Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement

Publication Date: October 2010

Publisher: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service


Research Area: International relations

Type: Report

Coverage: Sudan


Sudan, geographically the largest country in Africa, has been ravaged by civil war intermittently for four decades. More than 2 million people have died in Southern Sudan over the past two decades due to war-related causes and famine, and millions have been displaced from their homes. There were many failed attempts to end the civil war in southern Sudan, including efforts by Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, former President Jimmy Carter, and the United States. To that end, the heads of state from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, and Uganda formed a mediation committee under the aegis of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and held the first formal negotiations in March 1994.

In July 2002, the Sudan government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a peace framework agreement in Kenya. On May 26, 2004, the government of Sudan and the SPLM signed three protocols on Power Sharing, on the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile, and on the long disputed Abyei area. The signing of these protocols resolved all outstanding issues between the parties. On June 5, 2004, the parties signed "the Nairobi Declaration on the Final Phase of Peace in the Sudan." On January 9, 2005, the government of Sudan and the SPLM signed the final peace agreement at a ceremony held in Nairobi, Kenya. The signing of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) effectively ended the 21-year old North-South civil war and triggered a six-year Interim Period.

Meanwhile, a separate ongoing crisis in Darfur in western Sudan has led to a major humanitarian disaster, with an estimated 2 million people displaced, more than 234,000 people forced into neighboring Chad, and an estimated 450,000 people killed. In July 2004, the House and Senate declared the atrocities in Darfur genocide, and the Bush Administration reached the same conclusion in September 2004. On May 4, 2006, the Government of National Unity and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) after almost two years of negotiations. The agreement was rejected by two other Darfur groups: the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and a splinter group from the SLM. The agreement calls for the integration of SLA troops into the Sudan Armed Forces, provides $300 million initially and $200 million for the next two years for reconstruction and compensation purposes for Darfur, and establishes the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority (TDRA).

In August 2006, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1706, authorizing the deployment of a robust peacekeeping force to Darfur. Sudanese President Omar Bashir rejected the deployment of a United Nations force. In December, the Security Council issued a Presidential Statement effectively abandoning Resolution 1706. The proposed new force will continue to have a predominantly African composition and will be led by the African Union and an African Force Commander.

This report will be updated as circumstances warrant.