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Tuesday, 5 December, 2000, 18:58 GMT
Sudan: At a crossroads?
With elections fast approaching in Sudan, the situation remains volatile.
Meanwhile the 17-year conflict in the south rages on, with bombs raining daily on rebel-held areas.
Is there any way out of this mess? How would you solve Sudan's seemingly intractable problems?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Do you really expect a conflict based on ethnicity and religion to be ended by the imposition of elections? Elections are wonderful things but they need someone to enforce them and an impartial format to be held within.
Ndung'u Ndegwah, Nakuru, Kenya
Of all the wars raging in Africa, the Sudan's is the easiest to solve if the political will is there. There is absolutely nothing in common between the people of the South and the North of the country except the relationship between master and slave. Once both sides agree to be liberated from that debased human relationship there will be a solution.
Jim Middleton, USA
I am saddened to read the comment of responsible official from the country which created an illegitimate country wrongly named the Democratic Republic of the Sudan to comment that the only way to solve the Sudan problem is through the legitimate government there. Since the end of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan has there ever been a legitimate government in Sudan elected by the real Sudanese for the Sudanese? I believe not so long as those who in the first place created the mess are still stuck to their old tradition as is evident in the comment cited above.
Kenneth N. Ngwa, Cameroonian in Princeton, USA
There are three options that can bring peace and stability to Sudan and they are; firstly, unity within a united Sudan where state and religion are separated from the constitution; secondly, a federation of states created in the south; and thirdly, the south should be allowed to form an independent state.
The problems in the Sudan become more complex with every day that passes by. We knew exactly what we wanted yesterday; an independent South but were ready to settle for autonomy, which we did. Today we are no longer sure. The leadership (in the South) speaks in vague terms of a "New Sudan" which may or may not include self determination for the people of the South. They speak a different language at IGAD and sing another song altogether in Cairo. Unless they set a clear destination it is not clear where they are heading nor would we know when that destination is here. Before we can sit down with the North, let us know first what we want. Vague things like 'fighting for human dignity' important as it may be to the leadership does not mean much to my illiterate old man in Nimule.
The greatest evil in Sudan will always be
religious intolerance. Until the people there show respect
for each others' beliefs there will be no peace just eternal war and racial
Peace will take place in Sudan, when the leaders of the government and the political parties as well stop playing the stupid games of collecting money over the dead bodies. Then the Sudanese people can stop and defeat any foreign interference locally (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda...) or internationally (USA and the rest).
The problem in Sudan has been going on for more than 30 years because the northerners refused to allow the south exercise its right for self determination. Now, due to Sudan's vast geographical nature, it is becoming a sanctuary to rebel movements from all countries that have common border with the African giant. For this reason, the Sudanese problem is a regional problem. If peace is going to come to Sudan, there must be a global peace in the region.
The problem of the
Sudan is that of an
Arab and Islamic
north that tries to
impose itself over an African and Christian South. On account of the differences in race,
religion and ethnicity of the two regions. An internationally established arrangement under the auspices of the UN and backed by the OAU which gives a greater degree of autonomy in economic, social, religious and cultural matters to the South and allows for a form of international intervention in the eventuality of a violation of the same international arrangement may help in solving the
problem of civil war in the Sudan.
Riek P. Riek, South Sudan
If there were ways into a conflict and/or disagreement, I believe that there must be a way out. The crucial point is do we really want to end conflicts? Who is who's spokesperson? And most of all, what do the real people that suffer the consequences want? Peace can be had as long as there is the good will from both sides.
Secondly, Sudan does not manufacture arms and ammunition with which the Sudanese people kill one another. The United Nations Organisation has all it takes to block the sources of the arms supply to Sudan, both to the government and to the rebels, and mediate between the warring factions. The strong presence of UNO and OAU will encourage other countries to contribute as well. The continued war portrays the weakness of the so-called Organisation of African Unity (OAU) as an umbrella under which African countries could jointly mediate in the war in Sudanese. Just when the war will end remains a mater of conjecture if the issues raised here are not addressed.
A good solution to the Sudan problems could be to divide the country .The problem however is that all parties in the conflict do not agree as to where the border of north and south is because each one wants the mineral rich area to be in their land. This is the more foreseeable solution because the war is not win-able. I call the international community to look into this matter as enough suffering and blood lettings have been witnessed in this country.
Organisation of African unity Executive members should consider the issue of Sudan very seriously rather than allowing the Arab countries interfering in the internal affairs of Sudan. The fundamentalist government in Khartoum should stop bombing the civil population in southern Sudan, otherwise there will no any peaceful settlement of the civil war. The Arabs should understand that Sudan will not have peace as long as IsIamic Fundamentalist ideology is maintained in Sudan and also it appears that executive members of the OAU have failed to solved the problems of Sudan and my advice to them, to resign and give the chance to others with new ideas.
The problem in Sudan is compounded by the political unrest in the Horn of Africa. The root cause of the problem in Sudan, like its neighbouring countries, is greed and ignorance of the so-called "leaders" and "rebels", who impose unbearable sufferings upon the very people they claim to care for or liberate. Let democracy decide the fate of the people. Give them a chance so that their voice can be heard. You should have realised by now that force is not going to solve the problem. For the sake of the children and helpless people of Southern Sudan stop your senseless fighting and resolve your differences in a round table discussion.
It is my hope that the international community and media will continue to pressure the two parties to come to their senses and bring lasting solution to the people.
I believe the Sudan's problem, which was turned by the successive governments in Khartoum to a war against the indigenous African peoples in the South and the marginalised to force them to be Arabs and Muslims, cannot be solved unless by genuine intervention of the international community, which is busy with problems like the Israeli - Palestine conflict, forgetting about the massacres committed by Khartoum regime which is killing many innocent women and children.
Our objective for the Southern Sudan to be secular is the real objective. We will never agree with Arabs to live together as brothers and sisters. You the world community can look into this. Now children in Southern Sudan and Nuba Mountains are dying in the dust without education.
Oscar Edule, Uganda
Self determination enshrined in the UN charter is the only solution to the chronic disease in the Sudan. The south should be free to decide on their own affairs like many other people in the world. People in the Sudan border; mainly, in the war torn southern part of the country are badly affected by the war as the southern Sudanese. Peace in the Sudan is the only breakthrough for sustainable development to people such as Anuak in Gambela. Hence, this task should not be limited to the Sudanese people who can not come to compromise at all.
First and foremost, what is the war about? There is no way to solve Sudan's problems. Poor countries and poor people love to destroy their properties and their countries. Why waste time on those uneducated fools who masquerade as freedom fighters. Most of them will never enjoy the pleasures of life.
John Pritchett, USA
The outside world needs to understand the situation. Sudan never makes the headlines. Most people in the West don't even realise that civil war is continuing. Our political correctness won't let us condemn some practices because of the issues surrounding religion so the war has been censored out of the media. The killing still continues. When will the world recognise Sudan?
One should never give up hope. The only way peace can be achieved in Sudan is when democracy is fully implemented with a political system that is fair to all Sudanese people. The government of Sudan, and the Spla have finally realised that this war can not be settled in the battlefield.
Hassan E, Sudan
Sudan is overwhelmed by a racist war waged against the Black-African south by the Arabic north. The north receives a lot of political support and weapons from the Arab world to ensure the domination and destruction of the Africans. What is appalling is how the rest of the world has remained apathetic and mute towards the brutal killings of black Africans in Sudan. Unless there is sincere involvement by the rest of the world, a warring future is quite certain for the Sudanese people.
I believe fighting will solve nothing though SPLA/M managed to address the problem in Sudan nationally and internationally. Now is the time for all political bodies in Sudan to make a second move by forming a national transitional government and allow all margined areas to decide for themselves -
enough is enough.
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