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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December, 2004, 17:21 GMT
Can the UN achieve peace in Sudan?
Child
The United Nations will provide aid to Sudan's government and southern rebels if they fulfil their promise to finalise a peace deal by the end of the year.

The Sudanese parties signed the pledge at a special UN Security Council meeting in Kenya.

The council adopted a resolution backing the commitment. It also called for an immediate end to violence in the western Sudanese region of Darfur but aid agencies said the resolution was weak and urged further action.

Will the meeting of diplomats really change anything? Is it an important step on the road to reconciliation - or just a token gesture?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The diplomacy may need to be backed up by a peace keeping/policing force. Due to the current world situation this seems unlikely to occur. Africa really needs a united government responsible for taxation, education and security. It might then be more able to resolve these situations.
Darren , Australia

The UN is materially and morally corrupt
Eduardo DeSevilla, Atlanta - Madrid
Before The UN can provide stabilization to any region or conflict, it needs to provide stabilization to itself and clean its own house. The UN is materially and morally corrupt, a soap box for corrupt national governments and platform for dictators. Can an institution with those fundamentals be a positive force - if that is the right word - in any conflict? NO.
Eduardo DeSevilla, Atlanta - Madrid

Frankly, I seriously doubt that this UN meeting will solve anything. The UN and Mr. Annan in particular have validated nearly every bad preconception of their organization with corruption such as the oil for food scandal and ineffective peacemaking work. Annan failed to prevent genocide in Rwanda in 1994 when he was head of UN peacekeeping operations, and that was with troops on the ground, a track record which makes me believe that his current effort will be no more successful.
Bran Mahoney, Tallahasse United States

The UN wants to do more talking with a government that is slaughtering its own people, breaking every promise it makes to the international community and telling lies that are so blatant as to insult our intelligence. Talking only works if both sides have respect for one another and an interest in a peaceful solution. The Sudanese government has neither respect for the UN nor the desire to see the people of Darfur saved and it has made both points perfectly clear though its actions. Only a fools would continue talking with the government of Sudan and that is why the UN is front and centre for these talks.
Jim , NJ, USA

Innocent people should not be dying in the year 2004 by thugs which could be easily stopped
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson OH USA
Why is it that in the modern world people are still dying in ways which resemble the Nazi regime of the 30's and 40's? The various countries of the world spend unimaginable amounts of money on military and security forces and still cannot guarantee peace for a little country of helpless people. The UN has outlived it's usefulness and the powerhouse countries like the United States and Britain should pull out until the problems are fixed. Innocent people should not be dying in the year 2004 by thugs which could be easily stopped if the UN really cared.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson OH USA

UN needs to do a lot more than condemnation. Two million people have already died. It seems nobody is willing to stop genocide in Africa. The blood of the innocent is on the hands of those who have the power to act and only pay lip service.
Hoda, M, Chicago, USA

It is not worth talking about UN bringing peace to a country while its most powerful members are greedy for creating wars and endless conflicts. Look at Iraq how many lives that could have been saved are being lost in every day? I think it is shameful for the world to talk about peace while we are creating instability.
Mohamed Issa Yusuf, Hargeisa, Somaliland

The failure of the UN to solve conflicts is surely the fault of its members
Adrian Cook, Brakne-Hoby, Sweden
The failure of the UN to solve conflicts is surely the fault of its members. Sanctions often do not work because some member states have their interests in mind. Until this ceases to be the case and nations really attempt to correct the injustices around the world the UN will always be tethered by the hypocrisy of its members.
Adrian Cook, Brakne-Hoby, Sweden

The U.N must show itself in Somalia not only to prove that it has the legal authority but to physically protect the innocent. A corrupt regime will only submit when it has no alternative. Armed U.N. troops need to be deployed now and be willing to use their arms.
Philip O'Donnell, Auckland, New Zealand

People are dying in Sudan and the United Nations is making conditions. Shame!
Suraj Chhetri, Kathmandu, Nepal

What most tend to forget in their comments is that the UN is not a government but an organization, and thus depends on the goodwill of its member states to enforce decisions and resolutions and has no supra-national powers. As long as that goodwill is lacking, and the UN is hindered in its work, and as long as Member States ignore decisions taken by consensus, the UN will not be in a position to resolve conflicts effectively. Furthermore, it is important to remember that the majority of the work of the UN lies in economic and social development, and there progress has been made. There are many examples of the positive work of the UN, which should not be forgotten.
Chiara Legnani, Trieste, Italy

I find it hard to take the UN seriously when all the major conflicts in the world since the Gulf War have been ended by the conflicting parties themselves, or alliances like NATO, rather than the UN. Now if NATO had a meeting about Darfur deployment, then I'd have some hope.
Matt, Raleigh, NC

The U.N. needs to send in troops as soon as possible
Randy McConnell, Birmingham, Alabama

The U.N. needs to send in troops as soon as possible. All due respect to the African Union soldiers, but they haven't been able to stop the rapes and murders that continue to happen daily. Darfur should be turned into a no-fly zone for all aircraft except those supplying aid.
Randy McConnell, Birmingham, Alabama

The UN is proving to be no better than the League of Nations. Another talking shop and toothless tiger.
Paul Bastier, England UK

The UN will never achieve peace in Sudan. It doesn't have the will to act. The UN has become a great debating society - nothing more.
Rowland Parks, Newport News, Virginia, USA

It is often frustrating to read statements or arguments about "the UN" as if it was a single body - almost a sovereign state. Of course it isn't. While the UN includes the Security Council which struggles to make progress with the Darfur crisis (essentially because of a lack of consensus amongst member states), many UN agencies such as UNICEF etc have staff here who are committed to making a difference - and are making a difference. This is also the UN!
Douglas, El Fashir, Sudan

I don't think that the peace accord will work. It certainly is a time for peace because we are tired of war and killing. However, I think the northern government will not work hard to restore peace, because the south Sudanese people think independently, and the Khartoum government will not like that. I would like to see a separate country in south Sudan, with the resources divided equally and with a free government that offers freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of press. The Khartoum government does not believe in this kind of freedom. Since the government does not believe in this, it is better to form our own country. This will honour the men and women who fought and died in the Sudanese Liberation Army, because it will show that their wounds and their deaths were not in vain.
Gabriel Akok, United States

Let's get into gear and help these people
Kiran Chhiba, Philadelphia, USA

It is very disturbing to see how quickly the US and UK were in mobilizing troops in Iraq. Even though the United Nations was not on board, that there was not any sign of current acts of genocide or ethnic cleansing or claims of wide spread rape. Why is it that the Darfur region is expressing all of these traumatic social concerns and we are still debating the legitimacy of intervening in a committee? The instability here could spread and affect the security of other African nations. It completely questions the moral agenda of President Bush, when Sudan is in complete need of military intervention and instead they have chosen to go to war on the wrong people. Let's get into gear and help these people.
Kiran Chhiba, Philadelphia, USA

There is little hope that UN can achieve peace in Sudan for one and only one reason and that is the UN never thought that the peaceful opposition - which represents the majority of Sudan people - to the existing regime, can easily and severely shift the armed opposition.
Abdalla Mohammed Ahmed, Sudan, Khartoum

Only with approval from the US can this be done. The UN's weakness and limitations to do anything was highlighted by the run up to the Iraq war. It will not do anything unless the US initiates the process. Can it achieve peace? Not with the narrow US-lead perception it has of the situation in Sudan.
Khaled Arikat, London, UK

Greed is part of human nature and it shows all around the world. Instead of scraping the only major way the world communicates with each other, evaluate the representatives. Don't let the UN die because of the people in it. The world could be worse off without it than with it.
Nick W, Australia

With the backing of the US and other world powers, United Nations is capable of achieving a peaceful solution to the Sudanese conflict. I was baffled recently when China blatantly refused to back a sanction resolution against the brutal regime in Sudan. I am with the people who believe that when it comes to black Africans our plight are not considered urgent. It was a shame that the African Union, AU was only able to send three hundred (300) soldiers to monitor cease fire violations, but not to protect black Africans from armed Arab men riding on horse back. Are western countries afraid of Sudan because of its oil wealth? Sudan of today is no different from Iraq of 1989.
Lossenie Sheriff, Newark, NJ, USA

The only commitment UN is capable of is the commitment to further debate
Dave, Ft Wayne USA
No. But it will go on debating the situation and producing useless resolutions for years to come, with no plans to back them up. It will demand monies from donor nations for aid and will not monitor how the money is used nor allow independent monitoring/investigating from the donor nations. The only commitment UN is capable of is the commitment to further debate. These are brilliant liberal thinkers, they are incapable of brilliant actions.
Dave, Ft Wayne, USA

I think the UN will bring peace to Darfur. The UN overseeing the 'peace' pledge has demonstrated its commitment to restoring lasting peace to the region. However, the UN must not sleep until this lasting peace is achieved; that way it 'the UN' would have proved its efficiency and commitment to its obligation and purpose.
Jerry Rodericks, Fredericton, NB, Canada

When has the UN really helped anything? I am sure they mean to try, which is good, by I haven't seen one Darfurian saved yet. Everyone seems to want to overlook the root causes of why they are refugees in the first place.
David, Portland, USA

The UN is a sham cosmetic organization that will never achieve the goals it has set for itself and the world as long as there are self-serving, indigent, petty, autocratic, and greedy nations that are given power in that organization. Such nations as France, Syria, and Cuba are a few examples.
Brian O'Hare, New York, New York

Come on guys, the UN does do a good job with the tools they are given. Have a look at their websites before you criticise too much. Most UN resolutions are vetoed by countries like the US/UK/Israel making the UN toothless. Many countries votes are either bought or bribed by the US, so who's really running the show here. It really amazes me that the Americans and British are the first to undermine the UN when in fact they create the problems in the first place. Someone please post a list of those countries that supplied the weapons used in Sudan. The answer might open a few eyes as to who the real warmongers are! Give the UN a break and stop using the Veto.
Andrew Palmer, Poole, Dorset

Change must come from within the people themselves. Hundreds of years of tribal animosity will not be changed by an outside force that does not understand their history. One only need look at the situation in Iraq to see that.
Ronald Breeze, Santa Barbara, CA

The UN can't agree on what is and what isn't a war crime
Ian, UK/USA
The UN can't agree on what is and what isn't a war crime. Neither can they decide on the differences between a terrorist and a statesman. What chance does poor Sudan have with the UN now interfering?
Ian, UK/USA

The feared genocide in Darfur must be addressed, and the UN will make sure of that. I believe they will succeed without losing support from either sides on the peace talks.
Dr William Chimi, Nigeria

The UN could achieve peace in Sudan. It has been done in Liberia and Sierra Leone quite successfully, and the Sudan has a far less bloody history.
Martha, Brooklyn, New York, USA

This will just be another feeble attempt by the UN to appear proactive in the Sudan.
Juan Campmany, New York, NY, USA

My, my, UN-bashing has become quite a popular sport, particularly amongst those who have no idea what the UN actually is, how it works and what it has accomplished in the world.
Damian, Houston, USA

I am shocked and dismayed that so many of the people who have chosen to respond to this forum were inclined to condemn the UN. I admit that I was more than disappointed when various UN officials and world leaders were following a policy of non-involvement in Sudan, while at the same time commemorating the genocide in Rwanda. Nevertheless, the UN provides an important international forum, and is indeed able to accomplish tasks no single country could hope to take on. However, I think that in order to accomplish anything in Sudan, the UN will indeed need to adopt a firmer stance.
Julia, London, UK

Since many of the influential member nations are bogged down in other conflicts, it's no wonder that more isn't being done in Darfur
Christopher, Memphis, USA

The UN, like its predecessor body, was supposed to keep the world out of a conflict on the order of World Wars I and II. In this fundamental purpose, it has succeeded. People on this board seem to forget that the UN is simply the sum of the political will of its members and a forum for diplomacy. Since many of the influential member nations are bogged down in other conflicts, it's no wonder that more isn't being done in Darfur.
Christopher, Memphis, USA

The UN cannot achieve piece because you only have to look at this goliath bureaucracy to realise that it has done nothing to stop the war in the Middle East, but more importantly problems in Zimbabwe. The UN's responsibility is to maintain mankind and not things that it believes it can solve with a few meetings. You need people who can deal with these matters straight away not when it is convenient to them... in Sudan's case never.
Jay, UK

The UN has an opportunity to actually prove that it is an organization that is worth supporting. However, as usual it will fail. Because, as so many other people have pointed out, this organization is full of corrupt bureaucrats. In my opinion, the UN is a totally useless and is only good for one thing - wasting money. It is no wonder that the US and UK ignore the UN when it comes around to actually doing something about various conflicts around the world. It is about time the African and Middle Eastern countries sorted out these conflicts, instead of relying on the West to come in and sort them out. Then we will really see which countries have some back bone and prepared to get their hands dirty!
Clive, London, England

The UN is a corrupt organization that has accomplished nothing. In a case where they can offer insight such as in the Sudan, they respond that they need to review the situation in detail, while innocents die every day. What a waste! And what's the world's response? Why hasn't the US stepped in? Well, it's high time the rest of the world step up and show what it can do rather than always criticizing the US when it's convenient!
John B, Morristown, NJ, USA

The UN is far from perfect but no one seems to have a better idea
Dora B, Greece

The UN is far from perfect but no-one seems to have a better idea. So the UN deserves the full support of the countries that are in that organization. The policy adopted by the US in Afghanistan and Iraq where all humanitarian aid should go through them and is directly involved in the level of resistance (see Falluja) has significantly hindered the work of aid agency. Aid workers are no longer considered neutral and are becoming targets. So many agency had to stop there work in these countries.
Dora B, Greece

China and Russia don't want a Security Council resolution. They are blocking action. I suggest France and Germany do something unilateral. The US and UK have no force to contribute.
Steven, Taft, CA, US

UN has failed in resolving several conflicts in the world. It can't claim the responsibility of bringing sense to the people of southern Sudan when its past is tainted. The mess in Iraq, the hopelessness in Somalia, the bleakness in the Palestinian territories, the general anarchy in DRC among others deny the UN of the moral responsibility of intervention. The rebels and the government know it's a toothless bulldog. It's the high time it's disbanded. An untainted body will be promising.
Shukri Alasow, Wajir, Kenya

It is not the time to discuss whether the world can stop the deteriorating conflict. The world has to stop it. Every minute the UN hesitates to take radical steps to protect refugees from violence, many people are killed or injured. The US should have sent troops to Sudan instead of Iraq. No country would have opposed and the US could have been praised by their conduct.
Anon

The UN has all the teeth to solutions in Sudan
Kelvin Buya, Blantyre, Malawi

Why not? The UN has all the teeth to solutions in Sudan. We don't want to regret after things turn to worse. Our friends are suffering. UN should cooperate with Sudan because it knows how arms are smuggled into its country. We want peace that will remain forever in Sudan.
Kelvin Buya, Blantyre, Malawi

I concur with the vast majority of statements here. The United Nations is about talking and passing resolutions. Nothing more. They are not capable of resolution enforcement and their utopian wishes are no more than fluff. The sooner United Nations is dissolved the better.
Eric Burgess, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

The UN is ineffective and has failed Africa. Africans will be better off without the UN and resolve their own problems. In 2000 the UN came to the rescue of Ethiopia and Eritrea border conflict to implement an independent border commission decision agreed as final and binding by both countries. Now, Ethiopia having accepted the commission's outcome initially has changed its mind and rejected the commission's decision for which it agreed to abide defying UN resolutions.

The UN has been there for over four years now which was initially meant to last for six months at a cost of 200 million dollars a year. If the UN can not make the Ethiopian government abide by its resolution... I cannot see how on earth it is going to make the Sudan government abide by the so-called UN resolution.
Yohannes, UK

The UN is toothless. All talk and no action. They could have solved the problem in Iraq if only they had acted before the invasion. Regarding the situation in Sudan, I have to say that once again it will be talk, talk, and yet more talk.
Dave Harding, Abingdon, England, UK

It's really saddening to see innocent lives being lost for the sake of the gun
S Akpedonu-Tweneboa, Ghana

The world has watched helplessly and with horror the deteriorating situation in Sudan especially the Darfur region. Much as the UN has been helpful elsewhere, I believe much of the violence could be stopped if both sides i.e. government and rebels decide to come to a very compromising agreement. It's really saddening to see innocent lives being lost for the sake of the gun and also in the name of protecting and controlling territories and region. African leaders should rise above tribalism, politicking and thirst for power. We deserve much better than what we are getting!
Sedinam Akpedonu-Tweneboa, Ghana

The UN has never brought peace on earth and as such, we don't expect anything from it. Especially this war in Sudan mainly as it is Black people being killed. If it was the Arabs or the Whites something could have been done. My heart goes to my fellow Blacks who are being killed by the Arabs while the world just watches in awe.
Christopher Mwale, Lusaka, Zambia

At the rate the UN is going on this, will there be anyone left to protect? This has been dragging on for ever and all that has happened to date is talk, talk and more talk. Talk is cheap!
Ann , Houston, US

The UN has become the new League of Nations. They couldn't stand up to Saddam when he broke resolutions, and they won't stand up to the Sudan government.
Sean, Detroit

The UN has never accomplished peace anywhere before, why would it suddenly become effective now?
Steve, New Jersey, US

Wake up world! The UN is nothing more than a group of corrupt bureaucrats. Until all the countries making up the UN are all composed of free people, with duly elected leaders, the UN will never be an organisation capable of protecting the oppressed peoples of the world. Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Sudan will continue to be failures.
Mark Bunting, Houston, US

If you want to have a great cocktail party - now there's something UN has a lot of successful experience in.
Mike Daly, Miami

What is the European obsession with the United Nations? [It is] one of the most corrupt institutions on the planet. The UN achieve peace in the Sudan? Is that some kind of joke? They can't even pay their parking tickets in New York? However, if you want to have a great cocktail party - now there's something UN has a lot of successful experience in.
Mike Daly, Miami, US

Where there is a will there is a way. The UN (i.e. the world) has not been willing to tackle the Darfur problem head on... Darfur will be costly but it will only get worse in every way if we wait.
William L. Donlon, Rochester, New York, US

A meeting of UN diplomats will change something? Don't make me laugh. Either the UN is brushed aside by a real power and the mess is sorted out by force or the Darfur region will be successfully cleansed from all members of the weaker party - whatever happens first.
Hans P. Alexander, Queensland, Australia

Where has the UN worked? The UN is a failed experiment and should be dissolved at the earliest opportunity. The humanitarian work of this corrupt organisation can best be handled by a handful of countries and other political entities, such as the US, EU, Japan, Canada and other "wealthy nations". The UN Security Council is a miserable failure and should not be supported by the world any longer.
Sam, Ferndale, Michigan, US

I'm a Brit who works with displaced Africans from the Sudan, Congo and Somalia... The UN has minimal credibility in Africa, as UN funds are put into the hands of corrupt government officials. Sustainable peace is very unlikely.
James, Maine, US

I think the UN can achieve peace in Sudan, but only with help of Sudanese people. It is not easy to intervene [in other] people's conflict. It is up to people to bring peace among themselves first and the UN can take charge afterwards.
Anita B, Minnesota, US

My question is where was the UN 21 years ago when the problem started? Why fire fight after 21 years?
Momtaz Ahmad, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

The UN will do what the UN always does. Talk. It is a talk-shop. Nothing more.
MJL, Maboula, Kuwait

Sanctions would be to little too late
Kevin, Boston, US
I think the UN is trying, however, it will just end up being another token gesture. "Attention" no longer needs to be "drawn" to Darfur. The world has witnessed this situation at its worst for a long time now. I'm afraid sanctions would be to little too late. And since when does any country respond to UN threats?
Kevin, Boston, USA

The UN can no more achieve peace in Sudan through the use of resolutions, observers, and peacekeepers than it could in Yugoslavia. The Sudanese government will continue its program of ethnic cleansing of blacks while stalling for time under the pretext of cooperation to allow its militia surrogates to complete their task. Only the direct military intervention of an effective and determined power can alter the course of events. This time, the United States will not be coming to the rescue.
Mark, US

The world has been waiting at the sidelines for more than 18 months
Mary McCannon, Budapest
The presence of UN peacekeepers is becoming more unavoidable, since the armed force of the Africa Union prove to be too weak to be able to handle the difficult situation in Darfur. Of course reconciliation is a very important thing but I cannot give priority to any sort of diplomatic step than feeding those who are starving and giving shelter to those who are homeless. The world has been waiting at the sidelines for more than 18 months, so any further delay is absolutely unacceptable.
Mary McCannon, Budapest, Hungary

No, because just like in Iraq, Rwanda, Cambodia, etc, etc the UN pleads and carps while genocide is committed. It is only when countries like the US and UK take decisive action that anything changes for the better. The UN has become ineffectual and irrelevant!
Charles, London, UK

God, let us hope so. The most crushing thing about the unrest in the Middle East is how little attention can be paid elsewhere.
Sarah, Ft. Wayne, IN, US

If both sides truly want peace, then yes, the UN can facilitate the communication needed to sort out their differences. If either side would prefer to crush the other than live in peace, then the answer is no. The UN lacks the power to enforce peace against the will of either party.
Brent, Philadelphia, PA US

I think many people have lost faith in the ability of the UN to accomplish anything positive. The UN may be able to work toward redemption by making a difference to the suffering in the Sudan. The UN could mend many bridges by coordinating our countries and bring about change in this region of unrest. A firm UN endeavour could provide the right combination of incentive and pressure upon the fighting factions. Let's hope the UN is still able to function in this capacity or they may end up being an institution of the past.
Donald, Bethesda, Maryland, US





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