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The Carter Center Calls for a Peaceful Resolution of the Stalemate in the Blue Nile Popular Consultations

CONTACTS: Khartoum, Niklas Kabel +249 909 631 620; Atlanta, Deborah Hakes +1 404 420 5124

The Carter Center calls on stakeholders in Blue Nile to use dialogue and inclusive negotiations to solve the current standstill around the popular consultations and to recommit to the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) by reaching a peaceful settlement.

Citizens of Blue Nile have sought to promote peaceful dialogue across party differences through co-organized events for peace and by establishing a joint committee comprising the majority of parties in the state, including both CPA signatories. On July 27, 2011, the joint political committee signed a Declaration of Principles saying "no to war" and calling for efforts to sustain peace in Blue Nile. The Carter Center commends these local reconciliation efforts and urges the political parties at the national level to follow this lead.

The popular consultation process in Blue Nile has stalled following the formal extension of the timeline by the National Assembly on July 20, 2011. Due to differences over the modalities for extending the process, Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) members of the Blue Nile Parliamentary Commission for Popular Consultations have stopped participating in the work of the commission. The implementation of any additional substantive hearings and the report writing has ceased, with important parts of the data analysis yet to be completed.

The main differences revolve around future security arrangements for the state and the modalities for mediation between the Blue Nile state legislative assembly and the Government of Sudan in the event that changes to the CPA are deemed necessary. According to the Popular Consultation Act, the Council of States is to be the formal mediation mechanism. However, the secession of the 10 states in Southern Sudan has significantly changed the composition of the council.

The Carter Center encourages the parties to the popular consultations to deal with these issues in an inclusive manner, taking into account the diversity and will of the people of Blue Nile as communicated through the citizen hearings and the different political parties in the state. The main objective should be to avoid a relapse into war and its potential deadly consequences for civilians.

The Government of Sudan's (GoS) declaration of a truce in Southern Kordofan is a positive step, but to be successful a ceasefire will need to be fully implemented and respected by both parties to the conflict in order to promote peaceful negotiations and a permanent cessation of hostilities. Although similar steps to the Blue Nile popular consultations process are mandated in Southern Kordofan, the main immediate focus of the adversaries should be to allow for humanitarian assistance. Popular consultations should commence when conditions allow in order for the people of the state to be heard and taken into account in negotiations with the GoS about the future status of Southern Kordofan in Sudan. The crisis in Southern Kordofan should serve as a lesson of the potentially devastating consequences if dialogue is abandoned and military means utilized.

Background on the Carter Center Mission

The Carter Center's Democracy Program has been present in Sudan since February 2008. This mission observed the April 2010 general and presidential elections, the Southern Sudan referendum in January 2011, and the Southern Kordofan legislative and gubernatorial elections in May 2011. The Center was invited by the Blue Nile Popular Consultation Commission to observe the process in the state and has deployed long-term observers in Blue Nile since October 2010 and maintained a team of analysts in Khartoum. This statement documents the data entry and report writing processes, as well as the rescheduled hearings in Kadalu and Bau constituencies. The Center released a report on March 21 covering the January to February citizen hearings, which is available at

The Center's observation mission is conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct that was adopted at the United Nations in 2005 and has been endorsed by 37 election observation groups. The Center assesses the process against the CPA, the Popular Consultation Act of 2010, and other international legal instruments to which Sudan has acceded.


The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. The Carter Center began working in Sudan in 1986 on the Sasakawa-Global 2000 agricultural project, and for more than 20 years, its health and peace programs have focused on improving health and preventing and resolving conflicts in Sudan. Please visit to learn more about The Carter Center.

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