Peace Accord 2005 and Need to Build Geopolitics Federalism in Sudan*

Dr. Suresh Kumar

Expert in Africa Federal Politics

Department of African Studies, University of Delhi, India.

The Atlantic Journal of World Affairs, Vol.2 No.1, January-March 2006.

* This paper was originally presented in the International Geographical Congress IGU-GlasgowUK from August 15-20, 2004 and revised in the light of political developments accordingly.


The nature of multi-polarity enshrines in the Republic of Sudan having an area of 976,750 square miles and comprises 38 million people (2003 estimate) belonging to different communities like Hamito-Semites, the Nubians in the northern part, Dinka, Shilluk, Auak and Nuer, the Murle, Didinga, Boya, Toposa and Bari in the southern and Azande, Kreish, Bongo, Moro and Madi in the southwest region. This research work covers the study of physical geography through four maps, the application of the influence of political and economic geography on the national power, combination of geographic and political factors influencing or delineating Sudan or a region and national policy based on the interrelation of politics and geography. The elements of unity in diversity or multi-diversity did not justify the current north-south problem in simple cultural, religious, ethnic or on racial terms. One cannot ignore the geopolitics of Sudan that lead to regional, national and international connectivity of provinces with the rest of world on the one hand and availability of geoponics and natural resources like petroleum, gold, iron, chromium, copper, zinc, tungsten, mica, livestock, forests, fisheries, cotton, rubber, coffee, gum Arabic, sesame found disproportionately on the other hand need a policy of political federalism to distribute the share equally to all the provinces. Along with it, the high levels of ethnic heterogeneity and a history of economic exploitation, under privilege of different provinces demand a considerable degree of autonomy with in the existing state structure. It will forge a socio-political culture characterized by interpersonal interchanges and better marketing relations i.e. move towards decentralization of geo-natural resources that strengthen the bonding of cooperation of provinces towards Center on the one hand and center provides the necessary minimum basic needs (Bread, Cloth and Shelter) to all and a move towards civil society on the other. Prior to it, one must visualize and analyzes the historical background of pre colonial, colonial and postcolonial state of Sudan to understand the nature of geopolitics conflict, its consequences and its effects on contemporary Sudan.


We, the member of UN celebrated the 56th year of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10th December 2004 and reaffirmed our faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standard of life in larger freedom. That’s why, the General Assembly resolution A/ C.3/ 59/ L. 40, dated November 24th 2004, “Situation of Human Rights in Sudan” got defeated and the UN member states vote in favour of this no action motion (Table-1). Finally, the Sudanese vice president and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), signed a Peace Agreement in Kenya on January 10, 2005.


Voting Pattern on Situation of Human Rights in Sudan

No Action Motion

UN member states Total YES NO ABSTAIN Absent during voting
SAARC & ASEAN 16 16 * * 1. Afghanistan, 2. Azerbaijan
Africa 55 51 * # 03 3Sierra Leone, 4. Dominica
European Union Members * 24 * 5. Kazakhstan, 6. Kiribati
USA * 01 * 7. Papua N Guinea
Japan * 01 * 8. St Kitts-Nevis
Republic of Korea * 01 * 9. Sao Tome Principe
Middle East, Russia, China and others 09 * * 10. Seychelles

11 Cape Verde

East Europe 04 19 * 12. Tonga

13. Turkey

Latin America 11 28 # 08 14. Ukraine 15.Vanuatu
Total 191 91 74 11 15

# – Lesotho, Liberia, and Namibia, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica,

ST Vincent–Cren and Trinidad Tobago.

Source: General Assembly, SER. NO. 374, Item: 105 (C), Resolution: A/C.3/59/L.48, 24 Nov. 2004.

Table-1 clearly showed the common understanding of human rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge. It is a common standard of achievement for all countries, which respect these rights and freedoms to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance. The effective role of Africa Union, SAARC, member states of ASEAN, OPEC, Latin America, Russia, China, Democratic Republic of Korea and other countries to take a very strong opinion in favour of Sudan that will certainly lead to strengthen the democratic processes their. There is an urgent need to rethink that why the developed world is only having enormous tensions for the democracy and human rights? Is it the real issue of first world tension or the developed world greed of economic supremacy and hegemony demanding to move up against Afghanistan, Iraq and now to Sudan?

Historically, the geopolitics of Post Second world war changed the power bloc on the globe and British policy was reversed in 1946 that led to the association of north to south and middle east, which tolerated decades of British isolation policy. But the pressure of the Swez Canal dispute justified British colonizers changed attitude by saying that southern Sudan would not be economically viable if separated from the north. Today, the EU and USA are worried about western Darfur region of Sudan and jeopardize American-assisted negotiations to bring peace in a separate conflict in the south. Even they suggest dividing southern Sudan and forming a separate country because the oil in the ground and flowing through the pipeline to the Red Sea supertanker port has driven expulsions from western Upper Nile/Unity State, the area of the main oil production today. The initial exploration areas in Blocks 1, 2 and 4 dangerously situated on the north-south conflicting region of Sudan are producing crude oil daily (230,000 barrels per day) since 1999.

Today, large number of countries feels that human rights violations never be targeted and it is the Sudan being an Oil producing countries made its southern part significant. The race to seek more and maximum raw oil and to capture oil-well either on the name of anti-terrorism or on the name of non-fulfillment of Human Rights in Democratic Sudan will ultimately a hallmark of multi-lateralism on the one hand and will prove US as a champion and defender of unilateral world, which is a step toward ultra fascism. Along with it, it will hamper the on going peace implementation process in Sudan under the leadership of Africa Union and UN, which lead to regional, national and international connectivity of provinces with the rest of world. Once the peace is established in Sudan, the availability of geoponics and natural resources need a policy of geopolitics federalism to distribute the share equally to all the provinces. It will forge a socio-political culture characterized by interpersonal interchanges and better marketing relations i.e. a move towards decentralization of geo-natural resources that strengthen the bonding of cooperation of provinces towards Center on the one hand and center provides the necessary minimum basic needs to all and a move towards civil society on the other.

Major Features of Sudan Peace Accord 2005

THE Sudanese vice president, Ali Osman Taha, and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the main southern rebel group’s leader, John Garang signed a Peace Agreement in Kenya on January 10, 2005 that called for an end to one of the longest-running conflict in Sudan. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, representing the United States, also signed the agreement as a witness. The agreement is a positive development for peace in Sudan and will persuade the other groups of western Darfur region, which is not covered under the agreement, to work further for the peace processes.

The National Liberation Council, the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army’s (SPLM/A) legislative body, on 24th January 2005 unanimously ratified the southern peace agreement ending the 21-year civil war in the south. Members of the 224-seat Council convened in Rumbek, the provisional capital of southern Sudan, to discuss the requirements of the agreement.1 Under the power-sharing agreement between the government of Sudan and the SPLM/A, 52 percent of the government will be from the ruling National Congress Party and 28 percent from the SPLM/A, with other northern parties taking 14 percent and other southerners six percent.2 Yassir Arman, spokesperson of the SPLM/A noted, “That the peace agreement was widely and gratefully received by the population of Sudan, whom the Council is representing, was a clear indication that the peace deal was going to be ratified”.3
Sudan’s National Assembly on Feb.1, 2005 unanimously ratified the comprehensive peace agreement. Ismail Al-Haj Musa, chairman of the assembly’s Law and Justice Committee, presented the committee’s findings on the comprehensive peace agreement to the parliament, describing the agreement as “paving the way for a just partnership in resources and power and giving solution for the issue of the relation between religion and state.”4 The committee illustrated that peace was a strategic goal of the state intended to bring about comprehensive development and progress all over Sudan, and stressed that the “implementation of peace is a common responsibility of the government, the SPLM/A, and all the national and political forces.”5 It is believed that the agreement had paved the way for the realization of democratic transformation and the expansion of the scope of participation, facilitating the return of a large number of opposition leaders to the Sudanese capital. This agreement, a framework for unity, which is based on free will, democratic rule, justice, equality and mutual respect, besides guaranteeing the right of self-determination for the citizens of south Sudan. Vice president, Moses Machar, Secretary General of the National Congress, Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, former vice president Abel Alier and other SPLM/A officials, federal ministers, representatives of the Sufi sects and Sudanese political parties attended the ratification ceremony in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum6.

Both the ratifications of SPLM/A and Sudan’s National Assembly legislative body will clear the way for the drafting of a new constitution and the formation of a new national government. After six years, a referendum among the southern states will determine whether the south will become fully independent or remain part of a unified Sudan. The agreement also stipulates that the SPLM/A leader, John Garang, is to become first vice president and head an autonomous administration for the south during the six-year transitional period.

One of the major objects of the agreement is to keep Sudan intact, with the prospect of secession by the south intended to put pressure on the central government to uphold its end of the bargain. In a carefully negotiated compromise, an autonomous government is to emerge in the south while new national institutions are created. David Mozersky, a Nairobi-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, said the agreement “was very positive, but in a sense the hardest part is still ahead and believed that the first test would be the drafting of a new constitution during a six-month ‘pre-interim’ period.”7 Second, there are concerns over whether the parties will meet the deadline and whether the negotiations will be inclusive. Third, It is observed that the representative democracy will be a tough task in the south Sudan. Mozersky said that the rebel movement currently lacks the capabilities and institutions to form a government and that the government has ‘questionable political will’ to abide by the agreement and further said, implementing the deal “will be made that much more difficult, if not impossible, unless Darfur is resolved.” 8

Overall, the Peace Accord initiates six-year transition period calls for assimilation of fighting forces, sharing of oil wealth and dividing governance seats between north and south. Several thousand onlookers-most of them Sudanese refugees who had nothing but war in their homeland-danced with glee at a downtown sports arena here as Sudan’s vice president, Ali Osman Taha, and the rebel leader, John Garang, initiated the agreement, which had been years in the making. Now, the centre and provincial governments of functional democracy will be initiated by providing some autonomy to build and strengthen their governance. The symbolic functional autonomy is initiated by announcing the following measures:

  1. Both the Arabic and English will be treated as official languages.
  2. New paper money will be issued reflecting the country’s unity in diversity.
  3. Dual banking system is to be set up.
  4. Islamic law will be made applicable in northSudan only thus helping in keeping the gun battles down. And
  5. The agreement calls for a referendum in six years among southerners to determine whether they wish to remain part of a unifiedSudan.

The agreement was threatened by the fact that the war continued in other parts of Sudan. The western Darfur region, where clashes involve different rebels, was not covered under the agreement. This six- year transition period to ease the combatants toward peace. It is fraught with potential complications but, if it works, it could help bring development to one of the world’s most destitute and disease-ridden regions. Southerners will be given some autonomy in the coming years and must create a functioning government from scratch. Even few expect Sudan’s government to allow a split to occur, but the vote is considered a major incentive for inclusive rule in the years ahead.

Physical Nature of Sudan

Sudan the largest country is situated in North-East Africa consists of twenty-six states (the government divided the nine states into the 26 states in Feb. 1994) and having an area of 976,750 square miles. It shares common borders with nine countries – Egypt and Libya in the North, Chad and Central African Republic in the West, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Kenya in the South, Ethiopia and Eritrea in the East. The Sudan is irrigated by two Niles; the white Nile and the Blue Nile, Which joining the white Nile at Khartoum and the habitant is only possible along the banks of the Nile as in eastern region.The northern part of the Sudan from Egyptian borders to the north of Khartoum consists of desert or semi-desert areas largely uninhabited. The central Sudan is a country of semi-desert and Savannah with a rainfall of 8-25 inches per years lays the famous cotton growing area between the blue and white Niles, and Kardofan province10. The Southern Sudan have produced an environment difficult to live in, resulted a variety in modes of living (Table-2) and consists of three provinces of Bahr-at-Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile.11 Agriculture is the dominant sector of the Sudanese economy contributing the 40% of the GDP12. The livestock population is over 125 million heads of cattle (36%), sheep (37%), goats (45%) and camels (3%), the largest animal resources in Africa.13 Cotton is the main cash crop of Sudan and is characterized to its quality. Sudan is the largest supplier of ‘gum Arabic’, producing 80% of world demand (Table-2). Sesame seeds groundnuts and sunflower seeds are also source of income generation. Along with it, gold, copper, iron ore, chromium, silver, zinc and most important source is the oil, which has emerged as a valuable asset and merged the republic with ‘club of oil producing countries’.

The People of Sudan

Sudan is a multi- orient features having a population of nearly 38 million (2003 estimate and Table-2) having the people of northern Sudan or Hamito-Semites descendants of Arab-migrations settled and intermarry with the original inhabitants the Nubians, speak Arabic and having faith on Islam. The people of southern Sudan or NiloticNilo-Hamites and Sudanic speak Arabic and Dinka followed by fourteen minor languages representing one-third of country’s population residing within a quarter of its territory (Table-2 and Map-3). The elements of this multi-diversity found in Sudan are really difficult to justify the current north-south conflict in simple cultural, ethnic or racial terms. To understand the current situation in Sudan, one must clearly understand the historical background of the conflict taking into account of pre-colonial and colonial period.


Republic of Sudan

Languages Arabic (Official), Tribal Dialects, English,

Ethnicity/Race Black52%, Arab 39%, Beja, 06%, Foreigners 02%, Others 1%

Religion Islam (Sunni) 70%, Indigenous 20%, Christian, 5%

Agriculture and Livestock Cotton, wheat, gum Arabic, sugarcane, Ground (Pea) nut,

Cassava (tapioca), Sweet Potatoes, Sorghum, Papaya, Millet,

Mangoes, Bananas, Sesame, Sheep and Camel

Industries Oil, Cotton ginning, Shoes, Textiles, Cement, Petroleum refining,

Soap distilling, Armaments, Automobile Light truck assembly

Pharmaceutical, Edible Oils, Sugar

Labor Force 11 million Agriculture 80%, Industry and Commerce 7%, Government 13%

Natural Resources Petroleum, Copper, Iron Ore, Zinc, Chromium Ore, Tungsten

Mica, Silver, gold, Hydro powder

Export $2.1 billion Oil & Petroleum products, Cotton, Sesame, Live Stock, Ground nut

Gum Arabic, Sugar, petroleum products

Import $1.6 billion Foodstuff, Refinery, Wheat, Manufactured goods, textiles

Transport, Equipment, Medicines and chemicals

Transportation Railways 5995 km, Highways 11,900 km paved 4,320km

unpaved 7,580 km, Waterways 5310 km navigable, Airports 65

Major Trading Partners Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, UK

Communication Telephones 400,000, Mobile 20,000

Internet Service Providers 02

Internet Users 56,000

Source: Encyclopedia of Sudan, 2003.