SUDAN WATCH: Bush signs Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act, 2004

Friday, December 24, 2004

Bush signs Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act, 2004

On August 18, 2004, I wrote a post linking to Wikipedia that explained the Sudan Peace Act is a US law condemning Sudan for genocide and was signed into law October 21, 2002 by President George W. Bush.

Yesterday, a bill passed by the U.S. Senate in a voice vote on December 7 was signed by President Bush and the White House released a Statement.

The bill authorises $200 million in aid, including money for the deployment of more African peacekeepers in the region, and another $100 million as an incentive for reaching a final peace agreement in the 21-year war between the Sudanese government and the southern rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, led by John Garang.

The bill authorises the money but does not actually provide the funds. The money would have to come from a separate spending bill or by shifting of funds from other programs.

Note, the above pertains to a north-south conflict that is separate from the Darfur rebellion in western Sudan. Darfur is a 22-month long uprising that is not (yet) included in the peace deal to be signed December 31, 2004.

As noted here earlier, the latest news reports say the Darfur rebel group JEM has refused to continue peace talks. So, unless a miracle happens, Darfur will not be included in the upcoming deal (if it ever gets signed). And, even when deals do get signed, who can believe any agreements will hold? U.S. Ambassador John Danforth said in his experience he came to learn that Sudanese agreements tend to be written in disappearing ink.

Massive amounts of development funding and aid, along with thousands of U.N. peacekeepers as part of the peace agreement, from many governments around the world await the signing of a peace agreement. But please do not hold your breath. War is a way of life in Sudan. They don't really know the meaning of peace.

After 50 years of independence, Sudan is in a time warp and needs a good deal of outside help. The present regime in Khartoum are not up to the job and have proved untrustworthy. The people of Sudan deserve better. Sudan is rich in natural resources and has a lot going for it but only with good governance. The perpetrators of atrocities in Sudan should be behind bars.

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