this opportunity to express appreciation for the very forthright role played by the UN Secretary General on Sudan through deployment of the force to the South and through his strong leadership on the need for a robust force for Darfur.
Last, it is critical to quell tensions between Sudan and its neighbor, Chad. The U.S. has called on both governments to cease interfering in the internal affairs of the neighboring nation.
WORKING TO END THE SUFFERING The Bush Administration's commitment to a political solution in Darfur reflects the American people's fervent desire to see an end to the suffering of the people there. The United States has been the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance. In the last six months, the American people have provided 85 percent of the food distributed by the World Food Program in Sudan.
This amounts to $1.3 billion for humanitarian, reconstruction, and peacekeeping operations countrywide since 2005. When the World Food Program was forced to cut food rations in half, to ensure that food would be available to up to 2.8 million Darfurians during the approaching annual rainy season, President Bush directed an emergency delivery of 47,600 metric tons of food to Sudan for distribution across Darfur, in addition to our already-committed contributions.
U.S. assistance goes well beyond food aid and is directed toward the region's neediest victims. To maximize assistance efforts, the U.S. government is also re-establishing a USAID mission in Sudan after a 15-year closure to facilitate the delivery of life-saving services.
COMPREHENSIVE PEACE AGREEMENT It is important that we re-energize the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Important steps have been taken to implement it: formation of the GOSS; constitutional revision; transfer of revenue to the South pursuant to wealth-sharing provisions; significant withdrawal of forces from the South; establishment of the Assessment and Evaluation and other commissions.
That said, implementation has not moved quickly enough and there is a real danger that the process could atrophy if momentum is not maintained.
We believe that to maintain momentum there must be movement in several key areas: the Joint Integrated Units must be set up and the GNU must cooperate with the International Military Assistant Team (IMAT) in order to achieve that; the Assessment and Evaluation Commission must be turned into the vehicle to monitor and help resolve implementation issues; the Abyei provisions must be implemented, particularly since Abyei remains a highly volatile area; and the National Border Commission to delineate the North/South border must begin work.
The U.S. remains intensively engaged in support of implementation of the CPA. U.S. assistance in southern Sudan is focused on supporting key ministries in the Government of Southern Sudan, building schools, health centers, and roads, as well as training for the Bank of Southern Sudan. The U.S. also supports the national consensus, which is critical for elections to succeed and assists with the transformation of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) from a guerilla force into a viable national army and training for nascent political parties.
We also need to pay attention to the situation in the East. We are encouraging efforts to set up talks between the GNU and the Eastern rebels.
CONCLUSION The U.S. has played a decisive role in achieving peace in Sudan. Continued intense U.S. engagement will be crucial to keep the peace processes on track and to foster democratic change. The U.S. Congress, non-governmental organizations, and community and faith-based groups all have a key role to play in ensuring that.
Thank you again for inviting me to speak with you today, and now I would be happy to take any questions from the audience.
Released on June 5, 2006