Sudan peace deal 'bad' for Darfur
Darfur rebel group JEM suggest that government of Sudan troops not needed after the peace deal with the south are being re-deployed to areas in Darfur now classed as peaceful.
Colonel Omar Adam, leader of JEM rebel group in Darfur, told the BBC that Sudan's government is "preparing for war".
- - -
Sudanese president's peace tour
With a peace treaty in hand (that he did not personally sign) Sudan's president Omar el-Bashir began a triumphant tour of his country Monday, Jan 10, 2005, greeted by thousands of revellers. A report in the Guardian yesterday describes how the president, wearing a long, white chieftain's shirt over his safari suit, stopped and restarted his speech several times when onlookers regularly broke into deafening applause and began waiving white pieces of cloth in signs of peace.
"Our ultimate goal is a united Sudan, which will not be built by war but by peace and development," el-Bashir said. "You, the southerners, will be saying, 'We want a strong and huge state, a united Sudan.'"
"The money which we have been spending on war will now be spent on services and development in the south," el-Bashir said from his heavily guarded podium.
Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir holds aloft a bird symbolising peace at a rally in Juba, Sudan Monday, Jan. 10, 2005. He visited the southern town of Malakal as part of a tour of the region to publicise the deal. He told more than 10,000 local people who packed the stadium to celebrate the end of a war: "From now on, there will be no more fighting, but development and prosperity." (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
- - -
Reactions vary to south Sudan peace treaty
Learthen Dorsey, associate professor of African studies at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said he does not believe the peace agreement will work out, says a report in the Daily Nebraskan. The peace agreement requires the government to remove its troops from the South and the SPLA to pull out of the North. But, he said, nothing really forces the Sudanese government to stand by its promise.
"United Nations is too weak to force the compliance," he said. "It has to have some kind of influence from the United States, Great Britain as a former colonial power and the United Nations."
Note, In 1972, the Sudanese government and civil groups signed an agreement and finished a 17-year-long civil war, but the government broke the treaty.
A Sudanese artist in Juba drawing the Sudanese national flag over which a caption in Arabic reading 'yes for peace and love' while a small boy stands by observing in Juba, Sudan, Sunday, Jan 9, 2005.
- - -
Quotations of the Day January 9, 2005
"This is a glorious day for the Sudan," President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said before an audience of African leaders and western diplomats. "It's not only a deal that ended a protracted war of untold suffering, but it is a new contract for all Sudanese."
"It's a big day but I'm not euphoric," said John C. Danforth, the American ambassador to the United Nations and President Bush's former special envoy to Sudan. "It's like climbing Mount Everest. You reach one pinnacle and there are ranges of mountains behind." via NYT
David Mozersky, the Sudan analyst for the International Crisis Group, said "The same Government that signed this deal is still carrying out attacks on civilians in Darfur. Unless the fighting stops, it will be very difficult for the country to move from a culture of war to a culture of peace."
Lazaro Sumbeiywo, the Kenyan general who acted as chief mediator during the talks, called the deal "a precious child to nurture with love and care."
Sudan's President Omar El-Bashir (partly hidden-L) shakes hands with the country's main rebel leader John Garang (R) next to Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki after signing the long awaited peace accord in Nairobi 09 January 2005. (AFP/Simon Maina)
- - -
Can Garang make a successful transition to government?
John Garang, new First Vice-President of Sudan (taking over from VP Taha) will report directly to Sudan's President Bashir. The day before yesterday said he did not want to be associated with violence or fight any more Sudanese. He said the best way to get things done is through talks and negotiation.
A day later, he is quoted as saying: "It is exactly 42 years since I first left for the bush to begin the first war. I hope I will not go back to the bush again, but I am a guerrilla and I take my time. The union would be dissolved amicably after the six year interim period."
"If they fail in creating a Sudan of equality, then the best option would be to look at other solutions such as splitting the country into smaller states, we must have full devolution of power, otherwise the country may not move forward," Garang warned. [via SudanTribune]
Can John Garang make a successful transition to government after fighting in the bush for 42 years?
- - -
Norwegian minister lauded for peace work in Sudan
Bravo to the Norwegians for building a great reputation, and quite a little industry, on successful peace brokering. And doing very well at it too, thank God. We need many more of them to apply their peace making skills in the hotspots of the world.
A report from Aftenposten Norway Jan 11 says Hilde Frafjord Johnson, Norway's government minister in charge of foreign aid, was the subject of much praise over the weekend, for her role in helping bring about a peace pact in Sudan. She took part in the signing ceremony for the peace agreement and signed it as a witness on behalf of the Norwegian Government, along with British Minister Hilary Benn and US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
"Hilde is fantastic," guerrilla leader John Garang told newspaper VG. "She deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Others were equally appreciative. "There's no doubt that... Johnson has played a decisive role in the process that led to this outstanding agreement," said government representative Ali Osman Taha.
Garang added that without Johnson's "engagement and abilities, we never would have succeeded. Norway has also given great humanitarian aid to southern Sudan."
The report states that Norway, the US and the UK worked closely together to get the Islamic north and the Christian south to put down their weapons.
Foreign aid minister Hilde Frafjord Johnson, right, at a meeting with the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.
(Photo: Hakon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix)
- - -
Darfur combatants lay down guns for polio campaign
The Guardian confirms that on Monday, combatants temporarily laid down their guns to let about 5,000 health and humanitarian workers and volunteers begin immunizing 1.3 million Darfur children against polio.
I wonder how they got the word out? See how BOTH sides are capable of ceasing violence. Janjaweed included: how did Khartoum manage that so easily?
The three-day polio program, which will see 40,000 people immunizing 6 million children across the country, is being coordinated by the Sudanese Health Ministry, World Health Organization and the United Nations children fund, UNICEF. Another 1.9 million children living in SPLA-controlled southern Sudan will begin being immunized Jan. 17.
Polio re-emerged last year after its eradication in 2001. Some 112 people have been detected with the virus in 17 of Sudan's 26 states.
A child is administered with a polio vaccine. Sudan said it had issued an order to halt all military operations in the stricken Darfur region during a nationwide three-day polio vaccination campaign. Interesting to see how Khartoum can rein in its militias when it wants to. (AFP/File/Pius Utomi Ekpei)
- - -
UN Security Council considers 9 ,000 -10,000 peacekeepers for south Sudan
A report in the Guardian Jan 11 says the UN Security Council said Monday it would speedily consider sending peacekeepers to Sudan to support the new peace deal. Note this is part of the peace deal for southern Sudan and does not encompass Darfur in western Sudan.
Jan Pronk, the top UN envoy to Sudan, is expected to brief the security council on a peacekeeping force Tuesday. He said last month that if a peace agreement was reached, he envisioned Security Council adoption of a resolution in the third week of January authorising a wide ranging UN peacekeeping and peace-building mission, hopefully with 9,000 to 10,000 troops of which a number may be British. There are reports that India may contribute troops.
- - -
AU Security Council calls for AU troops in Darfur by end of month
AU Peace and Security Council called on Khartoum yesterday to draw its forces back to the positions they held before a major offensive in the area last month, says Turkish Press Jan 11. The council urged the Darfur rebels to communicate their positions to the ceasefire commission and called for more AU troops on the ground by the end of the month.
- - -
Secretary Annan should resign in protest says US lawmaker
Congress News today quotes U.S. lawmaker Wolf as saying: "As a son of Africa" [Annan is Ghanaian] and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Annan should use his "power and prestige to make a passionate plea to the Security Council to deal effectively on Sudan."
Wolf said he cringed at the thought of girls in Darfur "being raped practically before our eyes" and declared, "We cannot continue the status quo. If the Security Council fails to take meaningful action, Secretary Annan should resign in protest."
Mr Wolf said he understood this was "an unusual request to make but I believe these actions could turn the world's attention back to Darfur. Resigning out of protest is an act of great moral leadership and the world would respect his actions."
- - -
Africa silent on the Tsunami victims
New Vision online, Uganda's leading daily, publishes a perspective of a Ugandan in Canada: Opiyo Oloya. It would be interesting to know how much China and the Arab world donated for the Asian tsumani victims. Japan was most generous, donating 500 million dollars, I believe.