January 8th, 2008 09:08 EST
South Sudan's Fragile Peace at Risk on Eve of Anniversary
The IRD's Church Alliance for a New Sudan is warning of a return to conflict in southern Sudan if the Islamic government in Khartoum continues to shirk its promises in implementing the war-ending Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The CPA, signed on January 9, 2005, tentatively brought an end to more than two decades of war between the Sudan People's Liberation Army in the south and the forces of the Sudanese government in the north.
The Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) accuses the northern National Congress Party of violating the terms of the CPA. In particular, the SPLM states that the Khartoum-based NCP has failed to withdraw over 15,000 troops from southern oilfields and failed to implement the Protocol on Abyei, a dispute over territory that lies within southern Sudan and contains significant deposits of natural resources.
A December agreement between the north and the south provides funding for a census necessary for upcoming referendums and a timetable for the withdrawal of troops across the border.
IRD Director of the Church Alliance for a New Sudan Faith J.H. McDonnell Commented:
"When the Khartoum government is not violating the CPA outright, it is failing to implement its provisions. Unfortunately, Khartoum has a habit of signing agreements in order to placate the U.S. and other international partners, all the while having absolutely no intention of living up to obligations.
"The CPA provides the best hope for peace in all of Sudan. Marginalized people groups are coming together with Southern Sudanese as never before. All Sudanese who want just peace, secular democracy, and religious freedom are counting on this agreement being implemented fully.
"The U.S. Sudan Peace Act says that if the President certifies that the Government of Sudan is not in compliance with the terms of a permanent peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM, there should be consequences for those violations. We call on President Bush and International Stakeholders such as China to hold Khartoum accountable for troop withdrawals and promises.
"The people of Sudan are tired of war. We call on the United States, as well as the UN Security Council, to take action to avert yet another human catastrophe."