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'Sudan sliding towards violent break-up'

Staff Reporter

Sudan is heading towards "violent break-up" due to the lack of implementation of peace deals, the International Crisis Group warned on Thursday.

Sudan is heading towards “violent break-up” due to the lack of implementation of peace deals between Khartoum and the west, south and east of the country, the International Crisis Group (ICG) warned on Thursday.

“Sudan is sliding towards violent break-up,” the Brussels-based think-tank said in a report entitled “Sudan: Preventing Implosion.”

“Unless the international community, notably the United States, the United Nations, the African Union Peace and Security Council and the Horn of Africa Inter-Government Authority on Development [Igad], cooperate to support [peace deals], return to north-south war and escalation of conflict in Darfur are likely,” the ICG said.

“The main mechanisms to end conflicts between the central government and the peripheries—the Comprehensive Peace Agreement [CPA, with the south], the Darfur Peace Agreement and the East Sudan Peace Agreement—all suffer from lack of implementation, largely due to intransigence of the National Congress Party” of President Omar al-Bashir, the report said.

“It is essential to move rapidly on a number of fronts, including to negotiate a Darfur peace agreement that allows all Darfuris to vote in national elections” in April 2010, it continued.

The report recommends adding an additional protocol on Darfur to the CPA, which was signed in 2005 to end two decades of war between north and south, in order to “unite the several peace processes”.

The group would welcome postponing general elections to November 2010 to allow time to resolve outstanding issues related to the vote.

It said pre-electoral CPA benchmarks were still outstanding, including agreement on the commissions for the referendum on self-determination for the south and the referendum that will establish whether Abyei district will remain in the north or be integrated into the south.

Both referendums are scheduled for 2011, with the ICG “quite certain” that the south will choose independence.

International coordination for the implementation of the peace accords is essential, the ICG said.

The US, China, Igad and members of the African Union Peace and Security Council should agree to “support an individual of international stature to lead the several negotiations with a view to reconciling the paths of the Sudan peace process”.—Sapa-AFP

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