Leading article: Hope at last for Sudan

Related Topics

For the last seven years, Sudan has intermittently been at the centre of world attention for all the worst reasons – as the scene of large-scale ethnic cleansing in the western Darfur region, while an unrelated, but often no less vicious, separatist conflict raged in the South.

Recently, there have been signs of hope. The government has conceded, in theory, that the South should have a right to go its own way in a referendum in 2011. Meanwhile, over the past few days, an accommodation has been reached between Khartoum and the largest rebel group in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement, known as the Jem. Under a ceasefire agreement signed at the weekend, the government annulled the death sentences on about a hundred Jem prisoners while the rebels pledged to cease military operations. The two sides also agreed to discuss refugee returns and elections in Darfur.

Ceasefires in such conflicts often come and go without anyone noticing change on the ground. In the case of the war in the South, quarrels over oil assets are likely to bedevil any future agreement on state borders. The problem in Darfur is that the Jem is not the only rebel group and one of its main rivals, the Sudan Liberation Army, wants nothing to do with the ceasefire.

Nevertheless, there is still cause for optimism about Sudan, as realisation grows on all sides that outright military victory is impossible and the future must lie in pragmatic adjustment. It was right that the disaster in Sudan stirred the world's conscience and prompted demands for intervention. But in retrospect it may be that the West reacted simplistically and was too ready to portray complex conflicts in black-and-white terms. This partiality may have made matters worse, encouraging intransigence on all sides and fissiparous tendencies among the rebels. Significantly, the new ceasefire has come about as a result of internal dynamics and without foreign mediation.

Sudan's wars may not be over but they seem to be winding down, if only as a result of the exhaustion of all the parties. It may be that only messy and imperfect compromises bring an end to this suffering. But the peoples of Sudan deserve the chance of peace, however it is reached.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next

The Interview cancelled: From supporting the Ku Klux Klan to appeasing the Nazis, Hollywood has a rich history of caving in

Boyd Tonkin
A female US soldier eats breakfast while on tour in Afghanistan  

All’s fair in love and war? Not until female soldiers can join the men on the front line

Rosie Millard
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas