Darfur Referendum, another Victory for Doha Peace Document Triumph over Fear (1)

The overwhelming and unprecedented participation in the Administrative Referendum in Darfur last April, in which more than 97% of the registered voters, voted for the retaining the current five-state administrative system, leaves behind no an iota of doubt, that the general mood in Darfur today, against all odds, is in favor of peace and stability.

The overwhelming and unprecedented participation in the Administrative Referendum in Darfur last April, in which more than 97% of the registered voters, voted for the retaining the current five-state administrative system, leaves behind no an iota of doubt, that the general mood in Darfur today, against all odds, is in favor of peace and stability.

The Referendum was conducted in commitment and conformity with the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), which provides that the permanent administrative status of Darfur should be determined through a referendum.
The referendum is a new victory for the (DDPD), whereunder, the people of Darfur have expressed their free will. In fact, the high turnout of voters comes to the very frustration and dismay of the self- proclaimed warlords and opposition groups, who kept on urging their scattered supporters, to boycott the said referendum.

Likewise, it comes to the very dismay of skeptical Westerners and doomsayers, whose only business was to cast doubts, against the very fact of the prevalence of peace, stability and security, in almost all part of Darfur. A futile attempt to throw a monkey wrench into, and negatively impact the success of Administrative referendum in Darfur states. However, as they say, if a fact is not liked, that does not make it less true.
The that understanding, the ensuing statement issued by Washington’s criticizing both the conduct and the outcome of referendum, saying that it could not be an expression of Darfuris' will, was not only hardly surprising, but also discloses yet again and again, Washington’s “modus operandi” towards the conflict in Darfur. In reaction, Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, summoned the American charge d’affairs in Khartoum, Mr. Lanier and strongly condemned the US statement, which was only good in sending wrong message in the wrong time, affirming that the Referendum was a civilized process, to decide on the region's future and was a good alternative to violence.

To that effect, recently, Gerard M. Gallucci, a respected retired US diplomat and UN peacekeeper, who worked as Washington’s Charge d’affairs in Khartoum (2003-2004), has openly criticized his country’s policy towards the conflict in Darfur, conceiving Washington’s role as yet another outside interference in an internal conflict in the name of democracy and human rights. Mr.Gallucci accused Washington of doing very little to stop the conflict, but on the contrary, it tended to exploit the said conflict, all the time, to further weaken the government of Sudan, by encouraging the rebels and hold outs to hang tough.

Indeed , Washington’s has always manifested by far, a typical hypocrisy and insincerity towards the conflict in Darfur. During the AU’s brokered Sirte (Libya) peace talks in 2007, just to cite another example, the talks was held in the aftermath of the failure of previous round held in Nigeria, where only one of the rebel groups agreed to a cease-fire, and the others splintered and kept fighting. The Sudanese government, arrived in Sirte, fully delegated and overwhelmed with large prospects for peace in Darfur, declaring a unilateral cease-fire at the opening ceremony of peace talks.

However, none of Darfur's rebel main leadership was in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte, for the start of the talks, dashing hopes that an agreement could rapidly be reached. Why should they do that in the first place, since Washington, instead of encouraging repel groups, especially those who shunned and eventually sabotaged the Abuja’a peace talks the previous year, warning of dire consequences, should they fail again to attend the new round in Sirte, Washington opted barefacedly, to preempt the talks even before it actually starts, sending the typical wrong signals to the repels; Washington sent instead, warning to Khartoum ( not the repels) of more sanctions, if the (repel groups) opted to boycott the awaited negotiations. What a shame?
Mind you, to keep Sudan in a perpetual state of war, the US tactics has always been, to make sure that at least one rebel group is on the move, while another is engaged in peace talks. That is quite evident throughout the course of conflicts in the Sudan.

By the same token, Europe on the other hand, has again sent wrong signals to the war-lords. Instead of rushing today, to criticize the Sudan government aerial bombardment on rebel held areas in South Kordofan state, the Troika countries which have already applauded the signing of the AU’s Roadmap Agreement by the government, describing the Roadmap, as a milestone towards peace in Sudan, should have first followed its words with deeds.
The Troika should have taken necessary action, against armed opposition groups - whose self-proclaimed leaders are hosted for years, in grand luxurious hotels and flats in their respective capitals- these opposition group, since last March, do continue to defy, disregard and contempt, the successive calls of the international community, including the EU itself, to emulate the Sudan government of Sudan, and sign the AU’s Roadmap, which paradoxically, is meant in essence, to ensure the cessation of hostilities and a Permanent Ceasefire in the Two Areas and Darfur. Such statement of the Troika, at the end of the day, provides a sort of “carte blanche” to these armed repels, to shun and contempt peace initiatives and continue the insurgency, to the very detriment of the prospects of peace in the Sudan.
In its legitimate fight against anti-peace elements, the government of the Sudan exercises its inherent right of self-defense against these non- state actors. “Counter-insurgency” is a right guaranteed in Article 51 of the UN charter, as well as in Customary International Law .Worth mentioning here, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region ( ICGLR), since Uganda summit of 2011, has already designated these hold-out Darfuri repel groups, as one of the negative forces destabilizing Africa, that should be combated.



By Mubarak M.Musa Diplomat; Sudan Embassy Kiev

sudanvisiondaily.com

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