Friday, May 05, 2006

Darfur peace accord

A couple of days ago I put up a board on Darfur.

Hopefully the question of what to do about the genocide will become moot, but we will see if today's good news really means anything or if this breaks down.

Sudan government and rebels sign peace deal.

ABUJA, May 5 (Reuters) - The government of Sudan and the main Darfur rebel faction signed a peace agreement on Friday to end three years of fighting that has killed tens of thousands of people and forced 2 million to flee their homes.

Majzoub al-Khalifa, head of the government's negotiating team, and rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) faction leader Minni Arcua Minnawi signed the agreement in the Nigerian capital Abuja after days of intense negotiations and international pressure.

However, this must be taken cautiously:

"Unless the right spirit is there, the right attitude, this document will not be worth the paper it's written on. The spirit that led to the signing should continue to guide the implementation," [Nigerian President] Obasanjo added.

Both the government and the SLA faction said they were signing the document despite reservations over power sharing and security in order to end the suffering in Darfur.

Aid organisations say the conflict has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

But it was unclear whether the agreement, signed after two years of African Union-mediated talks, will translate into peace on the ground in Darfur.

And there are a couple of rival rebel leaders who have not accepted the agreement.

We will also see whether the government keeps its word, in particular to reign in the jinjaweed, gangs of raiders friendly towards the government who have murdered, raped and plundered across the region. It is no secret that many of the slaves who are bought and sold daily in arab countries and who work in arab households were captured in southern Sudan (including in Darfur) by these raiders and then sold into slavery.

What this means is that the world cannot forget Darfur. There is still a huge need for emergency medicines and food, and just because the main rebel force is no longer fighting the government does not mean that there won't still be fighting going on in the region.

What is does mean is that the world should give them a serious chance to make it work. Then, if it fails, the world will have a much stronger case to make for some sort of intervention (although I still consider that the best intervention that the world would make would be to arm people who have been targetted for genocide or 'ethnic cleansing.' And yeah, I know you guys jumped all over me for suggesting this the other day, but I still think it is the best, and at the same time cheapest and least risky short term fix to genocide that I can think of. I still consider that we are better off if we can do it without putting in U.S. troops.


Anonymous said...

I hope that this will end this horrible horrible situation...

Karen said...

Keeping my {fingers crossed}.