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Little hope for renewed deal to end Sudan strife: CEN 8.28.09 p 6. September 7, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan.

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The US-brokered deal signed last week to revive the stalled Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is being greeted with skepticism by Sudanese church leaders.

“To sign a piece of paper is not a sign to the people” that a lasting peace is at hand, the Primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Archbishop Daniel Deng of Juba told The Church of England Newspaper in an Aug 22 email.

Representatives of Southern Sudan’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Khartoum government’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Aug 19 endorsed an agreement resolving disputed issues arising from the 2005 CPA that ended twenty-two years of civil war between the Arab Muslim North and the African Christian South.

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Maj. Gen. Scott Gration witnessed the initialing of the bilateral agreement in Juba that according to the US State Department “commits the NCP and SPLM to a series of timed benchmarks for implementing key aspects of the CPA, including border demarcation and election preparation.”

On July 22, an international tribunal in The Hague redefined the borders of the disputed oil-rich Abyei region, but other areas along the 2000km border remain in dispute.

The US State Department stated that “despite the significant progress made to date, the parties have been unable to reach agreement on several issues, namely a final determination on the use of census data,” noting that General Gration would return to Juba next month to continue the trilateral talks.

The London based Arabic-language newspaper, Al-Sharq al-Awsat, stated the dispute centers around the use of census data. The NCP has insisted that data from the 2008 census be used to determine election districts. The SPLM has dismissed the 2008 census as untrustworthy and has insisted that the pre-independence 1956 census be used.

The SPLM has charged the Khartoum-government of attempting to derail a 2011 independence referendum for Southern Sudan. On July 29 the Secretary General of the SPLM, Pagan Amum said the North had intentionally “delayed the demarcation of the north-south border.”

“Whether Sudan will become one peaceful and free country or separate into two countries peacefully co-existing shall be decided in large degree by how we, the two parties – SPLM and NCP – implement the CPA,” he said in a press statement.

However, “attempts to renege from the CPA shall lead to a catastrophic disaster of war again,” the SPLM leader warned.

Archbishop Deng told CEN that although the NCP and SPLM had signed many agreements, “nothing changed.”

“Since the CPA was signed four years ago the situation in the Sudan never changes. To sign a paper is not a sign to the people,” Archbishop Deng said.

“In the north [Khartoum government] has been doing this for more than fifty years,” he said, “warning the Western world to let them know dealing with Muslim [governments] is no simple matter.”

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