Sudan: Humanitarian Crisis, Peace Talks, Terrorism, and U.S. Policy [Updated April 23, 2003] [open pdf - 93KB]
"Sudan, geographically the largest country in Africa, has been ravaged by civil war intermittently for 4 decades. An estimated 2 million people have died over the past decade due to war-related causes and famine, and millions have been displaced from their homes. According to the United Nations, an estimated 3 million people are in need of emergency food aid. The relief operation is being coordinated by Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), established in 1989 in response to the 1988 humanitarian crisis in which over 200,000 people died of starvation. The OLS, a consortium of U.N. agencies and three dozen non-governmental organizations (NGOs), operates in both government and rebel-controlled territories. The 20-year civil war has been and continues to be a major contributing factor to recurring humanitarian crisis. There have been many failed attempts to end the civil war in southern Sudan, including efforts by Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, former President Jimmy Carter, and the United States. To that end, the heads of state from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda formed a mediation committee under the aegis of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and held the first formal negotiations in March 1994. The basis of these talks is the Declaration of Principles (DOP), which includes the right of self-determination, separation of religion and the state (secularism), and a referendum to be held in the south with secession as an option. Although the National Islamic Front (NIF) government reluctantly accepted the DOP in 1994, the government in Khartoum has repeatedly resisted secularism, walking out on peace talks in September 1994 and returning in July 1997 after a series of military defeats. In July 2002, the Sudan government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) signed a peace framework agreement in Kenya. In early September, the government of Sudan walked out of the Machakos talks and returned under pressure in early October 2002."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB98043
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://www.fpc.state.gov/