A Roadmap for Peace in Darfur
In the aftermath of a successful referendum process in South Sudan which will likely lead to the emergence of two new states—North and South Sudan—from one, and against the backdrop of sweeping changes throughout the Middle East and North Africa, violence in Darfur appears to be on the rise. In this context, the vigorous diplomacy of the Obama Administration, which made a significant contribution to preventing conflict leading up the referendum itself, needs to be extended. While key issues related to consolidating peace between North and South remain unresolved, and continued U.S. and international attention on these and related matters remains an imperative, Darfur must become a focus of U.S. and broader international policy equal to that of the North-South dynamic.
As the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, moves forward and the United States begins the process of reviewing Sudan’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation accordingly, it is important to reemphasize that the overall process of normalization of relations, including the full lifting of U.S. sanctions, is dependent upon verifiable improvements of conditions on the ground in Darfur. Given recent reports of escalating violence, including aerial bombardment of civilians, the challenges to achieving progress in Darfur remain urgent.
With the current Darfur peace process in Doha proceeding towards conclusion, it is time to reassess and rebuild a more robust, comprehensive and coordinated Darfur peace process. The revised approach should be one that is truly cooperative and eliminates the tensions between the envoys that has itself become an obstacle to peace. With senior level attention as we saw in advance of the referendum, the United States could lead in re-conceptualizing and guiding the Darfur peace process, and ultimately in contributing to securing a more peaceful environment for the people of Sudan.