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Sudanese Activist Supports Call for Envoy, Asks for More Inclusive Talks

A prominent Sudanese human rights activist, Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, says more elements of Sudanese society must be consulted if peace talks are to be successful.

Mudawi is chairman of the Khartoum-based Sudan Social Development Organization, a group that closely monitors human rights violations in Darfur. He’s been in the United States for the past two weeks taking part in a conference on Sudan at Harvard University in Boston and meeting US officials in Washington.

Mudawi told English to Africa reporter William Eagle that the Abuja peace talks should include all of the warring militias as well as those who have been displaced by conflict. A final peace deal,he says, should encompass all regions of the country: “I think there needs to be a holistic approach to the problems in Sudan, not like now – piecemeal.”

The international community is considering the naming of a special envoy to help facilitate the talks. Mudawi says the main goal of the envoy should be to provide protection for Sudanese the activists that he'd like to see playing a larger role in the peace efforts: “The special envoy is only needed for the protection of Sudanese nationals, who would lead the process. There are so many tribal leaders who are powerful and looking for a resolution to the conflict….”

Mudawi says he’s skeptical about the Sudanese government’s commitment to peace: “The (ruling) National Congress Party has 52% of the share of power...that’s the share (that's been allotted to) the north [in an earlier north-south peace deal]. If they’re going to share power with the people of [the western region of] Darfur, they’d have to give part of their share to the people of Darfur, and they’re not ready to do that because that would reduce their control over the government. Is the NCP ready to hand over power? I doubt that.”

Mudawi says he supports targeted sanctions against individual leaders implicated in the war against Darfur's civilians, but he's against any restrictions that would increase mass suffering.

He also says anti-UN and anti-foreign protests do not represent the views of the average Sudanese. He asks why protesters would be against UN troops in Darfur when in fact there are already foreign troops in various parts of the country.