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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

Studies point to possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More