In the past, the United States' approach to Sudan has been reactive rather than proactive and narrowly focused on emerging crises. The new strategy focuses on reinvigorating the international support that is critical to building peace and security in Sudan. The strategy is the first comprehensive U.S. policy on Sudan that recognizes the links between the Darfur crisis and implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. More importantly, the strategy is based on a policy of "verify, then trust" such that backsliding on CPA implementation or failure by any party to work to resolve the situation in Darfur is met with credible pressure, leveraged by the United States or the international community. These changes, while seemingly simple, are significant and allow us to begin the necessary long-term planning and coordination at all levels of government.
Our history in dealing with the complex challenges in Sudan has taught the importance of:
- A full-time special envoy central to the approach
- An approach that is integrated, comprehensive, and uses all elements of influence to achieve our strategic objectives
- A frank dialogue by the Special Envoy with the Government of Sudan about what needs to be accomplished, how the bilateral relationship can improve if conditions transform, and how the government would become even more isolated if conditions remain the same or worsen. The dialogue must be based on a policy of "verify, then trust"
- Broadening the multilateral coalition actively working to achieve peace in Darfur and the full implementation of the CPA. Backsliding by any party will be met with credible, meaningful disincentives leveraged by Washington and the international community
Sudan is one of the largest and most devastating humanitarian crises of the 21st century: over 2 million people were killed in the decades-long war between north and south and hundreds of thousands died and millions displaced as the result of genocide in Darfur. In addition, it is one of the most important and complex political and security challenges in Africa.
When the administration began the policy review on Sudan nearly seven months ago, it was with the clear understanding that any resulting strategy to address these enormous challenges would need to encompass the whole of government, the international community, and stakeholders from civil society. The U.S. Strategy on Sudan is a result of extensive interagency coordination and planning at the highest levels and well as a frank dialogue with our partners in the international community, congress, and advocacy groups.
The strategy recognizes that any durable solution to the conflict in Darfur must be inclusive of all segments of Darfuri society and address the root causes of the conflict – including political representation and development – as well as compensation for survivors and reconciliation. For this reason, the United States is working aggressively to find ways of including the voices of Darfuri civil society representatives in peace talks.
This new strategy comes only months prior to significant deadlines in the CPA being reached, and therefore reflects the urgency with which we view those milestones, to include national elections and a referendum on southern succession. The Strategy outlines how the United States will work closely with its international partners to: provide assistance for elections in 2010 and the referendum on southern self-determination in 2011; support efforts to push for the timely and transparent demarcation of the North-South border, support conflict resolution mechanisms within southern Sudan and along the north-south border; and Promote Improved Governing Capacity and Greater Transparency in Southern Sudan.