The Sudans: is peace really possible?

Creato Martedì, 09 Ottobre 2012 18:45
Ultima modifica il Venerdì, 27 Maggio 2016 08:44
Pubblicato Martedì, 09 Ottobre 2012 18:45
Scritto da Administrator
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“Stop fighting and wealth will follow.” The words pronounced by Archbishop Desmond Tutu on July 9th -the day of South Sudan’s first birthday party- may sound obvious or axiomatic, but this is not the case. Calling for actual peace in South Sudan is easier said than done, since the last year as a new born independent nation has proved to be a failure. The divorce from the north was not the beginning of a new era of change and prosperity for one of the poorest countries in the world. Conversely, the long-time craved splitting has amplified the internecine disputes of the two Sudans since independence was gained without tackling and solving the thorny problems which brought about one of the longest and bloodiest civil wars ever seen. As a matter of fact, both Sudans are stuck at the same point they had been left in 2005 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed so as to end the Second Civil War. However, that peace has never been authentic and even independence finds it hard to bud. The old and deep-rooted conflicts have only been frozen and this is manly due to the UN acting as a mediator who is only putting off the problem solving day and is not playing a key role in establishing effective government institutions and democratic governance. As a result, tribalism is still there as well as political corruption and the risk of bankruptcy which South Sudan went close to several times this year. To make matters worse, the oil and borders prickly issues are still at stake in these days. As it is widely known, the conundrum of the two Sudans is that while most of the oil is in the south, the pipeline runs through the north and this is the very base of the problems between the two nations. Indeed, the north’s government in Khartoum asked for remuneration for letting the south - rich in oil- secede. Therefore, it imposed overblown transit fees for the use of its ports and pipelines. Consequently, in January South Sudan cut off oil production so as to weaken the north, but it got hurt too, for the southern government gets 98 per cent of its revenue from oil sales. From that moment on, threats of a new conflict have always been on the agenda. Yet, only less than two weeks ago- on September 27th - the Sudan and South Sudan’s respective presidents, Omar Al Bashir and Salva Kiir, had four days face-to-face talks in Addis Abeba to set agreements over the oil affair; south has decided to open the spigot again and let the oil flow through north’s pipelines. Even so, it seems like a temporary solution that has been found to satisfy mutual economic self-interest in order to avoid bankruptcy. Furthermore, other crucial problems have not been faced; although the two presidents agreed on a demilitarised zone and principles of border demarcation, little progress has been made to cope with the controversy over disputed border areas such as Abyei and the fate of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan which are carrying on an insurgency against Khartoum. In this way, peace has been re-established, but again in an ephemeral manner. No wonder then if many of us can still hear the drums of war beating in the background.

di Soraya Carpenito