Posted by Kuku on 11:32 AM
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Recently, the Sudanese Government held a conference called The Sudan People's Initiative, under the banner of solving the Darfur conflict -- from Sudanese by Sudanese. 


The resulting document had several recommendations, most important of which was the a unilateral ceasefire agreement declared by Al-Bashir. To the untrained eye, this might have seemed to be a miraculous development in the conflict. However, it was immediately and almost unanimously dismissed by most stakeholders, including the myriad of rebel groups roaming inside and outside of Darfur. Nevertheless, there were some who saw it as an opportunity (or "A flicker of hope" as Alex de Waal put it) for some serious progress. 

Personally, I was very torn between the two camps. I wanted this so called initiative to be a true turning point. But if the past actions of the Khartoum government can tell us anything, it is that they will dishonor any agreement they sign. From the lack of implementation of the CPA to the non-implementation of the DPA and the peace agreement in the East and the infinite number of agreements signed before the CPA, this government has proven to be completely unreliable. 

The only reason this whole initiative was actually conducted and held was because of the ICC indictment against Al-Bashir. I was in Khartoum when the actual arrest warrant was submitted to the ICC. The UN went into complete crisis mode, requiring all non-essential staff to exit the country, expecting a severe and violent backlash from the government. However, that didn't happen. The government took the tactful route and tried to engage the ICC in a diplomatic manner. They pretended to, all of a sudden, genuinely care about the issues facing Darfur and the country as a whole. This reaction was a cause for cautious optimism. 

Initially, I was personally against the first indictment against a sitting head of state. I believed that it would only result in further isolating the government and retarding the peace process. But in retrospect, it seems that this indictment was the real catalyst for tangible action by Khartoum, including this People's Initiative. They wanted (and are in continual pursuit of) a deferral of the indictment. This is seemingly an impossibility as time passes. 

 The NCP has only proven that the only thing they care about is their own existence and absolutely nothing about the country they have monopolized. So I say, if it takes an arrest warrant and the further isolation of the government for more serious action, so be it.