The UN’s Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reports today that the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) has been grounded by Khartoum for the past month: “The Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), which was established under the framework of the Sudanese peace process to monitor attacks on civilians, says it has been grounded since 7 March and therefore unable to conduct any investigations” (IRIN, April 7, 2003). The US State Department—in particular the Africa Bureau and the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner—has not discussed the matter publicly, despite the US role in securing the March 2002 agreement. Nor has the State Department’s Africa Bureau given evidence of being able to secure renewed commitment from Khartoum’s National Islamic Front regime to respect the terms of the original agreement. This critical agreement obliges Khartoum to “assist and facilitate [investigative] visits, grant unhindered flight access, and ensure that there is no obstacle to these visits taking place as soon as possible after the report of the alleged incident has been received.” IRIN reports that CPMT Director of Operations, Laney Pankey, has been explicit about the nature of Khartoum’s means of obstruction: “Since 7 March, Sudanese military intelligence had stopped processing the notifications, which meant CPMT teams were unable to travel. ‘They [the military] are supposed to provide security protection and acknowledge what we are going to do,’ [Pankey said]. ‘[Since 7 March] there have been no visits to sites to complete investigations and no new investigations have been initiated.'” The CPMT is fulfilling neither its original mandate nor the new mandates created by Khartoum’s agreement to a cease-fire “Addendum” on February 4, 2003. The regime now stands in clear and obvious violation of every single agreement it has signed over the course of the last year. The response of the US State Department and the international community is a familiar and all too predictable mixture of ineptitude and indifference.
Eric Reeves [April 7, 2003]
Northampton, MA 01063
The UN’s IRIN article (see below) confirms what has been reported by this source for the past week: that Khartoum stands in full violation of its obligations under the “Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to Protect Non-Combatant Civilians and Civilian Facilities from Military Attack,” brokered by US special envoy for Sudan John Danforth in March 2002. These obligations could not be more explicit: to provide “unhindered flight access” and to present “no obstacle to [CPMT] visits taking place as soon as possible after the report of the alleged incident has been received” (page 4, Article 2).
By not making this an urgent matter—indeed, apparently not registering the importance of this breakdown—the US State Department’s Africa Bureau has sent to Khartoum an extremely dangerous signal: “we don’t really stay concerned about past agreements, we don’t really have any idea about how to secure compliance when agreements are violated, and the whole issue isn’t of great enough concern for us to say anything publicly.” Indeed, it’s not entirely clear who at the State Department has been aware of this critical development. Presumably the same contingent that continues to say nothing of Khartoum’s ongoing and massive redeployment of offensive military assets—in clear and highly consequential violation of the October 15, 2002 cease-fire agreement (and the February 4, 2003 “Addendum” to the October agreement, signed in the wake of Khartoum’s January offensive throughout the oil regions of Western Upper Nile).
How can this possibly encourage the Khartoum regime to take seriously its negotiating obligations under the Machakos process? How can Khartoum be held firmly to commitments made in the course of this peace process if there is no penalty, or even condemnation, for repeated failures to honor commitments signed? Khartoum now stands in clear violation of every single agreement it has signed over the past year—every single one. This includes: the March 2002 agreement that created the CPMT; the October 15, 2002 cease-fire agreement; the February 4, 2003 “Addendum” to the October 15, 2002 cease-fire agreement; the February 4, 2003 “Joint Communiqu Between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army Regarding Strengthening the MOU on the Cessation of Hostilities.” Humanitarian access agreements have also been repeatedly violated over the past year.
The diplomatic logic continues to be mind-numbingly obvious: either Khartoum is held firmly to agreements signed under the auspices of IGAD and the international community, or future agreements signed under such auspices will be even less meaningful than those of the past.
News Article by IRIN posted on April 07, 2003 at 12:03:19: EST (-5 GMT)
“Monitoring team grounded for a month”
NAIROBI, April 7, 2003 (IRIN) — The Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), which was established under the framework of the Sudanese peace process to monitor attacks on civilians, says it has been grounded since 7 March and therefore unable to conduct any investigations.
“There is a lack of agreement between the government of Sudan and the team on their responsibilities,” CPMT Director of Operations Laney Pankey told IRIN on Monday.
Since 7 March the two teams, located in Rhumbek and Khartoum, had only been able to conduct administrative flights to deliver supplies or relocate personnel, he said. “There have been no visits to sites to complete investigations and no new investigations have been initiated.”
Normally, the CPMT would notify the Sudanese foreign ministry of any planned investigations, which would then inform a military intelligence division. Since 7 March, Sudanese military intelligence had stopped processing the notifications which meant CPMT teams were unable to travel, Pankey said. “They [military] are supposed to provide security protection and acknowledge what we are going to do,” he added.
Pankey emphasised that the teams did not require any permission or authority to travel to conduct their investigations, but they did need “the full support and cooperation” from the military and local militias for reasons of safety and security. The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) was also notified of any investigations, he said.
The spokesman at the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi, Muhammad Ahmad Dirdeiry, told IRIN that the CPMT “thinks that it has been entrusted by the [regional body] Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to undertake the duties of the Verification and Monitoring Team (VMT)”.
The VMT was mandated in early February 2003 to monitor the cessation of hostilities agreement between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), but has not yet undertaken any missions.
“This point is not agreed that the CPMT shall replace the VMT,” Dirdeiry said.
He said that Sudanese intelligence had discovered that the CPMT was verifying alleged violations of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities, and the government had therefore “denied it permission to verify such violations”.
He added that the government was fully committed to fulfilling the “original mandate of the CPMT” and the issue would be “hammered out” when peace talks reopened in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday.
The US-led CPMT was mandated to monitor attacks on civilians and civilian facilities by a 31 March 2002 agreement between the government and the SPLM/A.