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.
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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.