The Whole World Wants To Stop the War in Sudan Immediately.. SPLA-N Should Stop Futile Procrastination

Wed, 15.03.2017 22:06

Famine poses a global challenge and without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death and many more will suffer and die from disease. According to experts, Famine can result from natural or man-made causes. Natural causes include droughts floods and earthquakes, whereas the classification of a famine as man-made is applied to severe hunger arising from a set of foreseeable, and therefore avoidable, circumstances.
  According to the United Nations’ reports, the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the UN was founded in 1945, with more than 20 million people in four countries (Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria) are at risk of starvation and famine. Famine Early Warning Network indicates that more than 70 million people are facing hunger around the world in 2017. The primary causes include drought, military conflict, and lack of ability of nations to access food on the international market.
 In Sudan Likewise, The U.S administration has warned of looming food insecurity and humanitarian catastrophe in the making in the areas under the control of SPLM-N. In other word, areas in Blue Nile and South Kordofan do increasingly need an immediate and unconditional concrete intervention and action, before it is too late. Experts likewise predict that SPLA-N controlled areas will reach extreme levels of food insecurity — barely shy of a famine designation.  
Moreover, the civil population in the two areas has long been deprived of medical supplies and access to basic medical and other services is insufficient. There are mounting fears that the dire conditions and lack of access to provide immunization in SPLM-N-held areas could lead to the outbreak of infectious diseases.
In the face of such imminent catastrophe, the (SPLM-N) has proved to be the main obstacle, as it continues to apathetically obstruct the urgent flow of supplies, from getting through to the affected civil population; by irresponsibly sticking to its controversial and dubious demand, stipulating a humanitarian corridor through the Ethiopian border town of  Asosa, to directly deliver 20% of the humanitarian aid to the civilians in the rebel-controlled areas.
In return, the government of Sudan continued in firmly rejected the wired idea, as it breaches the state’s sovereignty in the first place, and to ascertain that any aid operation shall be free and devoid of any logistical support for a military insurgency, for the non-recurrence of previous scenarios in the field of humanitarian work like the infamous life-line operations 1989-1993. Apparently Sudan's position has become increasingly inevitable, with the abundant intelligence and information which indicate that (SPLM-N) was maneuvering to abuse the aid aircrafts; to export the gold extracted from the mines in their held areas in the Blue Nile State, in order to utilize and recycle the revenues to purchase weapons and ammunition.
There should be no mistake,  the position of the government of the Sudan is primarily premised on a solid legal ground; that sovereignty and territorial integrity of states are protected and enshrined by international law. International law, does “require” not only “ impartial ” humanitarian actors, but also requires them to seek the consent of the parties concerned in relief operations, besides it also mandates them  (humanitarian actors) to respect of the said country’s sovereignty.
In a bid to break the deadlock in the peace talks between the Sudanese government and SPLM-N, and to facilitate humanitarian assistance to affected populations in the Two Areas, in line with (AUHIP) efforts for broader negotiated humanitarian access, the U.S. government came with a proposal in November 2016, whereby the USAID will deliver medical and humanitarian aid to civilians in the rebel-held areas by air directly after due inspection from the government of the Sudan.
Driven by its responsibility to protect its citizens held hostage by in the two areas, and taking into account that allowing humanitarian access agreement, has become increasingly critical for saving innocent lives in the two areas, and in compatibility with its firm  commitment and willingness to sign a comprehensive and all-inclusive peace, that would squarely eradicate the spectre of famine and other tribulation in the Sudan, the government of the Sudan  has immediately expressed its readiness to sign a comprehensive ceasefire in war zones and humanitarian access according to the American proposal.
 On the other hand, and despite the repeated and the ongoing appeals by the members of the Troika, the African Union’s AUHIP and the international community for the SPLA-N to follow the footsteps of the government of Sudan and accept the American proposal, the SPLA-N's position however, is still marred by confusion and elusiveness.
After unnecessarily wasting precious time in purportedly studying the proposal, the SPLA-N lately came out with statement demanding so called “additions and improvements” in the U. S. humanitarian proposal before it could be signed. Such maneuvers are perceived at the end of the day, as mere floating of trial balloons, a sort of buying time tactics, however at the cost of helpless and desperate civilians held hostage in the two areas.
Arguably, the current SPLA-N’s procrastination, vis-a-vis the American proposal seems to be predicated on false assumption and wrong diagnose; waiting to see the prospects of a new US policy towards the Sudan in the light of the new presidency of Donald Trump; whether it will continue the ‘conciliatory approach’ adopted by the previous administration, or favorably choose a confrontation with Khartoum, which would automatically save them of purportedly further concession for Khartoum. In other words, SPLA-N is still yearning and praying some major discordance that may pull the carpet from under the unfolding rapprochement between the Sudan and the U.S. under the new administration of President Trump. Sadly enough, experience has shown that SPLA-N’s ideology is still premised on a false and unwise notion; that feud with Khartoum should exclusively be a“zero-sum game”. 
History tends to repeat itself; let's recall how only few months ago, the SPLA-N has turned the very deaf ear, to a similar domestic and international appeals, in order to sign AU-Road-map. They only had to succumb, under mounting international pressure, dragging their feet to Addis Ababa. However no sooner, they betrayed their commitment towards the compromising solutions tabled by the AUHIP mediation; arrangements and mechanisms for the monitored delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected civilians. Leaving the ( AUHIP) with no option, than decidedly and unequivocally held them responsible, for the collapse of the yet another peace round.
The typical SPLA-N's evasiveness was met with a reciprocal resentment worldwide; in yet the sternest criticism ever of the rebel movement, the former U.S. envoy to Sudan Donald Booth has castigated SPLA-N's “tactical moves".  Criticizing the refusal of the humanitarian proposal saying they should put their people first not their political ambitions.
Lambasting SPLA-N’s arbitrary denial of sustained humanitarian access and politicizing aid, Booth adding that there are leaders of the armed groups who believe they are right to fight on no matter what the cost to their people, until they get what they want politically "I have found that some of the leaders of the Sudanese opposition, especially those with guns, are more than willing to ignore the interests and well-being of ordinary civilians, in favor of their own political ambitions,"
 Likewise, the British ambassador to Khartoum expressed the disappointment of British government over the SPLM-N failure to accept the American initiative, stressing the continuation of the Troika countries and American efforts with the SPLM to accept it.
Time is crucial, SPLA-N's unwarranted procrastination which remains the only impediment blocking the delivery of life-saving assistance to innocent civilians in the two areas, whom they ironically claim to be fighting for and shedding crocodile tears. The conspiracy of silence has to stop, the SPLA-N’s denial of humanitarian access to starving population in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, constitutes a man-made humanitarian catastrophe in the making, which could be tantamount to a crime against humanity. In other words if SPLA-N’s position persists, it become inevitable to be held accountable for the inevitable however avoidable famine, unnecessary deaths and associated amplification in suffering that will follow.
Arguably, blocking of aid convoys was part of the “creation of a humanitarian crisis,” which, combined with crimes of terror and forcible transfers, incurred individual responsibility for inhumane acts and persecution as crimes against humanity. The International Committee of the Red Cross has also interpreted the Geneva Conventions and their protocols to prohibit states or entities from unwarranted refusal of humanitarian access and assistance in conflict zones.
However, to end on an optimistic note, let me point out to how the international community has met with utmost relief and applaud the timely reciprocal gestures of releasing and commutation of sentences of political prisoners by the ( SPLM-N) and Government of Sudan . Indeed the release of political prisoners has been a critical sticking point in the negotiations between the Government and the armed movements. Therefore, the recent gestures should be recognized as a positive development that will go a long way to create a conducive environment which will further advance the peace process.
As has been stated, the heart grows tender when we extend ourselves beyond what’s expected. Going the extra mile is a vital ingredient that lifts our mood, allowing hopefulness to rule. The international community should exert more pressure or rather  encourage the SPLA-N to take crucially anticipated extra mile; unequivocally accept the American humanitarian proposal, which represents a golden opportunity to reach civilians in all the war affected areas in the two areas.
At the end of the day, resolving the long standing internal armed conflict is essential for Sudan to proceed to the vital task of developing its failing economy improving the living standards of its people. Again, it is time to stop the war. Sudanese people start looking to the future of the nation, and the future of the new generations.

By Mubarak M.Musa Diplomat;

Embassy of Sudan in Ukraine, Kiev

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