With fewer than 120 days before the referenda on Southern secession and the future of Abyei, Sudan has entered a critical make-or-break period. U.S. strategic priorities in Sudan remain: full and timely implementation of the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that results in a peaceful post-2011 Sudan, or an orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with each other; a definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur and that Sudan does not again become a safe haven for international terrorists.
During this critical period, the Obama Administration is intensifying its work to implement its Sudan strategy by: elevating diplomatic efforts; working with other nations, the UN, and other regional and international organizations to help prepare for the referenda; making significant investments on the ground to help prepare for what happens after the referenda, and presenting the parties concrete steps that the United States will take contingent on concrete achievements on the ground. These actions support the Sudan strategy launched by the Obama Administration in October 2009.
While it is up to the political leaders in Sudan to decide whether they are choosing the path of compromise or confrontation, peace or war, the Obama Administration is pressing the parties to facilitate the peaceful and on-time conduct of the referenda, to respect their results, to resolve key remaining post-referenda issues, and for the Government of Sudan to end the conflict in Darfur.
This weekend, President Obama’s Special Envoy, Scott Gration, undertook his 20th trip to the region. In meetings in Khartoum, he made clear to the Sudanese Government that normalization of relations with the United States depends on the full implementation of the CPA and peace and accountability in Darfur. In meetings in Juba, Special Envoy Gration likewise set forth our clear expectations of the Government of Southern Sudan as well as the potential incentives that exist should they complete their obligations under the CPA. He also made clear that there are a range of consequences that will be deployed, if the situation in Sudan deteriorates or fails to make progress, including additional sanctions.
President Obama will attend a high-level Sudan meeting hosted by United Nations Secretary General Ban on September 24 to bring high-level attention and focus to actions that can support on-time referenda that reflect the will of the Sudanese people.
Secretary Clinton called Sudanese Vice Presidents Taha and Kiir on September 8 to urge concrete and immediate progress in the referenda preparations and the importance of taking immediate steps to improve humanitarian access in Darfur.
Ambassador Princeton Lyman, a skilled negotiator widely respected throughout the region, has been appointed to head a U.S. Negotiation Support Unit in Sudan to facilitate the talks required in the days ahead.
The Obama Administration has more than doubled its official presence in southern Sudan, where Ambassador Barrie Walkley now leads the U.S. mission. This “diplomatic expansion” includes field-based planners who will ensure that input and perspectives from the field are incorporated into Washington-based planning efforts.
In June, Vice President Biden traveled to the region to spur key actors to take key steps in the critical months ahead. He also urged Sudan’s neighbors, including Egyptian President Mubarak, to commit to recognize the results of the coming referendum.
Ambassador Susan Rice continues to work closely with senior UN officials to support the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), improve the humanitarian situation on the ground, and ensure that the UN is prepared to support the upcoming referenda.
SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION’S MEETINGS IN SUDAN:
Special Envoy Scott Gration met with the parties this weekend to present a concrete package of steps that the United States will take in response to concrete achievements on the ground.
He again made clear that conducting credible, on-time referenda, and respecting the outcomes of those referenda, will lead to an improvement in U.S.-Sudanese relations. There are four stages to this effort:
1. First, an immediate shift in the use of our licensing regulations with respect to the agricultural sector to enhance local food production in a chronically food insecure country and benefit the Sudanese people. The new licensing posture will be subject to regular review.
2. If credible, peaceful on-time referenda occur and the results are respected, the United States will take steps to allow additional trade and investment in Sudan in certain prescribed non-oil sectors.
3. If there is agreement on the key principles for post-referenda arrangements, the United States will support an exchange of ambassadors.
4. And, finally, upon fulfillment of the CPA and resolution of the Darfur conflict, the United States will work with Congress to remove foreign assistance restrictions, lift economic sanctions and actively support international assistance and debt relief, consistent with U.S. law and internationally agreed processes.
Getting to full normalization – including lifting of sanctions against the Government of Sudan; rescission of State Sponsors of Terrorism designation consistent with the evidence and legal criteria provided in the relevant statutes; supporting implementation of debt relief consistent with internationally agreed processes, and access to multilateral and bilateral assistance (consistent with our laws and requirements and with the rules and regulations of the international financial institutions) – will require a comprehensive peace agreement in Darfur that is credibly implemented, a sustained improvement in security, humanitarian access, and services that improve living conditions on the ground, full cooperation with UNAMID, a cessation of all support for international terrorism, and efforts to achieve accountability, justice and reconciliation. The relevant terms in U.S. law, such as the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, as well as the terms of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions must also be met.
The Obama Administration is intensifying work to mobilize a robust multilateral response so that the world stands united in contributing resources on the ground, in supporting full implementation of the CPA, and in helping prevent a return to war in Sudan.
The most senior officials in the administration are working with former President Thabo Mbeki, who is spearheading African Union efforts on Sudan.
The Administration is also working with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the US-UK-Norway Troika and other members of the international community to help prepare for the January 2011 referenda and to ensure they are credible and peaceful and to make preparations for the possible results.
INVESTMENTS ON THE GROUND:
The United States is making significant investments on the ground to help prepare for what will come after the referenda. For example, the United States:
Is working with the UN and international partners to prevent and mitigate conflict, support grassroots efforts that help resolve disputes over scarce resources, provide skills training and economic opportunities to youth, all with the goal of mitigating the risk of renewed hostilities between northern and southern Sudan and within southern Sudan. The United States has launched a $150 million, multi-year new programs to expand these activities in late 2009.
Has provided $12 million for elections security in Southern Sudan, allowing the Government of Southern Sudan to establish 11 Joint Operations Centers in Juba and in the 10 states in collaboration with other partners.