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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Deputy Secretary of State > Former Deputy Secretaries of State > Former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick > Remarks > 2005

Sudan: The Hard Work of Peace

Robert B. Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State
As Prepared for Delivery
University of Khartoum, Sudan
November 9, 2005

It seems especially fitting that my appearance this afternoon is co-sponsored by the University of Juba and the Institute of Peace Research here at the University of Khartoum. This institution's work in development studies is respected throughout Africa and the world. Similarly, the University of Juba is known for its programs in agriculture and natural resource development, both of which will be key to Sudan's future. And your cooperation today is a welcome forerunner of North-South reconciliation in Sudan.

Earlier this year, I came to know two men who once spent time at this distinguished university. One was a student here in the 1960s, the other a teacher in the 1980s. The student, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, went on to play a central role in the Sudanese Islamist government, working under the guidance of President Bashir. The teacher, Dr. John Garang, went on to become the leader of Southern resistance to that government.

During their time at this university, I am sure that neither Taha nor Garang could have imagined the remarkable events of this past July, when they stood side-by-side to be inaugurated as Vice Presidents of a new Sudanese Government of National Unity.

They had taken very separate paths, in very different political movements. In the years after they left this campus, Sudan's cruel civil war cost two and half million lives, with millions more forced from their homes. There was even a period of open association with Islamic terrorists; Osama bin Laden was once welcomed in Khartoum as an honored guest.

When I represented the United States at the inauguration of the new unity government, it occurred to me that the ceremony marked both an end and a beginning. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) negotiated by Garang and Taha at Naivasha is an historic accomplishment. The CPA ended the long and bloody North-South conflict. And it created the opportunity for a future of development, democracy, and Sudan' s return to international acceptability.

Yet the CPA must be brought to life. It offers a roadmap for a hard journey still to be traveled. The fulfillment of the CPA requires leaders from North and South to share responsibility for governance, to confront difficult decisions, and to keep forging compromises. The success or failure of the CPA still hangs in the balance, and with it the future of Sudan.

The Roots of Conflict
As I drove through the streets of Khartoum this morning, I looked out at a large and growing metropolis. New construction portends new hope. But this city is surrounded ' as it has been for centuries ' by impoverished sub-Saharan expanses in Darfur, in the South, and among the Beja of the East.

The struggle of the peripheries against the center in Khartoum has characterized much of Sudanese history. The smoldering embers of internal conflict, smothered under foreign imperial rule, came flaming back to life when the colonialists departed. So it was that when Sudan gained independence from Britain in 1956, the bloody struggle of South against North began in earnest. In a cautionary lesson for today, a decade of fragile peace in the 1970s was shattered when that era's peace agreement unraveled.

When war resumed in the 1980s, we saw the first use of a brutal tactic that has come to haunt Sudan: fighting insurgencies by unleashing local militias to spread terror and destruction.

Sadly, even as the North and South moved towards an accord of peace 20 years later, this cruel counterinsurgency tactic was employed again ' this time in Darfur. What started as a competition over resources ' land and water made scarce by drought ' was exacerbated by governmental neglect and tensions between nomadic and pastoral tribes. Then violence by proxy spiraled to a new level of bloodiness when the Janjaweed were set loose on innocents. Sudan descended into crimes against humanity and genocide, for which there must be accountability.

The CPA: A Framework for Peace
Outsiders need to understand the complex history and roots of strife in Sudan if we hope to play any role in resolving it. Outright racial or religious divisions do not fully explain the violence. For example, many foreigners may be surprised to learn that in Darfur, the systematic killing of Muslims was carried out by other Muslims. Nor can we look at Sudan solely through the prisms of other conflicts. Sudan is not a carbon copy of Rwanda, or Bosnia, or Somalia. In such a deep-rooted conflict, there are no easy solutions. But the CPA offers a vital framework 'negotiated by Sudanese ' for peace. In my four trips to Sudan this year, I have been struck by the commitment and courage of many Sudanese who desperately seek peace, development, and democracy. The United States will support those aspirations, and the political framework that can make them a reality.

The framework for peace has produced some initial results:

North-South reconciliation is proceeding, albeit too slowly, despite the tragic death of Dr. Garang in July.

The Government of National Unity ' which is now composed of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the National Congress Party, and other parties ' has been set up.

Although delayed, the new government announced last week the formation of the key oversight body for the CPA ' the Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC) ' to be chaired by the former Norwegian Development Minister, Tom Vraalsen. It also announced the formation of the National Petroleum Commission (NPC).

The Government of Southern Sudan is being established; I will meet members of its new assembly later this week. The United States will open a new consulate in Juba so that we can better support this new government and its people.

Yet the delays in implementing the CPA have raised questions about the parties' commitment.

Equally worrying, in recent weeks the fragile ceasefire in Darfur has been fraying. Sudan's conflicts are closely intertwined: Continued violence in Darfur will undermine the implementation of the CPA, while a collapse of the CPA will lead to more violence in Darfur and other parts of the country. In Sudan, when one piece of the mosaic cracks, there is a danger that everything else could fall apart. And when that happens, those who suffer most are the poor, the displaced, and the dispossessed. They are the soul of Sudan, and they have already suffered far, far too much.

A lasting solution to Sudan's conflict must be political, not military. But Sudan is at a critical juncture, and all of the key actors need to take specific steps to regain momentum.

The Government: Steps Needed to Build Trust
Past actions have left a legacy of distrust, at home and abroad, that weighs heavily on the government in Khartoum. To dispel suspicions, the Government of National Unity must be committed to full, transparent, and timely implementation of this new compact for Sudan. This need is especially great right now because of the perception that recent actions - or lack of action - represent a shift away from the CPA and the process of reconciliation in Darfur.

I have been told by Sudanese leaders that they remain committed to the CPA. The world needs to see these intentions demonstrated through actions. I am pleased that the government just announced it is setting up the AEC and the NPC. They need to follow up these actions expeditiously by appointing the members of these commissions and beginning their important work of monitoring overall implementation of the CPA, and ensuring the fair use of Sudan's energy resources. In addition, the government should move quickly to set up other important entities such as the Boundary Commission, the Joint Defense Board, and the Ceasefire Political Commission.

Two weeks ago, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer traveled to Juba, the new capital of Southern Sudan. While visiting Mrs. Rebecca Garang's home, she could hear Sudanese government troops drilling not far away. Such incidents create the impression of a psychological state of intimidation in the South. The CPA calls for the redeployment of government military units in Juba; prompt implementation will build confidence and enable the new Government of Southern Sudan to get up and running.

The government's actions in Darfur merit special scrutiny. It should work with the SPLM to help achieve peace in Darfur, drawing on the SPLM's experience, counsel, and contacts with rebel groups. It is positive that the Government of National Unity has announced a joint committee on Darfur that includes President Bashir and Vice Presidents Kiir and Taha. Now the unity government should develop a clear position for the next round of Darfur peace talks in Abuja, and send a joint government delegation to the talks.

We strongly support the AU peacekeeping mission. Its presence has constrained organized, large-scale violence. It is also positive that the government announced that it would facilitate the delivery of 105 armored personnel carriers from Canada to help protect AU soldiers who are protecting the people of Sudan. I understand the first APCs should arrive this week. A clear government statement in support of the AU mission would further demonstrate the government's commitment to security and stability in Darfur.

Tomorrow, I will travel to the Kalma refugee camp in South Darfur, the fifth such camp I have visited. With more than 85,000 uprooted people, Kalma camp is one of Darfur's largest. The GNU needs to ensure that the Norwegian Refugee Council can manage the site effectively, without commercial blockades.

Secretary Rice and I have been particularly troubled by widespread violence against women in Darfur. Whenever I travel in Darfur, women approach me with heartbreaking stories of violence. To assist them, the United States is building crisis centers for victims, to provide counseling and care. Tomorrow, I will visit one of the first of these centers at Kalma camp.

To help, the government needs to take concrete steps to implement its new program to address violence against women, which includes changing laws so that any woman can receive treatment, regardless of whether she chooses to file a police report. The government also says it will educate community leaders and police on women's rights and increase medical services for women victimized by rape. Most importantly, the government needs to support the AU and others to bring about a more stable security situation so that violence against women can be prevented. The United States has committed nearly $17 million to combat violence against women in Darfur; we hope other countries can join us by training police and the public on the rights of women.

Southern Sudan: From Rebel Movement to Government
In the South, the SPLM faces the challenge of transforming itself from a rebel movement into a national political party, and working with other southern groups to form a government. The SPLM's challenge is to maintain both its inclusiveness and unity while stepping up to new responsibilities. I met with First Vice President Salva Kiir last week in Washington to discuss his vision of a peaceful Sudan.

The CPA contains the possibility for the South to opt-out of Sudan in 2011. But just as the national government has an obligation to make unity an attractive choice for the South, the SPLM has an obligation to try to make national unity work. A strong South can contribute to a strong Sudan.

We recognize the magnitude of the challenge. When I visited Rumbek, I saw the wounds of a long war. But I also saw people with a strong spirit, pride in what they had accomplished, and a belief in the future. The new southern government faces the enormous task of resettling millions of displaced people into areas wracked by two decades of war. Southern leaders need to build new institutions such as a court system and an independent inspector general's office to ensure the rule of law, transparency, and financial accountability. Our aid programs are helping to build schools, roads, a system for medical care, a banking system, and telecommunications. We will work with the Norwegian hosts of the April pledging conference to encourage others to follow through on assistance as well.

Even as we want to help build an effective Government of Southern Sudan, it is important that the new SPLM ministers in the Government of National Unity act in the national interest. They have an obligation to lead their ministries as responsible stewards of national entities, looking out for the interests of all the Sudanese people. In particular, SPLM leaders should participate fully in the Darfur peace talks in Abuja, as part of a unified government delegation.

The Darfur Rebels: Unity and Peace
In Darfur, the AU forces have striven, under extremely difficult conditions, to strengthen security for those who have lost homes, livelihood, and loved ones. Humanitarian workers from around the world risk their lives every day to feed and meet the basic needs of the dispossessed. We owe these soldiers and sustainers our deepest appreciation. And we must support them.

Yet humanitarian aid and peacekeeping are not enough. The situation is fragile, even unstable. This work is at best a holding action until a peace has been negotiated, within the CPA framework, at the AU-led peace talks in Abuja. The Abuja participants agreed on a declaration of political principles in July to guide their negotiation. Yet time is not on our side. In recent weeks, we have seen a spike of violence in Darfur, with at least two separate attacks on African Union (AU) peacekeepers. Banditry against humanitarian convoys has forced the UN to withdraw staff and supplies. Those who are suffering most from continued violence are the poor victims who are least able to provide for themselves. If conditions keep deteriorating, Darfurians could suffer even more.

One cause of the most recent violence appears to be division among the Darfur rebel groups. Factions are using attacks - even against AU peacekeepers - to jockey for position. The roving Janjaweed are always ready to feed off fresh violence. And the government has been tempted to exploit and exacerbate rebel divisions.

To regain momentum in the peace negotiations for Darfur, I opened a conference in Nairobi yesterday with the leaders and military commanders of the largest rebel group, the Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM). Joining me were officials from the African Union, the European Union, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

We delivered a direct message: SLM leaders face a critical choice. They need to unify and use their place at the peace table in Abuja to negotiate an agreement based on the logic of the CPA. If they do so, the SLM will have support from the United States and others. More importantly, they will help their own people. But if the rebels trigger more violence that spreads out of control, or if they threaten the humanitarian operations that are caring for Sudanese, the rebels will lose the international support that is vital to their cause.

As President Bush has said, the CPA "should serve as an inspiration and model for both sides in their work toward negotiating a peaceful resolution of the Darfur conflict." A peace agreement for Darfur needs to create a secure environment in which displaced people can return to their homes. With the return of peace, the process of tribal reconciliation can start to repair the badly torn fabric of Darfur's traditional society. And economic development assistance will be necessary to help families, clans, and villages reestablish their means of livelihood. If the parties in Abuja demonstrate a commitment to peace, we should consider forming a Joint Assessment Mission to work with possible donors to identify reconstruction and development activities to complement a peace accord. A similar mission helped set a constructive goal for the CPA negotiators.

Stabilizing Security, Providing Relief, Engaging Neighbors
As we press forward with the full implementation of the CPA and push for a similar accord among the parties in Darfur, the United States is working to sustain security, continue humanitarian operations, and cooperate with others in the region.

In areas where the AU peacekeeping mission has deployed, security has improved. I have visited with the commanders, soldiers, and police in Al Fasher, Kutum, and Jebel Marra to learn more about their work and obstacles to their mission. Tomorrow I will visit Nyala and Sheiria. I am proud to have met these courageous men and women. I know they need help.

NATO, the EU, and others can help with logistical support, operational planning, and improved command and control. The United States has already committed $167 million to the AMIS mission, because we want to help the AU improve its capabilities to solve Africa's problems.

At some point, the AU may also consider drawing on UN peacekeeping support. Indeed, the UN already has authorized a peacekeeping mission that is helping implement the CPA in the South. Perhaps there also is a role for the integrated Sudanese forces called for in the CPA, under the authority of the new Government of National Unity. But peacekeepers need a peace to keep ' so the political solution for Darfur is paramount.

The credibility of a political solution for the future depends partly on accountability for what happened in the past. UN Security Council Resolution 1591 imposes an arms embargo on Darfur and an asset freeze and travel ban on individuals found to have committed atrocities or impeded the peace process. Other UN resolutions call on the government to disarm the Janjaweed, and refer the atrocities in Darfur to the International Criminal Court. The United States will support the Sudanese people in seeking accountability ' and prevent impunity ' in order to close this sad and violent chapter of their history.

Even as we pursue peace, millions of Sudanese need humanitarian aid. The United States has provided a little more than half of the assistance donated thus far. We are conducting de-mining operations and building roads and schools in the South, and delivering food, seed and tools in Darfur. As the successful Oslo donors conference highlighted, the world will stand by the Sudanese if the Sudanese are committed to the path of peace and development.

We recognize that Sudan's trials have implications for all of Africa. Sudan has nine neighbors; none want destabilizing conflicts to spill over their borders. They want to stop murderous gangs like the Lord's Resistance Army, which thrive on anarchy and seek to hide in regions torn by strife and lawlessness. The criminals of the LRA must be brought to justice.

It is also important that events within Sudan's neighbors do not destabilize the situation. We are working with Eritrea to lessen the risk that violence erupts in Sudan's East, and Chad has an important role to play in ending violence in the West. To minimize the danger, the Government of National Unity should also negotiate with the Beja to address their concerns within the CPA framework. The United States has reached out to the Beja, who seem willing the join the process for peace.

The Hard Work of Peace
Students in Khartoum and Juba must wonder what the future holds in store. I will share my view: If the CPA is fully implemented, and the new unity government resolves other conflicts in Sudan, the future holds the possibility of peace, respect for human rights, democracy, and economic development for all parts of Sudan. These are central goals of U.S. policy.

We stand today at a critical juncture. We need to regain the momentum for peace.

The central government must take convincing steps to build trust, show that it remains firmly committed to the CPA, and find a peaceful solution in Darfur.

The SPLM must transition from a rebel movement into a national political movement, help establish an inclusive government in the South, and play a responsible role as a committed partner in the Government of National Unity.

The rebel factions in Darfur must respect the ceasefire, unify for the Abuja negotiations, and pursue a peace that can be the foundation for the development of Darfur.

If the Sudanese move forward with the hard work of peace, the United States will press ahead with you. And we will work with others from around the world to support you. Over the past three years, my country has already provided about $2 billion of humanitarian, security, and reconstruction assistance.

The United States aims to use the CPA to achieve a lasting healing of the country's wounds and create a new political compact for the future. We will support peacekeeping missions by the African Union and the United Nations to stop the violence, even as political solutions are negotiated and implemented. We will work with neighboring countries so that they will play a constructive role to end the violence. We will continue to provide humanitarian relief to people who are suffering. And we will work for free elections, democratic institutions, and economic development for all of Sudan's people.

This generation of Sudanese can finally free the country from the chains of the past. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement ' the legacy of a former student and a former teacher from this proud university ' provides the pathway. But the next months will be critical if the parties of Sudan are to regain lost momentum. The hard work of peace is up to all of you.


Released on November 9, 2005

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