Darfur – south Sudan: Confusion over conflict resolution approach

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Debates over which approach (incentive or balanced) to implement in resolving the unrest in Darfur and ensuring a peaceful referendum on southern Sudan independence continue to divide human rights groups and the U.S. government. Approaches

Human rights group, Enough Project believe the incentives approach could include full control of Khartoum’s ties with Washington, while pressures could include urging countries to ban international travel for officials and expanding the UN arms embargo.

However, Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations, backs “the balanced approach,” of which the State Department will expand its diplomatic presence in Sudan, including dispatching retired US ambassador Princeton Lyman, who is conversant with African affairs.

Darfur has suffered civil war since 2003 where some 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million displaced, according to the United Nations. And part of the 2005 US-backed Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended a 20-year civil war between north and south, allows for a referendum for southern Sudan’s independence due to be held on January 9.

A letter request signed by about 80 human rights groups demands President Obama to take tougher actions against the Sudanese government regarding Darfur and south Sudan.

The letter obtained by AP, read: “We believe a more robust set of tools must be employed to ensure not only a peaceful referendum on southern independence, but also peace in all Sudanese regions, including Darfur, through the referendum and beyond.”

“It appears that some in your [Obama] administration are currently advocating for an incentives-based approach focused on the short-term goal of a peaceful referendum. While we agree that this goal is a critical one, we strongly believe that this approach will only ensure more backsliding in the future by an emboldened regime in Khartoum,” the letter to Obama read.

“We must also not lose focus on resolving the worsening humanitarian and security crisis in Darfur as the government of Sudan continues its track record of abuses and violence in Darfur and throughout Sudan,” the letter continued.

The letter was signed by groups including The Enough project, Genocide Intervention Network, Save Darfur Coalition, Affiliation of Christian Engineers, American Islamic Congress, and Jewish World Watch.

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