Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Article excerpt

Sudan's Neglected Peace Agreement

Among the many shortcomings of the opinion-page article "End Africa's Longest War" (May 6) was its failure to mention and attach significance to the peace agreement between the government of Sudan and rebel forces signed on April 21.

We were invited to lead a small team of American specialists on Africa who observed the signing of this agreement in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. Having witnessed this momentous ceremony, we were extremely disappointed at the utter failure of the news media, seemingly interested in efforts at peace, to appreciate the real significance of the agreement reached by the government of Sudan and five rebel leaders. It is regrettable that an editorial note was not appended to the above article updating the status of conditions in Sudan. The article makes the basic assumption that the "recent humiliating defeat of government forces in Southern Sudan" would ipso facto expedite and facilitate the "end of Africa's longest war." The fervor and enthusiasm that the peace agreement elicited from Sudanese, both north and south, including the five out of six rebel leaders who signed the agreement plus their constituents and followers, underscore a strong belief that the occasion augured well for a "new day" in Sudan. In a three-hour discussion, these rebel leaders reaffirmed the intensity of their commitment to the peace process, within the framework of the implicit and explicit safeguards contained in the agreement. The agreement gives reason for optimism. Peace and politico-economic stability in Sudan will not be brought about by militaristic success, as envisioned by the co-authors, but by the strength, motivation, and determination of the people of Sudan, including officials of the Sudanese government and the rebel leaders who were signatories. Of paramount importance, for example, is the establishment of a four-year interim period culminating in a referendum in the 10 southern states to determine if these states will be independent or continue as an integral part of Sudan. During this interim period, the southern states will be governed by a coordinating council consisting of the president, vice president, 13 coordinating ministers, and the governors of the southern states. …

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