Friday, May 14, 2010

U.S. Strategy on Sudan - Scott Gration's update

From U.S. Department of State via email
Sudan Updates: A Critical Moment For The CPA, Darfur and the Region
By Scott Gration, Special Envoy to Sudan
Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 - excerpt:
Whether or not Southern Sudan becomes independent in July 2011, and regardless of whether it includes Abyei or not, the Government of Southern Sudan will require effective leadership as well as strengthened capacity to undertake effective and accountable governance, provide security, and deliver services to its citizenry. A robust, concerted international effort will be required to assist in this capacity-building effort.

In order to assist in building up the capacity of Southern Sudan, we are undertaking a "Juba Diplomatic Expansion" to include staffing and material assistance on the ground in Sudan to support USG foreign policy objectives. Operating under Chief of Mission authority, staff from the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) and the Civilian Response Corps (CRC) will provide support to Consulate General Juba and complement USAID’s robust presence in the run-up to and following Southern Sudan’s January 2011 referendum. Staff is assisting in strategic and contingency planning, program oversight, and technical assistance, both in Washington and in the field.

In keeping with President Obama’s emphasis on multilateral efforts in Sudan, we are working closely with our partners in the international community through the Troika, Contact Group, and "E6" group of envoys. We have an ongoing dialogue with key regional organizations and states, including the African Union, European Union, Arab League, Sudan’s nine neighboring states, China, Russia, and others. We also regularly engage with the United Nations on UN missions in Sudan. With substantial U.S. input, the Security Council recently renewed the mandate of the UNMIS peacekeeping mission, emphasizing the need for the mission to continue its support to the CPA parties to implement all aspects of the CPA, and requesting that UNMIS be prepared to assist the parties in the referenda process. Promising new leadership on both Sudan peacekeeping missions bodes well for future mission operations. The parties have much to do in the final phase of Sudan’s Interim Period and it is our sincere hope that strong international engagement will further bolster these efforts.

While much attention will be focused on the North-South process over the next year, we continue to work on Darfur and the many important unresolved issues there. A definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur remains a key strategic objective, as made clear in the U.S. Strategy on Sudan. Violence continues in and there are credible reports of continued aerial bombardments by the Government of Sudan. This is unconscionable and we have called on the government to immediately renew its ceasefire.

Following progress in Chad-Sudan relations earlier this year, the Darfur peace talks in Doha saw positive progress with the signing of two framework agreements between the Government of Sudan and Darfur rebels in February and March. We are concerned about the Justice and Equality Movement’s decision to leave the peace talks and are encouraging them to return to the negotiating table The UN and African Union are now working hard to include the voices of civil society representatives in the process, implement a ceasefire on the ground, and enter into meaningful and productive political negotiations between the parties.

While issues such as ceasefires, power sharing, and wealth sharing can be addressed at a high level in Doha, we need to think more creatively about how to bring the people of Darfur into local conversations about compensation, land tenure, and rebuilding their communities. Additionally, as stated in the U.S. Strategy on Sudan, accountability for genocide and atrocities is necessary for reconciliation and lasting peace. In addition to supporting international efforts to bring those responsible for genocide and war crimes in Darfur to justice, we are consulting closely with our international partners and Darfuri civil society on ways to strengthen locally-owned accountability and reconciliation mechanisms in light of the recommendations made by the African Union High Level Panel on Darfur led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Local peacebuilding, rule of law, and reconciliation activities must be revived and strengthened. We should not wait for a negotiated political settlement to begin improving the lives of Darfuris.

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