The halt of progress in the peace talks between the Sudanese government and the southern rebels, and a growing humanitarian crisis due to fighting in the western Darfur region make the prospects for Sudan in 2004 grimmer than many had hoped last year.
It seems that the progress that was made towards a power-sharing agreement between North and South has spurred on other regional groups to make a push forward in their struggles.
That optimism culminated in the signing this January of a wealth-sharing accord to last the duration of the six-and-a-half-year transitional period to follow the conclusion of an eventual peace deal.
The signatories, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) led by John Garang, and the Sudanese Government headed by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, have failed to make the expected progress since then at the ongoing Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) talks in Kenya.
Worse still, fierce fighting between other rebels and government-backed militias in the western province of Darfur has created an alarming humanitarian crisis as an estimated 600,000 civilians have left …