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Action on Sudan urged: CEN 1.22.10 p 5. February 3, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Politics.

Gordon Brown greeting Archbishop Daniel Deng at 10 Downing Street

Britain and the United States must intervene in the Sudan to prevent a return of civil war, Dr. Daniel Deng, the Archbishop of Juba and Primate of the Sudan told Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a meeting at 10 Downing Street on Jan 11.

Accompanied by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams and other church leaders, Dr. Deng met with the prime minister and Foreign Secretary David Miliband to ask that Britain honour its pledge to help implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended two decades of civil war between the Arab north and African south in 2005.

However the Foreign Office appears reluctant to act. On Jan 6 the FCO’s Minister for Africa Baroness Kinnock and DFID Minister Gareth Thomas announced a £54 million aid package for the Sudan, and called for all parties in the Sudan to support the CPA.

The CPA “ended Africa’s longest-running civil war,” Baroness Kinnock said. “It has been through many challenges but remains intact and has prevented a return to major conflict. But now is a critical time.”

“There are three months until nationwide elections and one year until the referendum on self-determination for Southern Sudan. Sudan needs leadership from both parties to overcome the challenges ahead and realise a peaceful future for the people of Sudan, both in the period up to the referendum and for the years after, regardless of the outcome. There has been encouraging progress in recent weeks. The UK will continue working with both parties to build on this,” she said.

However, in a press conference at Lambeth Palace held before his meeting with the prime minister, Dr. Deng said the Western countries that had helped broker the CPA must act: “the time for talk is over, it is time for action.”

“Britain, the US, Norway must get involved,” he said, or “one night Sudan will slip back to war,” which would destabilize East Africa.

“Since 1955 the people of the South and Darfu have been marginalized” by the Khartoum government. The CPA has failed to end the marginalization, Dr. Deng said, leaving in place the conditions that led to war.

Dr. Williams said there was a “danger of sleepwalking into a situation of real nightmare in Sudan.”

The “peace agreement has been almost meaningless,” he said, noting that “injustice” and “intolerable deprivation” was the lot of most Sudanese.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said that he hoped that by meeting with the prime minister, he and Dr. Deng would “bring that pressure onto the table at Downing Street” for international action to save Sudan from civil war.

On Dec 22, the National Congress Party (NCP) government headed by President Omar al-Bashir pushed through the National Assembly a South Sudan referendum bill with terms unacceptable to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). On Dec 20, the NCP dominated National Assembly adopted a revised National Security Act over the objections of the SPLM, which protested the absence of parliamentary oversight and accountability for the security services.

“Once again the NCP has violated agreements it made with the SPLM, its supposed partner in the peace process,” said Leonard Leo of the US State Departments Commission on International Religious Freedom. “These violations are threatening to derail the CPA which provides the only existing roadmap to peace in Sudan and it is now hanging by a thread.”

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