Supporting National Dialogue in Sudan

The initiative “Supporting National Dialogue and Reconciliation in Sudan” aims for a peaceful political transformation process in Sudan through engaging with the three principal Sudanese political actors the Government of Sudan, the political opposition and the armed opposition. In addition, the initiative will liaise with relevant civil society actors and youth activists to develop an inclusive framework for dialogue. In 2016, the Berghof Foundation continued to support Sudan’s national dialogue process in coordination with the German Federal Foreign Office. This support took form in direct high level facilitation between the conflict parties and concomitantly initiatives undertaken together with the lead mediator the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP). The Special Assignments team focuses on leading high level dialogue processes and exploring options for supporting political engagement in the respective conflict areas.

Timeframe

2016 - 2017

Conflict Setting

Protracted armed struggle has plagued Sudan for decades and the main root causes of the ongoing conflict are numerous, complex and disputed. The intensification of the dire humanitarian situation in Sudan in addition to instability in the greater Region are alarming and give impetus to address the challenges Sudan is facing. In January 2014, Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir announced a national dialogue to which he invited opposition parties and civil society. However, though many Sudanese political actors recognize the urgency for a political solution, it has been difficult to arrive at an arrangement by which all forces participate in the national dialogue. Concurrent to inchoate national dialogue/reconciliation there exist two "regional" Sudanese negotiations; one on the "Two Areas" (referring to the crises in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopa, the other negotiating Darfur located in Doha, Qatar.

Approach

Given the complex dynamic between political forces, moving the national dialogue process forward requires progress on different levels:

1) within opposition and government blocs;

2) between the opposition and government. At both levels the Berghof Foundation provides supportive facilitation.

Aims and outcomes

The main endeavor of the project is to build common ground allowing for the inception of an inclusive national dialogue and reconciliation process in Sudan. Two objectives were identified to approach the next phase of the Sudan political process:

  • Facilitate key Sudanese stakeholders meeting to address gaps in forming a National Dialogue
  • Explore creative solutions to overcoming obstacles to a national dialogue and reconciliation process. 

Key Actors

  • Government of Sudan
  • Political opposition
  • Armed opposition
  • Civil society

Partners

The project is carried out in close collaboration with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). Furthermore, the direct engagement with the conflict parties and activities are undertaken together with the lead mediator the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

Funders

The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

August 2016  Security talks in Addis Ababa

In August 2016, AUHIP convened consultation meetings in Addis Ababa in order to finalize the roadmap agreement and then to proceed with the talks regarding the Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) and as well negotiating specifics on Humanitarian Access (HA). The security talks were co-organized with the support of the Berghof Foundation, which carried out a sequence of activities as envisioned in the roadmap. After signing the roadmap on 8th August, a joint statement from the Troika countries (UK, US and Norway), EU and Germany was issued to welcome this important step.

Creation of strategy positions towards the resolution of the conflict, together with the German Federal Foreign Office, in high-level strategy formation closed-door meetings with the Special Envoys of partner countries.

January 2016 – Consultations between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North in Berlin

During 21 until 23 January 2016, the Berghof Foundation, the German FFO hosted the second round of informal consultations between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North in Berlin, which was co-facilitated by AUHIP representatives. AUHIP intended to organize informal discussions far from the media between the GoS and SPLM/N in a bid to create confidence. Regarding the Two areas file the endeavour was to conclude agreements on Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) and Humanitarian Access (HA), an accord that would pave the way for preparatory ND meeting. By this the German government for the first time successfully enabled all parties to agree to hold security talks outside Africa. The GoS was represented by 9 delegates; SPLM/N was represented by 4 delegates. AUHIP was represented by 3 facilitators. From the German side, the facilitation was represented by the division of East Africa/Horn of Africa Referat 322, Berghof and SWP.