ATLANTA….The Carter Center welcomes the outcome of the recent IGAD peace talks on Sudan and applauds all concerned for this renewed commitment to peace. It is our profound hope that the agreements reached mark the beginning of a new era of justice and prosperity throughout Sudan and the region. It remains, however, the solemn responsibility of Sudan's leaders and their international friends to transform these initial agreements into a final and comprehensive peace that is fully embraced and implemented by all of the peoples of Sudan.
Civil war has raged in Sudan since independence in 1956, with a gap from 1972-1983 following the signing of the Addis Ababa peace agreement. During the conflict's most recent phase, an estimated two million people have died and four million people have become internally displaced. A framework agreement was signed last week at Machakos, Kenya, between representatives of the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) after five weeks of talks under the mediation of the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). This framework agreement is part of a process intended to lead to a full peace agreement between the two sides later this year.
The Carter Center and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter have a long-standing record of supporting peace efforts in Sudan and the region, including mediating between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A in 1989, working to find common ground between opposition parties in 1993, arranging the "Guinea-worm ceasefire" of 1995, and mediating between Sudan and Uganda in 1999. The Center also continues its health programs throughout Sudan, working to eradicate Guinea worm disease and control river blindness and trachoma. The Center leads an international coalition in the global effort to eradicate Guinea worm disease. In 2001, Sudan had almost 80 percent of the world's cases, a number that is expected to increase as the number of Guinea worm cases continues to fall in the other endemic countries. Soon, Sudan will be the only country in the world with any remaining Guinea worm disease.
Founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, The Carter Center is a nongovernmental organization advancing peace and health worldwide.