Dr. Elshafie Khidir Saeid
On the 28th of March 2021, Sudan’s Transitional Government and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/ North, signed, in the South Sudan capital of Juba, the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles for the cessation of the civil war & settlement of the conflict in South Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile.
The Declaration was signed by the Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council, Gen Abdelfattah al-Burhan, and the leader of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement / North, Commander Abdelaziz Al-Hilu, in the presence of the South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir, and the executive director of the UN World Food Programme, David Beasley.
In its introduction and its first paragraphs, the Declaration of Principles rightly affirmed that the great December Revolution of Sudan, which was irrigated by the blood and sacrifices of the Sudanese unarmed young women and men as well as the armed struggle movements, has created a historic opportunity to address the root causes of the Sudanese crisis and to build a state of citizenship that accommodates everyone.
The declaration also stressed that the history and nature of the conflict in Sudan confirms that military solutions will never lead to a lasting peace and stability in the country, and this can be achieved only through dialogue and negotiation.
The two parties agreed to work together to achieve and consolidate the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Sudan. They also agreed that Sudan is a racially, ethnically, religiously and culturally diverse state, therefore this diversity must be fully recognized and managed and the question of national identity must be addressed.
Both sides agreed to “the establishment of a civil, democratic federal state in Sudan, wherein, the freedom of religion, the freedom of belief and religious practices and worship shall be guaranteed to all Sudanese people by separating the identities of culture, religion, ethnicity and religion from the state.
“No religion shall be imposed on anyone and the state shall not adopt an official religion”.
I think the declaration, legible with the Juba Peace Agreement but only after resolving the issues related to what was mentioned in the agreement on the conflicts in eastern Sudan, will lay down the foundations for sustainable peace in the country, especially since the declaration approaches the issue from a national perspective when it emphasizes that the root causes of the conflicts and civil war in the Sudan is not only connected with, or related to, the region in which the conflict and fighting are taking place, but rather is a reflection of a general national crisis, the essence of which is the imbalance and the defect in the structure of the Sudanese state.
When the peace process with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/ North, in light of this declaration of principles, reaches a successful destination, and if, hopefully, an agreement on military and security arrangements with the Sudan Liberation Movement led, by Commander Abdul Wahid Muhammad Nur was reached, and in order for a truly comprehensive peace to be achieved in the country, I believe that a national conference for comprehensive peace, a roundtable conference, must be concluded, attended by all political and social actors, leaders of the native and civil society, in addition to stakeholders from conflict and war areas in the country.
The agenda of this conference is to discuss what has been and will be agreed upon in the different signed peace agreements, and how to reconcile what was mentioned in previous peace agreements with current agreements. The conference may also discuss how these agreements can play a role in the success of the transition and acting as chapter one in the constitution-making process.