DARFUR IN PERSPECTIVE
By Professor David Hoile
Published by The European - Sudanese Public Affairs Council
SUDAN GOVERNMENT VISION FOR A PEACEFULSOLUTION IN DARFUR
[Published by the Government of Sudan, Khartoum, December 2004]
1 The root causes of Darfur conflict are traced back to the competition between
different groups of people over scarce natural and economic resources, such as water
sources, pasture and arable and residential Land, in a society that, despite its religious
harmony, is known for its tribal and linguistic diversity, in addition to the cross-border
tribal ties with the neighbouring countries. As a result of the remoteness of the region
which also lacks necessary infra-structure, coupled with the meagre resources and the
lack of the international aid, the presence of law and security enforcement authorities in
Darfur has been very weak. Therefore, in some parts of Darfur, traditional institutions,
like the tribes, clans and armed groups enjoy people's loyalty and command greater
influence than the state
2 In addition to the aforementioned reasons there have been other factors that
have added to the complexity of the situation in Darfur, these are:
a- The war in South of the Sudan that has lasted for more than twenty years. This
war has wasted huge financial resources that could have been spent in developing the
least developed regions of the Sudan, including Darfur. It has also contributed to the
spread of culture of violence and incited some individuals and groups to believe that
achieving their political objectives would be easier by raising arms against the state b- The armed conflicts in some of the neighbouring countries at different times
led a number of armed groups to seek refuge in Darfur, some of them have their tribal
extensions in the regions. This led to the spread of arms, given the long and not easy to
monitor common borders
c- An economic embargo that has been imposed on Sudan throughout the 1990s
including the freezing of the country's legitimate rights in Lome and Cotonou
Agreements As a result of this embargo which limited the state ability to execute social
and economic developmental projects, the economic situation and living conditions in
Sudan especially in the least developed regions, worsened. It should be noted, however,
that most of the funds allocated to Sudan under, Lome Agreement, has been used in
developmental projects in Darfur and other regions with similar conditions.
3 All these factors produced social and political congestions in some parts of
Darfur. Different armed groups have emerged, some of them are organised robbery
bandits, some are tribal militia for self-defence, and, of late, the anti-government armed
groups came into being.
4 The Sudan Government acknowledges that there have been historical,
objective domestic and external factors that made Darfur one of the least developed
regions in Sudan. It also understands and shares the aspirations of Darfur people for
economic and social development and equitable political participation. However, it must
be made clear that raising arms against the state is not the appropriate method to achieve
these legitimate ends. The Sudan Government reiterates that achieving sustainable and
balanced development in all regions of the Sudan, and finding a political formula that
secures equitable power sharing by its people have been on the top of its agenda. This
has been manifested in the Naivasha Protocols that would lead to just and
comprehensive peace agreement.
5 In recognition of this reality, the National Salvation Revolution has exerted
considerable efforts in different fields of development and essential services in Darfur,
including education, health, water supply, roads and airports, security and justice, The
Government, however, admits that more efforts are still needed, given Darfur's vast area
and the fact that the population is scattered throughout the region.
Principles of Peaceful Solution:
a The Government of the Sudan calls for adoption of the following principles to resolve Darfur problem. * Federal System of government which is the best for the Sudan. * Acknowledging cultural and social diversity in the Sudan and considering it a
support to the national unity.
* The equitable distributions of national wealth as a means to achieve the
sustainable and balanced development of the whole country.
* Power devolution in appropriate way between different levels of government.
* Peaceful and democratic rotation of power and free political competition.
The Government of Sudan views the agreed- upon agenda in Abuja talks
under the AU auspices, namely: Humanitarian, Political, Security, Economic and Social
affairs, respectively, as integral agenda that could lead to the resolution of Darfur
The positions of the Government of the Sudan on these agenda can be summed up as
1 Humanitarian Affairs
To further enhance the internationally recognized progress and improvement in the
humanitarian affairs, the Government believes that the agreed-upon protocol on the
matter has covered all humanitarian aspects, and that it should be signed immediately to
come into force. The Government of the Sudan reiterates its full commitment to
implement this protocol to save the lives of its people who are affected by the conflict. It
calls on the rebel movements in Darfur to sign and implement the protocol .
2 Security Affairs
The Government asserts that the responsibility of protecting civilians is an essential part
of its duties that it spares no effort to fulfil. Addressing the question of security should
take place in accordance with the Ndjamena Cease-Fire Agreement on 8th April 2004
and the AU Resolutions of 8th July 2004 in Addis Ababa. Had the rebels accepted a
negotiated settlement to the problem and committed themselves to the signed
agreements, the situation in Darfur would not have reached the current level. One of the
major hindrances of improving the security situation is the failure of rebels to abide by
the cease-fire agreement and their refusal to have their forces in specified areas as
stipulated in Ndjamena Agreement and the AU resolutions. The Government has agreed
to increase the African Union's monitors and their protection forces. This move is aimed
at consolidating the cease-fire monitoring, helping confidence building and enhancing
tranquillity in the camps of internally displaced persons and refugees to facilitate their
voluntary return to their homes. At the same time, the rebel forces must be cantoned to
protect them and to control their arms (see the appendix on security affairs)
3 Political Aspect
The Government's option is that the political aspect of Darfur problem is to be dealt with
in the context of the federal system of government for all states in Northern Sudan and
according to Naivasha Agreement, in particular the articles that cover the status of
Northern states. This agreement provides for holding multi-party elections at federal and
state level including the direct election of state governors and legislative assemblies. It is
the government's conviction that political solution to Darfur question should be based on
a settlement accepted by all parties and supported by the people, provided that it should
maintain the Sudan unity and ensure the widest popular participation on the basis of
equality between all citizens.
The Government further believes that implementing and consolidating the federal
system of government in the Northern states provides a real solution to the conflict in
Darfur as it would ensure that:
* States shall have their own constitutions that do not contravene with the
* Elected State Governors.
* Elected Legislative Assemblies.
In the Government view, this solution would guarantee the Sudan unity and stability
while enabling people of Darfur to run their own affairs in a direct and democratic
manner beside enhancing their proactive participation in the government, administration,
economy and all other public affairs.
Success of political solution in Darfur requires the full commitment and respect by the
rebel to the cease-fire agreements, and they must also refrain from obstructing
humanitarian activities for the sake of creating a conducive atmosphere for successfully
peaceful settlement. Towards this end, political solution is to take place at two levels:
First level agreement between the Government and the two rebel movements on the
above-mentioned fundamental principles
Second level A dialogue between the Government and people of Darfur as represented
by their political, social, and tribal leaders beside armed groups, in the presence of
representatives of Sudanese political powers, the AU, UN, Arab League, OIC, as
monitors. The issues this conference will discuss include:
a- Issues of native, local, executive and political administration in Darfur within
the federal framework
b- Issues of development and public service in Darfur.
c- Suitable formula of the region's participation in the central institutions.
Economic and Social Aspects:
The Government of the Sudan recognizes that Sudanese citizen deserves an equitable
share from the country's wealth and resources. The Government is keen on equitable
distribution of wealth according to the following principles:
First The aim of distribution of national wealth and resources is to attain decent
living conditions for every and each citizen regardless of his/her gender, ethnicity,
religion or political affiliation
Second Each level of Government, federal state or local should be given enough resources that would enable it to fulfil its responsibilities
Third All states and regions should get their equitable share of development to
enable them reach a level that provides basic services and social development to have all
states be on a par with the average standard.
Fourth Special resources are to be allocated to regions affected by war and conflicts
or those with meagre resources and economic backwardness with a view of providing
them with developmental services and infra-structure to attain the desired growth. The
Government views Naivasha Protocol on wealth sharing from this perspective. This
protocol provides for the following:
1- The right of states to issue their own legislation, collect and utilize their
resources including taxation.
2- Setting up of a fund for the national resources (non-state resources
3- Setting up of a national council for the distribution of resources between the
federal Government and the states. The states will be represented in this council by their
Ministers of Finance. This council has the right to monitor payment of the state's dues
from the national resources.
4- Setting up a fund for development and rehabilitation of the war-affected areas
including Darfur. To overcome the aftermath of war in Darfur, he international
community is required to contribute effectively in the development and rehabilitation
The following issues should be addressed:
1 Sewing up the social fabric through attaining reconciliation between different
tribes and mending damages in keeping with heritage and traditions of the people of
2 Holding a conference for Darfur tribal leaders to discuss the basis for peaceful
co-existence and the requirements of social security and resolving conflicts over
resources and land.
3 Holding inclusive conference on Darfur to endorse the resolutions of the tribal
leaders conference, referred to above, to pave the way for reconciliation and mending
the social fabric in Darfur.
4 In view of the root causes of the problem and its social and cultural
dimensions, the Government believes that there is a need to create a commission for
land to resolve disputes linked to tribal ancestral holdings, movement and routes of
nomads and regulating land use and development.