1. Chronology
  2. Policy Paper on The Sudan


Dec.17: The US ambassador to Sudan has had a first meeting with members of the Sudanese opposition based in exile in Asmara, the capital of neighbouring Eritrea, opposition sources said today. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which groups political opposition parties with rebels fighting in south Sudan, said the envoy, Mr Timothy Carney, had talked to its deputy leader, General Fethi Amed Ali, in his office in the former Sudanese embassy in Asmara.

Dec.18: Uganda has okayed talks with Sudan due to take place in Kampala in a few days time. December 18 The wife of Sudanese opposition leader Sadek al-Mahdi said today that she had encouraged her husband to flee Sudan for Eritrea to escape "harassment" by the Islamic-led regime. "You cannot imagine how much he was being harassed," said Mrs Sara al- Fadil al-Mahdi to the independent daily Alwan.

Dec. 19: Seven students were injured, including two seriously, in factional clashes at a Sudanese university, the independent Alwan newspaper reported today. A male student suffering from a fractured skull and a female student suffering from an eye injury were still in hospital today, two days after fighting rocked Al- Azhari University in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman. The fighting broke out over student election results which were ultimately won by an Islamic group.

Dec. 20: Iranian-mediated talks between Uganda and Sudan were postponed to January because Iran's Foreign Minister cannot travel to Uganda in December, an official said today. Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said on Tuesday talks between Sudan and Uganda would resume in Kampala this week.

Dec. 23: Security has been stepped up in Khartoum after a large amount of weapons disappeared from an army depot in the Sudanese capital, the Sudanese opposition said today. "According to information at our disposal, large paramilitary forces have been deployed in the main streets of the capital after the disappearance of these weapons," said a spokesman for the NDA in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, contacted by telephone from Cairo.

Dec. 23: Farouk Saleh Mohammed Abdalla quit the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) earlier this month after six years in the bush aiding its rebellion against the Islamic regime in Khartoum. A top member of the SPLA ally, the banned Sudan Communist Party, Mr Abdalla, 49, left the SPLA citing racial discrimination, a scourge which has pitted Sudan's Arab majority in the north against the African minority in the south, since independence from Britain in January 1956.

Dec. 23: A pro-government faction has seized control of an area in southern Sudan's Bahr- al-Ghazal state after fierce fighting with the rebel SPLA, the independent Alwan daily newspaper reported today. The daily said the Bahr al- Ghazal group captured the area after heavy clashes last week in the north of the state. The group, led by Mr Kerbino Kuanyin Bol split from Col. John Garang's SPLA earlier in 1996 and signed an accord with Khartoum.

Dec. 28: Egypt opposes an arms embargo on the Sudanese government because it would benefit secessionist rebels in southern Sudan, a senior Egyptian official was reported yesterday as saying. "In spite of our opposition to the policies of the Sudanese regime, we reject the imposition of an arms embargo on Sudan because such an embargo would deprive the government of arms but would not block the provision of arms to southern secessionists," Mr Osama al-Baz, advisor to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, was quoted by the MENA news agency as saying.

Dec. 30: Sudan's charge d'affairs in Somalia Ali Hassan Ali has urged Somalis to take up arms and fight Ethiopia in jihad (holy war) to counter Ethiopia's recent invasion of the southern Somali region of Gedo, the Mogadishu Times newspaper reported here today. The paper said the Sudanese diplomat made the call during a meeting at his house in south Mogadishu with many Somalis, most of them supporters of the fundamentalist Al- Ithad-Al_Islam religious group.

Dec. 31: Sudan has protested at former prime minister Sadek al-Mahdi's visit to Egypt, saying Cairo's welcome for the exiled opposition leader did not show "good intentions" towards Khartoum. Mr Mahdi visited Cairo on Friday for the first time since 1987 on the opening leg of a three-month tour of Arab and European countries.

Dec. 31: Former Sudanese president Mohammed Osman al- Mirghani, who leads one of the country's main opposition parties, the Democratic Unionist Party, arrived in Cairo on Sunday from Saudi Arabia. Relations between Cairo and Khartoum are strained with Egypt earlier this month accusing Sudan of failing to take any steps to meet UN demands to hand over three Egyptians sought in connection with the attempted assassination of President Hosni Mubarak in 1995.

Dec.31: A Sudanese air force helicopter has been shot down and its three- member crew killed on the border with Eritrea, the armed forces announced on Monday. General Mohammed al-Sanousi Ahmed, a Sudanese armed forces spokesman, said the helicopter was on a "security mission" when it was shot down by "intensive fire". Eritrea has given shelter to Sudanese opposition groups.

Dec. 31: Ugandan state minister for defence Amana Mbabazi accused Sudan of working to destabilise Uganda by supporting different rebel groups fighting President Yoweri Museveni's government. Mbabazi said the insurgency in western Uganda, where the government's Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) is battling rebels in the Allied Democratic Front (ADF), "is one of the many rebel groups Khartoum is supporting to destabilise Uganda."

Jan. 2: A Sudanese Islamic leader has urged the country to prepare to fight off what he termed foreign aggression in its eastern territory, newspapers said today. Mr Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi, the Speaker of Parliament, called on the Sudanese people to work toward "deterring foreign aggression on the country's eastern front." Mr Turabi told a parliamentary committee that the aggression was planned by Israel and the US, in Eritrea.

Jan. 3: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held talks with Sudanese opposition chief Sadek al-Mahdi in Cairo today, their first meeting in a decade amid strained ties between Cairo and Khartoum, officials said. No statements were released at the end of the meeting. A visit to Cairo by Mr Mahdi in 1989 was scrapped amid criticism by President Mubarak himself.

Jan. 6: The Sudan opposition Umma Party said today that police yesterday used gunfire to disperse demonstrations in Khartoum in which people chanted for the downfall of the Islamic-backed government and a return to democracy. The statement, which could not be independently verified, also said six Umma members had been arrested in the past few days and appealed to human rights organisations to work to guarantee their safety.

Jan. 7: The US denied today it was seeking a change in the Sudan government by providing military aid to the African country's neighbours. The Chairman of the US joint Chiefs of Staff Army General John Shalikashvili was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.

Jan. 14: Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir today called for a mobilisation of the army and civilian militia after rebel forces attacked towns on the Sudan-Ethiopia border. A statement issued by the palace early in the morning said the forces must "defend ...the homeland and deter the enemies of Islam and humanity".

Jan. 14: The two wings of the military opposition to the Sudanese Government have joined forces close to the Ethiopian border in a significant stepping up of the struggle for power in Africa's largest country. The SPLA and the forces of the NDA made co-ordinated attacks on Sunday in Blue Nile Province about 600 kilometres Southeast of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Jan. 15: Khartoum University has closed so that students can join the forces and go to eastern Sudan to counter what Sudan says are Ethiopian attacks. State radio quoted a university official today as saying classes had been suspended "to allow students to join popular defence forces on their way to eastern Sudan to fight Ethiopian aggression".

Jan. 15: The SPLA said today a joint rebel force had captured key Sudanese government army garrisons at Al-Kali, Damonsour and Shali al-Fil in the southern Blue Nile region. It's spokesman in Eritrea, Mr Yassir Arman, told Reuters the operation was carried out on Monday by a joint force of the umbrella opposition group, the NDA.


The Policy Committee of the Sudan Working Group (SWG), a coalition of NGOs based in Washington DC, has issued a Policy Paper on Sudan. The Paper will be used as a framework for advocacy work in the US and meetings will be held for this purpose beginning later this month. Key policy leaders will receive a packet of materials on Sudan and have the Policy Paper explained in personal meetings with representatives of the supporting groups. Endorsements of the Paper are being solicited from all interested groups. To have your group added to the list of endorsers, send a reply to: 202-832-33412, by February 1, 1997.


The crisis in Sudan is escalating on a number of fronts:
  • The civil war continues to deepen:
  • Human rights violations continue unabated;
  • Reports of slavery are proliferating;
  • The government maintains its regional destabilization agenda;
  • Terrorists are housed and trained in Sudan;
  • Instability and repression are increasing in the north; and
  • Food and livelihood crises remain chronic in the south.
Despite the efforts of concerned governments and multilateral organizations, the crisis in Sudan continues to deepen. A network of NGOs, religious organizations and individuals has constituted the SWG to discuss policy options and develop this Strategy Paper for the US Government, other donor governments, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), regional governments and NGOs.

The following recommendations are meant to be specific to the Sudan, given the protracted nature of the internal war and the regionalization of the conflict. They result from months of consultations in Washington. The policy suggestions also aim to coincide with the US Government's Greater Horn of Africa Initiative, which seeks to prevent the escalation of violent conflict.


1.1 The US must increase the pressure on the Government of Sudan (GOS) through the UN Security Council. Multilateral sanctions should be targeted at the regime and its supporters. The limited air embargo and other previously approved sanctions should be fully implemented.

1.2 The UN should co-ordinate with the OAU on any further sanctions.

1.3 The Arakis Corporation oil project in Sudan, if fully funded and developed, would supply the GOS with the funds to fuel the war, prop up a government labeled by the US as a terrorist nation, and undercut other international economic pressures. Therefore, the US government should insist, in so far as it is applied to Sudan, on strict enforcement of Section 321 of the Antiterrorism Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-132) which makes it a crime for US persons or corporations to engage in financial transactions with the government of a country officially labeled as terrorist state. The US government should rescind the 8/23/96 Treasury Department regulations, 31 CFR 596 Final Rule, which provide an easy loophole for getting around the law and providing financing for oil development and other GOS development projects in Sudan.


2.1 The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Declaration of Principles -- which clearly define the future options in Sudan -- should be the basis and starting point of any negotiations process for peace in Sudan. US policy should remain focused on a comprehensive peace based on the DOP that incorporates all parties. Efforts to resolve the internal war must not lose sight of the larger regional conflict.

2.2 Because of the GOS' divide and rule tactics, there remains a potential for increased fighting between the dominant rebel movement in the south (the SPLM/A) and the principal splinter faction which holds much of the territory in Upper Nile province (the SSIM/A). Further violence against civilian populations will be caused by other GOS-supported militia throughout the south. International pressure and diplomatic effort should be expended to prevent the escalation of intra-south fighting.

2.3 To reduce military conflict and intercommunal raiding between southern factions and communities, local-level negotiations and meetings between chiefs in areas with the largest potential for violence, such as the Dinka-Nuer borders, should be encouraged, facilitated and funded. The initiatives of other civil society organizations which might contribute to peace-building should also be supported.


3.1 Aid should consciously support fledgling civil administration structures and increase its support for the civilian institutional capacity within the south. Aid should particularly expand for the structures at the lowest unit of social organization, whether village liberation councils or community organizations. Aid should include support for local justice systems and ensure that civil structures in the Nuba Mountains also receive assistance.

3.2 Aid agencies should build on their important support for capacity building efforts in the south. The process of developing a political alternative in northern Sudan should be assisted by political and civic organizations in the north.


4.1 US development aid to Sudan is currently prohibited by a number of laws. These restrictions should be waived for areas outside the control of the GOS. Capacity building and development assistance to such areas should be used as incentives to increase accountability, enhance local management of crisis response, and reduce intra-south conflict.


5.1 The US Government should oppose all loans and credits to Sudan from the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank.


6.1 The GOS is attempting to effectively restructure and control Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) by routing all aid through Government-controlled areas and closing the southern sector of OLS. Donor governments and agencies should resist all these efforts. Reforms should focus on reducing the ability of any party to restrict humanitarian access for Sudanese civilians.

6.2 When humanitarian access is threatened or continuously denied to certain areas, the UN Security Council should act to ensure that relief is not held hostage to GOS consent processes.

6.3 Emergency preparedness in the east should be enhanced as a contingency in case of increased conflict along the Sudan-Eritrea and Sudan-Ethiopia borders.

6.4 The absence of conditions on humanitarian aid has promoted the abuse of aid and left international donors with little leverage. The OLS Ground Rules -- a mechanism to require adherence to international humanitarian principles by the SPLM/A and SSIM/A -- should be expanded to the GOS.

6.5 One of the great failures of OLS and the donors has been the inadequacy of the response to the needs of internally displaced persons in northern Sudan. More forceful advocacy should be expended on behalf of these forgotten populations.


7.1 Although the GOS is clearly the largest violator of human rights in Sudan, all parties to the conflict should be held accountable for abuses. Therefore, the US should continue to consistently and strongly advocate for access for human rights monitors to all areas. The US should support the efforts of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan.

7.2 The US should call for an international commission of investigation to address slavery in Sudan.

7.3 At its April 1996 conference on civil structures, the SPLM/A invited NGOs and others to help them establish a local mechanism for protecting and monitoring human rights. This initiative and similar ones should be supported.


We envision a future Sudan which is not destabilizing its neighbors, exporting terrorism, and repressing segments of its own population. The pre-requisites for such a future include: co-ordinating a more comprehensive strategy with multilateral actors, donor governments, IGAD, aid agencies, religious institutions, and Sudanese organizations.

Signed: The Sudan Working Group Policy Committee
          Africa Faith and Justice Network
          Center of Concern
          Church of the Brethren
          Missionaries of Africa
          Presbyterian Church (USA)
          World Vision

For further information, please contact:
Fr. Kizito, SCIO, tel +254.2.562247 - fax +254.2.566668 - e-mail:


PeaceLink 1997