News / Africa

Analysts Call for Enhanced Diplomacy for Sudan and South Sudan

Analysts are calling for a beefed up international response in the effort to end civil wars in the neighboring countries of Sudan and South Sudan. Critics accuse the government in Khartoum of using violence to suppress grievances in the region of Darfur and in the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.  And in South Sudan, government troops are fighting with rebel factions of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.
 
US policy toward the two countries was the topic of discussion at a recent hearing of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights, and International Organizations.

Diplomatic surge
 

 John Prendergast of the Washington-based Enough Project said the crises in the two countries call for a more robust US approach to peace, democracy and accountability.
 
Prendergast said the US should expand from one to two envoys to the region – part of a strategy some analysts call a “diplomatic surge.” They say in the lead-up to South Sudan’s referendum on independence two years ago, three envoys were deployed: General Scott Gration, Princeton Lyman and then-senator John Kerry.

Currently, the US Department of State has one envoy to serve both Sudan and South Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth. 
 
"One special envoy," said Prenderagast, "no matter how capable Ambassador Don Booth is, pales in comparison to the current diplomatic requirements. The wars in both countries are so complicated they require their own envoys, and the interplay between the two conflicts and the broader region demands a deeper political team upon which the two envoys can rely."
 
Prendergast said the team would include currently serving senior foreign service officers, retired ambassadors and other regional experts.  
 
He also said US policymakers should develop a unified approach to conflicts in the Sudanese regions of Darfur, the Nuba mountains, the contested territory of Abyei and in the eastern states of Blue Nile and North Kordofan. So far, he says, Khartoum has used a successful “divide and conquer” strategy in subduing these areas and in dividing diplomatic efforts to bring peace. 

Personalized approach
 
Others want an even more personalized approach to US policy in the region – one they compare to diplomatic “shock treatment”: 
 
"I would strongly recommend that President Obama address in public the issue of Sudan," said Walid Phares, the co-secretary general of the Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counter Terrorism .

"The reason is simple: people in southern Sudan, [including] those commanders on the ground, need to have a very important personality that would address them from Washington, [who] would ask them for a ceasefire.  In a civil war, they are not going to listen to diplomats; they are going to listen to the highest personality, especially Mr. Obama. He  is well seen in Africa, well seen in Sudan."
 
Phares suggested the administration bring into the effort former president George W. Bush, who met personally with South Sudanese leader and current president Salva Kiir during his administration.   
 
Phares also offered suggestions for dealing with the Republic of Sudan and President Omar al-Bashir, whose administration is at war with several ethnic groups.
 
"We need to invite to Washington representatives of the Beja, Nubians, Darfuris, and of other areas in Sudan to come to US…so that the American public can understand their claims and their difficulties,"  he said. "I would recommend a Congressional hearing where representatives from Sudanese NGOs are sitting at this table.  The president [Mr. Obama]  should call on Mr. Bashir and tell him he is under ICC indictment and is responsible for the security and the rights of these four African communities in Sudan. "

Special Envoy Ambassador Donald Booth said the Obama administration has reached out to former high-ranking officials, and will continue to do so.
 
"Some of them did intervene, " he said, "and made calls out to the government of South Sudan to try to put an end to the conflict [including] former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who tried to engage President Kier, and former president Carter did as well.  
We’ve had many calls to Salva Kiir and to Riek Machar by senior administration officials, and we are calibrating when we need to use which official to move a particular issue at a particular time. 
 
"So, that’s something that is certainly on the table…and will be used when we consider what would be the best way forward at that time to move us off of a sticking point or break any logjam. "
 
Democracy promotion
 
Prendergast also said the US should increase support to groups that promote democracy, including NGOs,  youth and women’s associations, and political parties, such as the coalition of opposition parties in Sudan, the Sudan Revolutionary Front. 
 
"Democracy in Governance Programming is globally going down;" he said, "but in Sudan and South Sudan,  they need to get in there and support and be in solidarity with civil society groups,  opposition parties, the independent voices, the media, those who are pushing for solutions is more vital than ever. So figuring out a way we can get more resources and support to the independent sector in both countries …with Congress’s support, more could be done in that regard. "
 
Prendergast said Congress should be asked to authorize the State Department to provide training on negotiations, political platform building help and humanitarian aid delivery assistance to the opposition Sudan Revolutionary Front. Current law prohibits State from providing material support to groups like the SRF which carry arms.
 
Officials with the Enough Project say they’d like to see more support for independent media like Radio Dabanga in Sudan’s Darfur region.  They say it could potentially expand its coverage beyond the province and also transition into television. 
 
Prendergast also called for a “General License D” from the US Office of Foreign Asset Control– a clarification on laws governing exports to Sudan. Today,  many companies follow restrictions passed years ago, which are preventing the Sudanese from purchasing US-made information and personal communications tools. 
 
Among them are Skype, Paypal,  mobile aps stores like Google Play, and  anti-virus and anti-filtering software.  These tools support the free flow of information, and would allow Sudan’s over seven million internet users to communicate with the rest of the world.
 
Prendergast said in both countries there must be more accountability and justice. 

Accountability and reconciliation
 
He said no one’s been held accountable for any crime against humanity in either state, although the International Criminal Court in The Hague is pursuing the cases of some Sudanese officials in Khartoum. 
 
Prendergast suggested another mechanism for ending impunity in South Sudan.
 
"We suggest a hybrid court, or mixed court," he explained, "where the justice system of a country, particularly an embryonic country two-and-a-half years old, is dwarfed by needs some international support to build up the capacity of the judicial sector to try the worst case of these crimes would be terribly important. "
 
Prendergast said bringing peace to the region will mean closer international collaboration.
 
He said the United States could lead a coalition that would, if necessary, consider targeted sanctions against leaders from both countries.
 
Besides isolating high ranking officials, the strategy could include stopping the sales by  Khartoum of “conflict gold” as well as linking debt relief to ending conflict and initiating democratic reforms.
 
He said the US should support the African Union proposal to use targeted sanctions against South Sudanese officials who are suspected of committing war crimes. 
 
A broad effort with the participation of the regional group IGAD, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, is working to end the conflict in South Sudan.
 
The violence in both Sudans has left tens of thousands of refugees in the region, and more than a million internally displaced people. 

Listen to analysis on Sudan and South Sudan
Listen to analysis on Sudan and South Sudani
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sokwanele
March 21, 2014 12:09 AM
John Predergast, where were you on the Zimbabwe situation Gukhuranhundi, 2008 Elections, land seizures?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid