Fix the Broken Approach to Peace Between the Sudans: Enough Project

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–March 28, 2013. The international community should not be lulled into a false sense of security because of the incremental steps Khartoum has recently taken in its bilateral relationship with South Sudan, argues a new Enough Project paper. These types of small steps forward after months of delay have been Khartoum’s standard operating procedure for years. 

The UN has announced that a joint monitoring mission visited two hot spots, Kiir Adem and Tishwin, in the buffer zone between the two countries. The mission confirmed that both sides’ armed forces had withdrawn from those locations. Although this is significant, the Enough Project’s new report, The Broken Approach to Peace Between the Sudans, puts these developments into a broader context by explaining why such incremental progress contains the seeds of even more conflict. The paper spotlights the dangerous cycle of incremental agreements, whose implementation is delayed until yet another incremental step is hailed as a breakthrough.

Enough Project Senior Advisor Omer Ismail said:

The international community is celebrating the incremental steps forward in March 2013 as a breakthrough. Efforts to secure peace between the Sudans are trapped in a cycle where the international community applauds incremental progress while tolerating dangerous delays. Continued reluctance to put a stop to Khartoum’s bad faith tactics undermines efforts to secure a durable peace. When combined with the ineffectiveness of the African Union’s mediation efforts and the perverse incentives produced by internal political dynamics within the Sudans, tolerance of Bashir’s intransigence perpetuates conflict. We need to hold both Sudans to all of their September 2012 commitments.

The paper offers three recommendations for a more effective peace process. First, the Enough Project stresses the needs to leverage pressure on the two Sudans to move them towards durable and enforced agreements.  Second, it suggests shifting the focus away from high-stakes summits towards technical discussions since real negotiations will require stronger channels of bilateral communication between the Sudans. Finally, the paper argues that the U.S. government needs to strengthen Sudanese opposition and civil society to help create the space necessary to shift internal political pressures towards peace.

Enough Project Research Associate Akshaya Kumar said: 

We keep allowing Khartoum to move the goalposts and redefine success. Real progress towards a durable peace needs a new approach. Effectively leveraging international pressure on both parties and shifting the focus away from high stakes summits will help. Since a lack of political will within the Sudans is the root cause of much of the trouble, support for opposition efforts to widen the political space will be essential.

Read the report, The Broken Approach to Peace Between the Sudans: