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John Prendergast on Sudan Policy

Interviewee: John Prendergast
Interviewer: Stephanie Hanson
March 17, 2008

During the tenure of President Bush, the United States has expended significant diplomatic effort on the crisis in Darfur. Yet a peacekeeping force has been dogged by delays, and there is no political resolution in sight. John Prendergast, codirector of the ENOUGH Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity, discusses what a new U.S. president could do to change strategy on Darfur. He says there are “significant flaws” in the current U.S. strategy, including its approach to facilitating peace talks. The State Department currently has one special envoy to Sudan, but Prendergast says an effective peace process needs “sustained, field-based, round the clock engagement with a team of U.S. diplomats working closely with the Chinese and Europeans.” He also says it is important to create what he calls a "multilateral consequence" for the Sudanese government in the event it continues to "undermine peace and stability in Darfur.”

The Bush administration was active in bringing about a peace agreement between north and south Sudan in 2005. Experts now warn that the region is in danger of slipping into conflict. Prendergast says instead of having an all-Sudan policy, the United States has stovepiped its policy objectives, pursuing them all separately and allowing the Sudanese government to “play one region off against another.” Focusing on Darfur has allowed Khartoum to slip on implementing the peace agreement with south Sudan. “We have to bring these policy streams together in one track,” he says.

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