The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

August 31, 2023

Los Angeles Times: In Nubia, fears of another Darfur. The tranquil Nubian villages along this Nile River stretch are best known for the brightly painted gates that adorn many of the simple mud-brick homes. With geometric shapes and hieroglyphic-like pictures, the oversized gates hark back to the stone-carved doorways the villagers' ancestors once built on pyramids that rivaled Egypt's. These days, however, the elaborate entryways are shadowed by black flags. Government soldiers patrol once-quiet dirt streets, occasionally drawing stones from angry youths. Protest graffiti mar the walls, including one scrawling of an AK-47 with the simple caption: "Darfur 2." First, southern Sudan erupted in a 20-year civil war, followed by the east and, most recently, the western region of Darfur. Now many fear that Sudan's northern territory of Nubia will be the next to explode over the fight for resources and all-too-familiar accusations of "ethnic cleansing" and complaints of marginalization by an Arab-dominated government. Tensions have been high here since soldiers opened fire on an anti-government protest of 5,000 Nubians in June, killing four young men and wounding nearly two dozen. The government has arrested nearly three dozen Nubian leaders and four journalists who were trying to cover the violence. Now a recently formed rebel group, calling itself the Kush Liberation Front, is advocating armed resistance to overthrow the central government, which it accuses of oppressing Nubians and other indigenous peoples in Sudan. With a separate language and culture, Nubians view themselves as a distinct ethnic group and take pride in being one of Africa's oldest civilizations. Political observers say the budding movement appears to be taking its cue from the rebellions in Darfur and southern Sudan. "That's the lesson of Darfur," said one Western diplomat in Khartoum, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The government will only listen to you when you pick up a gun." Darfur rebels are a potential source of weapons and training for the Kush Liberation Front, observers said. "We have good relations with our brothers in Darfur," said Adem, who is based in London. But he denied receiving support from the western Sudanese rebels.

Reuters: France, Britain Raise Specter Of Sanctions on Darfur. The leaders of France and Britain on Friday revived the specter of sanctions against Khartoum if progress is not made on a Darfur ceasefire and upcoming political talks. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a joint editorial that they would work to deploy by the end of the year a 26,000-strong U.N.-African Union force to replace a struggling AU mission which has failed to stem violence in western Sudan. The joint editorial in The Times in London said sanctions could be used to bring peace to Darfur. "It is the combination of a ceasefire, a peacekeeping force, economic reconstruction and the threat of sanctions that can bring a political solution to the region -- and we will spare no efforts in making this happen," the op-ed said. "We will support all efforts to expedite preparations of the deployment of the AU-UN force ... so that it will be operational by the end of this year," they added. Brown and Sarkozy also urged all rebel groups to attend renewed peace talks due to begin in October. The rebels fractured into more than a dozen factions following an imperfect May 2006 peace deal signed by one of three negotiating factions.

The following op-ed by Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy appeared in today's Times London.

We are pushing and pushing to save the Darfuris

There has been important progress on Darfur in the past two months. In July we agreed on the deployment of a robust UN/African Union (AU) force and the start of peace talks. But the situation remains completely unacceptable. In the coming weeks and months, we commit as leaders to redouble our efforts to make further progress.

At the end of July the UN agreed to our plan. UN Resolution 1769, passed –– for the first time –– unanimously, was the culmination of intense diplomatic activity over the crisis in Darfur. In the next few weeks, one of the largest UN troop deployments –– this time in partnership with the African Union –– will begin arriving in Darfur. Twenty thousand peacekeepers and nearly 4,000 police will contribute to ensuring the security of Darfur’s people –– as well enabling safe delivery of essential supplies of food.

Moreover, on the political front, most of the Darfuri rebel groups met in Tanzania early this month under UN and AU auspices to prepare for political negotiations. They reached agreement on their common demands and said that they would commit to a ceasefire if the Sudanese Government also made the same commitment.

But there is still a gap between the efforts pursued by the international community and the dramatic situation that remains on the ground.

More than two million people have already been displaced, and their numbers continue to grow. Four million people now rely on food aid and other humanitarian assistance. And the fighting continues with aerial bombardment, banditry and skirmishes between groups flourishing in a lawless and insecure environment. The pain of the people of Darfur demands quick and decisive action from the international community.

The important UN Resolution 1769 is not the end but just the starting point of the international efforts that we must mount to stop the killing and to bring peace to this troubled region. The troop deployment is only one stage in the process of bringing peace, and we cannot wait a moment longer for intense international action to secure a ceasefire. That is the reason why we are determined and fully committed to step up our actions over the crisis in Darfur and the region. We intend to mobilise all energies along five directions.

In the coming days, both Rama Yade, the French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, and Lord Malloch-Brown, the British Foreign Office Minister, will visit Sudan, including Darfur. We call on all sides to lay down their arms, to respect a ceasefire without delay and to bring the aerial bombings of civilians to an immediate end.

We will support all efforts to expedite preparations of the deployment of the AU-UN force (UNAMID), authorised by Resolution 1769, so that it will be operational by the end of this year.

But our plans go beyond the ceasefire, which cannot on its own resolve such a complex conflict. We need a political settlement that addresses the root causes of the violence and allows Darfur to participate in national elections in Sudan in 2009. The UN and AU will issue invitations for political talks to start in October. We urge the Government of Sudan and rebel leaders to engage fully and sincerely in this process. And we welcome the role of Sudan’s neighbours in support of UN/AU efforts.

If progress is not made on security, the ceasefire, political process and humanitarian access, we will work together for further sanctions against those who fail to fulfil their commitments, obstruct the political process or continue to violate the ceasefire.

We also believe there is a need to help with economic reconstruction –– to help people to return to their villages and rebuild their livelihoods. As soon as security allows, we will commit resources to grassroots development. When there is political progress, we will work with all parties to meet Sudan’s longer-term development needs.

And we must look beyond Darfur, to the issues affecting Sudan and the region. We want to see faster progress on the comprehensive peace agreement that brought peace between north and south Sudan.

In Chad, hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the conflict in Darfur are living in camps alongside people displaced by internal unrest. We are working intensively with the UN and the EU to ensure better security and greater humanitarian assistance. It is clear that the deployments of two missions to ensure security on both sides of the Chad-Sudan border are the two sides of the same coin.

The causes of conflict in Sudan are deep-rooted: economic, environmental and political. Neither Britain nor France, nor the people of Sudan, can achieve a successful outcome alone. We need cooperation from all parties and engagement from the international community. We welcome the visit to Sudan in the coming days by Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the UN. There will be a AU/UN meeting in New York on September 21 to sustain international initiatives to address the crisis. And France will chair a Security Council meeting four days later at the level of heads of states and governments to rally world leaders to deliver on commitments to peace in Darfur and beyond.

It is the combination of a ceasefire, a peacekeeping force, economic reconstruction and the threat of sanctions that can bring a political solution to the region –– and we will spare no efforts in making this happen.


The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].

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