|From left, Solheim, Shah, Kiir and Mitchell, in Juba|
Monday, 9 May 2011
Sudan at a crossroads: Troika letter
On Saturday 7th May, a letter was published in The Guardian by representatives of the Troika countries - Norway, the UK and the US - on the challenges facing Sudan and South Sudan.
It was written by Norway's Minister of Environment and International Development Erik Solheim, the UK's Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell, and US Agency for International Development administrator, Rajiv Shah.
The letter is copied in full, below.
Two months from now, Africa faces a momentous change, as the continent's largest country divides into two – the republics of Sudan and South Sudan.
The division is the result of the January 2011 referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan provided for under the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) that ended Sudan's civil war, one of Africa's longest and bloodiest conflicts. Of more than 3.8 million southern Sudanese who voted, nearly 99% chose secession. This new chapter offers an opportunity for the Sudanese to put the conflict of the past behind them for good.
Norway, the UK and the US, longstanding humanitarian and development partners of Sudan and guarantors of the CPA, are supporting the creation of two economically viable and peaceful states that enjoy good governance and respect for human rights. We are also committed to assisting those affected by conflict and poverty. As representatives of the three guarantor countries, we are visiting both Khartoum and Juba this weekend to make clear our support for these goals.
Several key parts of the CPA are incomplete, and many issues remain to be decided between north and south before separation on 9 July. These include determining the border; security arrangements; citizenship issues; wealth, sharing including oil revenues; a framework for future north-south co-operation; and the status of Abyei (a community that straddles the north-south border). We are greatly concerned by an impasse in talks on some of these critical issues. We call on the parties to make the final tough decisions needed to create sustainable economic, political and security arrangements between the two future states.
Sudan and South Sudan will be each other's most important neighbours thanks to economic, historic, geographic and cultural ties. It is in the interest of all Sudanese that there be mutual trust and respect for each country's security and stability. The livelihoods and practices of pastoralists – the herders who traditionally traverse the north-south border zone – must be protected and accommodated. A "soft" border between north and south allowing for trade and the easy movement of people would benefit all Sudanese. Allegations of support to proxy forces by both sides are serious, and should be independently investigated. The CPA rules out the existence of armed groups outside the two established forces of the parties
To help reduce poverty, increase transparency, and utilise revenue from natural resources, including petroleum, for the benefit of the citizens of both states, both governments should join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which supports sustainable economic growth and government accountability to citizens. Both north and south must also diversify their economies, reduce their reliance on oil, increase their food security through agricultural development, and expand health, education, water and sanitation services.
We must also not lose sight of Darfur, where much still needs to be done to finally resolve the conflict in that region. For nine years, Darfuris have endured violence, displacement and poverty. This situation is deplorable and intolerable. For long-term stability and development, there must be an inclusive and just peace in Darfur, with all groups and voices represented in the political settlement. We will continue to work intensively with all parties towards this goal.
Despite the challenges inherent in separating and launching a new nation, this is a time of opportunity for all of Sudan. Stability and co-operation across north and south will benefit all Sudanese. Increasing trade and co-operation between north and south, and with all of Sudan's neighbours, will provide economic opportunities for youth, who make up more than half of Sudan's population, and for women and girls, who have not had full access to opportunities for education and employment.
We urge the international community to press for peace and development throughout Sudan, so that this region that has endured far too much suffering will not return to conflict. We urge the governments of north and south to urgently resolve the outstanding issues before 9 July to ensure a firm footing for their future relations. We believe that the UN has an important role to play in supporting these two new states after the end of the CPA, and look forward to ongoing discussions on its future role. And we are committed to continuing to help the governments and people of both countries develop in peace and partnership, offering hope and a brighter future for all Sudanese.
Source: The Guardian
For more information, please see the Menas Borders website, here.