January 14, 2005
SUDAN PEACE AGREEMENT: PACT SPURS 'CAUTIOUS' OPTIMISM
** Peace agreement offers "ray of hope" but has "potential pitfalls."
** Implementation of peace accord "hindered" by unrest in Darfur.
** Dailies term international pressure on Khartoum neccessary to keep peace pact "on track."
** African press assert accord may lend "new credibility" to AU.
A 'guardedly optimistic' future-- Global media attributed the successful conclusion of peace talks between Khartoum and rebels in Sudan's south to the realization that the conflict "did not lead to anything but misery." While some commentators believed the new peace agreement "creates reason for hope," many others felt it was "full of potential pitfalls." A centrist European paper pointed out that "as much as the cease-fire agreement creates hopes...doubts remain whether peace between...north and...south will not result in the division of the country." With the failure of previous peace pacts in mind, many analysts remain convinced the transition will be "a long journey."
'Darfur unrest hinders Nairobi agreement'-- A German editorialist spoke for many in stating, "we can speak of a real breakthrough only if the civil war in the Darfur province has also come to an end." Most papers agreed there will be "no peace in Sudan" until "the entire country has been pacified." Though writers said the continued "brutality" of the Khartoum-sponsored militia in Darfur may delay the successful implementation of the Nairobi peace agreement, Canada's nationalist Ottawa Citizen suggested that "if the agreement holds," it could still "open the way for peace in Darfur and create a model for successful peace talks" in the western region.
'The world must be willing to take action'-- Critics remained leery of the government's ability to stick to the accord and editorialists contended that only increased international pressure can assure that the regime does so. The liberal, English-language Japan Times opined, "The Khartoum government's casual approach to its obligations in the past has increased suspicions and underscored the need for international monitors and regional involvement in the implementation of the agreement."
Implementation of peace agreement promises AU 'boost'-- Dailies had mixed opinions of the AU's role in reaching the agreement between north and south. A handful of papers believed the AU had been "deeply involved" from a safe distance so as "not to be partisan," but most critics insisted the AU was "hardly involved" in the process. South Africa's liberal Cape Times argued "the AU has been inclined to be soft on Sudan's government, defending it from Western pressure." "If the Nairobi deal is to work," the paper added, "the AU will have to be tougher...ensuring Khartoum sticks to the agreement." Tanzania's moderate Mtanzania expressed the hope that the Nairobi pact could be a "catalyst for solving the conflicts in Africa."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, email@example.com
EDITOR: Kimberly D. Smith
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 45 reports from 24 countries January 8-13, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
SUDAN: "The Final Peace Pact"
Independent Al-Sahafa reported (1/10): "This big gathering of world leaders, foreign ministers, ministers and representatives of international, regional organizations and governments, as well as such an unprecedented congregation, which came to witness [the signing of peace pact] indeed confirms what the entire world expects from us after the signing of the peace pact."
"Peace Means Nothing Unless It Paves The Way For Unity"
Idriss Hasan concluded in pro-government Al-Ra'y Al-Am (1/8): "The peace which we have achieved and which we will now celebrate will mean nothing unless it paves the way for unity."
"Human Rights In The Peace Agreement"
Independent Al Ayyam commented (1/8): "The next constitution should clearly stipulate the issue of human rights. Civil society organizations should create awareness about these rights. At the same time, laws and by-laws should incorporate these rights. This is the task of all human rights' activists at this stage. We urge them to continuously work towards creating awareness among the people, and mobilizing them so that these rights can be included in the next laws and by-laws."
SOUTH AFRICA: "Now for Darfur"
The liberal Cape Times held (1/11): “Sudanese people danced with joy on Sunday.... On paper it is a deal worth dancing over. But implementing it will be a different story. And so will extending peace to Sudan’s Western Darfur region...not covered by the Nairobi agreement.... Darfurians understandably felt left out.... Khartoum really needs to address these legitimate concerns of Darfur by negotiating a similar deal with them.... The African Union had little to do with the Nairobi deal. It is however supervising peace talks between Khartoum and Darfur, which have gone nowhere. The AU has been inclined to be soft on Sudan's government, defending it from Western pressure. If the Nairobi deal is to work and extend to the rest of Sudan, the AU will have to be tougher and more vigilant in ensuring Khartoum sticks to the letter and spirit of the agreement.”
KENYA: "After The War, Sudan Must Survive Peace"
The independent pro-business Standard editorialized (1/10): “The presence of African, European and American dignitaries at yesterday's historic occasion in Nairobi attests to this and drives home their desire to see peace in Sudan. And the handsome amounts of money that the international community has pledged to establishing a peaceful, unified and democratic Sudan also drives the point home. But, ultimately, it is the people of the Sudan, the leaders in Khartoum and their counterparts in the SPLM/A who must implement the peace protocols which they have agreed. That is why it was wisely and fittingly observed yesterday that peace does not come with signatures, but with implementation of what the signatures are about.”
"Let Peace Be In Sudan"
Investigative, sometimes sensational People opined (1/10): “At one point, it appeared as though ending the war in the south would fail because of the eruption of another conflict in Sudan, this time in the western Darfur region. But, the government in Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army, or SPLA, stayed the course. Long-standing religious and ethnic differences create the backdrop against which Sudan must be rebuilt. With a new dawn, it is now incumbent upon the former combatants, the Khartoum government and SPLM to work hand in hand to put in place infrastructure that will help consolidate the peace”
"Herein Lies Sudan’s Last Chance For Lasting Peace"
KANU-party owned Kenya Times judged (1/10): “Implementation requires money from the international community to reconstruct, to demine and rebuild, repatriate refugees, etc. To the extent that pledged money is not forthcoming, the implementation programmer will inevitably be delayed creating fertile grounds for the emergence of tensions. It is obvious that Sudan will fall into pieces if this treaty is not implemented to the letter. Here is Sudan’s last chance for peace as a nation united in its diversities. The implementation of all the protocols including power and wealth sharing, political arrangements, cease-fire and security, holds the key to the resolution of the crisis in Darfur and Sudan’s east.”
"Sudan, Somalia Peace A Blessing For Kenya Too"
L. Muthoni Wanyeki wrote in the intellectual, regional weekly The East African (1/10): “However, because the concerns of the two rebel movements in Darfur are similar to those of the southern Sudan--having to do with government resistance to claims for greater autonomy, power and resource sharing--the Sudanese peace deal may provide a model for a resolution in Darfur. And so, we have every right to be optimistic as well.”
"Sudan Peace Is Gift To Us All"
The independent, left-of-center Nation editorialized (Internet version, 1/10): "The Sudan war was one of the longest armed conflicts on the continent, and one that was deeply divisive.... We should never forget the toll and horrors of the war in the southern Sudan. The world is entitled to remain angry that about two million had to die, and four million had to be displaced, as a direct result of the war. And we also believe that the Khartoum government should be punished for persisting in its destructive ways in the western Darfur region.... Yet the moment calls for perspective. The time of big ideas and grand visions in Africa ran from the late 1950s as the continent entered the independence period, up to the end of the 1970s. The one idea from that period that endures was the philosophy of pan-Africanism--the idea that Africans were one people, despite differences of 'race' (Arab, black Africa), religion, culture, or country because they had been made one whole by a shared history of slavery, colonialism, and their common marginalization in the global system. Africans discovered that they could only overcome their overwhelming disadvantages through harnessing their energies, and keeping their borders open to African peoples at home and in the Diaspora. Because of that grand idea, the leaders of the time argued that it was a waste of human capital and financial resources to fight over borders, and tribal and other cultural differences because they all flowed from the same source. The Sudan conflict was different because it divided the country and Africa at very many levels. To some, it was a war between Arabs and non-Arabs. To others it was a fight between Islam and Christianity. Yet to others, it was a conflict over the vast oil and other natural resources in the south, which the northern elite wanted to exploit alone. Therefore in one sense, the peace deal reaffirms the validity of an old idea espoused by legendary African leaders like Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah and Egypt's Abdel Nasser--that pan-Africanism and Pan-Arabism aren't in conflict. Secondly, millions of Africans have died in many countries because of the belief that borders are inviolable, and to seek to re-arrange them is treason. Sudan has now opened the door on possibilities that were inconceivable in Africa before, and maybe the future of resolving unrest in many parts of the continent. One of the elements of the settlement is that the south can exercise the option to secede in six years. This is the first time in Africa that a peace settlement has recognized the right to secession.... The Sudan settlement, for example, points the way to Morocco on how to settle the question of the Sahrawi Republic.... Thirdly, the Sudan peace deal tells us that the most emotive issue in many African countries--the sharing of national resources--can also be guaranteed through a political pact.... The biggest beneficiaries of the Sudan peace deal, therefore, could turn out to be the African countries which didn't have to fight to get a similar outcome--if only they read the right message from it. May Sudan, finally, thrive."
"A Great Occasion For Sudan"
The independent, left-of-center Nation commented (Internet version, 1/10): "The Sudan peace agreement...signals a new dawn for the Sudan.... The whole world wants to see peace restored in the Sudan, a potentially rich country with massive natural resources.... The Sudanese have a perfect chance to demonstrate to the international community that their peace pact, which has been painstakingly hammered out, is worth much more that the paper on which it is written. There is hope all round, but especially in Sudan itself that their six-year transitional experiment, which culminates in a referendum to determine whether the south and the north should go their separate ways will work. This calls for total commitment from both sides. Of course, the skeptics expect all to fall apart as the next phase of the implementation of the various protocols begins with the Southern leaders' move to Sudan and the installation of Col. John Garang as the first vice-president of the entire nation and president of the south. Such a failure would be tragic, to say the very least.... Another immediate challenge for the leadership on both sides is to move quickly to end the Darfur blood-letting. But also equally important is for the leadership of the south to ensure the participation in the transitional arrangement of all the various groups and different shades of opinion in their own region. The Sudanese must prove to the world that the peace process has not been in vain. Let all the guns fall silent so that the reconstruction of Sudan can begin in earnest."
"Restructuring Of Sudan Needs Adequate Funding"
Investigative, sometimes sensational People commented (1/8): “It would, thus, be vital that as world leaders troop to Nairobi for the historic signing ceremony, they bear in mind the need to commit themselves to addressing the challenges of a post-war Sudan. Huge amounts of resources, especially financial, will be required to ensure that the return to a peaceful Sudan succeeds. And though Sudan is blessed with huge deposits of mineral and other natural resources such as oil, the potential is unlikely to be achieved unless there is external aid to put in place the necessary infrastructure and to address other challenges such as landmines.”
TANZANIA: "Peace Agreement Should Serve As Catalyst For Solving Other Conflicts In Africa"
Kiswahili-language, independent, moderate tabloid Mtanzania declared (1/10): "Yesterday was an historic day in Africa. What took place has the potential of changing the face of Northeast Africa if it implemented according to plan.... Thousands of people have died during Africa’s longest-lasting conflict, and many more have been maimed or have lost their homes. The economy of Africa’s largest country has been left in shambles. This conflict that has pitted the Arab north against the Black south has for long been an embarrassment for the whole continent of Africa. There is another conflict raging in Sudan--the Darfur conflict, where the Janjaweed, a government supported Arab militia has been terrorizing the black population in the area. We hope that the peace agreement between the south and the north will serve as a catalyst for finding a solution to the Darfur crisis. The lessons for Africa are: oppression of a people always leads to the emergence of conflicts, and long-lasting solutions are better obtained by way of dialogue and not by the use of force. African leaders in countries embroiled in similar conflicts should learn from these positive developments in Sudan. We want to take this opportunity to congratulate all parties that contributed to the success of the peace process. It was a job well done.”
ZIMBABWE: "AU Shouldn't Rest On Laurels Over Sudan"
Harare's independent The Daily News concluded (1/10): "Some will argue that the African Union played only a marginal role in the peace agreement signed by the combatants of the 20-year civil war in Sudan last week. Others will say the AU was deeply involved but was hamstrung by an unwillingness among some of its leaders not to be partisan, either against the African south or the predominantly-Arab regime in Khartoum. The government and the rebel movement led by John Garang have in the past, after previous meetings, promised the world and their own people that they were committed to peace. At the last minute, though, both sides have reneged on their promises and the fighting has continued, with the death toll now at two million.... Some cynics have said there are leaders on both sides who have benefited materially from the blood-letting. The AU must not rest on its laurels because there is still much work to be done.... A war that has raged for 20 years cannot be ended at the stroke of a pen. There has to be honesty and commitment among all the signatories.... For the AU, the practical implementation of a peace agreement could vastly boost its credibility.... A success in Sudan could signal the birth of a new activism among African leaders...[and] the OAU might at last be consigned to the dustbin of history."
BRITAIN: "A Peace To Be Nurtured"
The left-of-center Guardian editorialized (1/11): "This north-south agreement owes a lot to Sudanese exhaustion, but more to post-9/11 U.S. pressure (partly generated by Christian groups which tend to exaggerate the religious dimension of the conflict) on a regime which allowed Osama bin Laden to operate freely in the 1990s. Oil, as ever, was a factor in galvanizing foreign interest. Optimism about the future must remain guarded: 'final' peace accords have often failed in Sudan and elsewhere in Africa."
"An Overdue Peace"
The independent Financial Times editorialized (1/10): "The comprehensive agreement that has been signed in Nairobi to end the war in southern Sudan is no less important for having been so long awaited.... [The] agreement itself is full of potential pitfalls. It is far from clear how successfully local militias can be absorbed into the new security structure, or how the transition can move forward as long as Darfur or other conflicts persist. At best, the deal is only part of the solution for Sudan. But, in a continent just getting to grips with the complex tasks of peacemaking, it provides grounds for hope. What is needed now is funding to back the peace process and sustained effort by the U.S. and Europe, alongside African partners, to ensure that the agreement stays on track."
FRANCE: "Peace Under U.S. Patronage"
Christophe Ayad commented in the left-of-center Liberation (1/11): “It is Colin Powell’s legacy. The peace agreement reached in Sudan is proof that one can bring a rogue state to repent without having to resort to either adventure or war. This is a sort of anti-Iraq, even if there was no common measure between Sudan’s Islamic-pragmatic regime and Saddam Hussein’s regime.... Sudan’s leaders, like Colonel Qadhafi, soon learned that they could be on the receiving end of President Bush’s anti-terrorist crusade and accepted going to the negotiations table set by special envoy John Danforth.... The Sudanese peace agreement will most probably be presented by President Bush as a new victory in his crusade of good against evil.”
GERMANY: "Reconcile And Divide"17
Moritz Schuller opined in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/11): "Now the chances are better that, after the end of a 20-year civil war in southern Sudan, there is also a chance for the settlement of the conflict in the western Sudanese Darfur province.... With the cease-fire in Sudan between John Garang...and the government, a lengthy conflict has now come to an end and the country is now to turn into a different one.... Garang himself wants to support peace efforts in Darfur, and time will tell whether the former rebel leader is the right man for this. But this cannot be enough. International pressure on Khartoum must increase again and it must be welcome that the United States wants to maintain its own sanctions on Sudan until peace dominates in Darfur. And the Europeans could use their relations with China, to the benefit of Darfur. But as much as the cease-fire agreement creates hopes for a further pacification of the country, doubts remain whether peace between the Muslim north and the Christian south will not result in the division of the country.... More decisive is the decision to rescind the decision that led to the outbreak of the civil war two decades ago: the imposition of the Sharia in the south.... The government in Khartoum hopes to have reduced the risk of a secession with this decision, but the same agreement provides for a six-year transition period in which Garang's forces will consolidate their position in the South.... If the south is then to split from the north, it would be the first time that a colonial border would be redrawn in Africa. This would be the breaking of a taboo."
Dietrich Alexander judged in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (1/10): "In this war, the issue was power, economic interests (oil), and religion. The aggressive Muslim north wanted to force the mainly Christian south to accept Islam and subjugate it. But Washington could not allow this to happen. First, because President Bush was under pressure from mainly Christian circles in his own Republican Party...and second, Washington has not forgotten that Sudan was in the 90s the favorite home of Osama bin Laden and other Islamists and therefore is a country that needs international attention in the anti-terror war.... This peace agreement could be lasting because Washington has the appropriate economic policy instruments in its hands, for instance, a relaxation of sanctions if Khartoum behaves well. Rebel leader Garang did his doctorate as an economic expert in the U.S. and visited a military academy in Georgia. He must now show his qualities as statesman. His first test is situated in western Sudan and is called Darfur."
"Darfur Pushed Aside"
Jasper von Altenbockum had this to say in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/10): "In view of the difficulties which the peace agreement between the north and the south in Sudan created, it was right not to link this trouble spot to the problems in Darfur. But skeptics pointed out that it was not Sudanese geography, but the regime in Khartoum that was responsible for the conflicts. It has not turned into a lamb in the south, while it continues to play the wolf in the north.... The government in Khartoum could expect international pressure to intervene in Darfur to mount if it had also blocked peace in the South. In return, the international community 'bought' calm in the South by showing patience in Darfur in the west. The result was that concessions to the SPLM rebels leave no more room for similar demands to the Darfur rebels. The implementation of the peace plan will now depend on international support for the devastated south. And this could be linked to conditions. Hopefully not to the link that no conditions should be set."
"Peace Treaty Without Peace"
Michael Bitalla argued in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/10): "Of course, there is reason for hope.... But even if the agreement is implemented, it will at best be half a step to peace, for the currently worst slaughter, the war in the western Darfur province, did not play a role in the negotiations, even though it is linked to it.... With its brutality, the government in Khartoum is risking further revolts--they already exist in the east and a rebellion is also looming in the north. With the exception of the militia forces from the south, no one profits from the most recent agreement. That is why a comprehensive peace will be possible only if power and wealth is spread over the whole country. The international community should insist on such a restructuring. Otherwise there is the danger that Sudan will sink even further into war."
"A Federal System For Sudan"
Roland Heine had this to say in an editorial in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (1/10): "This is a ray of hope for Africa's largest country.... But no one can currently say whether the agreement will remain intact until 2011 and what will happen afterwards.... But even the rapprochement of the previous parties in the war means an enormous improvement of the standard of living for the people in the civil war areas.... At the same time the signing of the agreement is an important political success for the African Union.... It was South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who worked hard for the agreement. But we can speak of a real breakthrough only if the civil war in the Darfur province has also come to an end. But at the moment, this conflict rather seems to be spreading. But the agreement in southern Sudan at least shows a way on how to resolve conflicts by introducing a federal system. If each region can say: we have power and profit from resources will the people there a secession no longer be decisive."
"Still No Peace In Sudan"
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg argued (1/10): "Since yesterday's peace agreement, the civil war between the north and the south is supposed to have come to an end. But it is everything but certain that the same pattern can be used to extinguish the fire in Darfur. The differences between the two conflicts are possibly greater than the similarities. The war in southern Sudan was a war about religion--and mainly about oil...but in Darfur, oil is not involved in the conflict. Whether international pressure will be as strong as in the case of southern Sudan is doubtful, as is the willingness for compromise of the Sudanese government. The only hope is the participation of the southern Sudanese rebels, who are allies of the Darfur rebels, in the government. But without international assistance, even they will be unable to implement a federal solution for Sudan."
ITALY: "After Signing The Peace, Sudan Is Hopeful"
Giampaolo Cadalanu held in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (1/10): “John Garang and Ali Osman Taha, the rebel leader and Sudan’s Vice President, were sincerely happy during the signing ceremony.... They were trying to show the world that it is possible to put an end to a war after 21 years of carnage. ‘This accord concludes a dark chapter of the history of this country,’ Colin Powell said, adding with slight skepticism ‘...as long as signers respect it.'... However, Sudanese leaders’ hopes could not be shared by all. The word ‘Darfur’ was in the air [without mention].”
AUSTRIA: "Peace With Pitfalls"
Foreign affairs writer Christoph Prantner remarked in independent daily Der Standard (1/10): "Dancing delegates in Nairobi, cheering people in Sudan. After more than 20 years of murdering and pillaging in the south of the largest African country, the agreement between the military junta in Khartoum and the SPLA rebels seems indeed 'inspiring', as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said. However, in spite of the enthusiasm, some reservations are called for, since the treaty the parties agreed upon contains many pitfalls.... For this and other reasons, the peace process depends to an extreme degree on the political actors. And their personal history is not really cause for unbridled hope. The authoritarian rebel boss John Garang--named 'Dinka dictator' on account of having his origins in the Dinka tribe--let many agreements go bust over the past few decades. And Ali Osman Taha, Vice President and strongman of Sudan, is know for having hosted Usama bin Laden, plotted the assassination of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, and built up the marauding Janaweed militia in Darfur with his own intelligence service. In Darfur the treaty could also--against all hope--lead to more escalation instead of normalization. The rebels there have already felt excluded from the peace tells in Kenya. And Garang has shown them that Khartoum can be convinced only by military means."
NORWAY: "Challenges Line Up For Sudan"
The independent Dagbladet commented (1/11): “The process toward peace has been long and full of pitfalls. The process Sudan is starting now will also take time and be filled with tripwires.... The tsunami catastrophe has showed that the global population is more than happy to help victims of a natural disaster. Civil wars in Africa do not awake the same enthusiasm. Rather the opposite. This is why the UN and the aid organizations must get all the support they need to assure the fragile peace. Safeguarding the peace will again guarantee a government of cooperation in Khartoum. And only a government of cooperation in the capital of Sudan can end the manmade catastrophe that kills daily in Darfur.”
"Sudan’s New Hope For Peace"
Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented (1/10): “Now hope has again been raised after both the surrounding world and the involved parties have realized that the conflict did not lead to anything but more misery. After a permanent cease-fire was accepted on New Year’s Eve, the peace agreement might have been viewed as sheer formality. But as an old saying states; the last steps are always the hardest.... One of the largest problems is the newer conflict in Darfur, which is not part of the peace agreement.... The peace agreement in Nairobi shows that it is possible to overcome seemingly unconquerable obstacles. The hope must be that this experience will also be included when we start searching for a solution to the Darfur conflict, and not the opposite: that Darfur hinders the Nairobi-agreement from being carried out.”
POLAND: "Hope For Sudan"
Wojciech Pieciak opined in mainstream Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny (1/12): “Will the war in Sudan, the longest civil war of modern Africa, finally end?... Peace, if it comes at all, will reign only in part of Sudan. Darfur, its western province, is still the ‘heart of darkness.’”
SPAIN: "Peace In Sudan"
Conservative ABC remarked (1/12): "The peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the guerrillas in the southern regions puts an end to more than two decades of war, and opens the door to the possibility of channeling the country on its way to development. Although the religious aspects of the conflict seemed an insurmountable obstacle, the solutions signed last week seem to be stable enough to start working on plans for the future of the country."
"Agreement In Sudan"
Left-of-center El País (1/12): "The peace that started last Sunday, and that still must be consolidated and extended to Darfur, is a rare piece of good news for those who think that dialogue, to share riches and promise not to impose any ideology, is the only way of future."
EGYPT: "Sudanese Final Peace Pact"
Pro-government Al-Gomhuriya opined (1/10): "Our brothers in Sudan yesterday entered a new chapter with the signing of a peace agreement.... Sudan has embarked on a journey of peace and we hope that it will never retrogress."
"Peace Requirements In Sudan"
Pro-government top-circulation Al-Ahram argued (1/8): "A new era will start in Sudan.... This is nothing but the first step of a long journey along a road full of holes and mines."
JORDAN: "The Future Of Sudan In Light Of The Recent Agreement"
Columnist Rana Sabbagh wrote on the op-ed page of independent Arabic daily Al-Ghad (1/10): “After a civil war that lasted 21 years, claiming the lives of 1.5 million people at least and displacing another 4 million, the Sudanese president and the People’s Army leader signed a final peace agreement. The agreement, signed in front of representatives from African countries and the United States, is hoped to put an end to the longest conflict in the African continent. Yet this agreement, like other developments expected to take place in Iraq and Palestine, will be the beginning of many long-term challenges that the Sudanese and those around them will have to deal with if peace, stability and justice are to reign. The issues of human rights and political and economic reform constitute the beginning of those challenges.... Sudan needs to put in place a work plan to meet these challenges while this atmosphere of optimism and hope is still alive.”
OMAN: "Sudanese Historic Peace Pact"
Pro-government Oman held (1/10): "With the signing of the final peace agreement, this Arab country will move into a new bright era and aspirations. It will get time to rebuild and develop as well as time to exploit its natural and human resources to benefit its people."
QATAR: "Historic Peace Pact"
Independent pro-government Al-Watan stated (1/10): "The Sudanese historic peace pact will indeed end one of Africa's longest wars...but this peace agreement did not incorporate another conflict in [Darfur], which is taking a dangerous course.... If at all it's serious in restoring peace and stability in the Sudan, the international community must move fast and seriously to resolve the Darfur conflict. This conflict is threatening to render yesterday's peace pact meaningless."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Soothing Journey Begins"
Independent, pro-government Al-Riyadh remarked (1/10): "Sudan has realized...that peace brings about stability and the construction of a new nation."
"A Successful Implementation"
London-based, pan-Arab Al-Hayat reported (1/10): "It is a 'must' for the parties which signed the peace accord to comprehend their responsibility for its successful implementation."
"A Rare Day In Sudan"
London-based, pan-Arab Al-Sharq al-Awsat (1/10): "Yesterday was a rare day in the history of Sudan after the signing of the peace accord between the government and the SPLM, led by John Garang. This is an agreement to divide the Sudanese cake in a manner which seems acceptable to all the parties."
UAE: "Waiting For The Fruits Of Peace"
Independent, pro-government Al-Bayan noted (1/10): "The brotherly people of Sudan are patiently waiting to harvest the good fruits of peace."
"Historic Turn For The Better In Sudan"
Mohammed A. R. Galadari opined in the expatriate-oriented, English-language Khaleej Times (Internet version, 1/10): "Yesterday will be a memorable day in history, as it marked the end of Africa's longest-running civil war, and opens a new chapter in the relations between the estranged south and the powerful north of Sudan.... The final settlement, signed in neighboring Kenya in the presence of an array of leaders...should hold. The presence of Colin Powell...the Arab League and the African Union...reinforces the strength of the agreement. As Colin Powell puts it, 'This is a promising day for the people only if today's promises are kept'. What is important is that the living conditions of the people should improve. Sudan is blessed with natural resources, long-flowing rivers, and a fertile land. Good governance should make a difference in the lives of the people."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "Global Climate Of Care Must Include Africa"
The liberal Melbourne Age judged (1/12): “Without sustained foreign pressure, this week's accord is also likely to fail. This assessment is based on past failures, the problematic terms of the deal and the dismal record of a regime that seized power in a 1989 coup. It is listed by the U.S. as a sponsor of terrorism, which is linked to a wider problem. Much of Sudan is part of the Horn of Africa's 'ungoverned space' that terrorists are exploiting, the head of the region's U.S.-led anti-terrorist task force warned recently. This demands political action, but everyone can make a difference when it comes to meeting desperate human need. That is the most hopeful lesson of the past two weeks. The test of whether this time truly marks a turning point for the global community confronts us in Sudan. Whether the lives at risk are in Asia or Africa must make no difference: our responsibility to them is the same.”
CHINA: "Sudan Steps Onto Road Of Peace"
Communist Party newspaper Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao) stated (1/10): "This historically significant peace agreement indicates that Sudan's north-south peace process has made significant progress, smoothing the way for the 21-year-long civil war to end.... The emergence of Sudan's overall peace agreement has made Sudan's north-south peace process enter a brand-new stage, and was the correct choice for Sudan's two main political forces to achieve peace in Sudan."
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Don't Forget Darfur Now That Peace Deal Is Signed"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post editorialized (1/10): "The historic peace agreement signed between the government and rebels in Sudan has been eight years in the making. Now, the challenge is to make sure it lasts--and that it helps bring about a solution to the related conflict in Darfur.... The agreement, signed at a lavish ceremony in Nairobi, is complex and ambitious. It provides for power to be shared fairly between the two sides. A new national government is to be formed and the south will enjoy semi-autonomous rule. But the equal division of wealth--created mainly by the nation's oilfields--is just as important. In the past, the south has been deprived of a fair share of the benefits. This has been a key source of grievances and a cause of the conflict.... Another important part of the deal prevents Islamic sharia law from being imposed on the south. This removes another major cause of the conflict.... But there is a danger that the international community will be reluctant to apply much pressure on Sudan to bring peace to Darfur--for fear of disrupting the north-south agreement signed yesterday. That pressure must be maintained."
JAPAN: "Chance For Peace In Sudan"
The liberal, English-language Japan Times reported (1/13): "The government of Sudan and southern rebels signed a peace agreement last weekend. The deal could end one of Africa's longest civil wars. While hopes are high, there are many reasons to be cautious. The history of this conflict is fraught with agreements that have been betrayed. More ominously, fighting continues in the Darfur region of the western part of the country. Sudan is unlikely to know real peace until the entire country has been pacified.... The country's history does not give much reason for confidence. The peace negotiations were long because they broke down several times. The Khartoum government's casual approach to its obligations in the past has increased suspicions and underscored the need for international monitors and regional involvement in the implementation of the agreement.... The peace agreement does not include the rebel parties in the Darfur dispute, whose demands are similar to those of the SPLA. Incredibly, the situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate. It is "incredible" because it is hard to imagine how conditions could get much worse.... All parties--including the Darfur rebels--support the Nairobi peace accord, while acknowledging that continued fighting in Darfur could undermine the deal. Since the southerners understand Darfur's grievances, they are unlikely to support Khartoum's efforts to wage war. If they offer sanctuary--or even refuse to take up arms against the Darfur rebels--then fighting in the south could resume. Since the agreement does not oblige the government or the rebels to disband their militaries, renewed conflict remains a real threat. Fatigue is one reason to be cautiously optimistic. Khartoum and the SPLA negotiated a ceasefire at the end of 2002, and it has largely held. But it may yet be too much to hope that the prospect of rebuilding a shattered nation and bettering the lives of its citizens is incentive enough for the government of Sudan to keep its promises. Khartoum must know that the eyes of the world remain upon it as it implements the agreement it signed Sunday."
CANADA: "First Step Along Sudan's Long Road To Peace"
The nationalist Ottawa Citizen commented (1/11): "Sunday's peace agreement marks a formal end to years of negotiations, and to the conflict that began in 1983 between the Sudanese government and southern rebels. The conflict has been bloody, killing an estimated two million people and displacing at least four million more. But this agreement does not affect a conflict in another part of Sudan, the western region of Darfur. That conflict has (so far) killed about 70,000 people, according to the United Nations. The government's agreement with the southern rebels is no sure thing.... The Sudanese government has shown, and continues to show, that it cannot be trusted to work toward peace in Darfur, so the world will have to hold it to its promises regarding this agreement with the southern fighters. A peacekeeping force will probably be needed to keep the government to the deal, but it might not be sufficient. Still, if the agreement holds, it could open the way for peace in Darfur and create a model for successful peace talks. It could show that peace is possible in Sudan. Without a democratic and peace-loving government in Sudan, hope must be tempered with realism. The world must be willing to take action if Khartoum proves itself dishonest."
"A pact In Sudan"
The leading, centrist Globe and Mail editorialized (1/11): "The peace pact signed Sunday between the Sudanese government and southern rebel forces provides rare good news out of a region that has all too often made headlines because of tragedy, disaster and bloodshed. It is also a reminder that even the most seemingly intractable of political disputes can be resolved through negotiation if the stakes of failure are high enough and if both sides are willing to make the necessary sacrifices. If the deal holds, it will mark the end of the continent's longest-running civil war.... The agreement, achieved after about three years of intermittent negotiations and under considerable pressure from Washington, the United Nations and neighboring African governments, calls for the government and rebels to share power in a six-year transitional government, with national elections required before the end of the fourth year. First, though, they will have to draft a new constitution. The two armies will co-exist, although units will be combined in certain parts of Sudan.... If the deal unfolds as planned, it will pave the way for the massive aid needed to rebuild Sudan's shattered infrastructure and economy. Among other key benefits would be the lifting of U.S. economic sanctions, a resurgence of foreign investment in the vital oil industry, and the fostering of economic ties with Kenya, South Africa and other African countries eager to gain a foothold in the resource-rich country. Many observers doubted they would ever see the day when the autocratic Islamic government would willingly share power or resource wealth with the southerners. The doubters may still prove right, particularly if the crisis in Darfur is allowed to fester and if the hard-liners in Khartoum are able to sabotage the power-sharing. But for all the perils ahead, this peace accord is worth celebrating."
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