The history of Sudan is strewn with the wreckage of failed
attempts at foreign intervention, be it for conquest, to help
suffering people, or to mediate conflict. The civil war in Sudan is
the longest running conflict in the world-and one of the most
bloody. I am, therefore, pleased to be able to say that we have an
historic opportunity to achieve peace. President George W. Bush and
Secretary of State Colin Powell are deeply committed to this
effort. Today I will lay out for you our policy and discuss the
U.S. POLICY OBJECTIVES
As one of his first acts in office, President Bush made bringing
peace in Sudan a priority for the Administration. Doing so is
clearly in the national security interest of the United States for
several reasons, and those reasons define the objectives of our
- First, ending the conflict in Sudan will
contribute to regional stability in the strategic Horn of Africa
and will send a positive message to the people of the Middle East
that even the most intractable conflicts can be resolved.
- Second, we have made clear to the Sudanese
government that we expect it to cooperate fully against terrorism.
Sudan is on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. Bringing about a
peace settlement with a bill of rights which protects the
fundamental freedoms of all Sudanese will contribute to the
evolution of a more moderate Sudanese government and complement
efforts to obtain cooperation against terrorism.
- Third, we want to ensure that humanitarian
assistance is provided to all needy populations in the country.
Achieving peace will help end massive human suffering and promote
human rights, particularly by addressing the legitimate grievances
WORKING FOR PEACE
The President emphasized his strong interest in Sudan when, in
early September of last year, he appointed former Senator John
Danforth as Presidential Envoy for Peace. Earlier, the President
had named U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Administrator Andrew Natsios as the Special Humanitarian
Coordinator for Sudan. It is important to note that Senator
Danforth was named prior to September 11, but those events added a
new sense of urgency to achieving our policy objectives on Sudan.
Leading and coordinating these efforts have been my highest
priority as Assistant Secretary.
Sudan has demonstrated one truism about conflict intervention: that
it can work only if the parties themselves are committed to
achieving peace and if the countries of their region are willing to
work for peace. That is why we strongly support the African-based
and African-led negotiations under the auspices of the
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Our intensified focus reflects our assessment that the government
in Khartoum and the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Movement
(SPLM) have each concluded that peace is both possible and in their
best interests. Both sides realize that neither can win militarily.
The government devotes a huge proportion of oil revenues to support
the military, yet cannot gain a strategic advantage. The government
knows that it is internationally isolated and that failure to
achieve a just resolution to the civil war will only deepen its
isolation. Both recognize the depredations that the prolonged war
has wrought on infrastructure and the population.
This situation has nurtured growing constituencies for peace in the
North and South. Leaders on both sides seem to appreciate this. In
the North, President Bashir has publicized peace efforts, which are
extensively covered by the media. In the South, Chairman Garang has
kept the population extremely well-informed through regular
congresses and other public meetings. Ordinary people on both sides
are talking of their plans once peace is achieved. Small
businessmen in the North are excited by prospects to expand their
enterprises. One southern general told us of his desire to return
to his family and continue his education. Traditionally
marginalized areas look forward to development projects. Throughout
the South, people long for better education and access to health
The top leadership of both sides have staked their futures on a
peace deal. While neither leader is held accountable in a
democratic framework, they know the tremendous disappointment, and
potential loss of legitimacy and discontent, which will follow if
this historic opportunity is not seized.
We have worked hard to ensure that the combatants also understand
the implications of failure. The government in Khartoum understands
that normalization of relations with the United States will occur
only if it cooperates to reach and implement a comprehensive peace
deal, cooperates fully against terrorism, and allows unrestricted
humanitarian access to needy populations. The SPLM knows that our
continued close relationship is premised on cooperation to achieve
a just and comprehensive peace. Both sides know that peace will
result in a huge peace dividend.
I believe that the Sudan Peace Act strengthens our message to both
sides by underscoring broad bipartisan interest in achieving a
peace settlement. The substantial interest of American
non-governmental groups and the Congress in Sudan constitutes a
strong lobby for U.S. engagement. I welcome this high level of
interest. I hope that those working on Sudan remain involved in
order to help implement a peace settlement once it is achieved.
While we may sometimes differ on tactics, we share the same
And we share an overarching view of the conflict: that there is no
moral equivalency between the government in Khartoum and the SPLM.
The people of the South are the aggrieved party. They have
legitimate historic grievances which must be addressed as part of a
comprehensive, just peace settlement. Our efforts are aimed at
encouraging a negotiation which brings this about by addressing the
core problems that continue to fuel the conflict, ranging from
human rights abuses, to religious persecution, to inequitable
development, to slavery and political oppression of the South,
We have exerted strong leadership with our partners, the United
Kingdom and Norway, to support the peace process led by Kenya on
behalf of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. We have
provided several million dollars to sustain the talks, and we have
provided experts to assist Kenyan mediator General Sumbeiywo and
the IGAD secretariat. I want to take this opportunity to compliment
the general on the superb job he has done and to assure him of our
total support as he continues these efforts in such a tireless and
dedicated fashion. We appreciate President Moi's strong leadership
on the peace process. We have demonstrated political support
through high-level visits to the talks and through the presence of
a senior-level observer at Machakos. In regular contacts with
President Bashir and his team, and with Chairman Garang and his
team, we have laid out what we expect.
We have helped achieve major progress towards peace. The Machakos
Protocol signed in July is unprecedented in stipulating that
southerners have the right to self-determination, including the
option of secession, after a six and one-half year interim period,
and that they must not be subject to shar'ia law. The parties
agreed that they would resume negotiations to reach a comprehensive
accord through agreements on power-sharing, wealth-sharing, the
status of the three marginalized areas of Nuba, the Upper Blue Nile
and Abyei, and a formal ceasefire.
The round of talks which adjourned November 16 made substantial
progress. Two memoranda of understanding were signed. One extends
through March 31 the cessation of hostilities and provisions for
unrestricted humanitarian access. The other reaffirms the parties'
commitment to negotiate a comprehensive peace settlement and
identifies 15 areas where general agreement has been reached on
power-sharing issues. The parties have agreed to resume
negotiations in early January.
Both sides have shown some willingness to compromise, though very
sensitive issues remain to be discussed. Arrangements on
wealth-sharing, particularly with respect to petroleum revenues,
will be crucial to ensure equitable distribution to southerners and
are, therefore, a key element of power-sharing.
Handling the issue of the three marginalized areas will not be
easy, but it is a reality that these areas have been integral to
the conflict and to the broader cultural and ethnic differences
within Sudan. We do not have a recipe, but believe that
arrangements acceptable to the respective populations must be
worked out and folded into a comprehensive peace accord.
A PEACE DIVIDEND
I believe that both sides understand the downside of not reaching
an agreement-a disastrous scenario of intensified war, devastation,
and famine. Because that prospect is so terrible, peace is the only
As an incentive to both sides, we have accelerated our planning for
peace, with USAID leading this effort. We have formed a working
group with the UK and Norway for this purpose. We will soon reach
out to the United Nations, the international financial
institutions, and other potential donors to encourage development
of a coordinated plan to greatly expand development and relief
efforts once there is peace. We will sit down with each side to
delineate this "peace dividend."
The South is in greatest need, and that is where we will
concentrate the bulk of our efforts. We are already heavily engaged
in the South; USAID has a $42 million development program focused
on agricultural production, education, and local community
projects. Assuming full cooperation against terrorism and in
providing unrestricted humanitarian access, once a peace deal is
achieved and implemented and all existing legal obstacles are
cleared, the Sudanese government can look forward to a process of
normalization of relations with us and the international community,
with appropriate assistance offered as part of that process.
THE NUBA EXAMPLE
The success of the Nuba Mountains cease-fire is a positive example
to both sides. This initiative of Presidential Envoy Danforth has
stabilized a war-torn area and has shown both sides the potential
benefits of peace.
The agricultural project being carried out by the humanitarian
faith-based non-governmental organization Samaritan's Purse with
USAID assistance is a shining example of what can be achieved. The
region is once again producing food. The sight of thousands of
acres freshly planted is a source of hope. Some internally
displaced persons have started to return, and people are slowly
starting to exercise their right to travel freely within the
We provided $5 million to support the Joint Military Commission
(JMC), which is monitoring and enforcing the cease-fire that has
held since last May. We expect both sides to renew the cease-fire
when it expires in January, and we will continue to support this
HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE PEACE PROCESS
From the outset, ensuring respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms has been a key objective.
The peace process is dealing with these issues. The Machakos
Protocol states that "the people of Sudan agree to work together to
establish a democratic system of governance taking into account the
cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, and linguistic diversity and
gender equality of the people." In the context of Sudan, this is a
powerful, even startling statement and establishes a clear goal for
both sides to work towards.
The draft power-sharing agreement contains a specific requirement
that the government comply fully with its obligations under
international human rights treaties. The right to individual
freedom; the abolition of slavery; freedom from torture; the rights
to freedom of thought and religion, expression, assembly and
association, and movement, among others, are specifically
guaranteed. We are urging both sides to enshrine these liberties in
a bill of rights for all Sudanese, whether from the North or South,
East or West.
That said, we must frankly recognize that neither side currently
has democratic structures. Real power-sharing will open up the
political process for broad participation in a way that will force
leadership on both sides to seek power not by right of arms or
conquest, but by seeking the consent of the governed. That is as it
should be. We want a peace agreement to pave the way for the people
of Sudan to choose their leadership through transparent elections.
Encouraging the development of nascent civil society in the North
and the South will be a key part of this process.
As a complement to the peace process, we have undertaken two other
initiatives proposed by Presidential Envoy Danforth and aimed at
protecting human rights.
- We provided $5 million to establish a Civilian Monitoring
Mechanism led by retired U.S. General Herb Lloyd. His 20-member
team has deployed to Khartoum and Rumbek, and has started to
conduct investigations of alleged attacks against civilians. This
unit will produce reports which will be made public and will help
hold accountable those responsible for such atrocities.
- With U.S. funding, an Eminent Persons Group carried out a
detailed investigation into slavery and forced abduction in Sudan.
We are working with USAID to implement the recommendations of the
I would also note that this year we co-sponsored the resolution
at the United Nations General Assembly condemning human rights
violations by the Sudanese government.
Over two million persons have lost their lives during the course of
the tragic civil war in Sudan. The fact that such suffering
continues as we speak is a sobering reminder of the magnitude of
the problem with which we are dealing. I am pleased that over the
past 10 years the United States has provided more than $1 billion
in humanitarian assistance to needy populations in Sudan, and we
are leading the donor efforts.
Getting assistance into Sudan has not been an easy process.
Insecurity sometimes makes relief flights impossible, but the real
impediment has been obstacles posed by the government in Khartoum.
Despite having signed the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) agreement
in 1989, the government has consistently denied access to certain
areas, putting hundreds of thousands of persons at risk.
We led the international donor response to press the government to
honor its commitment to unrestricted access. As a result, the OLS
operations are proceeding without major hindrances this month, and
the OLS is expected to expand relief operations next month. USAID,
with our strong diplomatic backing, has done a superb job.
Early on in our efforts, we laid out to Khartoum clear expectations
of cooperation from them against terrorism. There has been
substantial cooperation, including the rendering of suspects and
sharing of information. We are concerned about the presence of
certain terrorist groups in Sudan, and we will remain engaged in
Khartoum to pursue that agenda. Until there is full, proven
cooperation, Sudan will remain on the State Sponsors of Terrorism
Some have speculated regarding the relationship and potential
trade-offs among our three objectives: achieving a peace deal,
cooperation on terrorism, and ensuring unrestricted humanitarian
access. I have no doubt Khartoum may have initially thought that
cooperating on terrorism would lead to an improvement of bilateral
relations and perhaps buy room to maneuver on the peace process or
humanitarian relief. That is not the case.
I want to reiterate that we have made clear that the Sudanese
government must deliver on all three of these objectives if there
is to be a normalization in our relationship. We will not trade one
for the other. We are looking for actions, not rhetoric. The degree
and speed with which we proceed to normalize relations will depend
upon good-faith implementation of a peace agreement, results of
cooperation against terrorism, and unrestricted humanitarian
THE FUTURE OF SUDAN AND PROSPECTS FOR NATIONAL
A central premise of the negotiations is that a unified Sudan will
promote the well-being of the Sudanese people better than a divided
country. President Bashir and Chairman Garang have publicly and
privately expressed this view as a strongly held belief.
The parties are, therefore, seeking a comprehensive agreement
resulting in a government of national unity. It is the U.S.
government's conviction that a united Sudan will be stronger
economically and more politically viable as a pluralistic,
democratic state. A unified Sudan will help promote regional
stability. It will send a strong example to the rest of Africa and
to the Middle East that even the most intractable conflicts can be
We believe that southerners must, as the aggrieved party, have
the right to self-determination, including the right to secede. We
also believe strongly that the international community should work
with southerners and northerners to demonstrate the tangible
benefits of a durable union. In order to be viable, the peace
accord must result in real power-sharing and real wealth-sharing.
Giving southerners a fair proportion of representation in the
national legislature, a major role in the executive, and a large
degree of autonomy in running their region in accordance with their
customs and beliefs will help promote unity.
The dividends of peace include development and reconstruction
assistance, which will be implemented in consultations with
southerners and northerners in order to encourage unity. Egypt,
along with the Arab League, wants to see a unified Sudan, and they
can play substantial roles by working to rebuild Sudan.
A peaceful, unified Sudan will prosper from increased revenue from
petroleum exploration and investment in agriculture, hydroelectric
development, and other areas. Sudan is one of the poorest countries
in the world, and a great deal of international attention is needed
to enable the country to begin to pull itself out of poverty
status. If there is a just peace, we are determined to make that a
priority. Together with the international community, we have a
major responsibility to demonstrate results while the six and
one-half year interim period unfolds.
I am convinced that a peaceful, unified Sudan can have a prosperous
future and become a linchpin for stability in the Horn of Africa.
The prospect of peace remains a big "if" but is now clearly within
the grasp of Sudanese leaders on both sides if they can muster the
necessary political will.
We must all be hopeful that they will demonstrate the vision to
seize this historic opportunity. If they do not, we and the world
will have no choice but to walk away. That is not in our interest
or theirs. Let us remember that millions of lives are at stake.
They need our engagement and our prayers.
The Honorable Walter H. Kansteiner III is Assistant Secretary
of State for African Affairs.