No Dialogue, No Commitment: the Perils of Deadline Diplomacy for Darfur (HSBA Issue Brief 4)

Laurie Nathan
Issue Brief

On 5 May 2006 the Government of Sudan (GoS) and one rebel group, SLM-Minawi, signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). This ceasefi re and peace agreement was the result of intense pressure from the international community and the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council on both the parties and the mediators in the hope of ending the killing and human rights violations in Darfur. Six previous rounds of talks and the agreements they produced had failed to accomplish this.

Yet it quickly became apparent that, like previous agreements, the DPA was doomed to fail. Using the Arab militia known as the Janjaweed as its proxy force, the GoS soon launched an offensive against nonsignatory rebel groups and civilians, creating at least 50,000 new internally displaced persons (IDPs) and drastically reducing humanitarian access. The post-DPA period has also seen a dangerous splintering of the rebel movements, precipitating violence among various armed factions.

As part of the HSBA’s focus on armed groups and insecurity in Sudan, this Issue Brief examines the process that led to the DPA and the subsequent violence and insecurity, asking a number of key questions:

  • How did the negotiations leading to the DPA fail?
  • What role did the international community play in its failure? 
  • What led to the splintering of rebel groups and increased insecurity following the DPA?

No Dialogue, No Commitment: the Perils of Deadline Diplomacy for Darfur finds that there is little hope that the warring parties intend to observe the terms of the DPA. Crucially, the GoS has not moved to contain and disarm the Janjaweed as required under Article 417 of the DPA, which is a precondition for the rebels’ disarmament. Despite the disappointing results, the process and outcome of the peace talks offer important lessons for future attempts to bring peace and security to Darfur.

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Keywords: HSBA Darfur