Saturday, November 17, 2007

Insight on Darfur from President Carter

President Carters recent trip to Darfur illustrates that unfortunately once again the peace agreement is not being honored but things are stabilizing-- you can follow along at his website:

Concerning Darfur, there are about 2.2 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in 69 camps, removed from their home areas, plus 4 million that need assistance (all Darfurians are Muslims), being helped by 12,500 aid workers. The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed by the GOS and only one rebel group (the leader now works for the government). The recent decision for the UN and AU to hold peace talks in Tripoli, Libya, beginning October 27 is both slightly promising and the cause of increased violence. The earlier assumption that six rebel groups might attend has now expanded to as many as 28, with new ones being formed with a desire for status and possible rewards. They are launching attacks on one another and the general population to obtain money, vehicles, fuel, and weapons. A rebel leader named Abdul Wahid is living in luxury in Paris and refuses to be involved in the peace talks. Note: This arrangement does not yet provide for non-combatants to be represented at Tripoli, but only armed rebel groups.

We then met with Abdul Mohamed (Ethiopia), who is conducting some discussions among the disparate groups of Darfurians

Results: Although only time will reveal the results of this first project of the Elders, there are some potential benefits:

a) Additional attention brought to the plight of the people of Darfur, with special emphasis on the needs of women and children;

b) A clearer description of the remaining obstacles to implementing the crucial Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement;

c) Emphasis on the need for implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, with a call for the peaceful citizens of Darfur to be represented in Tripoli talks as well as rebel groups who live by the gun;

d) Agreement for weekly meetings between representatives of the GOS and humanitarian groups;

e) Pledges from the GOS to provide $300 million in funds to repair damage to Darfur plus help for Displaced Persons to return to their homes and resume normal lives;
f) Pledges from all sides to proceed with plans for a census followed by elections to restore democracy in Sudan, with approval for The Carter Center (and hopefully others) to monitor this process;

g) We offered the services of the Elders in helping to resolve any future deadlocks between GOS and SPLM re the CPA;

h) We became more familiar with the overall situation in case our influence is needed during the peace talks in Tripoli.

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