South Sudan Latest Peace Agreement
If the Juba peace agreement is properly implemented, the Juba Peace Agreement is an important first step towards creating a “new Sudan” based on peace, equal citizenship and social justice. The main test of whether Sudan can finally reverse the trend is whether signatory movements and other revolutionary forces can unite to give the victims of the Sudanese conflicts the peace dividend and support inclusion instead of tribalism and narrow political affiliation; If the remaining armed movements are ready to enter into serious negotiations for a comprehensive peace; and if Sudan now receives the support and attention it deserves from the international community. Of course, Sudan has already gone too far to pass up this historic opportunity. At a briefing late last month, a senior U.S. official said he was cautiously optimistic that the latest agreement might have a better chance of working than previous ones. “One of the signs that this is different from before, there are assertions from all parties that it is different this time, allegations that need to be examined and observed very carefully,” the official said. When South Sudan gained independence in 2011, it was heralded as an important U.S. diplomatic achievement. The East African Nation was created by the governments of President George W. Bush and Barack Obama and supported by a coalition of senior activists and conservative Christian legislators in Congress. (South Sudan`s decades of struggle for independence have often been seen from the outside as a struggle of the predominantly Christian South against an Islamist extremist government in Khartoum.) Sudan`s interim government has signed a much-anticipated peace agreement with a coalition of armed groups.
The deal raises hopes of ending decades of civil war – but not all rebel groups are on board. Achieving a comprehensive peace also means attracting other armed movements, particularly those led by Abdel Aziz Al Hilu and Abdel Wahid Al Nur, both of which have large areas, troops and support (in both areas and Darfur respectively). Negotiations in Juba with Abdel Aziz stalled because of his demands for a secular state or, if not, the right to self-determination, but he agreed with Prime Minister Hamdok on the way forward.