Sudan risks war – NGOs

2010-04-29 11:51

Washington - Sudan risks a return to violence if President Barack Obama's administration does not pressure parties on the ground to work for peace, a group of eight NGOs wrote in a report released on Thursday.

"A return to full-scale war can be headed off... but only if the Obama administration quickly implements its policy to pressure parties who are backsliding on benchmarks crucial to a durable peace in Sudan," the coalition of non-governmental organisations wrote.

Obama announced in October that the United States would engage in more active diplomacy with Sudan's regime, offering incentives for engagement while retaining the threat of sanctions if Khartoum continued to pursue what the United States has termed genocide in the Darfur region.

John Norris, director of the Enough Project, warned that "a clear assessment of the situation on the ground in Sudan reveals a number of disturbing trends and the continued potential for much broader, renewed violence".

"The Obama administration built a diplomatic approach to Sudan around periodic, hard-nosed policy assessments of the situation on the ground," the NGOs wrote. "Yet to date, there are virtually no indications that the administration has held any of the parties to account for their actions."

"It's been six months since President Obama's Sudan policy went into effect and there has been no demonstrable progress towards peace, security, or justice in Sudan," added Mark Lotwis of the Save Darfur Coalition.

"It's time for the administration to back its words with deeds," he added.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur, was reelected on Monday with 68.24% of the vote in an election marred by opposition boycotts, allegations of fraud and questions from monitors about transparency.