U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video
 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of African Affairs > Releases > Remarks > 2005: African Affairs Remarks

A Step Toward Peace: The Sudan Comprehensive Peace Accord

Charles R. Snyder, Senior Representative on Sudan
Briefing at the Washington Foreign Press Center
Washington, DC
January 12, 2005

3:30 P.M. Est

Charles R. Snyder, Senior Representative on Sudan briefs at Foreign Press Center on the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Accord.MS. ARCHIBEQUE: Good afternoon, and welcome to the Washington Foreign Press Center. Today we have with us the Special* Representative on Sudan, Charles Snyder, and he will be talking to us today about the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Accord.

Mr. Snyder.

MR. SNYDER: Thanks a lot, Jennifer.

Let me just make a few opening remarks about what happened last Sunday in Nairobi and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord ending a 21-year civil war in which 2.2 million people were killed, millions dislocated. But more importantly, what it means to the ongoing crisis in Darfur.

I know we've been saying a lot about how this peace agreement can inform and perhaps expedite a political solution in Darfur, which is the ongoing crisis; and I'll make a few comments about that relationship just to give you an idea why we've been saying that. But let me start with the Comprehensive Peace Act.

What it does, essentially, is share power in a federal system for the first time in Sudan in which wealth as well as power is deliberately subdivided. The deal is deliberately subdivided. The deal is that the south will get 50 percent of the oil revenues in addition to 50 percent of the general governmental revenues. And so for the first time with a federal system that on paper has existed once or twice before in Sudan, will now be empowered, literally, by having a flow of money to it that local representatives, in many cases, in the south, the southern government will have access to funds to run programs. That's part of a nationally coherent program. But nonetheless, the money will flow directly to them and they can spend it according to what their judgment is of the most pressing needs of the people of the south.

As you know, one of the consequences is the southern area of Sudan has been basically destroyed over the course of this war. There is no infrastructure to speak of. In Rumbek, which may turn out to be the temporary capital for John Garang, there are literally few buildings left that have roofs on them from the 20-year war. So the south is going to be a major developmental challenge for the United States and for the international community.

But for the first time now, we can address the challenge, finally, after 20 years because there is a Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The Peace Agreement is not just about the north and south, which is why we've been trying to say all along that the element of a political solution for Darfur in there as well. Because if you look at what the rebel demands are in the west of the country, in Darfur, they're typically demands of the marginalized populations anywhere against the center, which has dominated power, wealth and everything else in the country for a long time. And that's really what the north-south agreement is about. The south was marginalized, if you want to put it in political science terms. That's what's happened in Beja, where that has been some trouble in the east.

And so this agreement and the structure it takes, a federal state in which power is shared and wealth is shared, is the shortcut to a rapid solution in Darfur. Is it 100 percent of the solution? Obviously not -- there are different needs in different places. But it's probably 90 percent of the solution.

Among other things, it will give some security to the rebels who make an agreement in Darfur that another, fellow rebel, until very recently, John Garang and his party, will sit in the central legislature with 30 percent of the seats. They will also sit in the south with a relatively autonomous government that will have its own army to protect it, at least in the beginning; and in which there will be a large United Nations peacekeeping force.
This process will work out over the next several weeks in New York in terms of the size of the force, but the tentative planning is talking about 8- to 10,000 men, so a sizeable north-south peacekeeping force.

But much more importantly, it's the transformation of the central government. With President John Garang there, a successful rebel, now, who's negotiated a good deal, for not just himself, but for the rest of the country, should be a transformational character. He's developed a partnership over time with the Vice President who will remain on, Ali Osman Taha, which says that we may get a dynamic situation that looks at development of the whole country as well if this partnership can proceed forward. And that's what we're hoping to do.

One of the things that senior American officials did who were present in Nairobi: Secretary Powell, Jack Danforth and others, was to press the two parties not to rest on their laurels -- to celebrate peace, yes, on Sunday, but then to go around and see if they couldn't, together, reach out to the rebels in Darfur and propose a way forward; and we're reasonably assured, after a few days' rest from the hard work they have done, they will begin that effort.

President Bashir, for instance, announced that he has now empowered Vice President Taha to be the peacemaker in Darfur. This is a good step in the right direction. So we're hopeful that, as I said, this historic peace agreement, which got very little notice, I think, because of the problems in Darfur, may be the nugget of the solution in Darfur.

What happens next, in terms of the process? Inside the north-south agreement, the key thing is to enshrine the provisions of federalism, power-sharing, wealth-sharing into the constitution. Constitutional committees will meet, starting next week and we hope, within six to eight weeks, according to the timetable the parties themselves have set, will enshrine in an interim constitution the changes that are necessary to put into action the north-south peace agreement. And these changes, as I pointed out earlier, will not just apply to the north-south; they'll apply to the entire country.

Another feature that's been agreed to, or at least put on the table by the government of Khartoum, is a willingness to put a north -- a Nubes Mountain-style ceasefire in place in Darfur. That was one of the early steps that Jack Danforth succeeded in getting. One of his so-called four tests was a ceasefire to take place in one of these marginalized areas, a northern area, the Nuba Mountains, not part of the traditional south.

That ceasefire, since Jack Danforth put it forth to the test, has held successfully. It's not the standard ceasefire in which a large separation of forces, a large number of peacekeepers, are put in place, but rather one that demonstrated the parties were successful in confining themselves in the areas that were identified. That offer is on the table.

We're hopeful that when the process on Darfur reconvenes in Abuja in late January, that the rebels will take a hard look at that hard offer, a combination of the Nubes Mountain-style ceasefire, the presence of a large number of African Union monitors and the political framework outlined in this north-south settlement holds the promise, provided the rebels can be comforted and assured that the international community will stand with them, of moving this whole process forward rapidly; and we're looking forward to that happening.

What are the other mile markers in the north-south agreement? When will John Garang enter the new government? The key to that, again, is the ratification of the constitutional amendments. Again, I said that we were hoping it would take six to eight weeks. That's the schedule they've agreed to. They're looking to a period of two weeks after that, in which the assemblies, one in the north and one in the south will ratify the proposed changes to the constitution.

And it's at that point that John Garang will officially become a member of the government. He's already an ex-officio member, and there are talks about him being present to help in the Abuja negotiations. But that will be the actual moment at which this transition government begins to take place. By the end of the pre-interim period, which is the so-called first six-month period, governmental selections in other places will have been made, and a full-up transitional government will be in place.

What do I mean by governmental selections? Some of the finer points also have the Walis, the governors, in various provinces being appointed either by the southern leadership or by the northern leadership, or in the case of the Nuba Mountains, in concert with each other. There were other details like that. There will be a provincial legislature set up. So all that's supposed to take place in that first six-month period. That's what happens in the pre-interim period.

The six-year period after that is the run-up to two events of major consequence: At the four-year point, they have agreed that they will hold nationwide elections at the provincial level, as well as for the national legislature on other positions. They will, at that point, open the political system for the first time to true competition. And that's the point at which the Darfurian rebels and other marginalized people will be given the chance to demonstrate their practical political power in what we hope will be an open process.

Why four years? The country is basically destroyed. There needs to be political party building in the more marginalized areas. The traditional northern parties will be back and active quite soon, I suspect, the DUP and the UMA party being the two largest. Some are members of the so-called National Democratic Alliance. The Beja congress and others will be more than welcome to come back and begin to set up the political structures for this competition four years in.

The second major event in this period, of course, at the end of this, there is supposed to be a referendum in which the south will get to say whether or not it chooses to remain part of Sudan. We are hoping, I think the neighbors are hoping, the international community is hoping that after six years of demonstrating that this really is over, there is reconciliation, there is federal power, the south will respect that as well as other marginalized areas that they'll make the choice to remain in a unified Sudan. That's the other major event, that six-year election.

So having said that, I'll open myself up to questions.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. SNYDER: Sure.

QUESTION: Hi, I'm Mvemba Phezo Dizolele. I'm the Africa columnist for UPI.

Much has been said about the Africa Union, the African Union taking initiatives on solving their own problems. They have done so in Congo. They have done so in other areas. We all know that most of these countries that make up the union do not have the resources; perhaps, they have the human resources but financial logistics are missing.

What is your perspective on what we can do as Americans to help in the process, so in fact that this institution take hold?

Thank you.

MR. SNYDER: As you know, we've already been assisting and not just the United States but the international community, particularly the western countries, assisting the African Union with its deployment into Darfur. As I checked this morning before I came over, there are now almost 1300 African peacekeepers on the ground with the hope of getting approximately 3300 peacekeepers on the ground currently by February 20th, with the addition of about 800 policemen, as well.

We have been underwriting the cost of this, but much more than that, we've been willing to send our own officers and experts to the African Union headquarters to assist them in the logistical planning process and to assist them in other technical ways where they've asked for our assistance. So we're providing the kind of support that the African Union is asking for, and the kind of support that we think they may need, we volunteered and pointed out where we think there are gaps.

This relationship, like any other, as a relatively new one, has had its fits and starts, but it's now coming around to be a very solid relationship and I'm optimistic that we will help the African Union succeed in this first major test of putting this number of men on the ground in a very hot crisis. The signs are now very favorable compared to some of the problems we had earlier. For instance, there's a need for about 17 camps to support this deployment. Most of those camps have been constructed by the United States through its contractors and others.

Just to give you a flavor of what some of the other countries have done, in addition to providing a large sum of money, and the European Union has provided over 100 million Euros in terms of cash directly to the African Union to support this process. Others have gone beyond that. We, as you know, lent a couple of C-130s for a brief bit to do some airlift for the African Union troops. The British have done the same. The Australians have done the same. The Dutch, several times when there was a problem moving troops, have stepped in as a bilateral matter and paid for some of the airlift. Similarly, there's a huge donation of trucks. The British have provided 200-and-some-odd trucks in addition to the European Union money that's making the African Union force mobile.

So there's a lot of individual efforts going into this beyond the $100 million European pledge. We, ourselves, have spent $40 million in direct support and we have more money in the budget, thanks to the Congress, to give additional support to the African Union. As you know, and as an extraordinary act, the Congress gave us $75 million extra to help set this force up. That's all not been expended. It's not even all programmed yet. But it's an indication of the American commitment to see this process through successfully.

We've worked very closely at the political level with Konare, the Secretary General, and other key members, Mr. Djinnit and others, to make sure that we stay coordinated on our political message as well, which is pointing out that we think the shortcut, we all think the shortcut to the solution politically in Darfur is through what's already been negotiated in the north-south, with the addition, of course, of complete humanitarian access and a real ceasefire on the ground. And we're reasonably optimistic that we're going to get some movement on that. We'll have to wait and see. The next scheduled meeting is the end of January, as I said, but there's been some early indications of some progress. Both sides have agreed back to draw back to a December 8th line, which may help reduce the violence in Darfur.

You may have seen Jan Pronk's report yesterday, the UN Secretary General's special representative, in which he said, although the violence in Darfur is unacceptable and had increased versus his last report, at the very end of his current report, from the Christmas period on, it's actually gone down a bit. And he also was careful to point blame in both directions, saying the government had been over-vigorous in its response to rebel -- so-called rebel -- provocations and that both sides needed to stop and draw back. And that's the message we're all united on. So I think the African Union, in Darfur, is proving it can stand up to a real tough situation. You know, they had their meeting in Libreville, the so-called Peace and Security Committee Meeting and they addressed Darfur, Ivory Coast and several other crises and again showed the political will to go forward.

President Obasanjo, the African Union president, in fact, rather than go to the peace ceremony and join the celebration, sent his vice president to do that and he, himself, went to Darfur so that he could report back to the African Union Peace and Security Committee firsthand what he had seen and inform the leadership of what needed to be done to finish what the AU prompt -- a long response to your question, but a lot of things have gone on lately that really haven't gotten enough credit out there in the public. The African Union is making a serious attempt, and having seen these things before, in my judgment, I think we're finally getting the kind of traction we need to get the full force on the ground.

Anybody else? Charlie.

QUESTION: Charlie Cobb, allafrica.com.

I guess my broad question is, from what you say, have you concluded that there actually is political will on the part of Khartoum to settle Darfur? And I guess I'm asking this question because of the political dimensions to this conflict, a rebel group that is really an instrument of Hassan Al-Turabi, maybe one of the leading opponents of the government, the general rebellious nature of Darfur historically, and links between another rebel group and the southern rebels. This conflict has always seemed to me to really be more a political conflict than a racial conflict, if you will. And do you think that the Khartoum government really has the political will to cut a deal with these forces which, for the last two years, it's really said has been threatening them politically?

MR. SNYDER: As always, the short answer is not the correct answer. The short answer is, of course, I think they do have the political will. But it's a narrow judgment at this point. It's a 51/49 judgment on my part.

I think the fact that they've gone to closure in the north-south agreement and the fact that they have begun to try and demonstrate some better control in Darfur recently are good indicators that they've made that decision. The fact that Bashir, President Bashir, has now gone around the country openly embracing this peace process, and specifically now said he means to bring peace to the whole country, including Darfur, when he had been, frankly, around and supervising but careful not to step in front of this process, I think in case things didn't go quite right. But he's now stepped in front of this process, and I take that as one of the signs that he at least is now committed to go forward. And I think that will slowly but surely bring the other elements of his government in line.

Clearly, this is not a unanimous, widely endorsed, fully enthusiastically backed agreement across the entire government, but I think it will get that way over the next little bit. That's why I'm saying the easy answer is yes, but there's always a but, and the but is will that process continue? It's going to take some help from the rebels, and that's where there really is a complication. As you point out, you do have the element of Turabi's forces, the so called JEM, which have a different agenda than the other rebel groups. The other rebel groups, the SLM in particular, but there are a couple of other splinter groups emerging, really have a Darfurian agenda, the agenda of the marginalized versus the center. The JEM, on the other hand, wants to bring this government down and replace it once again with something more radical. That's a different agenda, and it's an agenda that's based in Khartoum.

So the difficulty that the Africans confront and that the AU confronts in this is reconciling those positions to get the rebels at least on to more or less the same page so that a deal can be made that's valid. I think at some point, we're all going to have to take a hard look at the role of the JEM in this, but for now, we need to let the Africans have time, given that this other agreement has been set, to see what they can do, which you're correct, this is going to be a hard slog. But I think the core, in terms of government commitment, is there.

We'll have to see how it plays out, and the ultimate judgment will not be on what they said, because they said the right things, but on what they do. And I think it's what they do over the next several weeks that will give an indication to us at least how far they're prepared to go and how genuine this is.

QUESTION: Is this sort of changed attitude on the part of the government, this (inaudible) ability toward reaching some kind of settlement, the result of exhaustion, or is something that has happened inside the government itself? Because there was a fairly intense political conflict inside the government over how to both settle the north-south thing, as well as the Darfur. So what has happened inside the government that results in this -- enough of a shift in attitude for you at least to put out on the table that there's the slight possibility and we'll watch it for the next few weeks?

MR. SNYDER: As you know, Charlie, I've done these things a few other places in Africa, and so I'll give you a bit of a technician's answer to that question. There's a -- when these negotiations begin, there's usually a willingness on both sides to take a look at the deal, no commitment to take the deal, no commitment to go down the path, but usually a tactical decision, whether it's because of internal pressures or pressures from the United States, and we played a significant role in terms of putting pressure on Khartoum to do this. But nonetheless, they went into the deal to take a look at the deal.

I think about May last year a critical mass was reached in which they decided that the bottom line was beginning to look acceptable, that, in fact, it was potentially a viable deal. Why it took from May until now to get a final settlement, a final signature, has more to do with the negotiating styles of the two parties. Both of them are very hardheaded and difficult to move forward. The issues are very tough and Darfur complicated all of that.

But I think they made that fundamental decision back in May. They looked at the bottom line and said, I can live with it, not that I like it, not that I'm wildly enthusiastic about it, but I can live with it. And that's usually a critical moment, and I think that happened, at least in the government's case, back in that May timeframe. I think John Garang reached that decision sometime after that; when, I'm not sure. I think it was a result of consulting in the south and other places with his friends, cohorts over the years, that he decided he had gotten enough.

One of his major concerns was there had been many agreements in the north-south context over the years, most recently the one that was made in Addis. And one of the problems there was, at some point, Numeri, the follow-on President, literally revised the pact unilaterally, and it wound up restarting the war. And so Garang needed to reassure himself by putting in place very specific sub-agreements, and you notice the actual text of this thing runs to 200 pages.

So there's a very specific agreement on very specific issues, and that was part of John Garang's, I think, very deliberate, very cautious matter, so he could turn to his people when he finally said, I signed this thing, and be able to say to them, on that one level, if nothing else this is different. We know exactly what it means. We know what it means structurally, et cetera.

The other major difference, I think, that helped is the existence of two levels of international interaction on this. One, broadly speaking, the international community has been very much present and supportive of this at key moments, but at the center of it was an agreement among the United States, Norway, and the U.K. in particular to take a very hands-on role in this. Secretary Powell participated on a regular basis on the telephone and actually went out several times. The President participated. In fact, he's the one that instigated the policy review in the beginning. That level of pressure, that level of commitment, which was mirrored by our British and Norwegian colleagues, was different than the other agreement back in Addis, and I think that's one of the other things in the end that sold Garang and his people on the need to take a chance, because also a UN peacekeeping operation involved this time. That wasn't true the last time. And a very hands-on attitude by Kofi Annan and his Special Representatives.

Also the fact that the Security Council, which actually drove the thing to closure, and I do give them credit for driving it to closure. Why it happened December 31st instead of March 15th, which was the internal betting among the mediators, was because the Security Council went to Nairobi as a group, sat there in front of the two men, and told them what their concerns were and what their problems were and heard them commit themselves, and then forced them, literally, by calling and keeping the pressure on to honor that commitment if they could, and in the end, they did. So I think that that level of commitment that expressed itself all along is what made, finally, John Garang, as a representative of the movement, finally take that step forward.

I also think and said to Khartoum, that there is a very big negative side to walking away from this, and because of the development kinds of money that's on the table, not just for the southerners, and we're hoping to be very generous in developing the south after 20 years of war, but the European Union has committed large sums of money, 300 million euro plus, potentially, for development, some of which will go to the north.

So there's a real economic benefit out there potentially, but I say potentially because of Darfur. If this agreement had happened and Darfur was quiet, we'd be sitting here and you'd be asking about, are we really going to deliver 300 million euros and what's it going to go for? I think we really are going to deliver 300 million euros and the United States will deliver quite a bit of money in the south, but only when we're satisfied that Darfur is on the way to solution, in a very demonstrable sense, again, not just words, but some actions. So that's why they came to this conclusion.

QUESTION: Given the diplomatic investment on the part of the United States, do you plan any sort of ceremony here in the United States around this? As you know, I guess last year, people were talking about reaching a settlement and having the various parties at the inauguration -- well, at --

MR. SNYDER: State of the Union.

QUESTION: At the State of the Union address by President Bush. Is anything like that being planned, say, within the context of the inauguration, or --

MR. SNYDER: No, it's not being planned, but never say never, that it won't happen. It's currently not being planned. Finally, an easy question.

Anybody else? Sure.

QUESTION: Samuel Tesfaye from Sub-Saharan Informer.

I'm going to ask you a broad question. What would be your (inaudible) in achieving the next level or the next steps which both parties agreed to implement during their signing ceremony?

MR. SNYDER: I think as I outlined earlier, the key next steps are actually getting this constitutional body together to amend the constitution, the interim constitution, and that we should see some action on that next week. They have actually done some preliminary work on this, this year that's passed us, which looked to a lot of outsiders as unproductive, in the sense that the negotiations seem to be fairly stalled on and off. We weren't getting the rapid progress.

A year ago, we actually thought we were close, as Charlie's question would indicate. We were talking about maybe bringing them back to some kind of ceremony. But in that year that stalled, a lot of work went on behind the scenes. The two parties have actually done a joint development plan in the areas of education, health and other things that will make it easier when we get to the donors conference, which is another next step that will happen I hope in the near term.

But also, they've done that kind of planning on the constitutional side. They've been talking to the Max Planck Institute and other German institutes, and a lot of other constitutional lawyers. And so, normally, six to eight weeks would seem like a laughable amount of time to take a 200-page agreement and make sure that the key pieces of the constitution were appropriated amended, but a lot of that work has actually already been done in this last year, so that step is very viable and very possible. That's one of the key steps.

The other thing is the ratification by a southern Congress, which Garang is hoping to call together in Rumbek; representative in the sense of representing the ethnic groups and the SPLM and others, but not representative in a one-man/one-vote sense. This is not a constitutional convention of that sort but one that's meant to be representative of the south to get them to agree that what he's done satisfies them all. The north would do the same thing and pull together a body. They have some advantages there. They already have a parliament, et cetera. But they'll infuse that parliament with some other outside actors.

As you know, right now, they're negotiating in Cairo with the NDA about under what terms the NDA will fold itself back into the north. So that constitutional ratification process, at what I'm hoping will be no later than the 12-week mark, but which the
papers actually said the 10-week mark, is another key step to look forward to.

If you're looking for reconciliation activities, which if this is going to go forward and be a real partnership, we would like to see, and I expect to see, a sharing of the space granted in the parliament, and in terms of governorships and others, broadly, not just among the SPLM but among other factions in the south, other peoples in the south. We would expect to see that. That would be a good indicator that this really is going to be a reconciliation process and an opening up process.

I would expect to see the DUP and the Umma Party through the NDA process and other processes that are going on in Cairo, take some share of the seats that have been allocated for others in the northern -- than the National Congress party in the northern legislature. I would expect to see John Garang use his 10 percent in the central legislature to inspire and enable a Darfurian solution, but also to reach out to friends and associates in the Baja region and elsewhere to provide them some space in the parliament, in addition to whatever the government would be willing to provide. I would expect the same thing to happen on the other side, where you may see the northern government use its seats in what will be a southern regional legislature as well, to reach out to other parties that might be marginalized and provide them some space.

So you're going to see a lot of political activity, and to the degree that's open activity, and in fact, fairly confrontational activity, as long as it's words, will be a very good sign. So we're looking for those kinds of indicators. And then, of course, we're actually looking on the military side to the beginning of the ceasefire process, which envisions a thinning out, a pulling back of governmental forces out of the south from key areas, among them Juba, actually looking to see that happen on the timetable that it's scheduled to happen on, looking to see a demobilization process get underway, not just in the south, but in the north as well.

And all those things are being set up and should start, about that three-month point, start to see serious developments along that line. They've also pledged to train joint military units, joint integrated units. I would hope to see that process begin in a relatively near term, perhaps as soon as the constitution is ratified, with the idea that maybe one or two of these first units could be trained and presentable for some show for the new government actually coming in to seat by the end of that free interim period -- ambitious from a military point of view, but a very big political signal.

In the end, they'll wind up with 39,000 of these so-called joint integrated units, 20,000 from the southerners, 19,000 from the northern army, that they've agreed will be stationed in key points like Juba and other contentious areas, again, is a sign that things have changed. One of these units will be stationed in Khartoum. So those are the indicators we're going to be looking at, did they stay on that program.

Now, for the ultimate solution, one of the other big indicators is something that neither John Garang nor the government have full control of, is Darfur, and we'll be looking for action on that. I can't give you the same kind of hard benchmarks, but I would be looking for some practical change, following this January meeting, in which the forces at play start to calm down the first time. We see the ceasefire begin to take place in a realistic fashion. We see the AU begin to assert itself as more of their men get on the ground. If we get that, they can afford to talk for 90 days of 120 days for a political solution, or six months for that matter, if we can get that calming down, that ceasefire and access to the populations.

So we're looking for that as a key indicator. It will have to be backed and reinforced by a serious political discussion. And again, I would think, I would hope, that the rebels would agree in principle that they can probably get what they need out of the north-south agreement and that could be a short cut to moving these talks forward.

Again, the Nuba Mountains is a good example. It's possible, if you look at Darfur, having three governorships, ultimately, that the rotating governor idea from the Nuba Mountains would indicate to me one of those governorships could go to a rebel movement, one to the government, and the third one could rotate -- practical solutions like that that will -- that took four years, essentially, even longer if you go back to when EGAD started in '94, to get in the north-south context, to move it forward more rapidly by taking those formulas in Darfur. And that's going to take not just the U.S. but a lot of international actors reaching out to the rebels and assuring them that this is not a bad deal and they will stand with them.

The things that went on in Libya, where he was trying to bring together a lot of Darfurians, indicate his interest. The Egyptians have been very interested and vitally engaged in this. We have. The African Union has had senior people constantly engaged in Abuja, again, to reassure these rebels that they can take a chance, take the shortcut, don't spend the ten years doing this, take a chance to move forward rapidly and reverse the horrible situation on the ground, but also to the government, that there will be consequences if you don't stop.

You can't just give us north-south. What we signed up for was a just peace in Sudan, and you can't have what's going on in Darfur now. And so that's still on the table. But we need to give them a little bit of time here to do what they said they would do, which was use the Darfur, the north-south solution, to expedite a real solution in Darfur. And it's just been signed Sunday, so we need to give them a little bit of space, not a lot.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up question. What, in your view, what ingredients went into this deal to create this momentum that's lacking, let's say, in this solution finding in Congo, where we've spent a lot of money, the international community shows some goodwill, but things seem to stagnate?

Thank you.

MR. SNYDER: Well, I think if you look back on this, there were some major breakthroughs. The so-called Declaration of Principles that EGAD got, in which the right of the southerners if they were dissatisfied, for the first time, to leave was granted them. That was the key moment, when the question of the religion and state was addressed in a forthright way, in the sense that northerners would be able to keep their Sharia, and that the southerners would be allowed to do the necessary in the north, and in Khartoum in particular.

That was the key breakthrough and that was the -- those were the underlying major issues in the north-south conflict. It had to do with those two things. It had to do with imposing Sharia in the south and it had to do ultimately with good faith and goodwill and abuse over a long period of time. You can go back to independence, '56, and the government basically said, I hear what you're saying to me. Give me a chance to prove it's different. Give me six years to prove it's different, give me six years to prove it's different, but if I can't prove to you it's different then you can go. That was the key deal. And that was a key implementation.

If you look at what's gone on in the Congo -- and I'm not up to speed anymore on the Congo -- but if you look what's going on in the Congo, you had some of that basic deal done when they agreed to the power-sharing among the parties, when Kabila formed that new government. But the Congo situation is much more complex. There never really was a central government in the Congo, in the sense that Kinshasa ever controlled Bukavu.

So you're trying to create a modern state and solve a political problem at the same time. For all of the other faults of what existed in Sudan, Sudan was always a real state, at least an independent. And Khartoum did, (inaudible) and Juba and Wau and Malakal and other places, it gave up that right by abusing the population and lost control -- different situation than what developed in the Congo. The Congo solution needs to be evolved in a different fashion. They're very different.

Again, there was the case where we had particular leverage. Sudan was on the terrorism list. And when the President reviewed the policy, and when he said we would do something different at the beginning of this Administration, back in May 2001, when we came out with our objectives, we had three objectives: It was to end the terrorist threat from Sudan to get them on the path of righteousness, in that regard; second, to cease their role as a destabilizing actor in the region; and third, to get a just peace.

Now, the just peace was a code word for all the issues that were on the table at the time: humanitarian deprivation, human rights violations, slave trade, all kinds of things like that. The last piece of that is missing because of Darfur, in the sense of human rights violations and other things, and so we're missing that. In the Congo, that problem didn't present itself in a way in which it allowed a rapid solution, and it certainly wasn’t a case in which the U.S. was a prime actor. We, in concert with the international community, are prime actors, the French, the Belgians and others, who have long history there, have tried to play that same role.

There is a large UN peacekeeping force on the ground in the Congo but it's faced with a very difficult situation in which the war in the east is still alive and still active and the underlying problem in the Congo, or one of the underlying problems in the Congo, is the ability of the center to assert sovereignty can't be addressed until the regional actors are convinced that their needs are met. And the principal case is the remnants of the genocidaire were allowed into the eastern part of the Congo, partially because there is no Congolese state to speak of that they control at the border anyway, but I meant allowed to continue to cause problems. It's what set up that whole scenario in which you've got the major African -- literally, a major African war with several powers on both sides before it was over.

The situation is very different than the Sudan situation. So to draw comparisons between them is difficult. But if you're looking for international community interest, it's there. The problems are just very different and the underlying pieces, as are pointed out to you in Sudan, were solved. The two key issues were addressed in terms of the Sharia issue and this issue of abuse of the south over time.

That really hasn't been addressed yet, this problem of outliers, the threat and neighbors still exist; in fact, it threatens Kinshasa itself, if it comes to that. That fundamental question hasn't been addressed in a way that allows the solution to take place. A short history. And it's not my account anymore. So if I'm wrong on the Congo, I don't want to be held responsible.

Anybody else? Thanks for your time and attention.


Released on January 14, 2005

  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.