Hon. Chairman and Hon. Members of United Nations Security Council
Attention: H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary general of the United Nations
After more than nine months from the date of the UN Security Council resolutions whereby the issue of Darfur has been referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the tragic situation is still deteriorating. The Government of Sudan systematically escalated its military operations at the beginning of every round of talks, with the intention of imposing a military and security resolution and derailing the process out of its real political course. The intention is to sustain the grip on power by the minority which continued its hegemony and marginalization of all others, against any inclusive and equitable formula of governance. The Sudanese Government also remained adamant on its disaster-prolonging approach, including sending delegations with incomplete powers for the negotiations, thereby precluding any real settlement.
Such circumstances require from the Security Council to take more effective and speedier actions with stronger content which would change the current, tragic realities of Darfur, with Janjaweed and other Government militia still robbing, killing and raping, and the numbers of refugees and IDPs on daily increase.
Dear Ladies & Gentlemen
The accelerating tension on the joint Sudanese Chadian borders negatively affects the security and humanitarian situations as well as the peace negotiations, especially in the presence of armed foreign elements inside the Sudan, with all the deep implications of this, in the light of known international law principles, on the discussions relating to the security arrangements paper at the peace talks.
The two Movements: the Sudanese Justice & Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), remained firmly committed to the agreements so far reached, despite the grievances of thousands of Darfurian young men and women in arms who are members of the two movements, and despite the Sudan Government torched land policy and forced migration for the last three years in a row. Such commitment of the two Movements (JEM & SLM) took the form of disciplined patience unmatched, both regionally and internationally, in the history of armed liberation movements, especially in the case of land-locked conflicts as it is in Darfur, an incidence which has earned the Movements universal respect.
Ladies & Gentlemen
The Sudanese crisis in Darfur is wholly political, from its roots down to the tip of its shoot system. As such it requires a political solution, which would not be possible before the Sudanese Government understands that meaning. Consequently, we have been on our part quite keen to adopt a solution that reflects such content and establish the basis for a comprehensive peace that could extend to any other region of the Sudan, since the government has always been a partner in all nation-divisive conflicts in Sudan.
Unfortunately, our earlier vow to attain peace before the dawn of the New Year has been countered by the Government’s persistent and intentional enforcement of its erroneous understanding of what a solution is. It believes in imposing its own terms of reference, while intentionally ignoring all previous agreements including the Declaration of Principles signed in Abuja, Nigeria, on July 5th, 2005, which has clearly affirmed the political content of the crisis, specified its areas and detailed its agenda. The Sudan Government has thus caused a loss of costly negotiation time in trying to impose its mistaken philosophy. This resulted in down turning all chances towards a resolution despite the expiry of a month and a half since the beginning of this round of talks. What we really are worried about is the continuation of this loggerhead position by the Government amidst a continued African mediation and partners’ wonder.
Ladies & Gentlemen
Here are the basic pillars of the sort of security arrangements which, in our vision, would furnish an atmosphere conducive for voluntary repatriation of the refugees and the IDPs to their original areas, where they can run their normal lives in full serenity, and put an end to injustice and protect comprehensive peace:
1- Disarming the Janjaweed, disbanding them and trying their leaders.
2- Restructuring, reforming and development of all the formations of Sudanese armed forces so that they reflect the Sudanese diversity at all its levels.
3- Retaining the armed forces of the two Movements during the interim period to be agreed upon, in order to secure the implementation of the peace agreement.
4- The unconditional and easy flow of relief materials through all borders and entry points.
5- Reinstatement and equitable compensation of all those dismissed from any of the regular forces.
6- The release of all prisoners of war, detainees, convicted or imprisoned for political, ethnic, racial or religious reasons or for any reason related to the conflict in Darfur.
7- Conducting speedy and equitable compensation for the affected people according to international standards.
With regard to the distribution of power, we had a clear and obvious vision, based on a realistic method in dealing with the issues in the light of agreed upon criteria agreed upon during the sixth round of talks. We have even transcended our own specificities to broader national issues which reflect similar situations in other regions of the Sudan, regardless of any individual specificity.
Despite its deep logic, this vision has been countered by the Sudanese Government, which remained as a blocking obstacle despite our later limitation of such vision to the region of Darfur. The Government’s views in relation to federal governance and its levels, representation at executive institutions of government, legislature and civil service, have all turned out to be in total disregard of facts and reality, and the political nature of the crisis, because of the aforesaid erroneous vision based on the Government’s own terms of reference.
Ladies and Gentlemen
With regard to the distribution of wealth the situation is no better in any way, except for a slight progress in relation to some technical issues and some general policies and frameworks on the concept of wealth. These have however fell short of touching on the heart of the issue of international, national and regional wealth allocation, including time frames, mechanisms, funds and administrative systems, on the basis of the pre-agreed criteria. The meager extent to which the Government could so far go with regard to this area of negotiations, both in relation to “how?” and “how much?” it can concede, will certainly not help in the mammoth task of reconstructing and rehabilitating a region which has been underdeveloped for decades, with the war devastating whatever is left.
Notwithstanding our deep appreciation of the efforts being exerted by all of you and the nations and organizations you represent for the cause of Darfur, we believe that this matter still requires special attention by Your Excellencies, meaning effective pressure on the Government of Sudan, for it to show enough seriousness to become a real partner in the peace-making process, by honoring its commitments, instead of relying on any relinquished attention of the international community and the implications of its tensions with Chad, let alone the expected cunning exploitation of the African Union Summit, in case it takes place in Khartoum, as an opportune atmosphere to impose its military and security solution, leading to a recurrence of the tragedy over again.
African mediation process will also need to be revitalized and reactivated, reinforced and reoriented.
We, on our part, hereby reaffirm our commitments and abidance by all the agreements to which we are signatories, and shall remain persistent partners in the peacemaking and peace-implementing processes.
With our kindest regards.
Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) & Sudanese
Justice & Equality Movement (JEM)
January 12, 2006