Title: Why did the Sudanese opposition forces refuse to sign the Roadmap Agreement proposed by the AUHIP؟
Author: Sudan Democracy First Group
Date: 04-12-2016, 10:58 PM
09:58 PM April, 12 2016
Sudan Democracy First Group-
During the period 18 - 21 March 2016, a strategic consultation meeting called for by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel ( AUHIP) took place in Addis Ababa. The meeting was held after a short visit of the head of the panel, President Thabo Mbeki, to Khartoum in which he met with the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The AUHIP selectively invited some representatives of the Sudanese opposition to the Addis consultation meeting, in addition to the ruling party.
The consultation meeting ended with a unilateral governmental signing of the Roadmap Agreement proposed by the AUHIP in addition to the signature of Mbeki as a witness to this.
In contrast, all opposition parties participating in the meeting rejected the proposed Roadmap Agreement. This rejection gained wide support among other opposition forces and Sudanese public opinion. Following this, several international actors started exerting pressure on opposition parties to accept the Roadmap Agreement without considering the substantive reservations to the draft and the AUHIP’s approach that led to it. Briefly, the reasons of rejecting this document are as follows:
The AUHIP had breached its mandate that was set by the African Union Peace and Security Council communiques (456) and (539). This mandate stated that the AUHIP should invite all parties of the Sudanese crisis to a preparatory meeting outside Sudan in order to agree on the agenda and procedures for the National Dialogue and the necessary prerequisites to ensure the impartiality of the process. The AUHIP replaced that preparatory meeting set forth in the communiques with this consultation meeting, to which it invited certain parties and overlooked others – notably the National Consensus Forces and the Civil Society Initiative who are two founders of the Sudan Call alliance and have engaged previously in many occasions with the AUHIP. Thus it did not have all of the necessary parties around the table.
The AUHIP proposed Roadmap Agreement adopted the Khartoum-based National Dialogue, which is approaching its final stages under the control of the ruling party. Furthermore, it attempted to force the opposition to join this National Dialogue without obliging the regime to consider and respond to all of the reservations around this process that Sudanese opposition forces have expressed many times to the AUHIP. Again, this runs contrary to the AUHIP’s mandate for a preparatory meeting to agree on the agenda, procedures and prerequisites for the National Dialogue.
Despite the attempt of the Roadmap Agreement to combine the cessation of hostilities and the definitive ceasefire negotiations with the National Dialogue, it ignored the substantive and contexts of the political and security paths that need to be carefully considered and discussed before hasting into enforcing partial agreements. The roots of the security aspect of the conflict is not only related to the popular political demands in the conflict zones, but also to the refusal of the Sudanese regime of fully implementing the security arrangements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. This approach adopted by the AUHIP reveals a main defect in the understanding of, and response to, the crises of Sudan that would hinder accessing a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.
While the Roadmap Agreement called for an immediate cessation of hostilities followed by negotiating a definitive ceasefire agreement, it turned a blind eye on the heavy military escalation and the increasing waves of violence carried out by the Sudanese Government in Darfur and Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.
The AUHIP ignored all amendments and proposals submitted by the opposition forces participating in the consultation meeting to the text of the proposed Roadmap Agreement. The AUHIP insisted on unilateral signing with the Government of Sudan delegation without discussing the opposition remarks in a manner that bucks all traditions and foundations of mediation.
The insistence of the AUHIP to unilaterally sign the Roadmap Agreement with the Sudanese regime dealt a damming blow to regional mediation to bring a just and lasting peace to Sudan. The AUHIP’s alignment to the deeply flawed Khartoum-led National Dialogue that is managed and controlled by the ruling party demonstrates its lack of impartiality by adopting the stands of the ruling National Congress Party. Furthermore, the alteration of past African Union communiques, including by excluding the voices of the war victims, the internally displaced and refugees and ignoring their demands in its proposals, has made the AUHIP to become more part of the crisis than an impartial mediator to resolve it.
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