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Sudan ‘on brink of civil war’: CEN 12.11.09 p 5. December 18, 2009

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

The Sudan is on the brink of civil war, the Provincial Standing Committee of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) has warned in a statement released last week.

Sudan ‘on brink of civil war’

“With less than five months before National Elections and just over one year to the referendum on southern self-determination, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is on the brink of collapse due to contentions over the referendum law, the demarcation of the January 1, 1956 borders, and violence recently perpetrated by other armed groups,” the ECS Standing Committee said at the close of its Nov 23-27 meeting in Rumbek.

In a July briefing, the International Crisis Group (ICG) — a national security thinktank — reported the Islamist-backed National Congress Party (NCP) government in Khartoum had reneged on the terms of the peace treaty that ended 28 years of civil war.

The IGC stated the NCP government had “held back the key concessions required for the democratic transformation” of the Sudan set forth in the CPA, “including repeal of repressive laws and restoration of basic freedom of association and expression, and it has blocked the actions necessary for a peaceful referendum, such as a credible census, demarcation of the border, fuller wealth-sharing and de-escalation of local conflicts in the transitional areas of Abyei, South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.”

The Khartoum government “appears to have decided to allow neither the secession of South Sudan nor meaningful political reforms in the North,” the ICG said.

There is “no alternative” to the CPA, the church warned. “It must be fully implemented” by both the North and South, and “must be fully supported by those guarantor governments who promised to do so in 2005.”

Following a state visit to Nairobi on Oct 28 by South Sudan President Salva Kiir, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said “Kenya as the principle Guarantor to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement wants to see the implementation of the accord to the letter as the African Union and UN seeks amicable solution to the Darfur conflict.”

US Special Envoy Lt Gen Scott Gration has also vowed to make saving the CPA a top priority of the Obama administration. However, the “inter-ethnic violence currently witnessed across much of Southern Sudan, the ongoing violence against civilians in Darfur, and the violent attacks on civilians being perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the south-west of the country,” was destabilizing the region, the church warned.

The escalation of violence “will make registration and voting in the elections and referendum very difficult,” the church warned. “The conclusion that is drawn is that this violence is intended to negatively affect the elections and referendum,” it concluded.

The ECS urged the national and southern governments “and the international guarantor nations of the CPA to uphold their promises of equality and freedom to the people of Sudan,” and act now to prevent the slide into war.

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