A diverse panel of policymakers and advocates discusses the situation in Sudan and what can be done to end the genocide.
JEROME SHESTACK: Good morning. Welcome to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. I’m Jerry Shestack, and I have the honor of chairing the Museum’s Committee on Conscience. The Committee’s function is to alert the national conscience to the offenses of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and those horrendous crimes that the world so often ignores. Arousing the national conscience is not an easy task. Too often one’s conscience becomes one’s accomplice rather than one’s guide. Our principal function is not to resolve a policy, but to call attention to the need for the policy makers of this nation, and the international world, to resolve potential crimes of genocide, and crimes against humanity, and war crimes that have such disastrous and tragic effects in our history.
We are addressing the problems of a solution to the horrendous situation that has arisen in Sudan, with millions of people deprived of their lives and subject to abuses of the most horrendous kind. We are not recommending a policy, but we are recommending strongly that it is a situation that needs to be addressed in a world forum, and on a world scale, in a dimension that can solve problems, bring a just peace to Sudan, and end the crimes that are existing and taking place there on a daily basis.
We have a very distinguished panel today. We will have our opening remarks by John Hamre, the president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and by Senator Bill Frist, and Congressman Frank Wolf, both of whom have been tremendous advocates on Capitol Hill for those suffering in Sudan.
We will then have a panel discussion chaired by Chet Crocker who is chairman of the United States Institute of Peace and a former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Then we will open the floor for discussion. We want to move on, and we want the audience to participate, and have the opportunity to ask questions, and to make short comments as well.
So, without further delay, it is my pleasure to introduce John Hamre, the president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Dr. Hamre has a long and distinguished career of public service. Most recently, before assuming the leadership of CSIS, he served as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1997 to 1999. Dr. Hamre.
JOHN J. HAMRE: Thank you very much. Good morning to all of you and thank you very much for coming today. I’m very proud that CSIS is able to present this program. I’m especially pleased that we’re able to hold it here at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
If I might, just on a very personal note say, it’s wonderful that this town has this Museum. But if all we do to remember those who were swept up and whose lives were lost in the Shoah is to have a Museum that would not be an adequate tribute to them. We need to undertake acts of remembrance every day. Not just remember every day, but do acts of remembrance every day, concretely doing things to try to address the little mini-Shoahs that are going on all around us. It is for that reason that we are so pleased that we can be here.
I would like to especially thank the leadership of the Holocaust Museum, Rabbi Irving Greenberg, who is not able to be with us today. He is the chairman of the board. But, my sincere thanks. Jerry Shestack, who is the chairman of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience, so crucial as part of the whole program for the Holocaust Museum. Jerry Fowler, Tom Kuney, and Linda Lesar have been just fabulous in working with us.
Let me especially say thank you to Senator Frist and to Congressman Wolf. It’s not possible for me to tell you how unusual it is to have this sort of leadership coming from these two national figures. Most members of Congress come and they spend their day, understandably, working for those issues that matter to back home. That’s why we hire them. That’s what we want them to do. But, we also expect them to be national leaders.
In some rare instances, people choose to be international leaders. These two gentlemen have done that in an area, that, frankly, there’s not a vote to be made, in looking at Sudan. Not a vote to be made back home, and yet, they’ve taken upon themselves in a very serious and dedicated way to make this an effort on behalf of the entire government, to try to bring sense. And I want to thank both of you. Not just for being here today, but for being leaders in a town that frankly needs this quality of leadership. We’re very, very grateful to have you here.
I would also like to thank Chet Crocker and the U.S. Institute of Peace. They were instrumental in getting this program working. I also have to say that Chet Crocker is one of our great alumni. He is one of the brighter stars in the firmament at CSIS, having been the chair of the Africa Program and really the founder of the Africa Program there many years back, before he became Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
I would also like to thank Francis Deng, Roger Winter, Ibrahim Elbadawi, and Steve Morrison and Jennifer Cook for their remarkable service here. We’re looking forward to what they have to say.
I am the least qualified person here to talk about the substance of this program. I’m also probably emblematic of the problem. I probably am like 99.8 percent of most Americans who don’t know a darn thing about Sudan and frankly don’t care. Until I got into this job, I didn’t know anything about the Sudan. I didn’t know anything about the problems. I became like so many Americans, who became very comfortable with simply treating it as one of those bumper stickers. It’s one of the T-7 terrorist states you know and that’s the only time you think about it.
You kind of memorize the formula, you know, to criticize them. What we’ve done in the process of that is -- I’ve done -- I won’t say anybody else -- I have done this. I have let somebody else do my thinking for me, rather than do my own thinking about the problem. I let somebody else define it, because I wasn’t that interested. They decided what I thought.
Well, that’s wrong. I need to have the responsibility to think through these issues. I should have the obligation to think through these issues. Frankly, one of the great problems in Washington today, is that we’re too content to let a small community define an issue for everyone else, and the rest of us just tag along, and we don’t think about it ourselves.
Well, that’s what CSIS is trying to get at -- this central problem when it comes to the Sudan. We’re not going to try to advocate one solution or another. But, we have to have a debate -- an open debate where everybody is involved intellectually in trying to come to the right answer on the Sudan. Not simply let other people decide for me, and for you, and for every other person in America, what we think about this subject. But, instead, to get actively involved ourselves. Unfortunately, we decided to cast the Sudan as simply being one of those rogue states. The rest of us stopped thinking about the problem. Unfortunately for now 18 years, we’ve had what you could only call a genocide underway in the Sudan.
Once you look at the facts, you’re embarrassed to see what’s been going on, and how little we’ve known about it, or how little we have cared about it as a nation. We’ve got to break out of that mindset where somebody else has decided what we’re going to think about it, and start thinking for ourselves. That’s what today’s session is about.
That’s why you’re going to see a cross range of views represented on this panel. This is not an advocacy panel with one point of view. We’re going to try to get other people’s perspectives to the table so that we can all do our job, which is to think about this policy ourselves, freshly. Not simply repeating the mantras of the past that we’ve inherited as the only solution, but to think about what would we do if you were to sit this afternoon with the President of the United States and tell him what should we be doing for American policy in the Sudan. It’s your responsibility and this session today is designed to try to help us think that through.
I thank you all very much for coming. It’s enormously important and gratifying to see so many people here. Let me again say how deeply thankful we are to you Congressman Wolf, Senator Frist, for your national leadership in being willing to take us into this area that all Americans ought to think through. Thank you very much.
JEROME SHESTACK: Our next speaker is Senator Bill Frist from Tennessee. You know the various professions that emerged from the Middle Ages were the clerical profession which was destined to deal with healing the soul, the medical profession with healing the body, and the legal profession with dealing with healing the justice system.
In Senator Frist, we have a combination of someone who has all his life been healing the body, and now is also trying to heal the body politic. He has been an unstinting voice on Capitol Hill for those suffering in Sudan. He has been through Southern Sudan where he worked as a medical missionary with Samaritans First.
Unlike the many who pass the wounded man on the side of the road, he has been a Samaritan, certainly in the cause of Sudan. He used his skill as a physician to treat patients in areas that have been devastated by the cruel and unending war. He is chairman of the Africa Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a staunch defender of human rights and the dignity of individual persons. He’s a person who has been motivated by his conscience to do the right thing in world affairs. Senator Frist.
BILL FRIST: Jerry, thank you. It indeed is a real honor and a privilege and an opportunity for me to join you and see so many good friends today. I look forward to a lively discussion, one that will be informative, which will bring into focus many of the thoughts and the ideas that so many of us have had, but have not been able to articulate in a way that is powerful enough, I believe, to really change the direction of the attitude of the United States in participation in the Sudan issues.
I want to add my thanks to the many people who have been mentioned thus far today, and for the excellent work in putting together this report. I know, because I’ve heard from many people, that a lot of the specific points and issues of this report will bring an element of discomfort to some people, and that there will be, indeed, profound disagreement among many people in terms of either the points that are made, the findings, or the recommendations. But, the fact that we have this report, and that it can serve as a nucleus, a focal point for discussion, as well as deliberation, on the many, many different issues that we have seen in personal ways in Sudan and from the body politic -- I think our greatest virtue will be this focus, this nucleus this point, this platform upon which we can discuss these many issues.
Regardless of the many short comings, the specific merits of the report itself, I think it’s this debate, this deliberation, that is absolutely critical to people such as Congressman Wolf and myself, to elected officials, to those who are entrusted with the responsibility for the policy of the United States of America.
Though I expect that despite specific, even profound disagreements, underlying this event is a common bond, is a common agreement, on the one very basic, very, very critical point. That is, that historically the United States’ policies, leadership, and level of commitment with respect to this conflict in Sudan, does not sufficiently reflect our potential to be a force for good and a force for change. And that the current Administration must seek to maximize our effectiveness in bringing about a lasting and a just peace in Sudan. I believe that’s the common -- the focal point -- that’s the common agreement.
Now, how we get there I think we’ll hear about in our discussion today. I think we will hear a lively debate. We may diverge and we may never completely agree on how to accomplish this goal. But, it’s this disagreement, this discussion, this deliberation on strategy and operations that I believe is important, although it cannot distract us from maintaining this common vision and common goal.
One final observation that I think is important to this event and the perspective that we walk away from this event. We’re here in the United States Holocaust Memorial for a reason that I and others have had the opportunity to personally witness in our visits which, by necessity -- although it can be repeated time and time again -- are short term, but have been witnessed by so many of you in the room. Two million have seen it, but have not lived to tell about it.
Behind all the discussions and the deliberations is that remarkable capacity to destroy human life. The ability to use God-given talents and intelligence for evil purposes must never, ever be underestimated. This venue alone, today, in this Museum, is testimony to that fact. Our presence here is testimony to the fact that the Sudan should not be viewed as a type of boutique issue.
But just as humans can use these talents for evil purposes, so -- and we’ll hear it today -- can they use them for good purposes -- to seek justice and to make good on the pledge of “Never Again.”
So as we deliberate on this report and on the differences regarding what means we use to get to that common good, we must always be mindful of that common vision and that common goal -- from not being lost, not allowing it to be lost in the debate on strategy and operations. Again, thank you for this opportunity to participate, to listen, and to learn as we look at this report today.
JEROME SHESTACK: Our next speaker, Congressman Frank Wolf, comes from Virginia. His constituency is nearby. He has been a committed and powerful force on Sudan in the House, nationally and, indeed, internationally, not only on Sudan, but on many human rights issues. He recently became chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, which has been a major force in Congress for its highlighting and acting on human rights issues. He’s been in Sudan 4 times in the last 11 years. Just recently, last month, brought back some riveting and tragic testimony about the continuing abuses that are taking place there every day. Currently Congressman Wolf is chair of the Commerce, State, and Justice Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Please welcome Congressman Wolf.
FRANK WOLF: Thank you very much Jerry. I want to thank you. Also, I want to thank the Holocaust Museum for hosting this and having this. This is very important. Hopefully some day you could develop a program where young people and college students could come and participate, to carry the torch forward on issues like this.
I also want to thank CSIS for its work. There will be differences as Senator Frist said. But, on its work on focusing the issue at this time, and this year, on this very important issue to hopefully, as Senator Frist said, bring peace, but with justice.
Also, I lastly want to thank Senator Frist for his work on the Senate side -- working with Senator Brownbeck in keeping this issue alive. I know his knowledge and his credibility can make a big difference, particularly with a new Administration here in town.
In this hallowed place, we are both forced and we are blessed to confront the best and the worst in each of us. In the halls of this Museum we not only witness, but literally feel the clash between good and evil that has defined the world’s history. To be in the Holocaust Museum, among its piles of moldy shoes, and it’s photographs of centuries old communities extinguished in an evil moment of time, is thus to be placed on a deep personal obligation to do all within our power to insure, in the old Scottish phrase, “that right be done.” To be here is to know that our very moral standing as human beings compels us never, never again to be silent witnesses to the mass enslavement, the mass starvation, and the mass murder of people. It is thus not only fitting, but actually mandatory, that we gather today to discuss what now reigns and grows in Sudan.
I have been to Sudan on a number of occasions. I’ve seen the death. I’ve seen the famine, the disease, the destruction. I’ve heard the stories about women and children taken from villages to be enslaved in the year 2001 -- not something that’s in the movie Amistad, but something that we could all fly to in 24 hours and be and see slavery in the year 2001. I’ve seen the fear in the faces of people when the Antanov bombers come over the villages overhead. 2.2 million died as a result of this genocide.
What is being done to the people of Southern Sudan, I believe, is so brutal that there is no question of moral equivalency between the two sides. The situation in Sudan is rapidly getting worse. It must be forcefully dealt with this year lest Khartoum’s escalating scorched earth policy reach Final Solution dimensions.
As we speak, major international oil companies are initiating and expanding operations in Southern Sudan that unless stopped in their tracks will generate billions of dollars of annual revenue for the Khartoum regime. This oil revenue, once secured, will powerfully insulate Khartoum from world pressure to end its brutal policies. This revenue, Khartoum has openly pledged, if you read the news reports, will be spent and is being spent on modern bombers and helicopter gun ships and other weapons that will enhance its war against the people in the South.
The fact is that we heard reports of helicopter gun ships flying along this last month -- along the pipeline route -- and clearing people out of the oil areas. The U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom has bravely called on the President to limit oil companies that finance this regime from access to U.S. capital.
Here in this Museum, in the shadow of exhibits of the slave labor practices of many of German companies, in the face of what we know about the victimization of Jews at the hands of European banks, and insurance companies, and art galleries and other institutions, a clear message must be sent to the oil companies that are doing business: Talisman of Canada, the China National Petroleum Company, Petronas of Malaysia, and others, such as Lundeen of Sweden, and OMV of Austria, and others who are thinking of moving into the South. Enter into oil contracts with the genocidal regime in Sudan, produce revenue for it, only at a great risk of losing, not only financially but otherwise, far more than they can gain from those contracts. There is an additional step, wholly within the power of the President to take. That needs to be done immediately.
It relates to the 100 million per year in food aid that the United States provides as humanitarian aid for the people of Sudan. This aid, as Senator Frist was the first one to force the Congress and the government to recognize, is currently being made subject to the “no go zone” veto authority of the Khartoum regime. The regime has used this authority, with passive complicity of the United Nations food distribution agencies, to selectively starve Christians and animist populations in Southern Sudan.
It is remarkable that we are called upon to insist that U.S. food aid in Sudan should be distributed on the basis of need and hunger, and not politics. Here at the Holocaust Museum, of all places, it must be made clear that U.S. taxpayer dollars intended for compassionate purposes cannot be used as weapons of war against people whose only crime is that they are the wrong faith or the wrong creed.
There is a single step that can be taken by this Administration, by the President of the United States, that will send a clear signal to Khartoum that it’s time has finally run out with regard to the cries of the victims -- the cries will no longer be muffled by the white noise of world events -- that it must reform itself immediately, or face the prospect of becoming a pariah state on the order of South Africa’s apartheid regime.
The appointment of a nationally distinguished leader, a special envoy, for Sudan would be such a step. I intend to ask President Bush to take it. I would urge the President to appoint a person of the caliber of former Secretary of State James Baker, or former Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke, or even, former Vice-President of the United States Al Gore.
A ceremony at the White House designating this envoy -- not by a press release over a Labor Day weekend -- but at the White House designating this envoy, attended by such leaders as Kweisi Mfume, head of the NAACP, Cardinal Bernard Law, Franklyn Graham, Chuck Colson, Elie Wiesel, and others who have spoken out eloquently about events in the Sudan, will tell the world that America stands united in its understanding of the lessons taught in and by this building.
Sudan, I believe, has become the litmus test of America’s commitment to human rights. Saving its lambs from further and escalated slaughter is both a moral imperative and an act in America’s national interest. Failure to act as we should will strengthen the hands of the radicals who now seek to hijack the great faith of Islam from its historic traditions of art, and music, and literature, and mathematics, and hospitality to strangers.
If on the other hand, we act honorably toward the people of Sudan, clear messages of hope will be sent to the House Church Christians in China, Falun Gong practitioners in China, the Muslims in China who are being persecuted in the northwest portion of the country, and the gravely beset communities in Indonesia, and Pakistan, and Vietnam, and elsewhere, where religion is practiced only at the risk of persecution.
More than any other place in Washington, this Museum teaches us the folly and the sin of silence in the face of evil. A critical element of the responsibility that Congress placed on the Museum that is being carried out today, when it was first established was the mandate, and I quote, “That in any event of any outbreak of genocide, actual or potential, a Committee of Conscience composed of distinguished moral leaders in America will alert the national conscience, influence policy makers, stimulate world wide action to bring such acts to a halt.” By this program, and its commitment to spend the balance of this year speaking out against what is taking place in the Sudan, the Museum, clearly, without doubt, honors its Congressional mandate, and as such, it both honors and obligates all of us who have been invited to be here today. Thank you very much.
JEROME SHESTACK: You know it’s really heartwarming to find two national leaders in our Senate and Congress speak out in these ways on matters of principle, humanity, and conscience. We live in a world where, I suppose, too many of us have a cynical approach towards many of our political leaders. When we deal with places remote as Sudan, as far away -- a place that doesn’t touch our daily lives -- it’s so easy to be ignorant in the first place, and apathetic in the second.
When you hear persons of national stature and leadership speak out in this way, it’s reassuring to the ordinary citizen, the person who has deep faith in America’s leadership in this traumatic and turbulent world.
We will now have a panel which will be chaired by Chester A. Crocker, dealing essentially with the report that you have all received, I believe, when you came in, The U.S. Policy To End Sudan’s War, which is the Report of the CSIS Task Force on U.S.-Sudan Policy. It’s a very concise and forward-looking report.
I think we will all benefit from the discussion that will take place.
The moderator of the panel is Chester A. Crocker who is the James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies at Georgetown University’s Foreign Service and he’s chair of the United States Institute of Peace. Mr. Crocker served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1981 to 1989. And he’s a prolific author whose books include: Turbulent Peace: The Challenge of Managing International Conflicts. That’s a book that will be coming out early next year. I’m sure it will make an important contribution to this field.
Now, we have four panelists here. Two of them are authors and I’ll speak a little bit more about them. One of the authors is Francis M. Deng. Professor Deng is a distinguished professor at the City University of New York and he is also a non-resident fellow of the Brookings Institute. He graduated from Khartoum University. He received his LL.B. with honors. Then he received his LL.M. and his J.D. at Yale University. He has served as the Ambassador of Sudan to the United States, to Canada, and various Scandinavian countries. He was Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Sudan. He was a human rights officer at the United Nations and he is a special representative of the Secretary General for internally displaced people. He has written some 20 books, 2 novels, dealing with conflict resolution, anthropology, human affairs, and what not. He’s truly a Renaissance man, but one that has contributed in all of his ways to peaceful solutions and conflict resolution in this world. He is one of our panelists today.
The second author of the book, J. Stephen Morrison, also has a very distinguished history. He went to John Hopkins and Yale. He was with the Policy Planning Division of the State Department for a number of years. For four years, he was responsible for African Affairs, which included Sudan policy. In 1999, he led the State Department Initiative On Illicit Diamonds, and chaired an interagency review of U.S. Humanitarian policy. If you mention the countries of Angola, Bosnia, Rwanda, Haiti -- he has been involved in the policy respecting all of those nations. He was a government advisor to U.S. Aid missions and to U.S. embassies in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Two other panelists also have distinguished biographies and vitae, but I will make a very abbreviated introduction. Ibrahim Elbadawi is the lead economist in the Development Economic Research Group of the World Bank. Currently he is managing a research project on the economics of political and criminal violence. The relevance to Sudan is, of course, obvious. Before joining the World Bank, with which he has been since 1989, he was a professor of economics at the University of Gazera in Sudan.
And our fourth panelist is Roger Winter, who is the executive director of the United States Committee for Refugees, and among the publications of that group is Follow the Women and Cows, Personal Stories of Sudan’s Uprooted People, which came out in 1999, and Working Document II -- Quantifying Genocide in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains. He has regularly visited Sudan and was there as recently as five weeks ago.
So, I’m pleased to introduce Mr. Crocker and our distinguished panel. If you’ll take your seats on the platform, we’ll proceed.
CHESTER A. CROCKER Thank you very much for those kind words of introduction to all five of us, Jerry. We appreciate it. Today’s meeting is a seminal event in U.S. consideration of its policy towards one of the world’s most troubled countries.
It is commonly said that Sudan has been at war for the past 18 years. Those of us trained in history, I think, would say that it’s been at war, on and off, since August of 1955. Mostly on. The costs are well documented. So, too, is the failure to date of any of the currently outstanding peace initiatives to gain serious traction and mobilize significant pressures and incentives for peace. The problems in Sudan are humbling.
As one who spent eight and a half years running our African policies, I can say that we were humbled in the 1980s. I think those who ran African policies for our government in the 1990s were also humbled. So, this is not a new story. But this is a new opportunity. Let me tell you why.
The Sudan Policy Task Force Report is a serious in-depth, bipartisan look at what the U.S. can and should do about Sudan. The breadth of participation in the task force is itself, I think, an indication of its importance. All too often it is easy for those in this country to export our own confusion to other countries, which have plenty of it already. This report is an effort to overcome the temptation to export our own confusion and, hopefully, to indicate some possible areas of consensus and consensus building. So I think it’s an important occasion for a variety of reasons.
I’d like also to recognize one additional person who has not been mentioned, and that is David Smock, who has been, for a number of years, until quite recently, the director of the African Programs, at the United States Institute of Peace, and has kept Sudan very much on the agenda at USIP. David, you might just raise your hand, so people know who you are. But we at the Peace Institute are proud to have been able, in a small way, to support this exercise, which has been led so ably by Steve Morrison and Francis Deng. Coming as it does at the outset of a new administration in Washington, the report’s timing will add to its importance.
One of the key questions raised in today’s meeting is whether this report and other initiatives can succeed in placing Africa’s most important and troubling security challenges on the radar screen of senior levels in American foreign policy. Given how much else there is on our agenda in foreign affairs around the world and given the legacies that we start out with in early 2001 on a global basis, that question and that challenge is a sobering one.
But anyone familiar with the situation in Africa’s largest country must certainly hope that Sudan makes the cut and becomes part of that radar. Jerry has already introduced our panelists. I will just indicate that the sequence of events will be as he has indicated. We’ll start with Steve, and we’ll go to Francis, and then to Ibrahim Elbadawi, and then to Roger Winter. Steve, the floor is yours.
STEVE MORRISON: Thank you Chet. My thanks as well to the Museum for hosting, Sarah Bloomfield has not been mentioned, who was very integral to this. My deep thanks to Francis Deng, for his leadership on this effort. He is indispensable to what we have been able to accomplish. David Smock, I’d like to again thank you for supporting this effort.
Before I summarize the findings and recommendations, let me add a word about the process. What we did here was construct a group of over 50 diverse experts. People drawn from previous administrations, from the Clinton Administration, from staff on the Hill -- both sides of the aisle -- human rights advocates, including advocates on religious persecution, and religious freedom, academic experts on Sudan, senior diplomats. I was very struck by the level of commitment and determination that this group brought to the table.
There was an intensive debate that went on within this group. It was a civil debate, one driven by good will and openness for this exchange. To those 50 people, both Francis and I remain deeply grateful. We benefited from the presentations made by some key individuals. Mike Sheehan, then coordinator for counter terrorism spoke. Robert Litwack, from the Woodrow Wilson Center and Meghan O’Sullivan from Brookings, Elliott Abrahms, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, John Harker from Canada, Alex de Waal from London.
We were able, much to my surprise, to arrive at the end at a fairly sharp, focused, and pragmatic consensus. That was not always apparent that we would be able to get to that point. My expectation frankly, had been that we would end up with a fairly bland document with multiple caveats and equivocations, but we did not arrive there. I think we need to ask ourselves why we arrived at a fairly sharply cast consensus. One reason is, in fact, the broadly shared frustration that’s felt in this town, or at least the despair over the situation in Sudan, and the frustration over our inability to get results in our policies. That, I think, has prompted people to come back to the table and engage in a very serious dialogue at how do we begin to get more results and a more effective policy.
Let me just give you quick preview of the essence of our conclusions. The essence of our conclusions is that we need a realistic, hard-nosed, and focused approach on ending the war. That only if we are willing to have a focus of that kind will it be possible to begin to end the massive human rights abuses, the massive humanitarian dislocations, and the security problems that have emanated from the war. To end the war requires leadership by the Administration and others in a concerted multilateral approach that will bring new pressures to bear on the parties to this war to enter a sustained serious peace process. This we have argued, will be very difficult, will be very fraught to break down, but we are always also arguing that there is no feasible credible alternative. It’s incumbent upon critics of this approach to make clear what the feasible credible alternative is.
I think we also need, at the same time, to put forth a few other messages.
One is contained in the report, that the sine qua non of any progress in this regard is the cessation of aerial bombardment of civilian humanitarian sites. We need to make clear that as a matter of policy and principle we will not countenance the annihilation of the South.
We need, I think, to be honest with ourselves in saying that we have not embarked on a systematic approach of the kind that has been laid out in this report to test what is possible in ending the war. So, I would argue, we do not know whether it will work, or whether it will not work. We need to be open to the possibility that it just might work or the possibilities that it might encounter very serious problems. We need a strategy for coping with, what if it does fail? How do we proceed from that point forward?
Let me quickly summarize the findings. There are four principal findings. One is that Sudan matters on human rights, humanitarian and security grounds. It matters because there is a very vibrant and important American constituency mobilized around Sudan, around humanitarian issues, religious persecution, slavery, and forced abduction. The constituencies within America that have mobilized around these issues should be commended, because they are keeping this issue on the front burner. We would not be here were it not for their efforts.
The second finding is with regard to oil. We are arguing that oil is fundamentally changing the war. It is not a welcome fact, but it is patently clear that it is changing the nature of the war in favor of the military position of the North to seek a negotiated settlement versus to seek continued military advance. To what degree will consolidation of power enter the equation? If oil feeds incentives for military victory, how to roll back those incentives? We have seen -- and we note in the report -- that there are rising international pressures coming from non-governmental entities and others, to put pressure upon capital market access. These are creative and innovative initiatives, which are going to be, I believe, setting precedents for many other parts of the world. What is clear, is that while the oil is changing the nature of the war, no final victory, we believe, is possible for either side.
The third finding is in regard to U.S. policy. We’re arguing that the U.S. has significant leverage. There is a web of sanctions, and, because of who we are, the fact that the U.S. is the lone holdout in standing against a re-entry into the respected community of states by Khartoum. We’re also arguing that we have not used our leverage to any serious effect. Our policy of unilateral containment, isolation, and marginalization of Khartoum has simply not generated the desired results. We’ve had an insufficiently weak focus on getting an end to the war through a negotiated multilateral process. That central dimension has been under-realized and under-played. There has to be a multilateralization of effort and U.S. leadership is essential to that.
The fourth finding has to do with regional peace prospects. We’re arguing that the regional initiative led by IGAD, East African Regional Grouping, has no promise of moving ahead and that the Egypt/Libyan initiative was essentially there to block progress on IGAD. We’re arguing we need to stop kidding ourselves. We need to recognize that support of initiatives that are not moving ahead breeds cynicism and has counterproductive impacts. There must be a new extra-regional initiative with strong multilateral support.
What are our recommendations? Let me quickly just summarize the major ones. One is make ending the war as the single overriding objective of U.S. policy. The humanitarian and human rights consequences of this war are simply intolerable. They emanate from the war directly. We need to make that link and focus on ending the war. Our approach is not guaranteed of success. It’s no panacea. But we cannot begin to grapple with the drastic impacts of this war until we begin to attempt to end it. There is no alternative. We believe, and we note this, that we don’t anticipate that this Administration -- as with the past Administration -- will take responsibility for fundamentally changing the course of the war in the South. If we pretend that that is the case, we think that it will be irresponsible.
The second point is we need to create a new international nucleus of states. This will require U.S. leadership. Europe is soft, not focused, and relatively complacent on this issue. We have to bring across that it matters, that Sudan matters to us in our relations with these states, as well as with the states that are engaged in the oil sector, most notably China, Canada, and Malaysia. We argue that this approach is imminently affordable. It’s an imminently affordable diplomatic investment, particularly when you weigh it against the worst alternative, which is a further debilitated South.
We’re arguing that we should focus upon interim arrangements, a one Sudan two systems approach, that draws on the Declaration of Principles. We live in an era in which interim arrangements that break with conventional sovereign norms are in vogue and are able to have some impact. We see that in the West Bank and Gaza. We see that in Kosovo and Bosnia. Obviously fraught with difficulties in all of these cases, but the argument is, we should move ahead and be creative, and seek these interim arrangements. The key to this will be effective carrots and sticks. Pressures will come through a multilateral approach.
We need to make the pressures part of our approach to these other key states, including Egypt, China, the EU. The central issue, of course, is, can sufficient pressures be brought to bear upon Khartoum and upon the South?
We have, we argue, key levers over Khartoum, in terms of its reentry into the community of respected states, its relations with Bretton Woods institutions, its access to the Paris Club, and actions that can be taken within the Security Council. Pressures are already building on capital access in the oil sector and that remains another option of debate. We’re arguing that there should be an intensified high-level international effort to plan for a self-governing South. The U.S. should lead to get the World Bank and the UNDP into this. It will create new incentives. It will only be possible if carried out on a strong multilateral basis. We’ve seen that this can have major impact in the Balkans. There’s no reason why we can’t do the same here.
We need to open or create a mechanism for dealing with non-governmental interest in Sudan, as well as within the region, in Europe and North America. We need to make them part of this strategy. There are mobilized non-governmental -- some faith-based, others secular -- that need to be part of this approach.
The final finding. We cannot do any of this without leadership, without, we argue, leadership in Washington and leadership in Khartoum. We need a U.S. Embassy. We have national interests in unfriendly environments and friendly environments. Much can be accomplished by appointing a senior, tough diplomat. We cannot attempt to shape the environment blind.
Now there are areas where much more work will be needed. It is very difficult to identify and develop a broad array of effective and credible sticks. There’s great debate over whether actions that would disrupt global financial markets are warranted or feasible or credible. There’s great debate over what degree we should invest in Southern security. It’s incumbent upon those who are concerned about these issues, to come forward and help us develop credible sticks. It is important to be focused and specific and move beyond slogans.
Khartoum -- does it have sufficient motives to compromise? We don’t know. To judge now is premature. We’ve never tested in a serious sustained way what is possible. We should not be scared from testing what is possible. Khartoum has oil wealth. It is insecure politically. It is in need of external affirmation. The U.S. is the lone holdout. Let’s test whether our leverage can be brought to bear.
Others have argued that this might sell out the opposition interests within the North. We make note of this. We believe that if the war is settled, that will eliminate a principal excuse for repression throughout the country. We believe that if you have an embassy open, you will be able to relate to northern opposition. We believe that you can introduce democratization programs to the North at the same time that you’re working on peace.
Let me just close by saying there is no alternative to ending the war. Those who are here to discuss this, we are looking for your advice. We’re looking for your help. We want to move ahead on premises that are accurate, pragmatic, and credible. Thank you very much.
CHESTER A. CROCKER Thank you very much Steve. Francis, the floor is yours.
FRANCIS DENG: Thank you very much Chet. Let me first associate myself with Steve and others, by thanking the Museum, and by thanking Senator Frist and Congressman Wolf for their leadership in this area.
Let me also say that it has been a great honor and pleasure to work with a group of people who are very well informed and very concerned about what’s happening in the Sudan. In particular, also working with Steve Morrison, both in the meetings and outside the meetings. Our cooperation was a model of genuine cohesive and congenial working together. I appreciate that.
I would just make a few points by way of emphasis on some of the issues Steve raised. First of all, we know that the policy of the U.S. towards Sudan has largely been premised on the alleged association of the Sudan with international terrorism, and, as a second level of concern, the destabilization of the region, and, last, the domestic problems of the Sudan, largely seen from a humanitarian perspective.
The task force found that the problems of the Sudan, both in the region and in its involvement with international terrorism, emanate from the domestic crisis. In particular, the war in the Sudan. It is the war in which Sudan wrongly assumes that the United States, the West in general, but particularly the United States, is allied with the non-Muslims, the non-Arabs in the South. In order to widen its circles of support for its mission, it tries to spread their Islamic -- or their version of Islam -- within the region, and reaches out to extremist elements in the Arab Islamic world for alliance against what they see as Western bias. Which, I say, of course, is misplaced, but that’s the causal connection. We are arguing and focusing on the domestic crisis of the Sudan, in particular the war. If you bring the peace to the Sudan, all the other connections that preoccupy you will wither away.
The second issue has to do with the role of the United States. All the parties to the conflict, including, in fact, the regime, which quite often is outspoken against the United States, do believe that there can be no genuine solution in the Sudan without the United States playing a leadership role in cooperation with all the other elements in the international community. Therefore, we believe this is something that is lacking, that is badly needed, not just by the Sudanese but even by those involved with the peace process, including some European countries, who believe that the United States is critically needed in this area of leadership.
Third, when we speak of the formula of one Sudan and two systems, we are building on the Declaration of Principles of IGAD, which stipulated that the South is entitled to self-determination, but that we should give unity priority. Giving unity priority means creating conditions that would achieve and sustain unity.
We believe that there is a broadly shared view in the North, about building on the Islamic principles and on the cultural framework of Arabism, as well as the pan-Arab nationalism broadly shared. I agree that there are different variations of their perception of Islam and of what it means in its relationship to the state, but there is a degree to which the major political parties in the North share some element of an Arab-Islamic identity, which should be respected.
We believe that it would be reversing the problem for the South, whatever capacity the South had, to impose its own version or vision for the Sudan. On the other hand, there is no way that the vision of the North can be imposed on the South. Over 40 years of war must, by now, have convinced the North that it does not have the capacity to impose its will. Even if it did have that capacity on moral grounds it cannot be justified. I don’t think the world would watch and see the South being destroyed, being disbursed, and being devoured, which are basically elements of genocide.
The destruction of the South is not simply in the deaths that we have heard. It is that the society has been totally shattered. The cohesiveness of the local societies as they have been known and documented is withering away. So when we speak that there is a genocidal factor in this conflict, we’re not talking simply of death. There are many ways in which the South is being eliminated -- as I said, destroyed and assimilated.
Finally, when we speak of carrots and sticks, we’re not claiming here that we have exhausted all the possible pressures that could be exerted. What is important is the vision that we all share that the war in the Sudan must end. What pressures we can exert on the parties to see to it that this is expedited, that the process is accelerated, can be a matter of differences of opinion. We are not saying that we prefer this or that level of pressure. We are saying this is what we believe Washington would carry out. If critics come with other ideas and are able to move the system to do even more on both sides, certainly we cannot quarrel with that.
Finally, let me end with a little story. Some years ago we had a meeting on the Sudan at the Carter Center, discussing the problems of war and peace. I happened to be in the bus with a diplomat from the State Department, who asked me about the situation in the country. I tried to give him a brief answer. In the end, he asked me whether I was a Northerner or a Southerner. I said judging from what you have heard me say, do you think I’m a Southerner or a Northerner? He said, well, I think you are a Muslim from the South. My answer was, I am not a Muslim, nor am I strictly speaking a Southerner. But when I went to the conference and told this story, one Northern Sudanese who did not like what I was saying, said, you not only sound like a Muslim from the South, you sound like a Muslim from Iran.
Recently, I was interviewed over this report, and after some 45 minutes discussion with the journalist, she asked me, was I a Northerner or a Southerner? I must say, some people might be scandalized that my colors don’t come shining clearly. But I thought that was an element of objectivity, which, despite being a Sudanese, I hope honors the position I had as a co-chair. Thank you very much.
CHESTER A. CROCKER Thank you Francis. Our next speaker will be Dr. Ibrahim Elbadawi, who, among his many other accomplishments, is the author of a study entitled “Can Africa Claim the 21st Century?” If its largest country doesn’t get on its feet, that will be a hard one to answer in the affirmative. Dr. Elbadawi.
IBRAHIM ELBADAWI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me start by saying that I would like first to provide, very quickly, two reasons as to why I think the U.S. government should take -- or the U.S. in general should take -- a keen interest in Sudan, in addition to the reasons that were very ably and persuasively argued in the report.
The first one really relates to the economics. That actually to the extent that the U.S. and other partners in the international development community are keenly concerned about the plight of development, and particularly the human development crisis in Africa, Sudan is considered one of those 10 which is currently termed by an ongoing study by the United Nations as “The Big 10.” These are the countries which measure to be very important countries in Africa, based on their share of national income, as well as share of population, and includes countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, and others. These countries are very important or very critical for any viable strategy for dealing with poverty in Africa. Therefore, it is very important from that ground to consider just the sheer size and the strategic location of Sudan, vis-à-vis the rest of Africa, and especially in terms of the link between North and sub-Saharan Africa.
The other factor or the other reason relates to the very strategic initiative of the Nile Basin, which is essentially an initiative that is aimed at preventing future conflicts in a very sensitive region in the context of regional development and cooperation, and a new system of water sharing that is just unsustainable. One would not imagine such a worthwhile initiative could be viable or possible without a peaceful Sudan.
Let me now go to the main gist of my comments which, basically, I would like to start by saying that -- and this is my, of course, personal view -- at least relative to positions usually taken by U.S. based interest groups as well as the policy of the former U.S. Administration, I find this report very rigorous, and very analytical, appropriately nuanced, relatively balanced, and, of course, certainly very timely. I think also this report being primarily directed at policy makers and interest groups in the U.S. -- this report, in my view, proposes, bold, coherent, if not controversial, strategies for conflict resolution and peace building in the Sudan.
Having said that, however, I have three major concerns regarding the recommendations of the report, which I would like to very quickly state and maybe, if I have time, I would like to just to articulate on those two points.
First, while the report emphasizes the need for an eventual democratic transition in both parts of the country it does not include sufficient principles and structures in the proposed peace process to insure that this happens. Indeed, the dynamic of the initial military conditions and the almost exclusive focus of the proposed peace strategy on ending the conflict as an overriding objective will very likely lead to a non-inclusive transition and eventually non-democratic system of uncontested domination of the SPLA/SPLM in the South and the [inaudible] regime in the North.
Second, I would like to question the claim that the formula of “one Sudan/two systems” could be reconciled with the objective of maintaining the unity of the country. In fact, this formula, in my view, is almost bordering an implicit agenda for an eventual de facto partitioning of the country.
Finally, I would like to flag three issues that, I believe, would require careful and timely attention. The displaced Southern Sudanese in the North, who now account for more than half of the population of Southern Sudan. The second issue is the struggle over natural resources, mainly water, among the tribes of the tangency areas, that is straddling the borders between North and South. In addition, the issue of the oil sector.
In my view the successful management of these three issues will have important practical implications for whether Sudan remains united or should, on the other hand, partition become unavoidable, whether or not that partition will lead to a peaceful and cooperative divorce.
I would like to switch generally, very quickly, to argue or to articulate why I consider these three issues very important. First, I would like to argue that the peaceful but non-democratic transition -- I’m not assuming that this is the ultimate outcome but, I’m suggesting that actually the proposal, as it stands, does not include sufficient instruments and principles to insure that it does happen. Certainly it is a lacking that could be rectified.
However, if actually a non-democratic transition takes place, I think it will be potentially disastrous. This is because a non-inclusive and non-democratic transition could lead to an acrimonious and uncooperative transition that would eventually lead to only one outcome, partitioning of the country.
Given the dense crosscutting issues and interests, in terms of the oil, the tangency area’s tribes, and the displaced Southern Sudanese in the North, the civil war may simply be transformed into a future interstate war. Then where once the fundamental divide between North and South is removed, other underlying causes such as regional and tribal differences and disparities take over.
In my view, to insure that the transition becomes inclusive and eventually democratic, and without prejudice to the primacy of ending the war as an overriding objective, which I strongly agree with, I would like to propose three principles, which I call the principles of neutrality, inclusiveness, and proportionality.
The other last two principles are obvious, but I think the neutrality principle I would like to explain by not meaning compromising on the basic norms and principles that were stated in the report. However, the norm of neutrality certainly would suggest that the proposed external agency which is this international regional group that is called upon to provide the commitment technology for peace building and cessation of hostilities would have to be neutral vis-à-vis the warring partners. In terms of principles, clearly there has to be commitment to the well-established principles. But I think neutrality vis-à-vis the various protagonists, especially the military protagonists, I think is necessary, so that this external agency can genuinely be an external agency.
Inclusiveness means that peace process should not be confined to the two main military camps, or just to the forces that bear arms. Finally, proportionality, as I would like to suggest it, indicates or means that the relative weights across factions and between North and South Sudan should be assigned according to their respective popular base.
So, let me quickly ask the question: What are the potential implications of these principles for the design of the peace building process, as I see it?
First, no member of the external agency, and in my view, especially the United States as the potential leader of this external agency, should unilaterally adopt the political agenda of a particular protagonist. What I would like to emphasize is different from committing to broad based principles or accepted principles. In particular, I think the U.S. government ought to take a principled, broad based and unbiased view of the Sudan that would consider the perspectives and interests of various groups in the country.
Third, a worthwhile political force, all worthwhile political forces, both from North and South, should be included in the process.
Fourth, the representation of factions in the process, and, eventually, in various levels of the government, during the transition should reflect approximate proportionality in terms of popular base and not just in terms of military forces.
Finally, the structure and orientation of the country, in terms of the central system of the government, should also reflect the relative weight between North and South.
Let me just -- since my time is over -- suggest that the second issue is maintaining the eventual unity of the Sudan. I would like to suggest an alternative government arrangement for the transition, which will keep the self-governing body in the South, but I find it difficult to justify a self-governing body in the North, in the context of a central government. In fact, I would suggest that in the recognition of the diversity of the Sudan, both North and South, I would like to ask to consider the option of having a strong local government in the context of a decentralized system both in North and South, and having the regional government, or the self-governing authority in the South, as a higher order authority.
Finally, other than determining the authority of the central government residually, as proposed in the strategy, I think we should give some room to the creativity and the good will of the Sudanese political forces which actually stipulated, at least in terms of the declaration of their positions, that they believe there is a possibility for them to agree to a much wider space for central government than proposed in the report. I’ll have some other ideas on the last issue which is addressing the cross-border relations, rehabilitation and repatriation of displaced Southern Sudanese and management of the oil sector, but I will leave that for maybe the discussion.
CHESTER A. CROCKER Thank you very much Ibrahim. Our final speaker is Mr. Roger Winter, who according to his bio, has been executive director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees since 1981. There is a man with a job he likes. Roger.
ROGER WINTER: Thank you. Thanks to the Museum and to CSIS for including me in the program. I appreciate it very much.
The primary value of the report is to stimulate and accelerate the debate on Sudan. Sudan is the worst humanitarian and human rights situation in the world. There are many useful points and proposals included. I’m not going to focus on them. I’m going to focus on my dissents from the report. The real problem with the report is that it fails to adequately explicate the problem in Sudan. Thus it gets the strategy in some aspects -- important aspects of the strategy -- wrong. I think you can’t focus just on the words. The devil is in the detail as to the way the strategy is to be implemented or as it is recommended. I want to try to explain to you why I feel this way.
First of all, the NIF government in my view is the key obstacle to peace in Sudan. It’s not premature, in my view, as Steve said earlier, to make that judgment. The record is exceedingly clear. A just peace was in fact agreed to by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the government of Sudan in late 1988 and early 1989. It was in the process of being implemented.
The NIF staged its coup specifically to abort peace. Thus the bulk of the two million dead in this conflict are the fruits of NIF actions. It voluntarily opened its borders to agents of terrorism. It voluntarily adopted a policy of regional destabilization. It voluntarily adopted a position of collegiality with the Iraqi and Chinese nexus that President Bush was cautioning about just last week. It has been the principle recalcitrant party to IGAD. Its pattern of uprooting, disbursing, destroying and assimilated what it views as enemy civilians is clearly genocidal in character. It believes its strategy is winning the war and, thus in my opinion, it sees no reason to genuinely negotiate. It has a history of not delivering on its commitments and it will surely agree to the strategy of this report as a tactic because it buys time for the NIF’s military approach, for continued oil development with all the impact that has for armaments, the political environment for a just peace, and not to mention Sudanese lives. There is no reason, in my opinion, given this record, to believe in the NIF’s good faith.
The NIF is not the Northern Islamic government as Jane Perlez’s New York Times article said yesterday. That’s not a proper characterization. It is an extremist government. That needs to be recognized as a reality in this equation if in fact there is to be a just peace. The task is how to create an environment conducive for that just peace to develop.
Secondly, I think the proposal as laid out is unbalanced and poorly sequenced and is fuzzy in certain critical particulars. On balance, it is too kind to the NIF government. The NIF government cannot be lured into serious concessions with an approach that is front- end loaded with carrots. The proposed approach not only allows oil development to continue, it also, by doing that, gives away much of the U.S. leverage up-front. The symbolism of opening the U.S. Embassy is huge and will be seen as legitimizing the NIF government, because it directly reverses the prior administration’s policy. It also legitimizes, in my view, the collaborationism of the Europeans and their oil companies in the destruction of Southern civilians.
I believe also that the proposed approach prejudges what a Bush Administration might be willing to do. Sudan is, in fact, the only African country with a large, growing and broadly bi-partisan popular constituency in the United States. Again, contrary to what Jane Perlez says yesterday, it isn’t just a Christian constituency. It is a very broad based constituency made up of all kinds of folks across the United States. It includes, fortunately for dealing with the Bush Administration, solid Republican and conservative elements.
The proposed approach is fuzzy in important particulars. Frank Wolf has proposed a high level special envoy for years. In fact, it is one of, if not the best idea in the report itself. But it appears almost -- the way it’s presented -- tacked on, almost an afterthought to opening the U.S. Embassy.
A special envoy is recommended, but also we’re asked to see -- or it’s proposed that there be a senior talent to run the reopened American Embassy, not to mention the fact another senior person being a primary conduit to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. It seems to me a very fuzzy formula, a formula that promises confusion and in fighting within the Administration of an enormous type.
Third, I think the report is wrong -- or certainly, at least, not adequately clear on U.S. leadership. In my view, the U.S. should play the leadership role. The Europeans cannot lead on this and the National Islamic Front knows it. France, Italy, Sweden, Austria, even the Russians are joining Canada in slurping up the NIF oil.
You may ask, can the U.S. lead? Well, I think there is an open question there about whether it will or not, but I don’t think it’s an open question of whether the U.S. can lead. In fact, the campaign to deny the NIF a U.N. Security Council seat last Fall showed that the U.S. could lead and generate massive support for a tough approach to Khartoum. In my view, it’s a fiction to expect strong international guarantees, which are a very necessary part of delivering the strategy in this report, unless the U.S. is mobilized, committed and in the lead. Without that leadership, by the way, the SPLA would be crazy to accede to the strategy as it’s sequenced in the report.
Fourth, the approach must, I agree, provide genuine carrots for the National Islamic Front. But, in my view, only with tough principles, enforcement mechanisms, and firm time frames laid out first. The NIF has a clear pattern of initial acquiescence and then out-waiting the foreign others who are paying attention. Sticks like the report refers to -- so-called punitive impacts on future oil development, for example, are too weak, and in my view risk a Sudanese Srebrenica.
I agree with the suggestion made on page 13 where it talks about bilateral sanctions and Paris Club consideration. It suggests that they must be linked to concrete durable progress in the peace process. I absolutely agree. My only suggestion is that same approach ought to be applied to every single carrot that we hold out to the NIF government.
And finally, although there are many other specifics that could be focused on, I’d like to suggest a few mandatory first steps for an environment conducive to implement a just peace strategy. Stop the bombing. Now, I know that we have probably unified agreement that this needs to be done. If this is not done, then there should be no further progress whatsoever with this government. The bombing is too illegal, too ugly, and too pervasive to let it continue. It must end either as an NIF evidence of good faith, which I would hope could be done, or the U.S. must force the issue. Obviously, until this point, the U.S. has not. I think we need to eliminate the National Islamic Front’s manipulation of humanitarian access, particularly as it relates to the Nuba Mountains, but not only.
There is substantial famine potential in Sudan right now. You can expect them to play the usual games. That just can’t be tolerated if in fact there’s going to be movement on a just peace strategy. It’s absolutely necessary and people in Washington of the talking heads variety tend not to take the capital market strategy serious when it comes to oil production in Sudan. But, they’re absolutely indispensable if what we want to do is get their attention quick, and seriously, and potentially turn their oil production allies into allies of a just peace. That’s absolutely necessary.
Finally, I really do agree with the idea that a high level special envoy needs to be appointed. I would appoint that person without an ambassador in Khartoum and I’d get on with the task of reaching a just peace in Sudan. Thank you.
CHESTER A. CROCKER Thank you very much Roger. We have been very efficient in our use of the clock. I have one surprise announcement, which is that I have cut a deal with Francis and with Steve to say a few words myself before opening it up to the floor.
But, those few words will be even more concise than those of the previous four speakers. I have really three observations to make which kind of flesh out some points that maybe need to be fleshed out a little bit in terms of the analysis of where the situation is.
In my view the balance of power is shifting, but I don’t confine that to the temporary, perhaps tactical, tangible, shift of power that is based on the flow of oil revenues. I think the balance of power beyond that issue -- which may be shorter term than we recognize for reasons that have been alluded to already -- the balance of power that’s really important is that the balance of power is shifting away from peace, unless we do the kinds of things that are called for in this report.
By which I mean, that I think neither side -- if there are sides, just two of them -- neither side is as ready for serious decisions as perhaps they would like us to believe. Left to its own devices, I see the trend of events on the ground in Sudan as working against peace. I think the situation could get worse in the absence of the kind of serious concerted high-level effort that is being discussed and put forward for us today with all the reservations and with all the amendments that have been suggested. But, still, I think everybody agrees that if we’re going to do something it should be serious, and not just for looks. Not just posturing. So, that’s my opening point.
My second point is that I think that we all agree in this room that our hearts go out to the civilian victims of this conflict in their millions. And it may be time for us all to acknowledge, as well, that they don’t really have much of a voice in some of the peace processes that we’ve been talking about.
I think it’s time to test the armed combatants who are, in some cases, living off this war and may have rather little interest in resolving it, but who do certainly have an interest in manipulating themselves and manipulating foreign opinion. The purpose in this testing process is not to do favors to anybody, but to ask the sides -- the armed sides particularly -- some hard questions, which I suspect, they would rather not answer.
My final point is simply this: that we need to focus in designing a process of the kind that this report suggests, specifically on the question of how to organize authoritative talks that will produce a legitimate transition period. And how [inaudible] separation of religion and state, and self-determination for the South.
For this reason, I think that the CSIS’s report, with its emphasis on oil development, which emphasis is entirely appropriate, has not led to sufficiently strong recommendations. Oil development, as the report notes, is shifting the balance of power towards Khartoum. It is the occasion for massive, brutal civilian destruction, and displacement in Southern Sudan.
The response to these disturbing consequences must be much more than the veiled and unspecified threats of the CSIS report. In the absence of genuine cooperation from our allies on this issue, the U.S. must be prepared to impose capital market sanctions in the near term, denying foreign oil companies that are active in Sudan access to American capital markets. Without such a forceful threat to Sudan’s burgeoning oil development, there is little chance that positive change can be effected on this front. Thank you.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
CHESTER A. CROCKER: We might take a few questions before we open it up for any comment -- if there is -- from the panel. Yes, on this side.
QUESTION: I am the editor of Africa Newscast. While we might agree that 1983 is an important landmark in the Sudanese issue, I consider that 1989 to be even more important. That is because of the arrival of General Bashir in the equation. But, up to this point, of two hours of the discussion, his name has not been mentioned.
CHESTER A. CROCKER: Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. I’m speaking on behalf of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. I’d like to thank everybody who has participated in this, and the fact that this activity took place at all.
I thank all of you who have been involved in this, and I would like to mention David Smock again. I’d like to draw your attention to a document which is available out there. And I hope that those of you who will be using the CSIS report, will also use the input of the SPLM that recommends on the issues that have been raised here.
I will not go through and document because it is specific, and I would like use to it as well. However, I would like to highlight two or three points in the report. First, I think the challenge Ambassador Crocker has just raised, that the parties to the conflict, especially the combatants, should be asked some very hard questions -- we in the SPLM are ready and willing to answer all, whatever questions you would like to raise.
In fact, throughout the entire conflict we have never been asked any questions on what is pertaining to our country. There is a feeling within the report that the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum is reformable, that if good ideas are presented to Khartoum through an ambassador, through diplomats, through clever academics, they could change.
Now this is an issue which I think is too much of wishful thinking. We all wish that the regime could be changed. We know it cannot be reformed. We know it is too deformed. There is no way the international community can bring ideas that can change the behavior of that regime. They can change their language. They can change their tactics. But they cannot change their objectives and their actions which they have said themselves as reformers are set in [indecipherable] the normalization of relations which has been proposed between the United States and the government of Sudan, I think would be a grievous mistake.
It would be a recognition and legitimization of a regime that has caused millions of deaths due to displacements, slave trading, and profiting in human lives. I think it would be one of the things that Khartoum would definitely declare victory. They have been saying this. They have been looking for it. They have been campaigning for it.
I think you’re about to hand them a carrot and, as well, at the same time handing a stick to the opposition. I also would like to say that the IGAD process has been unfairly criticized for being weak. The IGAD process is not succeeding, that is the deadlock in the IGAD process, is not because the mediator is incapable. Not because they’re inefficient. It is because the issues on the table are intractable. It is because the IPF, and the United States government, and the Europeans, and anybody else in this world has not provided guarantees and mechanisms that would make a peace agreement obtainable. Because the history of this regime is that any agreement can always be scrapped. For this reason, I would like people to really consider in mediation and supporting the Sudanese people, to provide guarantees that can make an agreement last. In the absence of that, we have no choice but to struggle, and become the guarantors of our own lives. Thank you.
CHESTER A. CROCKER: Yes, sir.
QUESTION: I’m the president of Genocide Watch. I just want to point out a fundamental problem with the document that, I think, underlies in fact, the whole discussion.
It’s actually a problem that Dr. Deng has addressed before this. That is, that Sudan should not have been a single country in the first place. Now the British administered it as two separate entities, as we all know. Dr. Deng, in fact, helped to design a one Sudan, two systems, type of regime that worked for awhile in Sudan. It was ultimately overthrown by a military coup.
What we have here is a proposal to do that again. I really question, after the genocide that has occurred in Sudan -- and, that is what it is, it’s genocide -- whether we can accomplish that. Whether we can, indeed, have a single country. Whether, in fact, we may not have to face the facts, and have a true division of Sudan.
CHESTER A. CROCKER: Thank you. Thank you. Would anyone -- There have been several comments made and several questions put. I wonder if I could ask any member of the panel, who would like to speak, to respond to what has been put forward so far. Any panel members wish to?
CHESTER A. CROCKER: Okay. Well, I’ll continue to recognize interveners from the floor.
QUESTION: I’m representing SPDF or Sudan People’s Democratic Front. I would like to add something about inclusiveness.
When we signed an agreement in 1997 with the Khartoum government, we were trying to test the regime -- how serious it was to the resolution of the conflict. But we found out that the Khartoum government is not serious to end this war. Talking about negotiating with this government is a little bit difficult, because you cannot really see the clear picture of what really they wanted to end to this war. We are now determined to fight this government, because we don’t see any way of negotiating with the government. I would also like to highlight some points like brother Ibrahim said.
If the SPLA and the government sign an agreement, or negotiate without the other factions in the South, there is not going to be the end to the war. I believe that all the factions, all the political parties in Sudan, have to be included in any negotiation, and they have to be represented.
Concerning the united Sudan. We totally disagree with that -- especially the SPDF, or react much of our movement. We don’t see any rights being given to us in terms of a united Sudan. And we have to give a chance to the Southerners to really determine their political aspirations, not the movement determining their rights. And I do really agree that we have to allow the Southerners to determine their political goals. And thank you.
CHESTER A. CROCKER: Thank you very much. I’m wondering if I might just take a moment. I see Senator Frist is still with us. And I know he has a commitment at 12:30. Senator Frist, I wanted to offer you a chance to say something if you would like to, because I know you have a commitment. And if I could give you that opportunity, and then we’d go back to the people who have been waiting patiently in line.
BILL FRIST: Well, it will be -- And I’m going to be here until 12:30 because I’m learning a tremendous amount as I’m here. I would be interested in the panel -- you don’t have to answer it now -- but discussing a bit about something that hasn’t been mentioned. And that is the role of the United Nations.
The United Nations, at least in the toolbox that we have potentially, to me, seems to have been under-utilized in the past. Reference was made to the progress that was made at the end of last year, and the fact that that demonstrated leadership of the United States.
But, also, it made me think that there is a role for the United Nations to play as we go forward. The report itself did not address that. While we have the experts here, and the many people in the room, I would be interested, as the Congressional representative now to the United Nations, and as someone who has been to the United Nations several times in the past year talking about this particular issue -- what role the United Nations might play? But, I’m here for the duration. Thank you.
CHESTER A. CROCKER: Thank you very much. Anybody want to say a word on the UN aspects?
ROGER WINTER: Well, if I could say two points. One is we shouldn’t have to ask or provide leadership to the UN to do something about the bombing that’s going on there. This is something that ought to emanate from the UN itself.
And the fact that it hasn’t is a very sad indication, I think, of the seizing up of the machinery within the UN system. Perhaps, it’s China on the National Security Council. I don’t know. I mean the -- I’m sorry, the United Nations Security Council. I’m not sure what the problem is.
But, why in the world the UN doesn’t have the capacity, given its role in the world, and its mandate to act on its own, without our leadership, I frankly don’t understand.
The second thing is, I do believe that one of the good things that the UN does in Sudan is Operation Lifeline Sudan. There’s no question about that. It came into effect -- Julia Taft was very involved back in 1989.
And I must say it came into effect in the context of a peace agreement between the government in Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. It is the fact of the coup that has changed in 1989 -- that has changed the environment.
So, this whipsawing of access is something, in my opinion -- that Khartoum does with respect to humanitarian supplies to needy civilians -- is something that the UN ought to be more aggressive about.
It shouldn’t have to be that we, from the NGO community or the advocacy community, should have to complain about it, and then hope that the UN will be more responsive, and provide them backbone through government to be responsive. I’d like to see the UN be more responsive in and of itself and do neutral humanitarian programming in Sudan. Thank you.
CHESTER A. CROCKER: Steve, you want to comment on the UN aspects?
STEVE MORRISON: The UN equities are huge in Sudan, particularly on the humanitarian side. The UN Department of Political Affairs participated throughout this task force. A representative came from New York to every one of our meetings. And we’re very grateful for that. And we took that as a very strong signal.
Francis and I briefed John Prendergast and his staff in the middle of this process to solicit his views. The Secretary General has made it a priority, in the first quarter of this year, for a senior person on his staff to visit the region, and report back to him on where do we go from here, because there is an awareness, as we have argued in this, that we are not getting results. This is an intolerable situation. Let’s take another rethink on this.
So, parallel to what’s happened in this task force, there is a very similar process within the U.N. Secretariat. And whatever you can add to that, would be extremely valuable. It’s in the context of the Secretary General, in the last year, having undertaken some very tough rigorous self-criticism of Srebrenica Rwanda, of UN peacekeeping in [indecipherable] -- of trying to protect the equities of the UN, and come forward with tighter, more focused, and more effective policies. It’s in that context that he’s turning his attention to Sudan now. And so, I think that the timing and the moment are actually quite favorable to bring forward a new compact between ourselves and the UN.
ROGER WINTER: Mr. Chairman, can I do 15 seconds more?
CHESTER A. CROCKER: 15 only, Roger.
ROGER WINTER: One of the things the UN could do right now is deal with the issue of humanitarian access to the Nuba Mountains.
In 1999, the government in Khartoum agreed to allow humanitarian access. This is the clearest genocide that is going on in Sudan. That humanitarian access has never been granted -- in fact, will never be granted -- unless there is sufficient pressure to do it.
And it ought to be coming from the UN; it shouldn’t have to come from a group of others.
CHESTER A. CROCKER: I’d just add one comment. The UN these days is something of an emergency ward. It gets all the hard cases. And I think a lot depends on whether or not we and other key countries put Sudan on the agenda with the UN Secretary General. Last week our new Secretary of State Colin Powell had a meeting with Kofi Annan. I don’t know what the agenda was. I wasn’t there. But, it’s an interesting question, was Sudan on that agenda? Yes, sir, you’ve been waiting patiently.
MR. CLARK: Yes, thank you. My name is Edward Clark. I’m from the Southern Sudanese community in Washington area. I have a comment and a question.
And before I make my comment I would like to pay great -- I would like to pay special gratitude to Senator Bill Frist and Senator Frank Wolf for being the voice of the sovereign people of the Sudan, and specifically, the Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains. And also having -- also being a voice which actually keeps our hope alive.
My comment is with regards to the unity of Sudan -- one Sudan. I just want to let the participants -- want to inform the participants that the unity of Sudan wouldn’t have been won -- the independence of Sudan wouldn’t have actually taken place had the Southern Sudanese not agreed in 1956, that Sudan would be one county.
But, in spite of the promises that were actually given the South, there was nothing later on actually given to the Southern Sudanese. And so, before -- before the independence actually the South had actually taken up arms.
In 1972, the famous -- the infamous Addis Ababa Agreement, which actually brought peace or at least a break in 1972, wouldn’t also have been possible had the Southern Sudanese -- had they not actually agreed to that particular agreement. Also, when the SPLA -- when they took up arms in 1983, one of their premises was a united Sudan.
But, in spite of all these things, the INF came and took over the government, and completely turned the country to a different direction. What I’m trying to say here is -- is that since 1955, the Southern Sudanese have been actually at the discussion of a united Sudan.
But, this has not really been possible due to mistrust, due to Arabization, and due to enslaving the country. And this brings me to my question -- to my two brothers actually on the panel, one being a Southern Sudanese and the other being a Northern Sudanese. Do you really believe brothers, from the bottom or your heart, do you really believe that the Northern Sudanese and the Southern Sudanese could really co-exist? Can the North and the South co-exist as one country? Thank you.
CHESTER A. CROCKER: Thank you. We are rapidly running short of time. I think I may have time to recognize one more person, maybe two. But, I think Francis, that question is one that you might be best placed to say a word on. It’s a very direct question.
FRANCIS DENG: Should I say something now, or in the comments?
CHESTER A. CROCKER: Go for it. Go for it.
FRANCIS DENG: Well, let me put it this way. There seems to be a general recognition that self-determination is a right which cannot be denied the South, and that the people of the South have never participated in the process of self-determination.
But, there is also a general bias, in Africa and in the world, that as much as possible we should keep countries together -- united. To me, it means that unity cannot be at the cost of the dignity of the people who are marginalized.
But, what I would do in interpreting the principles of IGAD, the Declaration of Principles, is to take self-determination seriously, contrary to what my brother here was saying that if we take self-determination -- two systems one Sudan -- it might lead to separation. If we prejudge the process, by saying that the possibility of separation is ruled out, then there is no incentive for the people of the North, for the leadership, to create conditions where unity can genuinely bring the nation together.
So, I stand for self-determination, despite my preference for unity, in order to challenge the country. If you really value the unity of your country, then you better create conditions where the people of the North will genuinely feel that unity is in the mutual interest of the country. And when they come to vote, as happens repeatedly in Quebec, in Canada, they vote for unity because they find it is in their mutual interest.
But, if we prejudge and say unity is a must, separation is ruled out, we are not going to create the incentive for the people of the North, who are the dominant people, to create conditions for unity. Should they fail to create conditions for unity, during the interim period -- what we call two systems, one country -- and the time comes for voting, and conditions have not been created that can sustain unity, then I don’t hold unity as a dogma. I mean unity is supposed to serve ideals.
And therefore, if it fails, separation cannot be ruled out. Let me say that the Addis Ababa Agreement did not actually create two systems within the Sudan. In a sense it did.
But, it made the South sort of a pocket, a marginal area in a corner, where the national policies and foreign policies were being determined by the North. Even then, in a book I wrote at the time, I said, this cannot be sustained.
Until we create conditions where the people of the South would participate on the national level, and in shaping foreign policy on more or less equal footing, no degree of autonomy can be acceptable to a people because it only reflects accommodation in a marginalized way.
So, let me say, unity is a desirable thing. We must create conditions for unity. If we do fail to create those conditions, partitioning of the country cannot be ruled out.
CHESTER A. CROCKER: One more question. Yes, sir. Please be brief and make it a question.
QUESTION: Okay. I’m speaking on my behalf. I’m going to have a very brief comment. But I want to issue a challenge.
First of all, I think this report, although I haven’t really read it thoroughly, is forward looking. Forward looking in the sense that it’s moving from, you know -- from here, to what we need to do. Roger Winter talked about you know, the 1988 -- the agreement between SPLA and the government.
I think the chances that we will know who won the Florida elections are better than knowing what would have happened, really, if there was no coup in 1989. But, having said that, at least this report is saying, we need to move on from the failed policies of the previous administrations.
As Frank Wolf said, the Sudan is the litmus test for the U.S commitment to human rights and democracy. And I think we have failed -- all the administrations that came -- have failed in that respect. So, I’m looking forward to reading this report.
But, my challenge actually, is to the CSIS, and the Holocaust Museum, and also to the U.S. Institute of Peace. As you see the Southern Sudanese standing, many of them wanted to ask some questions. I think this report has provoked some kind of feeling for a discussion. My challenge to you is how about funding a conference for Southern Sudanese who are here in North America, to discuss some of the issues that this report came up with, including the issue of self-determination?
CHESTER A. CROCKER: I think, at this point, I’m going to have to ask those who have been waiting in line to approach the panel individually. And I’m going to turn the podium first for a brief comment to Steve. And then back to Jerry to close things up.
But, from my standpoint, a word of thanks to the Holocaust Memorial Museum for these splendid arrangements, and for hosting this today. Thank you. Steve?
STEVE MORRISON: I think this conversation -- series of conversations, has revealed a number of points of convergence that are quite important. Stopping the bombing, ending the war, U.S. leaders -- centrality of U.S. leadership, the need to refine and strengthen sticks, and to get the UN involved as some of the notable ones.
I would just close by saying, we can’t want peace, and we can’t want to serve the interests of Northern opposition, without an embassy. It limits our effectiveness.
We have to be very careful and focused in defining what our goals and what is the alternative to the approach that’s laid out in this. And we need to be very careful and honest with ourselves about what are real sticks in this situation.
The idea that Eric has proposed about capital markets is an interesting point. Is that a credible and viable stick to be used? Is there sufficient political support around it? I’m not sure what the answer to that is.
I think Eric has been very creative at moving that forward. It’s not clear to me that it’s going to be something that will be an effective tool. Thank you very much.
CHESTER A. CROCKER: Thank you. Back to you, Mr. Chairman.
JEROME SHESTACK: I’d like to thank, on behalf of the museum, all the panelists. Our particular appreciation to Congressman Wolf and Senator Frist for being with us.
There are some overriding opportunities. But, I did want to make just this comment. I think what has emerged from here are three important points.
One: Sudan does matter. Two: There are opportunities to resolve the conflict. And Three: That leadership is needed from the United States, from the United Nations as Senator Frist said, and from you the people -- from the activists from all the NGOs, from all of us who have to keep this as an emergency matter, and highlight it. You know one time William Butler Yeats wrote about his century, that “the best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
I would like to think that the best have all conviction today and, that we can address this problem with passionate intensity. Thank you for being with us.