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2). It is clear that the United States looks on this pathetic situation as a place that needs assistance, and the U.S. has provided aid off and on to Sudan through the years of its independence. It may be, Lewis writes, that the U.S. actually did not intervene in any way in the carnage in Darfur until massive international publicity forced America's hand. The 22-year civil war that claimed 2 million lives and "displaced 4 million people" ended in 2005, Lewis explains, but was "scarcely noticed in the West" (Lewis, p. 1).
What has been the U.S. role in the peace accords and Security Council Resolutions?
The U.S. has had its hand in numerous attempts to end the Darfur and Sudan tragedies. Prior to 2005, the year in which the UN Security Council -- along with Sudan and other cooperating nations -- put together the "Comprehensive Peace Agreement" (CPA) the U.S. is given credit for leading the path to a peaceful settlement, according to Kelly Machinchick, writing in the Archive of America.gov. "The U.S. has acted as the key facilitator in keeping the peace process on track," Machinchick explains. In July, 2002, the main adversaries in the "brutal 20-year civil war" took the first steps toward a resolution of the conflict, Machinchick writes, and it was the United States that was "integral" in the "push for an end to the fighting that has claimed over two million lives and destabilized the northeastern region of Africa" (Machinchick, p. 1).
The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has created a "Sudan Peace Forum" (SPF) to keep a close eye on developments in Darfur; the USIP released a statement in 2003 that applauds the U.S. diplomacy, asserting that the U.S. "…has been an important force for cohesion, binding the numerous international actors and the Sudanese parties together" (Machinchick, p. 1). The compromises that have been hammered out relative to the sharing of oil revenue and potential self-determination of the South "would not have been impossible without U.S. engagement throughout the negotiating process," Machinchick's article concluded.
While that report rings with positive pronouncements and plaudits for the United States, it should be remembered that the America.gov (Archive) is a component of the U.S. Department of State, and of course State putting the best foot forward as far as America's accountability vis-a-vis Darfur and Sudan in general. The 2003 report from USIP, and the various announcements and resolutions that the U.S. (and its allies) put forward did not stop the wanton murder of tens of thousands of innocent villagers and others in Darfur. Diplomacy in this horrific matter is always important, but all the august remarks and high-toned rhetoric in the halls of Congress, the United Nations, the Department of State in Washington -- and in the executive branch of government itself -- has not brought an end to the hostilities and blood-letting in Darfur.
In a 2004 Press Release the UN Security Council announced that it has passed Resolution 1556
The U.S. has indeed been deeply involved in the various United Nations Security Council resolutions, although American abstained from voting in the Security Council on Resolution 1593. This was a Resolution in which the UN was turning over to the International Criminal Court the responsibility for prosecuting those accused of the continuing brutal slaughter and other wrongdoing in Sudan. The Resolution recognized the violations of "international humanitarian law and human right in Darfur" and understands that genocide (although it doesn't use that word) has been going on since July 1, 2002 and hence, the Court may be able to conduct "proceedings in the region, which would contribute to regional efforts in the fight against impunity" (Security Council, Resolution 1593, Press Release, 2005).
Why did the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Anne Woods Patterson, abstain from voting on this Resolution in 2005? She said after the vote that while the U.S. supports bringing those responsible for "the crimes and atrocities that had occurred in Darfur" to justice, and ending the "climate of impunity" in Darfur and Sudan, the U.S. opposes the view that the International Court should be the agency to "exercise jurisdiction over the nationals, including government officials" in Sudan (Security Council Press Release, March 31, 2005).
That having been said, Patterson added that a better mechanism needed to be devised to bring those responsible for the carnage in Darfur to justice. She also was pleased that "none of the expenses incurred in connection with the referral would be borne by the United Nations," the Press Release stressed. And showing the clout of the United States in this matter, Patterson went on to assert that if there was any effort "to retrench" on the principle that the UN not be held liable for expenses (in the actions taken by the Court), by the UN or "other organizations to which the United States contributed, could result in [the U.S.] withholding funding or taking other action in response" (Security Council Press Release, 2005).
Again displaying the power that the United States wields in this (or any similar) situation, Patterson -- even while abstaining from the vote on Resolution 1593 -- was able to push for a provision to be written into the Resolution that basically protects any U.S. citizen that happened to be "supporting operations in the Sudan" from any kind of investigation or prosecution. "That did not mean there would be immunity for American citizen that acted in violation of the law," the Press Release declared. However, if Americans in any way were accused of wrongdoing in Darfur or Sudan per se, the U.S. would "discipline its own people when appropriate" (Security Council Press Release, 2005). In other words, if an American acted in an improper way regarding possible sexual advances on civilians or cooperated with those committing the atrocities, he or she would not be prosecuted under the International Court as any one else in Sudan would be prosecuted. He or she would be disciplined under gentler guidelines.
Meanwhile the negotiations relative to Abyei, Sudan (located at the as yet undeclared official Sudanese border between South and North) -- with the U.S. In full participation -- were carried out in November, 2010, in an attempt to have the two parties reach an agreement on "oil-sharing arrangements, and border disputes, among other issues," according to a report in the Enough Project. The United States is involved in that discussion, and America is working "to push the two parties toward a grand bargain," the article explains. "High-level US. engagement continues," the article goes on, with "President Obama recently calling Mbeki" (the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel Chair, Thabo Mbeki) "to discuss negotiations in Sudan."
Moreover, the U.S. involvement in November, 2010, included P.J. Crowley, the U.S. State Department's special envoy to the negotiation. Crowley has joined the talks with Mbeki and Sudanese government officials, Enough Project reports. And a U.S. proposal at that time was under consideration by both parties -- and that is that the Southern Ruling Part "would be open to annexing Abyei to the South through a presidential decree rather than a vote" Enough Project continues.
How deeply involved is the U.S. In the negotiations for peace in the Sudan?
Another U.S. Special Envoy, Gration, has told the negotiator in Sudan that what really matters to the United States is "protection of the rights of northerners and southerners in both regions," as well as a "path to citizenship" for all citizens. The Obama Administration has "grave concerns" about the citizenship issue, and hopes that it will be given consideration in any and all contingency plans (Enough Project). The role of the U.S. In those November negotiations "cannot be understated," the writer explains, as it is "widely understood" among international officials and the Sudanese that a northern agreement on any new deal "…is contingent on the right incentives from the Obama Administration" (Enough Project).
The U.S. State Department fact sheet alluded to by Enough Project offers incentives for fulfilling "two key principles" in any brokered deal beyond the UN's existing 2005 agreement; those principles are: a) "additional U.S. trade and investment in Sudan in non-oil sectors"; and b) an exchange of ambassadors. Obama has renewed economic sanctions and that signals that "the right benchmarks are met," and that the administration will not change its relations with the Khartoum regime, Enough Project reports (p. 3).
The fact that the United States has stayed focused like a laser on the political, military and human rights aspects of Sudan and Darfur, is not lost in the literature. While there is not a lot of material reflecting step-by-step the American pressure placed on the United Nations, there are ample materials available to demonstrate America's commitment and concern in this area of the world. And moreover, when Secretary of State Colin Powell testifies in front of U.S. Congress and the United Nations that "genocide has been committed… and genocide may still be occurring…" (Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2004), that is putting…[continue]
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