Message to Co-Chairman and Honorable Members of IPF Conference
Rome 18th October 1999
Greetings and best regards.
We appreciate your friendly countries’ concern for the Sudanese tragedy, which is being continuously fed by Sudan’s unending conflicts.
- The IGAD initiative has been the most articulate mediation effort to-date because:
- It is regionally based.
- It established guiding principles through the D.O.P.
- It attracted International support through I.P.F.
However, it is defective in the following aspects:
- It assumes that the conflict in Sudan is a North/ South conflict. It is more than that. It is a National multi-faceted conflict.
- It assumes that the NIF Regime in Khartoum legitimately speaks for the North. It does not. The only legitimate forum for discussing the Sudanese National crisis is an All- Party National Conference.
- The DOP charts a simplistic choice between a Secular Democratic united Sudan or Self-Determination, which in the circumstances inevitably leads to separation. Separation between two hostile successor Sudanese States is a recipe for continuos war, worse than the cold war which exists today between the present regime and Sudan’s neighbors. The ASMARA Resolutions agreed by the NDA in June 1995 construct a transition period, which should renew confidence between the Sudanese parties to the conflict. At the end of that period Self- Determination will either lead to a United Sudan on the basis of the New Deal, or to separation into two friendly successor states. In fact the problems of separation may very well persuade all concerned that unity on the basis of citizen equality is the most viable alternative.
- Whatever agreement is reached, it should be lodged in a legitimate constitution. If not, the agreement could be arbitrarily abrogated as the 1972 Peace Agreement.
- The absence of Sudan’s North African neighbors further blemishes the present IGAD framework. Their concern for developments in Sudan is legitimate. Their involvement realistically reflects Sudan’s cultural composition.
It is incumbent upon IGAD, IPF, to update the whole initiative to accommodate these aspects.
- The NDA has accepted the Joint Egyptian- Libyan initiative. There was much-unwarranted disinformation about this joint initiative. We have been assured by the perpetrators of the joint initiative:
- It is not an attempt to side track the IGAD initiative.
- It is not an attempt to help the Sudanese regime and/or the Northern Parties to renege on self-determination. They have categorically maintained that:
- They seek to facilitate the convening of an All-Party Sudanese conference, which should be guided by a Declaration of Principles for a comprehensive Political Agreement. That comprehensive DOP will build upon the present DOP and extend it to make it comprehensive. Whatever their own preferences, they will bless what the Sudanese Parties find agreeable.
- They fully recognize the need to coordinate with the IGAD states.
- They fully welcome the IPF role.
- It is now clear that the IGAD framework as it stands is poised to serve the purpose of those who seek to continue with an unreformed Sudan Regime, because:
- It supports their claim that they speak for the country or at least for the North as its sole representatives i.e. it gives acceptance to the disenfranchisement of the more numerous other political forces.
- It establishes them in a position to offer to the SPLM/A to accept their constitutional status or opt for separation. Thus putting their claims in a position of veto on the future of Sudan.
- It gives them the option of giving up the South temporarily to consolidate their position in the North and prepare for another day with the Southern Successor State.
Therefore, it should be clear now that an agreement reached within the present IGAD framework will neither produce a comprehensive political agreement nor make sustainable peace.
- Peace making in Sudan should involve the following principles:
- The need for a new DOP aiming at a Comprehensive Political Agreement.
- The Convening of an All-Sudanese Party National Conference to negotiate a comprehensive Peace and Stability Agreement.
- Towards that end, the IGAD Sudan Committee of four should work with the full supportive role of IPF. The committee of four representing Sudan’s Horn of Africa neighbors could be extended to include Sudan’s two North African neighbors to become a committee of Four plus Two. Such a committee would continue to enjoy the support and cooperation of the IPF.
The gravity of the Sudanese Tragedy calls for a concerted Regional and International encirclement of the forces which seek to perpetuate the war and to consolidate their illegitimate authority with a Peace and Democratic Stability Plan for Sudan.
The IPF meeting could help take that plan one step further.
I am sincerely yours
Al Sadig Al Mahdi
Elected Prime Minister 1986