U.S. Policy Towards Sudan

May 10, 2001 // 12:00am

On May 10, The Carter Center and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars co-sponsored a meeting on “U.S. Policy Towards Sudan,” attended by more than 40 representatives of a broad spectrum of U.S. government institutions, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, academics, and concerned members of the international community. At the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Ben Hoffman of The Carter Center was asked to identify points of apparent convergence arising from the meeting that might represent an “emerging consensus” concerning U.S. policy towards Sudan. These observations are solely Dr. Hoffman’s and were not subject to full discussion or explicit endorsement:

On U.S. Policy

1. A just peace in Sudan should be the overall goal of a unified and consistent U.S. policy;
2. “Critical engagement” with the government of Sudan should commence immediately;
3. The extreme human suffering in Sudan must be addressed now;
4. The meeting welcomed the appointment of Andrew Natsios as Special Humanitarian Coordinator, and further urged the appointment of an envoy for political issues, including human rights, terrorism, slavery, the cessation of hostilities, and a peace process.
5. Carrots and sticks must be clearly articulated and applied in a disciplined manner;
6. The government of Sudan’s desires for international recognition, oil revenues, and relations with the Breton-Woods institutions can be used as levers;

On a Peace Process

1. An early cessation of hostilities is a crucial factor in a peace process;
2. The United States has a critical role to play in any peace process, in cooperation or collaboration with the UN, regional and other external actors;
3. A multilateral, concerted, and sustained peace process will be required. This process should not presume an outcome, and the possibility of an independent south must remain an option;
4. Pressure must be applied to both the government of Sudan and the SPLA to incent them to peace talks, recognizing that neither party is monolithic and that all stakeholders, at all levels, must be engaged;
5. The complexity of the conflict must be recognized and taken into account, in the structure of negotiations and their anticipated duration;
6. The accomplishments of IGAD, and especially the Declaration of Principles, must be respected, while recognizing and addressing its shortcomings;
7. Oil must be conceptualized as a “driver for peace”;
8. A choice must be made between setting preconditions for a peace process, on the one hand, and initiating a peace process immediately, on the other.

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