Sudan peace accord may collapse, says ex-adviser

ABU DHABI — The peace agreement recently signed by the government of Sudan and southern rebels is facing many challenges which threaten its collapse, warned Dr Ghazi Salah Eddin Atabani, former adviser to the Sudanese President on Peace Affairs.

By Muawia E. Ibrahim

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Published: Sat 11 Jun 2005, 10:36 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:57 PM

“There is a number of challenges that threaten the future of the peace accord, most importantly is the lack of consensus among political powers in the country,” Dr Atabani, who was responsible for the peace dossier in Sudan, said in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Dr Atabani, who was on a short visit to the UAE, was delivering a lecture on the “Future of Afro-Arab Relations”.

He told a jam-packed hall at the Cultural Foundation that one of the challenges facing the peace accord which marked a formal end to 21 years of war between the government and southern rebels is that there might be a lack of consensus among the political powers in the north as well as those in the south. The possibility that the agreement may be used as a tool for international interference in Sudan’s domestic affairs is yet another challenge, he said.

Dr Atabani’s concern is shared by several human rights groups, observers and most importantly Sudanese people who are growing more worried about the future of the peace accord.

They are particularly concerned that both major parties to the peace accord, the National Islamic Front (NIF) government and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLA/M), may not fully comply with the agreement.

On the situation in Darfur, where war is still dragging on between Khartoum’s troops and western fighters, Dr Atabani said Darfur was not as complex as the South.

“The difference is that Darfur came to light all of a sudden and turned into a global issue though it has been there since independence of the country in 1956. Darfur has become more complicated after it became a global issue,” he said.

On the subject of his lecture, Dr Atabani said the Arab world and Africa should form an alliance in view of the regional and international developments.

“In view of the fact that oil is drying out here in this part of the world as well as wars elsewhere which are greatly affecting the region’s economy and stability, the Arab countries should partner with their African counterparts for a better and a secure future,” he stated.

Dr Atabani, a doctor by profession, is one of the prominent policy-makers in Sudan. He played a big role in concluding the peace accord in Sudan. But his bold views which call for openness and consolidation cost him his top position in Khartoum’s government.

Noting that Africa has the potential for a successful political and socio-economic alliance with the Arab world, he said that both the regions were facing major challenges most importantly is the external interference for reform and democracy orchestrated by foreign powers that have a hidden agenda for the region.

“We must stay alert to the real intentions behind these initiatives,” he noted, pointing to the US-orchestrated and G8-sponsored Greater Middle East initiative.

He, however, said some of these initiatives were good and must be considered. “We, however, should not waste our time digging to gauge the intentions of those orchestrating these initiatives. They have the right to serve their own interests and we must have the right to take what is good for our interest.”

He said both the Arab world and Africa have the economic, political and social potential to form a strong alliance to confront the Western blocs. These, he added, can be better invested under the umbrella of the Arab League and the African Union.

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