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Q&A With Andrew Natsios on Sudan
Brown N. Ugbaja: How is the international community engaging African governments in finding a political solution to the crisis in Darfur? And what is the moral responsibility of Africans to settle the dispute, seeing as how governments have not shown any clear disposition toward ending the crisis?
Nick R.: It is argued that a civil war is extremely difficult to end, if one believes a civil war does end. It is my opinion that everything the West has done has either resulted in no progress or has made the situation worse. Should the West, then, back off and let the African Union and more influential African countries negotiate a peace?
A: Practically speaking, no solution can be found to the Sudanese crisis between the North and the South and in Darfur without the active cooperation of Sudan's African and Arab neighbors. Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda were actively involved in the negotiations over the North-South peace agreement. But alone I do not think they have sufficient leverage with the Sudanese government to get the peace process moving; they must be involved, but need the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway involved as well. The Sudanese are really most fearful of the U.S. government and want better relations with the United States, a circumstance that could be helpful if used in a constructive way in negotiations. Right now, the African Union-UN negotiator on Darfur is doing an excellent job, and the U.S. Government should support his work when he asks for it. On the North-South issues, the East African countries that helped negotiate the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway should take the lead. The question is not whether the United States is involved, but how it is involved -- not as a sledgehammer but as a constructive mediator.
Sean Li: What do you expect the Obama administration's new policy on Sudan and Darfur to be? Do you believe the end of the conflict is in sight?
David Jordan: What are the United States' key national interests with regard to the Sudan crisis?
Emad: Do you see any possibility for J. Scott Gration, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan, to succeed in bringing peace to Darfur and normalizing relations with Khartoum?