EU’s Sudan Envoy argues peace will pay

The European Union’s special representative for Sudan says that the financial benefits of peace make a key argument for ending fighting in southern Sudan.
Torben Brylle says the resource-rich south has a considerable need for investment and development.
Brylle spoke at Arab League headquarters in Cairo, where diplomats are trying to stem a surge in civilian violence in the region, awash in weapons after the end of a decades-long civil war.
“It is evident that people are looking forward to having the peace dividend as a reality in their lives,” he said. “You remember that a comprehensive peace agreement stipulates that everybody should work to make unity attractive in Sudan, and part of that process was of course to also provide for people a change in their livelihood,” said Brylle.

The violence is blamed on both warring ethnic groups and what the southern government says are militias armed by the north. The fighting threatens prospects for southern participation in elections slated for next year, as well as a referendum on succession set for 2011.

Attempts to disarm civilians have faltered, as people in rural areas have been reluctant to abandon their weapons without the guarantee of police protection.

On the conflict between the government and groups in Darfur, Brylle expressed optimism that all sides can be brought together for negotiations by mid-November. In particular, he said he hopes civilian representatives might influence local leaders.
“There is a responsibility and there is impatience at least among the people on the ground in Darfur and a call for them to exercise leadership in terms of coming into an agreement with the government. That does not take away the responsibility of the government to enter that process, but it has to be done.”

The EU envoy cautioned that time is not on the side of diplomacy.

Pic: South Sudan President