Despite the political agreement, it did not result in any sustainable resolution due to the fact that while the Sudan People's Liberation Army endorsed the provisions with a clear focus on the self-determination solution, the regime in Khartoum underlined the importance of the unity of the country and the preeminence of the Shari a as the national reference law. Consequently, the peace talks reached a stalemate.
The international community became more actively involved in the negotiations underway in Sudan. In this sense, the involvement of the U.S. is most relevant. The Clinton Administration in particular imposed economic and political sanctions on the regime in Khartoum given the fact that it was the Sudanese state that constantly refused to accept negotiations with its counterparts. Countries in the region as well got involved in the process and supported the ongoing talks through the Intergovernmental Authority for Development. This structure included states such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, and Kenya. Nonetheless, there were large disagreements over the drawing up of the actual meaning of the notion of self-determination, of the duration of the period until a referendum could be set up, or even over the delimitation of South Sudan. (Drumtra, 1998)
Peace talks resumed at the highest level through the Machakos Protocol in 2002. Agreed upon by the Sudanese government on the one hand and the SPLM/a on the other, the document stated the cultural and social identity of the South of Sudan, as well as its right to self-determination. Also, a pre-interim period of six months would be enacted to ensure the creation of institutions that would support a cease fire as well as the proper representation of all the forces involved in the conflict. Following this period, an interim period of six years would allow authorities to consider whether a united Sudan or a secessionist South would be the solution for reaching a peaceful end to the conflict. (Machakos Protocol, 2002) in relation to the law that would govern Sudan, this would be the Shari an except for the region of the South which "shall have as its source of legislation popular consensus, the values and the customs of the people of Sudan including their traditions and religious beliefs, having regard to Sudan's diversity." (Machakos protocol, 2002) Indeed, these were important steps taken in the direction of peace, but, at the same time, the most difficult task was the actual implementation and respect of these provisions.
The pressure of the international community as well as the sanctions imposed by all major factors such as the U.S. under the Bush Administration and the European Union forced the Khartoum regime to negotiate further agreements on specific matters that represented sensitive issues in Sudan. In this sense, in 2004 the Agreement on Wealth Sharing and the Protocol on Power Sharing were signed.
The Agreement on Wealth Sharing and the Protocol on Power Sharing touched upon a serious aspect affecting the Sudanese society. There are great disparities between different regions of the country and the political system is designed in such a manner as to enable central control over the resource revenues and their appropriation. In this sense, many feared that a decentralization of the power, especially concerning the Southern part of the country, would weaken the tries made towards an equal development of all regions. Moreover, once Sudan became an oil exporting country, there was the matter of distributing the revenues coming from that trade. In this sense, "wealth-sharing is closely linked to concerns with power-sharing or the division of powers between the central and southern administrations, and is also linked to economic rehabilitation and reconstruction for the entire country, but in particular for the south." (IRIN, 2007) Hence, it was decided that the needs of the respective region would determine the allocation of the funds needed to ensure an equal development of the country. Thus, there would be no discrimination based on "gender, race, religion, political affiliation, ethnicity, language, or region." (Agreement on Wealth Sharing, 2004) These provisions were decided upon in connection with the Power Sharing Protocol, which recognized the decentralization of power in regard to Southern Sudan thus following the guiding principles of the Machakos Protocol.
The actions undergone since 2002 are indeed essential for the eventual resolution of the conflict. Even if there were agreed upon political statements and agreements, the turning point in following the peace process represented the increased political will of all the parties involved to reach a sustainable solution. However, a major part was played by the international community which pressed forward the talks and encouraged discussions between the parties. In this sense, the UN Mission in Sudan established in June 2004 proved an important incentive. Its mandate, as presented by the United Nations was to assist the government in the implementation of the provisions stated in previously signed agreements, to monitor the observation of the ceasefire, as well as to offer a support framework for the cooperation between the parties involved. Moreover, its actions include the insurance of "an adequate human rights presence, capacity, and expertise within UNMIS to carry out human rights promotion, protection, and monitoring activities." One of the most important tasks however is to "contribute towards international efforts to protect and promote human rights in Sudan, as well as to co-ordinate international efforts towards the protection of civilians, with particular attention to vulnerable groups including internally displaced persons, returning refugees, and women and children." (United Nations, 2007)
The role of the United Nations is in this case rather comprehensive. On the one hand, the UNAMIS was set to be in the first instance a political mission, designed to ensure a positive consideration of the peace talks and negotiations. On the other hand however, its mandate also included the possibility of a modification of its mission under the provisions of Chapter VII which included military action in case of need. This can be considered, from the part of the United Nations, to be a modern approach to peace operations, especially in the light of the early 90s failures to restore peace in countries such as Somalia, Rwanda, or Sierra Leone.
The flexibility of the Mission enabled the United Nations to react more promptly to the emerging crisis that represented the Darfur which constitutes one of the gravest humanitarian crises at this time.
The western part of the country has been marked by increased violence in recent years due to the lack of a comprehensive solution to the North South conflict. In this sense, the region was subjected to numerous and constant attacks by the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. In response, the government decided to retaliate and thus maintain the state of conflict in the region. The African Union was given the task of mediating the situation and the Abuja talks from 2004 tried to address the issue. However, the regional organization lacked the appropriate political power and mechanisms to enforce a viable solution to the conflict. (United Nations, 2007) in this sense, the United Nations in the first instance established a joint mission with the AU which was followed by the UNMID that would eventually take over from the African Union. However, it is important to take into account the fact that it is the first time in recent peacekeeping operations that cooperation between a regional and the global organization of the United Nations is seen as a possible solution for ending a conflict.
Despite numerous efforts, the international community failed to stop what world leaders labeled as genocide in Darfur. In subsequent addresses at the United Nations, former State Secretary Colin Powell, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and most importantly President Bush demanded for action to be taken to prevent further deaths in the region. From the opposite point-of-view however, the president of Sudan completely rejected the presence of the UN Mission arguing the total breach of the Sudanese sovereignty. (Council on Foreign Affairs, 2007) From the point-of-view of international law, indeed, there is little the UN can do without the acceptance of the receiving state's agreement. (Russbach, 1994) a similar reason was invoked to justify the non-interventionist attitude in the Rwanda genocide which cost the lives of a million people.
The Darfur crisis however appears to be developing along different lines. Due to the increased international pressure, the Sudanese government agreed to allow UN peacekeepers on its territory and, according to the latest evolutions, the United Nation will deploy by the end of 2007 the largest peacekeeping mission in the world. (Gerson, 2007) Its main goal is to put an end to the mass killings taking place in the region and to create the proper conditions for refugees that fled to neighboring countries to return.
Sudan is currently one of the most important points of attention for the international community. From the perspective of the general peace process, it can be said that progress has been made in all areas. The…