As the Darfur conflict in the west of Sudan gains international attention, the efforts to resolve it is threatening the fragile peace in the South of the country.
South Sudan has a government just one and half years old, formed following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in Nairobi on 9th January 2005. The peace agreement brought to an end one of Africa's longest conflicts, that pitted the north against the south. Slowly life is getting back to normal, as landmines are cleared, refugees return home and international agencies work round the clock to provide services such as health.
The Government of National Unity (GONU), formed between the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP) is struggling along. Although there are problems with the implementation of the CPA , GONU has survived so far. All bodies want to see that the peace is maintained and no going back to conflict.
However, another conflict far away in the west (relative to South Sudan) is threatening the little gains of the peace and autonomy in the South. The issue is whether the government should allow the UN to take over from the AU. The NCP insists that the intended UN mission is a breach of its Sovereignity. The position of the SPLM on this issue is quiet different, to say the least. SPLM is for intervention by the UN in Darfur to stop the death and destruction going on.
The NCP dominated government and their SPLM colleagues are on a collision course. Recent utterances by senior NCP officials like Ibrahim A. Omer does not seem peaceful at all. Saying that if the SPLM support the deployment of UN troops in the country, the NCP will cancel the CPA (i.e. the CPA will cease to exist) is naive, if not utterly rediculous.
This is not a simple statement. It represents the thoughts of the NCP high command. They seem to think the CPA is an SPLM document which can be pushed under the carpet anytime. The NCP wants to threaten the SPLM, a partner to the government with lame threats of jettisoning the CPA. I believe it is an irresponsible remark and should not be left unchallenged.
The CPA had the gurantees at the UN Security Council. It is not that easy to undo an agreement, like what Numeri did to the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972. This is 2006. It will be the worst mistake that the NCP will make. What will become of the heavily armed SPLA soldiers present in Khartoum today? Do you think they will just surrender their weapons? Khartoum can become another Mogadishu or Bagdad.
Darfur is another matter and must be handled separately from South Sudan. Tampering with the CPA is not a good idea and will bring more disaster than Darfur is already causing.