02 December 2004
Naivasha Accord Key to Sudan Peace, Envoy Says
Ambassadors Danforth, Hall discuss Sudan situation
By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent
New York -- The two-pronged approach of placing international monitors in Darfur and pressing Khartoum and the rebels to complete a peace agreement is the most likely way to end the terrible tragedy of Sudan, U.S. Ambassador John Danforth said December 2.
Danforth, the chief U.S. envoy to the United Nations, said that imposing international sanctions on the government of Sudan "is not a real option."
"While the United States itself has comprehensive sanctions against the Government of Sudan, the Security Council is not going to do that," the ambassador said.
Danforth pointed out that, in their two resolutions on Sudan, Security Council members mentioned considering the possibility of "measures," refraining from using the term "sanctions" because that would have been vetoed.
China, he said, has a "serious economic relationship" with Sudan with respect to oil production. "China is not going to impose sanctions, not going to be a party to that."
"Even if they were approved," Danforth said, "would sanctions work? The U.S. unilateral sanctions have certainly not influenced the behavior of Sudan."
The ambassador added that even though the two Security Council resolutions "have certainly pointed the finger at the Government of Sudan -- and they deserve to have the finger pointed at them -- nobody's hands are clean. The government and the rebels in Darfur have each been complicit in creating this terrible tragedy, and it's time to end it."
What can be done, the ambassador said, is establishment of an outside presence, especially the African Union (AU) monitors, in Darfur, coupled with the successful conclusion of the North-South peace process between the government of Sudan and the SPLM (Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army), most often referred to as the Naivasha process.
"The African Union, plus the humanitarian workers' presence, plus any other presence we can think of is very important for Darfur as a moderating influence on the terrible tragedy there," Danforth said.
The ambassador pointed out that the U.N. special envoy said he would like to see the African Union presence doubled from the current authorized level of 3,500, and Sudan has indicated that it would accept the increased number of AU monitors.
Speaking in New York during a joint press conference with U.S. Ambassador Tony Hall, who participated via digital videoconference from Rome, Danforth said that the completion of the Naivasha peace accords, expected to be signed by December 31, will help end the humanitarian tragedy and unrest in Darfur.
"There is a very strong relationship between Darfur and the so-called North-South conflict," the ambassador said. "The reason is that if there is a peace agreement between the SPLM and the Government of Sudan, it provides the framework for a federal system which is able to incorporate into one country diverse interests. Therefore, the framework for a political settlement in the Darfur area is provided should there be peace agreement between the North and South."
Danforth was president of the Security Council during the month of November when the council went to Nairobi to hold a two-day session on Sudan, only the fourth time in the council's history that it has met outside the United States. The council witnessed the signing by Khartoum and the SPLM of a memorandum of understanding to complete the peace agreement by the end of 2004. The Security Council also passed a resolution outlining the support and commitments the international community is ready to make to Sudan once the agreement is finalized.
While the council was in Nairobi, Ambassador Hall, the U.S. representative to the U.N. agencies for food and agriculture -- the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) -- was in Libya observing the opening of a third corridor for the delivery of food to Darfur.
Hall called the opening of the new route through Libya a "truly historic humanitarian event" during which trucks hired by the WFP and filled with U.S. food made their way into Chad to feed Darfur refugees.
"It is significant in that one of the problems in Darfur is that it's very difficult to reach," Hall said. "There were only two ways -- through Port Sudan and through Cameroon -- but the distances are great, very difficult, sometimes treacherous, and in the rainy season the trucks get bogged down."
Congratulating Libya for its cooperation, the ambassador said, "The opening of the third corridor will feed several hundred thousand people, especially in Chad and eventually Sudan."
Hall said that when he visited Darfur after visiting Libya, he found an atmosphere of fear.
The refugees "live in fear. They don't trust the government; they don't trust the police; they don't trust the Jingaweit; they don't necessarily trust the rebels," he said. "They are not going to leave those camps until they feel that they have some security."
Another major problem is that if the refugees and displaced do not return to their farms in the next four or five months to plant crops, there won't be a harvest next year, Hall said. "If there is no harvest we will have these people [needing food aid] at least two more years," he said.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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