August 22, 2007


At stake in Sudan: This trace of hope offers a rare chance for Darfur. The global consequences could hardly be greater (Václav Havel, August 22, 2007, The Guardian)

The critical conditions that prevail in Darfur are causing immense suffering. Both sides of the conflict - the government of Sudan and its allied forces, as well as all the opposition groups in Darfur - must understand that civilians should no longer fall victim to their political disputes.

The Sudanese government's consent to the deployment of the UN/African Union mission, which aims to keep peace in the region, is a welcome development. But the mandate of this mission must be strong enough to allow for full protection of civilians. Moreover, the force must have sufficient manpower and funding to put this vital objective into practice. The countries and institutions that have committed additional funds in order to help secure the success of this mission - notably France, Spain, and the European commission - should all be applauded.

It is important for international actors to assure Sudan's government that the UN/AU mission will not strive for regime change. At the same time, the Sudanese government must be fully aware that only by adhering to past commitments and by cooperating in helping to prepare, deploy, and maintain the mission will the international community be encouraged to continue its support.

As for the Darfur opposition, the recent efforts by some of its leaders to overcome fragmentation and reunify their movement are welcome. It is essential that all opposition groups achieve agreement about their aims and negotiating positions. Only then can they act as credible partners of the international community and the Sudanese government. All parties to the conflict must realise that, ultimately, there is no way to end their dispute other than through an equitable and sustainable peace agreement. The return of internally displaced persons, and care for them, must be a core component of any such arrangement.

Responsible people around the globe, particularly politicians and journalists, must focus on Darfur.

The Realists have always denied that people can have any responsibility outside their own borders, but sadly the modern Left has joined them. It is left to the dissidents--like Mr. Havel, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, etc.--to accept the responsibilities.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 22, 2007 7:47 AM
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