Peace Accord 2006 and Role of Geopolitics Federalism in Sudan
Dr. Suresh Kumar
Africa Quarterly, January 2007
* The author attended the Peace Accord Ceremony of on 14th October 2006 at State Palace, Asmara, Eritrea and shared his opinion with Presidents of Eritrea and Sudan and Chairman of East Sudan Front (ESF), Mr. Mousa Mohammed Ahmed. Dr. Suresh and Dr. Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohammed (Former Ambassador of Sudan in India and at present Sudan Representative in UNO) are Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator in Major Research Project of University Grants Commission, India on “Geopolitics Federalism: Vision of North and South Sudan from March 2006-09”.
It is the time to remember Asmara Declaration 1994, the Foundation stone in the history of Peace and Development in Sudan and the openhearted Eritrean brotherhood nature and commitment towards it. It is the culmination of Asmara Declaration that turned to Naivasha Peace Agreement 2005 between Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) and Sudan Government in Kenya. President Isaias Afwerki of the State of Eritrea, commitment with august gathering at the time of Peace Agreement 2006 by saying, “I believe it is imperative and timely to gauge this important Agreement-which constitutes one of the building blocks of comprehensive peace in Sudan-in the context of the prevailing regional and international climate. The larger perspective is vital in order to appreciate the challenges and to marshal necessary efforts to ensure the effective implementation and sustainability of the Agreement. As your Excellencies will agree with me, the Naivasha Agreement did not only constitute one of the primary pillars of Comprehensive Peace in the Sudan but also a historical achievement that laid the foundations of the whole edifice. In this perspective, I wish to underline that its full consummation at the end of the transitional period to deliver the desired result and its organic reinforcement through supplementation of the other building blocks will demand robust commitment and assiduous maintenance”1. President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir of the Republic of Sudan reaffirmed on this historical occasion and said, “This is the last step in the journey of Peace since Naivasha and Abuja agreements and the process of Peace is completed in Asmara. This is the new fingerprint in the history of our continent, which witnesses the good news about renaissance, civilization and appraisal of Africa. The civil war caused too much destruction and we lost every dear soul to achieve peace”2. The Asmara declaration and ‘Naivasha Agreement’ persuaded the academia to re-think over the idea of Geopolitics federalism in Sudan not in terms of separate existence but to persuade them to unite into a functioning federalism.
Geopolitics Federalism in Sudan
Federalism, it is true allows the diversity to coexist. But in the course of its growth towards maturity does create union through the real functions of the federal government and the component units of the state. President Omar pointed out here, “We refused the solution under statute1706 and the reasons were obvious being sovereign executive, legislative and constitution. We greet all people of east Sudan, all political parties support for this historical achievement and reaffirm the commitment of late Amir Osman Digna, the prominent leader of east Sudan. The ‘National Dialogue Conference’, September 1989 was the beginning of peace process that covered a thorny and long way and finally it reached to Peace Agreement, Nairobi, January 2005 hosted by IGAD friends”3. President Omar expressed his respect to all international community by saying, “We support AU financially, technically and logistically and appreciate the efforts of Arab League to support the working of AU forces in Darfur. Our commitment towards International Organization (UNO) and all regional organizations but we still maintain our rights, reserve for the security of our land and our people. We enforce our capabilities, support and resources for peace, rehabilitation and development for the permanent and balance development.” 4
Trusting these points in mind, there are two reasons why geopolitics federalism in Sudan is considered as the most expressive forms of government. First, Federalism has been described as ‘the process by which a widening sense of social (and political) harmony is reconciled with the attachment for local identity, through the provision of dual political organization. Secondly, because of a sort of dual political organization and the grant of substantial regional autonomy, the north and east Sudan in a federal state federation, unlike in other forms of government, should be most clearly recognized. The economic position and lop sided development in east Sudan was the result of sub-nationalist movement. The Peace Accord 2006 provides a greater autonomy for the development of east Sudan and initiates the process to strengthen political unity and socio-economic development. The central-provincial relationship to fulfill the grassroots demands should be pursuing a new path of development for the welfare of common people that is the basic requirement of a federal state. This very idea of unity in diversity was discussed during my International Geographical Congress on “One Earth and Many Worlds”, 15-20 August 2004, Organized by Scottish Exhibition Conference Center, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom under the topic of Geopolitics Federalism: Vision of North and South Sudan and later on this idea was well taken during the Peace Agreement in Kenya on January 10, 2005.
This idea of geopolitics federalism is appreciated during Peace Accord 2006, particularly President Isaias vehemently spoke during his interview to me, “The first is the absolute need to refrain from policies and acts that spawn internal crisis, and, to seek and secure domestic solutions to internal problems that may have been inherited or that may have arisen from misguided policies. This will also involve the implementation of Agreement signed, faithfully and seriously.”5 Criticizing the idea of separate existence, President Isaias further observed, “The second is not to tread on an alley that leads to external intervention. Because accommodation of or capitulation to external pressures will only exacerbate the situation, prolong the conflicts and entail sorrow and remorse.”6
It is the demand of time to allocate and distribute the natural resources and share its earning with the different regions according to their needs respectively failing which, the neo-colonial forces get the chance to disturb the particular regions (like Darfur and east Sudan) and misguide them. President Omar shared with me, “This time is not just for celebrating Peace Accord 2006, and it sends signal for all African countries to solve their problems themselves without trusteeship or under pressure of foreign powers. This Peace Accord is of great value and the practical answer to the crisis-trader and crisis-makers”7. President Isaias strengthened this idea and remarked, “It is important to realize that we are passing through dangerous times which can only arouse our committed awareness. Few shortsighted powers are plunging billions of people in the world into the abyss of perennial crisis and conflict in order to control and dominate the resources of our planet. These are indeed times of unprecedented injustice to secure international domination at the expense of fundamental individual and people’s rights. We cannot be oblivious to the subtle manipulations underway to impart a different connotation to the concept of the “International Community” by reducing the forum to represent the interests of the only superpower and its ilk to the exclusion of all others” 8.
The role of neo-colonial powers is shamelessly famous in distributing arms and ammunition and is known to take advantage of the position for their own motives on the name of Human Rights in case of State’s opposition, whether it is the case of Iraq, Darfur or Afghanistan or any other region or country. Here, President Isaias criticized these powers and said, “We observe, daily, dogged attempts to transform international and regional organizations into mere extensions or appendages of the Offices of major powers and micro-manage them through their intelligence agencies. Sadly, what is in vogue today is not “Conflict Resolution” but “the complication and perpetuation of conflicts. Fabrication of any pretext to satisfy one’s selfish interests is being employed without scruples under the Machiavellians philosophy of the ‘end justifies the means.’ It is indeed distressing to see peace processes degenerate into forums of public acrimony or for financial gain instead of promoting genuine and enduring solutions”9. President Omar straightforwardly spoke about it, “Peace enemies want Evil for our continent in general and Sudan in particular and lit fire in Darfur to escape themselves from commitment of peace process, rehabilitation and development. These evil forces spoiled the Abuja Treaty so that Son of the Soil cannot get the real fruits of vast rich resources and enjoy the country’s progress. They pushed the claim of international forces and take away the carpet under the feet of newly born Africa Union, which played a big role on the ground of Darfur and host Abuja Treaty. Along with it, The Secretary General was forced to send international force in Darfur under Security Council pressure and preparing to re-colonize it again. Since the Sudan was the first country to get independence in Africa, WE will not allow anyone to re-colonize our country first of all.” 10
Keeping all these points discussed above, in mind, the Peace Accord, October 14, 2006, Asmara is prepared, preserving the prosperity of the people belonging to East Sudan on the one hand and strengthen the idea of Geopolitics Federalism on the other hand. The major features of Peace Accord highlights:
1. People’s Affiliation to Political Participation
The people’s participation ensures its support in the galleries of Parliament and their voice heard by elected representatives at block level, province and national level. The Government of national Unity stands to promote the concern of political parties that will solve their internal problems, day-to-day people’s difficulty and evolve an environment of political consciousness. The East Sudan people’s representatives ensures their participation in the Government of National Unity for the smooth functioning in national and regional administration ensures genuine allocation and distribution of financial share to their region and channelise a proper and smooth way of assimilation of ESF armed forces with national army.
The role of Eritrea is transparent and crystal clear and he says, “Hence, leaving aside media promotions and propaganda consumptions, the Government of Eritrea has been exerting due role as a facilitator in achieving a thoroughly discussed and openhearted solution among the brotherly people of the Sudan –a blessed role that emanates from a friendly neighbor.”11
2. The Armed Forces Reconciliation
The security arrangement of the East Sudan is taken care by ESF armed forces. This peace accord opens the gate of reconciliation of ESF armed troops with Sudanese Armed forces. “The role of the concerned parties in resolving the issues they face is a leading factor in every national reconciliation process. The uniqueness of the peace talks between the Sudanese Government of National Unity and the East Sudan Front is that it sends pout a clear and exemplary message that ‘the problems of Africans can be solved by the African themselves.” 12
3. Setting Up of Development Fund
The geopolitics federalism of east Sudan is respected and the national government agreed to share National Budget by setting up of Development Fund for East Sudan. This is the beginning of sharing financial allocation of resources and its distribution on the basis of region’s need. “This is thus directed towards those that consider themselves as omnipotent and seek to paralyse African from soling their own affairs.” 13 The Peace Accord 2006 persuaded the ten year long armed conflict in the East Sudan that ultimately came to an end. The Secretary General of ESF, Dr. Mebruk Mubarek Selim pointed out that “This accord guarantees equitable economic, political, social and cultural development. The Development Fund for reconstruction in East Sudan represents a pioneer initiative” and Deputy-Chairman of ESF, Dr. Amna Salih Dirar added here that ‘ensures participation of the ESF at all levels of national and regional administration’14 emphasizes the work-load share under provincial federalism.
The geopolitics federalism of east Sudan is respected and the national government agreed to share National Budget by setting up of Development Fund for East Sudan. This is the beginning of sharing financial allocation of resources and its distribution on the basis of region’s need. “This is thus directed towards those that consider themselves as omnipotent and seek to paralyze African from soling their own affairs.”15 “The State shall undertake effective and prompt measures of affirmative action and pursue policies of sustained economic and social development. — In pursuit of development of land and natural resources, land management structures and institutions shall be developed and legally supported to promote sustainable development and protect the environment. — Equally, the ESPA requires all levels of government to ensure that the people of eastern Sudan are provided opportunities in, and benefit form, the development of the nation’s coastal area, and its fish and marine resources.” 16 The Chairman of the negotiating team form the Sudanese Government of National Unity in the peace dialogue and Advisor of the President of the Republic of Sudan, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail said that “this (peace accord) attests to the great value which not only the Sudanese national Assembly and the East Sudan front give to Eritrea’s efforts but also all sections of the East Sudan population.” 17 The Agreement delineates the fundamental objectives of development in eastern Sudan in the following:
· “Rehabilitation of war-affected areas;
· Rehabilitation of social services including health, education and water;
· Rehabilitation and development of infrastructure;
· Human and institutional capacity building;
· Eradication of poverty;
· Rehabilitation and development of agriculture, industry, tourism, fisheries and other priority sectors;
· Encouraging investment and job creation;
· Protecting and enhancing the fragile environment;
· Protecting and promoting historical and cultural heritages;
· Ensuring the return and the rehabilitation of refugees and internally displaced people;
· Ensuring that all the development programs address the specific needs of women” 18
The program does not incorporate national government development projects that are undertaken by the national government in eastern Sudan. In addition to the share of eastern Sudan in the FFAMC transfers, the national government shall allocate an amount equivalent to USD 100 million as seed money for Eastern Sudan Reconstruction and Development Fund (ESRDF) in 2007; and an amount of not less than USD 125 million per annum for the years 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. “The ESRDF shall be set up and start operating no later than 90 days after the signing of the Agreement and shall have a Board chaired by the Minister of Finance and National Economy and shall include, the Governors of the 3 eastern States, Finance Ministers, 3 nominees of ESF, and 2 persons appointed by the President of the Republic.”19
Eritrea Brotherhood in Horn of Africa
President Isaias right form the beginning emphasizes the role of indigenous people in resolving their problems themselves whether it is the case of Sudan during Asmara Declaration 1994, Naivasha Peace Agreement 2005 and present Peace Accord 2006 or resolve the Somali problem should be comprehensive and that the people pf Somalia need an honest mediator that would help them to resolve their problems themselves.20 Along with it, Eritrea respects the need of Sudan indigenous provincial share in the allocation and distribution of financial resources, which secured an ultimate place in all the arrangements of 1994, January 2005 and October 2006. President Omar acknowledges, “Let us all hear that it is good efforts of the government of President Isaias and people for the solution of East Sudan. This is the time for appreciation for all brothers and sister of neighboring countries to build brotherly history. Sudan exchange love with love, dearness with dearness and faithfulness with faithfulness with Eritrea. It is the time not only to promote bilateral relations but to promote this brotherhood relation in our Horn of Africa and continent in general.”21 Eritrean brotherhood is recommended and appreciated by Djibouti, Egypt, Yemen, Kuwait, Qatar, Libya, United Arab Emirates and Secretary General of Arab League and Islamic Congress representing to major regional organizations. Mr. Amru Mousa of Arab League presented his firm opinion and explained, “President Isaias for his efforts to bring a peaceful resolution of the East Sudan issue— and Eritrea’s continued role to promote reconciliation in the Sudan, and thereby enhancing peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.”22 Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail commended, “Eritrea’s highly qualified mediation role free form threats and manipulation. The dialogue was honest and balanced.”23
Eritrea government respects to international law that persuades them to work for peace and development in Sudan, Somalia and other countries and expects the other brother countries the same. It is important to note here that President Isaias during his discussion with Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Raymond Johansen emphasized on African brothers fair support to other countries like Somali’s need at this juncture to resolve their differences by themselves and said, “As regards to Somali issue, President Isaias indicated that alleging the Somali people as having ‘terrorists’ among them because they are followers of the Muslim religion is meaningless, and stressed that Islam does not mean terrorism. He further explained that Eritrea’s sole concern in this issue is to help Somali people to resole their problems themselves.”24 President Omar reciprocate Eritrea dedication towards International Law and vehemently said, “We thanked Eritrean government and people for their role in the Peace process and expressed the commitment of Government of National Unity based on six objectives:
1. The full commitment of Peace Accord and its implementation. Dialogue is the only way to solve dispute internally and externally.
2. Sincere hard work to emphasize the principles of democracy, consultancy, transparency, justice and peaceful change of power.
3. Encouragement all society organization and their role in Rehabilitation and building human welfare.
4. Protection of weaker section of society like women, children, physical disable and people of special need and respect of human rights.
5. Emphasizing our commitment to international accords, charts and fight against terrorism specifying comprehensive definition for the terrorism.”25
Overall, “The final part of the ESPA includes General provisions pertaining to its incorporation in the Interim National Constitution (INC) and that in the event of a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of this Agreement, constitutional issues shall be referred to the constitutional Court and other matters to a tripartite committee composed of representatives of Govt. of Sudan, the East Front and the Government of Eritrea that chairs the committee. The Government of the State of Eritrea shall register ESPA with the Secretary-General of United Nations.”26 The Peace Accord 2006 is the Eritrean brotherhood initiative to carry forward the torch of peace and Development in Africa. President Isaias received heartily congratulations on this occasion and appreciated the feelings of ‘Beginning of Peace March’ and enlighten bright future for the people of Africa in general and Horn of Africa in particular. This peace accord once again proves that the indigenous problems resolve by indigenous people of Africa. Today, Africa undoubtedly demonstrates respect to the affirmative role of international communities on the one hand but not at the cost of their own sovereignty on the other hand.
1. Inaugural Address of President Isaias Afwerki, The State of Eritrea, Peace Agreement Between National Government of Sudan and East Sudan Front, State Palace, Asmara, Eritrea on 14th October 2006.
2. Inaugural Address of President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, Republic of Sudan, Peace Agreement Between National Government of Sudan and East Sudan Front, State Palace, Asmara, Eritrea on 14th October 2006.
5. Interview of President Isaias Afwerki on 14th October 2006.
7. Interview of President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir on 14th October 2006.
8. Interview of President Isaias, op.cit.
10. Inaugural Address of President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, op.cit.
11. Eritrea Profile, News Paper, vol.13, No.63. 14th October 2006.
12. Eritrea Profile, No.63.
13. Eritrea Profile, No.63.
14. Eritrea Profile, No.63.
15. Eritrea Profile, No.63.
16. East Sudan Peace Agreement: An Overview, 14th October 2006.
17. Eritrea Profile, No.63.
18. East Sudan Peace Agreement, op.cit.
20. Eritrea Profile, No.63.
21. Eritrea Profile, No. 64, 18th October 2006.
22. Interview of President Isaias Afwerki, op.cit.
23. Eritrea Profile, No.63, op.cit.
25. East Sudan Peace Agreement, op.cit.