Arrogance Plus Ignorance: The US Sudan Peace Act

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Sudan in 2002 is on the brink of peace. There are constitutional and political offers on the negotiating table, up to and including an internationally-monitored referendum on southern Sudan’s status, that address the issues central to the Sudanese conflict. The former Prime Minister and rebel leader, Sadiq al-Mahdi, has also declared, for example, that: “There are now circumstances and developments which could favour an agreement on a comprehensive political solution.”(1)

One of the constant impediments to the Sudanese peace process has, however, been American policy towards Sudan, policy based on self- evidently inaccurate images of Sudan. The culmination of this policy was President Bush’s signing into law of the “Sudan Peace Act” on 21 October 2002. A more explicit example of confused, distorted and poorly-informed legislation would be hard to find. It is an Act that while paying lip service to the need for a “negotiated, peaceful settlement to the war in Sudan” at the same time provides one side to the conflict with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of logistical assistance, assistance that will be diverted to sustain gunmen and acquire weapons. It is an Act that decries the manipulation of food aid while ignoring the fact that the side it is supporting has been accused of diverting two-thirds of foreign assistance within the areas it controls. It is also an act which decries the abuse of human rights within Sudan but provides hundreds of millions of dollars to those accused of appalling human rights abuses in Sudan.

This legislation seeks to continue foreign interference in a conflict that has raged since 1955, fought, in its most recent phase, since 1983 between the Khartoum government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) led by John Garang. Even a brief examination of attempts to achieve a comprehensive solution to the conflict in Sudan and relief efforts within that country reveal the deep flaws within this legislation. It comes into force just in time to hinder the significant progress made during the Machakos peace talks this year. In so doing it follows a pattern of American interference at key times during the peace process. (In 1997, for example, the United States government derailed a pivotal round of peace talks due to discuss the Khartoum government’s offer of a referendum on southern Sudanese self-determination by imposing comprehensive economic sanctions on Sudan – thus purposefully strengthening the SPLA’s position, leading them to ignore the offer and continue the war.)

In addition to presenting a hopelessly unbalanced perspective on Sudan, for example, the “Sudan Peace Act” authorises the appropriation of $100 million for each of the fiscal years 2003, 2004 and 2005 for “assistance” to areas of Sudan outside government control, that is to say those areas of Sudan controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

The Act also mandates that the U.S. President to “certify” within six months of enactment, and each 6 months thereafter, that the Sudanese government and the SPLA are negotiating in “good faith” and that the negotiations should continue. If the Sudanese government is deemed by the American government not to have acted in “good faith”, the U.S. President is then expected to implement the following measures: seek a UN Security Council arms embargo on the Sudanese government; instruct American officials to actively oppose any loans, credits or guarantees for Sudan from international financial institutions; deny Sudan access to oil revenues and downgrade or suspend diplomatic relations.

It should be noted in any examination of the “Sudan Peace Act” that the track record of the United States government and Congress on peace in Sudan has been appalling. In any examination of the search for a “negotiated, peaceful settlement to the war in Sudan”, a little should be said first about those people who drafted the Act. The Act was drafted by legislators such as Representatives Tancredo, Wolf and Payne and Senators Frist, Brownback and Feingold, whose previous involvement with Sudan had resulted in an escalation in the Sudanese conflict and regional tensions. In April 2001, former United States President Carter, a Nobel Peace Laureate and one of the most respected and objective commentators on events within Sudan, said of this period: “For the last eight years, the U.S. has had a policy which I strongly disagree with in Sudan, supporting the revolutionary movement and not working for an overall peace settlement.” (2) This echoed earlier concerns voiced by Carter. In December 1999 he had observed:

The people in Sudan want to resolve the conflict. The biggest obstacle is US government policy. The US is committed to overthrowing the government in Khartoum. Any sort of peace effort is aborted, basically by policies of the United States…Instead of working for peace in Sudan, the US government has basically promoted a continuation of the war.(3)

It is clear, then, that these legislators are hardly the best qualified group of people to talk about peace in Sudan. Far from working for peace they have stood by while the United States militarily and economically destabilised the largest country in Africa. They helped shape American Sudan policy from 1993 onwards – precisely the period referred to by Carter. While they publicly lament the numbers of deaths during this conflict, they are themselves directly responsible for the deaths through war, starvation or disease of thousands of Sudanese. Far from taking Carter’s concerns into consideration, the “Sudan Peace Act” merely perpetuates the Clinton Administration’s failed and farcical Sudan policies. The United States Congress has shown itself either amazingly naéve or blatantly hypocritical in drafting the “Sudan Peace Act”.

This American attitude was all the more regrettable since the Sudanese government has repeatedly invited constructive United States involvement within Sudan.(4)

Assistance to the SPLA

For all the self-righteous posturing by the drafters of this legislation, the primary concern must be the effect this Act will have on the SPLA’s willingness to negotiate peace.

It is precisely this sort of political and financial support that has previously prolonged the Sudanese conflict. Former President Carter, a Nobel Peace Laureate who has been involved in Sudanese issues for two decades, observed of previous American political and financial assistance, that: “I think [SPLA leader John] Garang now feels he doesn’t need to negotiate because he anticipates a victory brought about by increasing support from his immediate neighbors, and also from the United States and indirectly from other countries”. In 2000 and 2001, the United States Congress voted millions of dollars worth of assistance to Sudanese rebels.(5) The “Sudan Peace Act” is a continuation of this policy. It will merely reinforce SPLA intransigence with regard to peace talks. Receiving hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the United States, most of which will be diverted to sustain any military capacity, is a marked disincentive for the SPLA to negotiate in good faith. Added to this, the SPLA (and more importantly those American groups and agencies supporting the SPLA) will also realise that any lack of progress in the peace talks due to SPLA intransigence can be presented by their well-oiled propaganda machine as being the government’s fault – which in turn will trigger the other American measures outlined in the “Sudan Peace Act”.

There is no doubt that any American aid will be largely diverted by the SPLA to sustain itself and its military effort. The “Sudan Peace Act” states and restates concern about the facilitation of relief efforts within southern Sudan. The Act is also hostile to the United Nations- administered Operation Lifeline Sudan. It further repeatedly refers to the manipulation of food aid by the government of Sudan. Whatever the veracity of the claims about the Sudanese authorities, what the Act conveniently ignores is that the SPLA, the organisation it seeks to logistically assist, and to whom it wishes to make access to relief aid easier, has been the biggest abuser of relief aid in this conflict. The human rights group, African Rights, for example, has clearly stated that: “On the whole, SPLA commanders and officials of the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA, its humanitarian wing), have seen relief flows as simple flows of material resources. The leadership has also used aid for diplomatic and propaganda purposes.”(6) Despite stated concerns about the manipulation of aid, this did not feature in the Act. The Roman Catholic Bishop of the rebel-controlled diocese of Rumbek, Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari, stated that the SPLA were diverting 65 percent of the assistance going into rebel-held areas of southern Sudan, even at the height of starvation in southern Sudan. Agence France Presse also reported that: “Much of the relief food going to more than a million famine victims in rebel-held areas of southern Sudan is ending up in the hands of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), relief workers said.”(7)

It is also clear that the American assistance envisaged in the Act will be distributed by groups outside the framework of the neutral Operation Lifeline Sudan. The often questionable nature of this sort of non-OLS “humanitarian” assistance to Sudan has already been documented. The American government, for example, has given millions of dollars in funding to Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), a non-governmental organisation active in southern Sudan. A November 1999 Norwegian television documentary, entitled ‘Weapons Smuggling in Sudan’, has highlighted the role played by NPA in logistically and politically perpetuating the Sudanese civil war.(8) There had always been considerable speculation as to whether NPA was militarily involved with the SPLA. This documentary confirmed that the NPA has for several years organised an air-bridge for the supply of weapons to battle zones within Sudan. One of the NPA pilots involved in the gun running stated that on one occasion his plane had landed at SPLA bases with some 2.5 tonnes of weapons. It was stated that Norwegian People’s Aid had flown between 80 – 100 tonnes of weapons into Sudan in aeroplanes supposedly carrying humanitarian assistance. Among the tonnes of weapons flown into Sudan were landmines. The documentary also placed on record other clear evidence of NPA military involvement with the SPLA. Norwegian People’s Aid openly states that “[a] major contributor to our programme in Sudan, is the USAID”.(9) This is the sort of organisation that the “Sudan Peace Act” envisages channelling “relief” in southern Sudan rather than the neutral and accountable UN mechanisms.

SPLA: A Commitment to Peace?

Given that the legislation is so supportive of the SPLA it is important to examine the SPLA position on peace. It is clear that the SPLA has been an obstacle to peace in Sudan. This is perhaps best illustrated by John Garang’s statement, for example, regarding the SPLA’s participation in the crucial November 1997 round of IGAD peace talks in Nairobi (the first meeting after the government’s historic offer of an internationally-monitored referendum on self-determination) that “[w]e intended not to reach an agreement with the [Sudanese government]. This is what we did and we succeeded in it because we did not reach an agreement.” (10) There is clearly growing frustration within the international community at the SPLA’s intransigence. This frustration has been highlighted as a result of the positive shift in international opinion with regard to Sudan. The United Nations, for example, has pointedly called upon the SPLA to accept Khartoum’s offers of cease- fire.(11) In September 2001, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Sudan observed that: “sources…pointed out that among most of SPLM/A leaders there is no serious commitment to peace”.(12)

The SPLA’s apparent reluctance to seriously negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict is a matter of record. The SPLA has waged war since 1983 against several governments in Khartoum – military, transitional and democratic – and repeated attempts at a negotiated resolution of the conflict have failed. While it is true that several governments came and went in the 1980s – there were six coalition governments during Sadiq al-Mahdi’s tenure alone – the same government has now been in power in Sudan since 1989. The SPLA has constantly changed the conditions it has set for ending the war and negotiating. In the 1980s it demanded that Sudan’s military pacts with other countries be abrogated, that Nimeiri’s September 1983 sharia laws be repealed and that there should be a national constitutional conference. Sudan’s military pacts have been dropped, in 1991 the government exempted southern Sudan from sharia law and the Libyan-Egyptian initiative envisages a national dialogue conference. Yet the war continues, SPLA demands change and peace talks falter.

John Garang’s disdain for the Sudanese peace process has also been illustrated by his launching of large-scale offensives often one or two days before, or on the same day as, regionally brokered peace talks. On one occasion, thirty minutes before the June 2001 peace summit was due to be held in Nairobi, the SPLA faxed a statement to Associated Press stating that its forces had captured the southern town of Raga, declaring “this is excellent timing”.(13) Similarly, during the September 2000 IGAD peace talks, the SPLA escalated its military activity claiming to have inflicted “heavy loss of life and equipment” on government forces and to have captured the garrison town of Tahajulbolis.(14) Similar activity also disrupted the 2002 Machakos peace talks.

Speaking out in May 2000, prominent southern Sudanese leader Bona Malwal, a former culture and information minister, and publisher of the opposition Sudan Democratic Gazette, wrote to John Garang stating “I have noticed and revealed the duplicity with which you have participated in the peace process. Many Southerners have spoken for some time about the need to arrive at a Southern consensus over the question of Self- Determination. They recognise the need to fill the vacuum created by your vague goals for the war of liberation. After seventeen years of this bloody war in which two million of our people have perished, the Northern Sudanese political establishment as a whole has said that they would negotiate a political agreement with you to work out the modalities for a referendum on self-determination for the South. Yet, you have personally dodged this issue – as seen in the way you have briefed your delegations to the various rounds of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) peace talks….Perhaps your own tactics make you blind to this, but there is indeed increasing support among the Southern Sudanese people for pursuing peace, if peace is pursued honestly, diligently and in good faith by the other side. How many more millions of Southern Sudanese do you want to die to satisfy your ego?”(15) Much of this SPLA intransigence can be laid at the feet of the United States Government and Congress.

The “Sudan Peace Act” is riddled with blatant dishonesty. While professing a concern for human rights, the Act provides hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to an organisation with an appalling human rights record. In November 1999, for example, eight reputable US- based humanitarian organisations working in Sudan, groups such as CARE, World Vision, Church World Service and Save the Children, no friends of the Sudanese government, publicly stated that the SPLA has: “engaged for years in the most serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, beatings, arbitrary detention, slavery, etc.”(16) In December 1999, Human Rights Watch stated that: “The SPLA has a history of gross abuses of human rights and has not made any effort to establish accountability. Its abuses today remain serious”.(17)

The ‘New York Times’, another outspoken critic of the Khartoum government, has described the SPLA as “brutal and predatory…an occupying army, killing, raping and pillaging”. It is ironic that the “Sudan Peace Act” also contains a section dealing with “the investigation of war criminals” given that the same Act provides the SPLA, a group clearly guilty of involvement in war crimes, with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of American tax-payers money. The ‘New York Times’, for example, has stated that SPLA leader John Garang is one of Sudan’s “preeminent war criminals”.(18). The U.S. Congress cannot have been unaware of this appalling human rights record. American Sudan specialist John Prendergast, who served with both the National Security Council and State Department, and who has briefed many of these legislators, has, for example, stated on record that the SPLA “was responsible for egregious human rights violations in the territory it controlled”.(19) Prendergast also personally placed on record that: “The SPLA has faced a tidal wave of accusations and condemnation from international human rights organizations and local churches over its human rights record.” (20)

It is unsurprising that the “Sudan Peace Act” is as skewed as it is given the sorts of views held by those legislators who helped to draft it. Their prejudice and ignorance regarding Sudan is clear. This was clearly illustrated in the Congressional debate which followed the enacting of the Bill. In a generalised reference Representative Smith referred to Sudan as “a brutal dictatorship”. Yet, only a few months earlier, somewhat more objective and independent reporting by Associated Press stated that “Sudan has come a long way…the changes in this country…are too sweeping and popular to be rolled back. Human Rights and civil society groups operate openly. Press censorship has been lifted and independent newspapers freely criticize government policies.”(21)

Several other representatives cited severe religious persecution. Representative Bachus of Alabama, for example, claimed “(T)oday in Sudan people are given a simple choice. They are either told to embrace the state-sponsored faith or die. That is the choice.” New Jersey Representative Payne similarly claimed that “religion…is a major factor” in the Sudanese conflict. While obviously successful as a propaganda projection, especially within the Washington Beltway, the simple fact is that the Sudanese conflict is about constitutional and political changes within southern Sudan. Even the Congressionally-funded U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has confirmed that the largely non-Muslim southern Sudan was exempt from Islamic sharia law.(22) The British Government, for example, responding to a question in parliament about religion in Sudan, stated in 2001: “Sharia law is by and large not imposed on mainly Christian areas such as south Sudan, although there are federal laws which infringe on religious freedom (e.g. Islamic banking system)”.(23) It should also be noted that in November 2001, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan noted that “all counterparts I meet concurred with the view that there is no religious persecution as such” in Sudan.(24) He also noted that: “church interlocutors almost unanimously share the general opinion that the war has no religious motivation…”.(25) The New York Times would seem to have confirmed these views, reporting that “Khartoum’s churches on Sunday are filled to overflowing with Christians, worshipping freely, and those congregations are growing. One measure of the strength of Christianity here is that in recent years Catholic priests have been performing more than 7,000 baptisms of newborns every Easter, church officials said…In dozens of interviews, Christians acknowledged they do not face overt oppression. By and large they are free to go where they please and to worship at the existing churches.”(26) The newspaper also quoted a Catholic priest as saying “It is difficult to say there is direct persecution”.

The conflict has always been about the political status of southern Sudan. While the SPLA appear to be confused, the Khartoum authorities’ approach would appear to be clear. If the SPLA are fighting for autonomy or even separation this has already been offered by the government. In 1997, having already introduced a federal system and exempted southern Sudan from Sharia law, the Sudanese Government, in the Khartoum Peace Agreement, also offered, amongst other things, the holding of a free and fair, internationally-supervised, referendum in which the people of southern Sudan could, for the first time ever, choose whether to remain as a part of Sudan or to become independent. This offer has also been written into the 1998 Constitution, and repeated on several occasions (27), most recently during the June 2001 peace talks in Nairobi.(28) It is an offer that has also been acknowledged by the SPLA.(29)

The Sudanese government has repeatedly offered a comprehensive ceasefire.(30) In April and May 2000, Khartoum once more declared its readiness to enter into “an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire” and to restart negotiations for the achievement of a comprehensive peace: it called upon the SPLA to do the same.(31) Throughout 2001 and 2002, the Sudanese government called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Khartoum appears to have sought out every possible peace forum. (32) The Sudanese government has also repeatedly requested international assistance in securing a peaceful end to the conflict.(33) It is difficult to see how much further towards a comprehensive solution the Sudanese government can go. The SPLA’s inability to articulate what they are fighting for is echoed in its approach to the peace process. In erratic shifts in position, the SPLA has both accepted and then refused regional attempts at peace-making, sometimes within the space of 48 hours.(34)

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail accuses the United States of pursuing a policy that prolongs the Sudanese war: “Your [i.e. the US] policy will not lead to peace. It will lead to the continuation of war, the suffering of the people, the loss of lives in the south … This war, this problem, will not be settled by fighting. It has to be settled by political means. The government of Sudan is ready for that”.(35) America’s provocative acts take place at a time when the there have been significant positive political changes within Sudan itself. The former Prime Minister, Sadiq al-Mahdi, himself ousted in 1989 by the present government, and a pivotal rebel leader, was quoted by an April 2001 American fact-finding mission as saying that: “the United States has been an obstacle to peace in Sudan and also to unity among the opposition. The United States’ policy has been a problem. He said that Sudan is like a pregnant woman that is about to deliver and needs a midwife to help the delivery. They all believe that the United States could act as a midwife. They all accept this. But, the United States, instead of helping deliver the baby, killed it…” The “Sudan Peace Act” continues this process.

Humanitarian Assistance to Sudan: Operation Lifeline Sudan

The Act also seeks to by-pass the neutral Operation Lifeline Sudan structures. We already have a clear indication of what this would entail. In February 2000, because of unacceptable demands made upon them by the SPLA, eleven international non-governmental aid organisations were forced to leave southern Sudan. These NGOs included CARE, Oxfam, Save the Children and Medecins Sans Frontieres. The SPLA had demanded that all aid agencies active in southern Sudan sign a memorandum which dictated SPLA control over their activities, and aid distribution, as well as which Sudanese nationals the agencies employed, and which stipulated a swath of “taxes” and charges for working in southern Sudan. The NGOs involved handled about 75 percent of the humanitarian aid entering southern Sudan.(36) The withdrawal of these NGOS directly affected US$ 40 million worth of aid programs.(37) The expelled aid agencies stated that one million southern Sudanese were at risk as a result of the SPLA’s decision to expel the NGOs.(38) The European Union described the SPLA demands as a serious violation of humanitarian law and suspended its substantial aid program to rebel-controlled areas.(39) One can only imagine the uproar within Congress had the Sudanese government cut the provision of humanitarian aid to southern Sudan by 75 percent. Such behaviour by the SPLA does not even rate a mention by Congress. Not only has the SPLA severely restricted humanitarian outreach within southern Sudan for political reasons, but the “Sudan Peace Act” makes it even easier for the SPLA to engage in massive food aid diversion.

Conclusion

The flaws of the “Sudan Peace Act” are there for all to see. The Act is characterised by cynicism, misinformation and double standards. Worse still it will make a peaceful solution of Sudan’s long-running conflict that much more difficult. The most constructive role that the U.S. Congress could play with regard to the Sudanese conflict would be to bring the SPLA to the negotiating table. Far from doing this, however, Congress has sought to provide the SPLA, a group without an identifiable political objective, with hundreds of millions of dollars in support – dramatically reducing that group’s inclination to negotiate in good faith and in effect encouraging further conflict. There are other contradictions. While professing deep concern about relief delivery in southern Sudan, for example, the Act ignores the fact that the group it is sponsoring has been guilty of diverting two-thirds of all relief going into the areas it controls, was responsible for a suspension of 75 percent of humanitarian projects in southern Sudan by insisting on SPLA control of the relief aid, and has repeatedly launched offensives within areas that are already seriously famine and drought affected. The Act claims to be concerned about war crimes and yet actively seeks to sustain some of the conflict’s worst abusers of human rights.

The image of the United States can only but suffer as the result of this Act. It would appear that a group of legislators who are at best naéve and at worst dogmatic religious fanatics, are at present driving America’s Sudan policy. In so doing they damage the reputation of the United States within the international community.

Notes:

1. “Developments in Sudan Favour National Reconciliation: Mahdi”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 25 December 1999. See, for example, “Opposition Leader Predicts Solution to Sudan’s Conflict”, News Article by PANA, 27 March 2000; “Sudanese Rebel Group to Enter Khartoum Politics”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 20 March 2000; and “Mahdi’s Withdrawal Dents Opposition Alliance”, News Article by PANA, 25 March, 2000.

2. “Carter Says Wrong Time for Mideast Talks”, News Article by Reuters, 24 April 2001.

3. “Carter, Others Say US Has Faltered in Africa”, ‘The Boston Globe’, 8 December 1999. For more details of American support to the SPLA see “Ex-President Opposes Policy of Aiding Khartoum’s Foes”, The Washington Times, 25 September 1997; “Sudan’s American-aided guerrillas”, ‘The Economist’, 25 January 1997; “Sudan Accuses US of Supplying Rebels with Mines”, News Article by Xinhua, 21 January 1999; “US flies in howitzers to subdue Sudan”, ‘Africa Analysis’, No 290, 6 February 1998; “Albright Meets Sudan Rebels, Pledges US Support”, News Article by Reuters, 10 December 1997; “U.S. said to promise aid to Sudanese rebel areas”, News Article by Reuters, 2 June 1998.

4. See, for example, amongst many overtures: “Interview – Sudan Wants to Bury Hatchet with US”, News Article by Reuters, 20 May 1999; “Sudan Wants Dialogue With US, Bashir Tells Envoy”, News Article by Reuters, 7 March 2000; “Sudan Wants Better Ties with US’s Bush”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 2 February 2001 and “Sudan Welcomes U.S. Peace Involvement but Urges Neutrality”, News Article by Associated Press, 28 May 2001.

5. See, for example, “U.S. House Backs Efforts to Aid Sudan”, News Article by Reuters, 13 June 2001; “Sudanese Rebels to Receive Dlrs 3 Million in Assistance”, News Article by Associated Press, 25 May 2001, and “U.S. Slates $3 Million for Sudan’s Opposition”, ‘The Washington Post’, 25 May 2001.

6. Alex de Waal (Editor), ‘Food and Power in Sudan’, African Rights, London, 1997, pp.5,7.

7. “Aid for Sudan Ending Up With SPLA: Relief Workers”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 21 July, 1998.

8. Vapensmuglerne I Sudan, ‘Brennpunkt’, NRK Television, Norway, 17 November 1999.

9. See, for example, the Norwegian People’s Aid website at http://www.npaid.org/about_npa/funding.html

10. Summary of World Broadcasts, BBC, 15 December 1997.

11. See, for example, “Annan Calls on Sudan’s SPLM Leader to Sign Ceasefire”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 7 August 1999.

12. ‘Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan’, UN Special Rapporteur Gerhart Baum, United Nations General Assembly, New York, A/56/150, 7 September 2001.

13. “Sudan’s Government Calls On International Community to Push for Cease-Fire”, News Article by Associated Press, 5 June 2001.

14. “Sudan: Peace Talks Continue While SPLA Claim New Victory”, UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Nairobi, 29 September 2000.

15. Bona Malwal, “Open Letter to John Garang from Bona Malwal”, ‘Sudan Democratic Gazette’, May 2000.

16. “Humanitarian Organizations Oppose Plan Providing Food to Sudanese Rebels”, Press Release by InterAction, the American Council for Voluntary International Action, Washington-DC, 30 November, 1999.

17. “Rights Group Warns US Against Feeding Sudan Rebels”, News Article by Reuters on 14 December, 1999.

18. “Misguided Relief to Sudan”, Editorial, ‘The New York Times’, 6 December 1999.

19. John Prendergast, ‘Crisis Response: Humanitarian Band-Aids in Sudan and Somalia’, Pluto Press, London, 1997, p.77.

20. Ibid, p.72.

21. “Seeking Friends in the West, Sudan Tempers its Islamic Zeal”, News Article by Associated Press, 13 July 2002.

22. A significant example of Khartoum’s effort to accommodate the interests of Sudan’s non-Muslim southerners was the 1991 exemption of the largely non-Muslim southern Sudan from sharia law. Even the Clinton Administration has had to admit that sharia law was not applied in the south. The American State Department’s ‘Sudan Country Report on Human Rights Practices’, for example, has stated: “Sudan’s 1991 Criminal Act, based on Shari’a law, (prescribes) specific “hudud” punishments. The Government officially exempts the 10 Southern States, whose population is mostly non-Muslim, from parts of the 1991 Criminal Act. But the Act permits the possible future application of Shari’a law in the south, if the local state assemblies so decide.” (See, ‘Sudan Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1995’, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, United States Department of State, Washington-DC, February 1996.)

23. House of Commons Hansard Written Answers, 18 October 2001.

24. The Speech of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan delivered to the Third Committee of the General Assembly, 8 November 2001, New York.

25. ‘Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan’, UN Special Rapporteur Gerhart Baum, United Nations General Assembly, New York, A/56/150, 7 September 2001.

26. “Christians Face Difficulties in Arab Khartoum”, ‘The New York Times’, 5 April 1998.

27. See, “Sudan offers South secession”, News Article by BBC, 22 February 1999; “Southern secession better than more war: Sudan’s President”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 22 February 1999; “Sudan Says Happy for South to Secede”, News Article by Reuters, 7 May 1998.

28. “Khartoum Urges Rebels to ‘Stop Fighting and Talk'”, News Article by Agence France Presse 5 June 2001

29. See, “Referendum agreed at Sudan peace talks”, News Article by BBC World on 7 May 1998, and “SPLA plays down deal on Referendum in southern Sudan”, News Article by BBC, 7 May 1998.

30. See, “Sudanese government declares ceasefire”, News Article by BBC World, 5 August 1999; “Sudanese government declares comprehensive ceasefire”, News Article by Associated Press, 5 August 1999; “Sudan Government to Observe Ceasefire Despite SPLA Rejection”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 7 August 1999;”EU Welcomes Cease-Fire in Sudan”, News Article by Xinhua, 20 August 1999; “Annan welcomes ceasefire”, News Article by UN Integrated Regional Information Network, 11 August 1999; “Annan hails Sudan cease-fire allowing aid to flow”, News Article by Reuters, 6 August 1999; “Annan calls on Sudan’s SPLM leader to sign ceasefire”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 7 August 1999; “Sudanese rebels reject peace plan”, News Article by BBC World, 30 August 1999; “Sudanese Rebels Reject Government Cease-Fire”, News Article by Reuters, 5 August 1999.

31. See, for example, “Sudan’s Government in Favour of Ceasefire in 18-year Civil War”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 22 April 2001 and “Government “Ready for a Ceasefire”, News Article by United Nations Integrated Regional Information Network, 15 May 2001.

32. “Sudan Backs Combination of Arab and African Peace Drives”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 24 October 1999.

33. See, for example, “Sudan calls for Western Pressure on southern Rebels to Accept Ceasefire”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 26 April 2000; ‘US Catholic Clerics Urged to Pressurise Garang into Accepting Cease-Fire’, News Article by Sudan News Agency, 27 March 2001; “Britain Can Pressurize Rebels to Realize Cease-Fire, Sudanese Diplomat”, News Article by SUNA, 26 February 2001; “Sudanese Government Welcomes Carter’s Initiative to End the War in southern Sudan”, News Article by ArabicNews.com, 26 April 2001.

34. See, “Sudanese Rebels Reject Peace Plan”, News Article by BBC News Online Network, 30 August 1999; “Sudanese Rebels Snub Libyan- Egyptian Mediation Effort”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 30 August 1999; “Sudanese Rebel Leader Supports Peace Plan: Egypt”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 31 August 1999; and “Sudanese Rebels Say They Can’t Commit to Egyptian-Libyan Peace Drive”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 14 May 2001; “Sudanese Rebels Reject Reconciliation Accord”, News Article by Associated Press, 29 November 1999.

35. “Interview – Sudan Says US Harming Peace Prospects”, News Article by Reuters, 25 October 1999.

36. “Rights Group Urges More Talks on Sudan Relief”, News Article by Associated Press, 8 March 2000.

37. “Seven Aid Agencies Urge Renewed Negotiations for Relief to Southern Sudan”, News Article by Associated Press, 1 March 2000.

38. “Expelled Aid Agencies Say Million at Risk in Sudan”, News Article by Reuters on 1 March 2000.

39. “European Commission Statement on Southern Sudan”, Statement by European Union, 29 February 2000.

The European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council sent this media contribution to Media Monitors Network (MMN)

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