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Weekly Updates – 2/12

Peace Talks Bring Renewed Commitment With Skepticism


diplomat and Norwegian Ambassador Tom Vraalsen, said
on Wednesday that the new agreements “have created
the potential for the most significant change in the
humanitarian environment”
in the last 13 years for

Recent progress in the Kenyan peace
negotiations mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority
on Development have produced unprecedented agreements
between the Government of Sudan’s (GoS) National Islamic
Front party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (/Movement).
Late January saw the heaviest fighting in the last 9
months, the Government of Sudan led by the National
Islamic Front (NIF) party attacked the southern town
of Leer and Akobo with civilian populations displaced
by the thousands (See footnote) The parties agreed to
an expanded Addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding
(the current and frequently violated cease-fire agreement).
Signed on Tuesday Feb. 4th, the Addendum re-affirmed
the cessation of hostility agreement and most importantly
created a monitoring mechanism to enforce the agreement.
Outlined in the agreement a team of international military
monitors will be commissioned to investigate accusations
of violations. Other “key commitments” according to
the State Department include a GoS halt in the construction
of a contentious oil-area road, transparency of troop
positions, commitments in facilitating the voluntary
return of persons displaced by the fighting since October
2002, and increased cooperation with humanitarian relief

Despite the unprecedented addendum,
the lack of historical adherence to peace agreements
in the conflict combined with the highly contentious
issues of power, wealth, and oil sharing still outstanding
topics on the peace talk agenda the situation remains
highly volatile. With effective enforcement of the cease-fire
agreement the cessation of hostilities could extend
indefinitely; however, international pressure political
and economic pressure must be leveraged against either
side as negotiations continue with the increasing temptation
to break the cease-fire to make late round oil-grabs
through military conquest.

Close monitoring on the Center’s part
will be required should the GoS their follow established
historical precedence and renege on the agreement. Should
fighting erupt again the early warning system will focus
upon the likely displaced populations in the WUN region
of the Unity State near oil-area towns, in addition
to the expected reports of malnourishment as aid workers
report the status of isolated populations.

1. Many conflicting reports on the
specific number of refugees, Medicines sans Frontieres
estimate a few thousand while SPLA spokesman George
Garang places the number near 75,000.


©2003 The Center for the
Prevention of Genocide