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Monday, 24 June, 2002, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Sudan peace talks: Doomed to failure?
Yet another effort is being made to resolve nearly 20 years of conflict in Sudan.
Peace talks are continuing between the government and southern rebels in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
However, the prospects do not look good as no fresh proposals have been brought to the negotiating table.
There has also been fierce fighting in Sudan itself, with SPLA rebels recently capturing the eastern garrison town of Kapoeta.
What is the best solution for a country which has such deep religious and ethnic divisions?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
I think in a country which has long suffered from devastating civil war, people should use a broader vision and let reason and wisdom prevail instead of irresponsble malicious calls for war and separation.
Nilesh P. Patwa, Sudan.
Humanitarian communities have helped to settle the disputed war crimes against humanity in Africa and elsewhere around the world, including those that have only lasted months or a few years. But they are unable to put an end to the long running war in Sudan. It is time the world realized that Sudan is thr one country in the world that needs help. It is an injustice that the Khartoum government is not respecting the racial balance of it citizens - whatever religious group they belong to. Enough is enough. African Sudanese need to have their own country that will allow them freedom of speech and justice.
I think when we talk about the Sudanese conflict we should take it as a part of the whole African problem - which is poverty and illiteracy. These are the father and mother of civil war. I also believe that the separation of the south is not an option because the southerners themselves are from different groups with different tribes and agendas. Peace can come through democracy and dialogue.
The only solution to the problem is to have a referendum for the south on whether they want to stay or secede from the north. Self determination for the southern Sudanese can solve their problem regarding the forced imposition of Sharia, which I believe is the central issue in the fight against the northerners.
Athanasio Gale, South Sudanese/USA
It may take long before the Southern Sudanese people come into social and political harmony with the rest of Sudan. Just as the solution worked for East Timor, let the South be given independence. Alternatively, Sudan may offer this part to Uganda since the population in the South relate more to northern Uganda.
I am from Senegal, but I spent over seven years in the Sudan. A great country with great people in both north and south. A land rich in minerals and forestry; Sudan as I perceive it is the microcosm of Africa.
It is wrong to say that there is no way out of the conflict. Rather there are several ways and each one leads to the adobe of peace. But each one of them starts with compromise and tolerance. The Sudanese people are not any more divided than those in Nigeria, South Africa or Mauritania etc. But what they don't have is a common vision toward nation building that accommodates differences and diversity.
Nvasekie Konneh, Liberian/USA
The war in Sudan started when I was three years old. Imagine somebody born and brought up in war without knowing what a fruitful country it once was.
Sudan has become a graveyard of peace agreements. What is needed now is not just any peace agreement. But peace with justice.
I am a Southern Sudanese living in the US. I have not lived in my country for over 17 years because of the war. What seems to me to be the only solution is the separation of the South as an independent state on its own.
H.D.Y. Lukudu, Sudan
There is distrust among the two peoples. The southern Sudanese feel they have suffered enough and would not trust any agreement with the north. Based on empirical experience, many agreements have been dishonoured by the north, hence unity and co-existence of the two regions, have to be out of question. This time let the people of the south decide for their own destiny through a referendum and exercise of self-determination.
The problem goes back to the days of British occupation. What is now southern Sudan should never have been joined to the Arabic/Islamic Sudan. They should now become separate countries. The UK should take a lead role in making this happen.
Separation of religion and the national law and immediate intervention by the UN, not the super powers. Bring the warring parties to a negotiating table.
This is not the first time talks on Sudan are taking place. We have got to think a step further into why previous talks have failed. Only that can give us the possibility on the success of the current talks.
As Sudan, like many other African countries, is made up of different ethnic and religious inhabitants, the only viable solution to the ongoing problem is to allow all the country's citizens to fully participate in the political and economic matters which affect them and have fair share on what the country has to offer. Religious and ethnic dominance is a cancer of a society which has plagued Africa for decades and we must no longer tolerate it.
Kunal Desai, USA
The West may pressure the sides to sit down and talk as that is all they can do in Africa's most complex and longest running civil war. But it seems hard to believe that the end is in sight. Sudan has never existed as a country at peace. Maybe it's time to accept the folly of the colonial borders and let the north and south go their own ways.
Division is one among many best steps to take. The south, though ethically diverse is ethically coherent. Many southerners like me are tired of living in a culture of deceit, oppression and exploitation by the north. Ever since no peace agreement has been honoured by the north. There should be an end to this; and this is by separating the two.
Kate Delaney, USA
I sincerely believe that dialogue is the first rational step towards conflict mediation and resolution. Even though the way forward for the Sudanese conflict is a bit muddled, the fact that the warring factions have decided to talk registers an optimistic signal that peace will be achieved in the near future. Let the guns be silent and let reason be allowed to prevail over negative sentiments!
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