Obama Praised and Urged on Sudan’s Peace

The agreement is entering a potential make-or-break year, with national elections scheduled for April and the South’s vote on secession just one year away.

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
On the Five-year Anniversary of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement

“Saturday marks the five-year anniversary of the end of one of the most disastrous civil wars in modern African history.  The North-South civil war in Sudan raged for over two decades and took millions of lives.  The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on January 9, 2005, was a historic achievement, and we should be proud of the leadership of the United States in ensuring that achievement. 

However, there is no time to waste in working to secure the fragile peace that still exists.  The agreement is entering a potential make-or-break year, with national elections scheduled for April and the South’s vote on secession just one year away.  And while we have seen some movement to implement key parts of the agreement, the overall progress remains seriously insufficient.

As we approach these historic votes, I remain deeply concerned about an escalation in violence and even a return to war.  The ongoing buildup of arms by both parties and the increased armed militia activity in southern Sudan throughout 2009 are warning signs that the international community cannot ignore.

“Few prospects for Africa are more alarming than a renewed civil war throughout Sudan.  Not only would such a scenario have devastating humanitarian consequences throughout the country, but it would also likely spill over and destabilize the neighboring countries and wider region.

For these reasons, I believe that the Obama administration has been right to focus on getting the CPA back on track.  But in order to be both effective and credible, our diplomatic engagement must be coupled with meaningful leverage.

The administration and our international partners must demonstrate a readiness to hold the parties, especially Khartoum, accountable for any foot-dragging that occurs on core commitments.  At the same time, we need to ensure the United Nations Missions in Sudan peacekeepers are proactively working to monitor and keep the peace in Sudan’s many flashpoints. 

Finally, we need realistic contingency plans that can be implemented if large-scale violence does begin to break out.  Over the coming year, I plan to work in my capacity as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Africa Subcommittee to keep a spotlight on this critical issue.”
 

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