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Backgrounder: Darfur's Peace Process

Council on Foreign Relations

Author: Stephanie Hanson, Copy Editor
June 18, 2007


In May 2006, the Sudanese government signed a peace agreement with one of the rebel groups in Sudan’s western Darfur region. Yet one year later, the agreement is seen as a failure. Security has deteriorated and rebel groups have proliferated. International efforts have focused on pressing Khartoum to accept the deployment of a hybrid UN/African Union peacekeeping force, as called for in an August 2006 Security Council resolution. But in the long run, experts say peace will only come to Darfur through a negotiated settlement between Khartoum and the rebel groups. Widespread disagreement remains over how to revive peace negotiations.

What is the status of the Darfur peace process?

Several different actors are working to bring Darfur’s rebel groups and the Sudanese government to the table. Experts agree the best opportunity for restarting the peace process lies with a joint effort led by UN Special Envoy Jan Eliasson and AU Envoy Salim Ahmed Salim. Eliasson recently outlined a roadmap: align the different peace proposals, bring the rebel groups together, and begin negotiations. He hopes talks can start by the end of the summer.

What factors are hindering the process?

  • Undefined framework for talks. John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group (ICG) argues that the UN/AU effort is an “upside-down process.” The mediators, he says, have consulted with different parties—which all have their pet issues—but have failed to outline a clear agenda, without which the peace process has stalled. The various parties are “casting about without a rudder and without an anchor,” he adds.

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Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.

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