Remarks on the Signing of the Naivasha Protocols

Charles R. Snyder, Acting Assistant Secretary Affairs for African Affairs
On-the-Record Briefing
Washington, DC
May 27, 2004

MR. ERELI: Fresh from the talks in Naivasha is our very own Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Charles Snyder, who is here to brief us on the framework agreement which the parties in the Sudanese peace talks signed yesterday.

This is, as the statement by Secretary Powell said, a historic agreement, one that opens the way for a resolution of one of the world's longest running civil wars. Assistant Secretary Snyder, I think, will brief us a little bit on some of the back-and-forth that led to this agreement, and then be free to answer your questions about what -- what are the implications for the future.

Thank you, Charlie. Welcome back.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Thanks a lot. And it's -- I'm glad -- I'm glad to be back, although I'm fully wired on coffee, since I have no idea what day of the week it is, at this point, from flying.

But the truth is, what we've got in Naivasha, as the Secretary's statement said yesterday, is good news because it will begin to reverse very negative trends that we were seeing. This agreement was dragging on way too long, it was taking much more time, which was leading people in the field to draw wrong conclusions that they would not get to a successful endgame. And this was leading men on the ground to make decisions that you never want men on the ground to make who have guns. And there was some danger, in fact, if we had not gotten this deal done, literally, yesterday, very late, that this process would have begun to unwind.

Instead, now, it's got a flip forward. It's got a very good flip forward because this is not a typical framework agreement, in the sense that it's high-minded principles and generalities. These protocols are extremely detailed. They know what they've agreed to, and they've agreed to very specific steps in the areas in which they have problems, which is also one of the reasons why this took so long.

They're calling this a framework agreement. But I think if you put all the protocols together, you have well over 120 pages of text at a very high level detail on what wealth-sharing means. How does that work? What does the security arrangements mean? What does the new army look like? What does the political power-sharing mean? Who is first vice president? Who remains president in the interim? What are the percentages of power that were agreed to in this interim period in the new legislature?

All of those things have been agreed in very great detail. What's lacking from this, and why it's not a comprehensive agreement yet, is really two timetables.

There's a timetable in which the ceasefire implementation will be agreed to. In other words, you have to have dates. They've already agreed to a ceasefire, they've agreed to UN monitoring, assuming we and the UN agree to that. But what they have to do is agree to what dates that happens in. By what times do the armies begin to separate? Where do they go? In what numbers do they go? They've had some discussions on this already. They understand what they have to do, but we now have to sit down with the military men and get very specific. This will take a bit of time.

I would have been wildly optimistic earlier when we were talking about having this done in the February timeframe that we might get this done by the end of the summer. I still think that's possible, given the momentum.

The second piece that's missing is the implementation agreement. The implementation agreement has to do with the political timetable. They know when the election will be. They've agreed privately to that. They now have to put in phase what's the date that the interim period begins, the six-month period. They have to put a date to that.

They then have to have that second date. When does the six-month period end? What are the various phases in which this agreement is carried out? What is the date for the referendum that they've agreed to at the end of this process that has to do with the -- ultimately with the unity of Sudan?

So that's what's missing. It's timelines. It's not an agreement about what the deal is. It's an agreement about when the deal is. And the broad outlines of that, at least on the political side, are already done. They know the election will be somewhere in that two- to three-year period. They have to pick a date.

So I think this can be done rather rapidly once they get -- much like me -- once they get a few weeks to recover from this. These guys have been locked in this negotiation for a hundred days. And it was very much about power and power-sharing and what it means for the south, what it means for John Garang and his movement, what it means for people that are not part of the movement in the south. He had to sell this agreement in the south.

Similarly, Vice President Taha, for the Sudanese Government, had to sell this agreement to the people he reports to and to the people that ultimately are the pillars of power. And he did that. And one of the reasons it took so long was they brought people in at various times, delegations of 20 and 40, to see this new, changed relationship, to have a conversation, to see John Garang, to see Vice President Taha; that they meant to do this deal, that they had become partners in peace, that this was not going to be just another piece of paper; this was different.

As Senator Danforth is so fond of saying, there are stacks of paper, 70, 72 agreements on different kinds of peace in Sudan. The problem is, they're pieces of paper. They were never implemented.

That will ultimately be the issue here as well, and we will remain engaged in this process. Not just us, but the international community. As you know, we formed a troika with the Norwegians and the British to drive this process. A broader European Union support package exists as well to drive this process. The Africans led this process. We stepped in and picked up an African negotiation that had begun almost ten years ago, an IGAD process, reenergized it. But the Africans drove it forward. There were African ministers there yesterday that did some of the shouting and yelling that I and some of the other people did to finally get them to closure.

So this is a collective international community effort in which the Africans were quite prominent. And I think that's ultimately what's different about this. We've all been part of the sausage-making process and we all have some stake in seeing that the sausage stays together. And so I think that's what the long-run difficulty will be for us, the implementation, staying on top of it.

Rather than bore you with war stories, I'll bore you with war stories in response to your questions.

QUESTION: Was there one individual who was indispensable to this process from the Africa side, or whatever side?

QUESTION: Besides yourself, Charlie. (Laughter.)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Of course, the Secretary was even more indispensable than me. In fact, he did make key phone calls at key moments. Literally, I was on a cell phone yesterday afternoon, and two phone calls, one to Andrew Natsios saying, "I need you to call up right now and I need you to say this, and the more swear words the better." (Laughter.) And a similar phone call to the Secretary. And those calls came in right at key moments and made a difference in pushing these guys to closure.

Similarly, the presence of the Foreign Minister from Kenya, who went up there and, to some degree, by setting the ceremony up, drove the process. Colorful words were exchanged, I am sure, by the Foreign Minister and the heads of both delegations as time went by, when 1 o'clock became 2 o'clock, became 5 o'clock, finally became 10 o'clock. But it was that kind of input from everybody. The Eritrean Minister was there. He was forceful.

The Norwegian Minister for -- a DFID equivalent minister -- was vital to it. Hilde Johnson went back and forth between them, maybe not yelling in the same colorful terms I did, but nonetheless, putting those kind of pressure on.

The British were represented by Alan Goulty, who went back and forth several times and pressed to show there was unity among the troika. We were saying the same things. You couldn't negotiate with me. We agreed the deal was here.

The Africans were making phone calls into them at the same time, saying this is about Africa and this is good news for Africa, and you have to do this.

So it was a team effort. It really was a team effort. Indispensable to the process though, clearly, were the two negotiating teams themselves. It was John Garang and his senior leadership. And it was Vice President Taha and, on the phone when he needed him, President Bush here, as well as the senior team that the Sudanese brought, including some of the hardest of the hardliners over the years. Minister Nafi’e Ali Nafi was there for the closing pieces of it.

So that the people in power in Khartoum know what they've agreed to. So do the southerners. So we don't have this question of, "Gee, I didn't know," by anybody significant. This took long enough that everyone significant knows exactly what they agreed to. And trust me, we will hold them to it.

QUESTION: Was General Sumbeiywo not -- Sumbeiywo not there?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Oh, General Sumbeiywo was there and he's the unsung hero in this whole process. The fact that he's not a particular diplomat, although he's better than a lot I've met over the years. But in fact, the General led to a little clarity of thought sometimes, a little clarity of what timetables meant, and a little clarity of temperament driving the process forward.

I think he is probably the most exhausted man in Kenya at this point. But, in the end, a lot of it, in the day-to-day handholding way, belongs to him and his secretariat. He had a small team that helped him as well. This really was a large, collective effort.

QUESTION: Can you clarify something for me from your comments? Does the six-year period of autonomy -- did the clock start running on that in 2002, when they agreed on it?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: No, no. It start -- that's part of this implementation thing. The have to agree to this six-month pre-interim period, then the six years starts after the six months.

QUESTION: Oh, okay. All right.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: So, you know, if you wanted to guess, it's out there in 2010 somewhere.

QUESTION: Oh, okay.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Implying they finish this year.



QUESTION: Can you talk about the agreement and the impact it has on Darfur and that process or that problem, that part of the problem?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: One of the major things it does is, it opens the political process in Sudan. This agreement is north and south, but it also talks about ratios of power-sharing that will open space in the northern government for other factions that are not just the Congress Party.

So there is reason to believe that the Darfurians, among others, could be accommodated in this agreement. And then, ultimately, in the election that it will set in place, the Darfurians can prove that what they represent is a real movement, as opposed to a small rebellion by a handful of men, which would be the government's contention.

So there is a real change in the political process. This is kind of the end of the beginning, is where we are on this. We're very close to this. Now the practical steps have to happen. Similarly, with the disaffected peoples elsewhere -- in Baja, the Nuba Mountains, et cetera. They're all accomplished in this agreement.

The legislatures locally will have more power than they've had before. The central power-sharing agreement calls for a devolution of more power down to the states so that these isolated pockets that are kind of powerless now will have a chance to be represented in these local legislatures, which will have real power, backed by real money.

The power-sharing and the wealth-sharing agreement complements that. It very specifically agrees that money is shared in such and such a fashion and flows to the states in such and such a fashion, so that obtaining power locally will matter in this new decentralized system. So there is room for an accommodation, for the outs in this border agreement, and particularly post the election.

The other thing it does is it commits John Garang and the southerners to join their partner in persuading the Darfurians that there is a peaceful way forward. So I'm hoping that we'll see Dr. John become more active on this, and more active in selling this peace agreement.

So there's two reasons to have some -- some hope that this would put a different spin on what's happening, the tragedy in Darfur.

QUESTION: You seem to be separating the gangs from the government, when you're just saying "the Darfurians," to give them reason to believe. I mean, the Darfurians are struggling across the border to Chad. Which Darfurians are you talking about, to whom this local political process will matter, if they're living in refugee camps and getting attacked?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Well, you can't -- we're taking strong action on Darfur, as well. I mean, the truth of the matter is, I'm actually hoping that we have some good news out of Addis tomorrow or the next day on putting teeth into the ceasefire agreement that they have already made.

I just got off the phone with the Sudanese Foreign Minister, and he has given me assurances that the mechanism we're hoping to put in place -- just like in the beginning, we had to put a mechanism in place in the Nuba Mountains to begin to change things practically on the ground.

This ceasefire arrangement, if it comes into place -- and the African Union is actually ready to go, and we're ready to support them. It's just a matter of putting this implementation text together, and I hope we're going to get that. That will begin to change the situation on the ground. We need the immediate access relief. We've pressed them on that. They're finally saying the right things. They've done away with some of the requirements, just a 48-hour notification, et cetera.

But the test is practical in Darfur, just like the test in the southern agreement was practical. They had to do what they said they would do in the Nuba Mountains. They had to pass Jack Danforth's test. They have to pass the test in Darfur. The rebels have to pass a bit of a test in Darfur, too. They have to agree to this and they have to not upset the applecart. And we've been reaching out to them and taking them into this process.

So I think we might get lucky here and begin to see a reversal of the process driven maybe, in the first instance, by this Naivasha thing, but I think followed up by some practical changes in Darfur over the next little bit. There's going to be a donors conference next week in Geneva to talk about this. As you know, we've been leading the charge on Darfur in a practical way and we're hoping to stimulate our European friends, who are now coming back onside on this, to be more forthcoming in terms of the emergency nature of the situation in Darfur to get more assistance on the ground.

QUESTION: Could you just say what -- what did he promise that you'll be seeing in terms of action? Did he promise the government's going to stop supplying the Jingaweit?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Well, they've already promised that.

QUESTION: Right. Yeah, so why are you so optimistic about this --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Well, because now the practicalities are there. The ceasefire monitoring group that the AU will put on the ground will begin to give us the real tangible feel on the ground -- the granularity, if you will -- to begin to roll this back in a practical way.

We've had the right words. You know, we've got 72 stacks of agreements. The implementation is the key, and that's what we're saying to them. The time for talking in Darfur has long since passed. This needs to be reversed. We've told you that you cannot move forward with us, wonderful though this agreement in Naivasha is -- and it is wonderful and it is ultimately the lodestone that will drive the whole process -- but you can't get the rewards and success, we can't get the new Sudan we want, with Darfur on fire and bleeding the way it is. It has to be reversed.

And the answer in this day and age, as I've said elsewhere, is it has to be reversed. Ethnic cleansing can't be allowed to stand. The people have to be gotten back on the ground they were driven off. They get that. And I think this implementation agreement that they're agreeing to is the first step in that. It needs to be followed up by better humanitarian access, but there are signs that that's beginning to happen.

We have a crisis upon us because we've got rain coming in, we've got people in a terrible place to get them the assistance that they need, and we don't have enough assistance going that way right now. That's one of the reasons for this donors conference. We're doing everything we can, but the rest of the international community needs to get onside. And there are plenty of them helping already, but they need to do more.


QUESTION: Well, you had these two parallel tracks, and, I mean, you couldn't really alienate the government, in one sense, on Darfur when you were also trying to work with them in terms of helping them to get this agreement.

Do you think that this frees you up to put more pressure on the government as far as Darfur is concerned? I mean, now that you seem to have, you know, crossed the major hurdle on this agreement, I mean, will most of your efforts right now focus on kind of cleaning up Darfur?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Well, I'm going to join a delegation next week with -- Andrew Natsios will lead it, but I'm going to join a delegation next week in Geneva for that purpose.

The truth is, I've all along tried not to fall into the trap that everybody said that was out there: We were so eager for peace that we begin to ignore practical problems on the ground. And I've taken institutional steps to ensure that.

Deputy Assistant Secretary McKinley from PRM has been taking the State Department lead on this, and Mike and I have a long-time relationship going way back, and he can tell me any bloody thing he wants pretty frankly. And that's why I put him in charge of that. I didn't want my enthusiasm for this peace agreement to bleed into what we did on Darfur. So I put a few institutional pieces in place to make sure that that happened in the right fashion, and I think it's worked pretty well.

The rebels have come to trust the State Department representatives as well as the USAID representatives. We know what they're after. We know what's going on on the ground. And so I think we have the beginnings of a successful Darfur process, as well.

The test, really, at this point, falls on the government. They've begun to say the right things. I'm optimistic, in fact, that when this team from Naivasha goes back, and there are many key individuals on this team, powerful people inside the Sudan Government, that when they're back in Khartoum, their good news story and their new ideas on how this is going to work will begin to marginalize those that are continuing to cause the problems.

So I think we're going to see a turnaround here in Darfur. If not, we'll have to look at even stronger steps. But I'm optimistic that Naivasha will begin to reverse that and that the government's pledges over the last several weeks will begin to be honored.

QUESTION: How much money are you carrying with you to Geneva?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: I probably knew that answer this morning before I got on the plane, but -- I'll get you that answer. I haven't got a clue.

QUESTION: When is the 45-day ceasefire period up?


QUESTION: The April 11th --


QUESTION: Well, all right, but --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Well, the idea is it was -- it ends in the middle of June sometime -- the 20-something, I think.

QUESTION: Sounds like more than 45 days to me, if it started April 11th.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: No. They've agreed to extensions a couple of times.


ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: The clock has been on and off on this. And they'll agree to another 45-day rollover. I don't think there's a problem on this ceasefire, if they honor what they say they will do. And, again, the African Union is stepping up to this, which is a good sign, a good sign that the new African Union will be more empowered and more active in Africa.


QUESTION: Of all the wars in Africa, this one, in particular, oil and mineral wealth are seen as sort of contributing factors, if not major factors. Can you kind of look back at this one and say the degree to which this one was, and that maybe more could have been done by the U.S. and Western and in outside countries to have somehow lessened that factor, mitigated it a bit more, maybe been, you know, less of a contributor to it?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Well, I mean, all of these wars in Africa, ultimately, are about power, and power and money go together, as you all well know, and the oil is money in the case of Sudan. In other places, it's different things.

So, yes, oil has been a factor in this conflict. It's been a factor in the vigor with which this conflict has proceeded. It's actually been resolved, in this case, in this wealth-sharing agreement. There are very specific percentages of oil that move one way or another as part of the wealth-sharing agreement to solve that problem, to take it off the table. And there are devices, transparency devices, that are coming more and more to the fore. The Chad-Cameroon pipeline has some transparency devices. The Angolans, just recently, have agreed to some of these transparency ideas, post their visit with President Bush, just a couple of weeks ago.

That's the right idea. That’s the right answer, is a little more transparency in some of this oil revenue, so that the results of the economic goods that a country has wind up in the hands of the broader population, as opposed to a handful of people. We're beginning to see that happen. It's not perfect yet, but we've got the right answer. Hindsight is one that I could go back and say, you know, if we were geniuses, five years ago, we'd have done something a little different on the Sudanese oil. We were the ones that imposed economic sanctions on Sudan over terrorism.

And so we were doing what we could about the oil being a factor from the beginning. We've been very active on this. And they will not get any of these promised rewards, and they want a lot of the rewards, to go into the oil area. Our technology is top of the line. Until we get the full, comprehensive agreement, till practical steps are taken. The rewards will be phased in over time.

Again, you know, the "Show Me." I've spent enough time with Senator Danforth. I think I'm from Missouri now. But "Show Me" is the real guide word to the repealing of all of those things, and "Show Me" will happen over time. And this happens to be a six-year, six-month agreement, so we have plenty of time and benchmarks that we can put in place.


QUESTION: We had asked Richard, and he wasn't sure, if you guys were dangling a White House ceremony for the Naivasha agreement out in front of them and saying that, until we see something on Darfur, this is one of the rewards that you won't get. Is that -- is that still the thinking?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: I'd like to say we were that sophisticated. We made it clear -- it's clear to them they're not going to get any magic --

QUESTION: Is that a reward?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Well, I mean, it's obviously a reward from their point of view. I mean, Sudan would like to be welcomed back into the world without any exception, and we're clearly the biggest exception. And I think the stature that would be given to Dr. John Garang coming in as the Vice President or the Vice President-apparent in a Washington greeting or welcoming ceremony would be a big reward for him, as well.

So we've held that out if it was of value to them. But the truth is -- and this is interesting -- they want that reward, but it didn't really influence the details of the Naivasha negotiation in any great way, I don't think, at the end of the day. It really didn't. They want that after they got what they needed. Now they would love it, now that they've got what they needed on the political agreement. We've made it clear Darfur has to be resolved.

QUESTION: Right. Before they could be invited to Washington?


QUESTION: Okay. Well, what do you -- what do you mean about resolved?


QUESTION: Some practical steps to make it happen?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Practical steps. The ceasefire -- the ceasefire implementation thing -- which I will call it at this point since they haven't signed a piece of paper, so it doesn't have an official title yet -- has to be in place, has to be functioning, and the humanitarian access has to be there in a real way. We have to be reversing this process. That's success.

Does it have to be a political settlement? Do we need another 120-page political document? No. That's not what we need in this particular case. It would be nice if they got one. It would be nice if they were incorporated into this process. That's not a requirement. The reversal of the situation on the ground, which implies two things: one, a monitoring mechanism so that we can be reassured that the Jingaweit and other pieces of this problem really are under control; and secondarily, real access in a very much unrestricted way to bringing the humanitarian necessities in this crisis.

QUESTION: So are you saying that you aren't seeking, even in the long term, any kind of written accord like this? You don't envision negotiations like Naivasha on Darfur?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: If the government chooses to solve the problem with the Darfurians by getting into that kind of discussion, and the Lord knows there are now many more people willing to sit down and sponsor those kinds of talks, that would be fine with us. It may turn out to be what's necessary.

But we wouldn't -- as we said from the beginning, there are so many problems in Sudan, and it's such a complex peace, that you need to make it manageable. You need to begin to transform Sudan by taking steps to end the major conflict, and the major conflict is north-south; and, in the process, set the examples, timelines, suggestions, power-sharing, all these other things, in motion that can solve any political problem in the country by opening the system up so that the disaffected groups, no matter where they are, have a way to go and that the government begins to see that it is now being welcomed back into the international community.

But there are conditions, and chief among them has always been the humanitarian one, the human -- respect for human rights, respect for religious rights, et cetera. And this agreement has got that in it. And it's got it in a much more explicit way than I thought, frankly, when this started, would be acceptable, but it's in there. So there is some other good news in Naivasha, when you finally get the documents.

QUESTION: So the United States is prepared to go along a normalization path with Sudan, if they sort out Darfur? Can you tell us what other steps are involved in that? We're not -- you know, maybe a 101 on the sanctions. Is it just state-sponsored sanctions or --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Well, you've got to remember that the Sudanese problems is a broad one. We stepped into this, to begin with. There were three pieces to this problem when we started: one was the terrorism piece; the second one was being a bad actor in the region; the third one was the whole humanitarian mess, which had become reflected in the north-south conflict, the bombings in the south, driving people off the land, et cetera.

On the terrorism score, they get a pretty good grade from experts. I don't pretend to give them a grade on that. The region is now telling us that they're performing much more reasonably. We're not getting complaints about their action. They're doing a better job. They are not 100 percent yet.

The big X factor in our relationship with the Sudanese now is this humanitarian piece. And we originally defined it as a just peace in the south, between the north and the south. Clearly, the motivation for the just peace need was humanitarian conditions need to be reversed, human rights need to be respected. That's true in Darfur. It's true if there is a flare-up somewhere else tomorrow in Baja. That situation has to change, and the government's reaction to it has to change into something much more acceptable.

We're not saying the government doesn't have the right to respond to a rebellion. It doesn't have the right to do what it did, in terms of driving people off the land, massive casualties and movements. Fighting rebels, you know, that's fair enough, but the way they did it has to change. And so we've made it very clear to them that we're not taking away your right of self-defense. We're taking away your right to do the unbounded things that have happened, whether or not you were a direct agent or a subagent of yours is doing it. And they get it.

Now, the proof is, will they reverse that trend? So the normalization process is tied to all three of those things. They are probably, if I'm making the judgment, and the judgment will be made by more than me, they're okay on the terrorism piece, pretty close. They're pretty much there on the regional thing. But they're not there on the humanitarian piece until they prove it to us.

QUESTION: So that's what they have to do to get normalization. But what are the steps that the United States will take in the process? What's the first thing that gets peeled back? Obviously, maybe some White House ceremony, that's a reward, but what kind of sanctions --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Well, things like an ambassador, et cetera, would be one of the rewards for them. We haven't had an ambassador in a long time. Also, proof that our relationship had gone towards normalcy. And over time, and there are legal steps that have to be made to repeal the sanctions, and Lord knows there are enough of them. And after jet lag, I'm not going to get into 12 separate boxes of sanctions and tell you the legal steps to get out from under them.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) state-sponsors related sanctions?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: The state sponsors is the one that most people focus on. It's part of it. But there are specific restrictions on the IEEPA document that the President signed, which go to the other pieces of this, to do with the need for a just peace in the south, the humanitarian and human rights conditions. They have to be met. And those sanctions are the ones that actually probably hurt, in many practical ways, more even than the terrorism sanctions, so they need to be peeled back.

And there are other sanctions. There are -- you know, the Brooke Amendment and everything under the sun. They owe us money. This debt issue. There's a separate team working on exactly how many sanctions and what's necessary legally for them to do to get out from under them. But the beginning of the normalization process, things like coming to the Rose Garden ceremony or a White House ceremony, things like an ambassador, those kinds of things, are the easiest to do because they're not directly sanctioned and they would come pretty quickly.

The others -- we'll have a timetable when they give us a timetable that says what we're going to do.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that? So, I mean, some of these things, like the Rose Garden ceremony or an ambassador that you say could be done if they kind of clean up Darfur, what is the minimum that you're looking for right now for them to do for you to feel comfortable that they're taking care of this?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: I think the first thing they have to do is change this humanitarian access program. They have to let us save as many people as we can from the problem that they have created. And there's a time factor here and a severe time factor. That's one of the reasons the meeting is going to happen next week. So they have to do the right thing, right now, about that, or they start to become not quite in an irredeemable situation, but they'd be edging close to some real difficulties there.

The second piece is the mechanism has to be in place. We have to have some normalized process in which there can be an accusation made, somebody can visit, make a judgment, just like the CPMT team we have has done that now in the Nuba Mountains and elsewhere and for the whole south, where there'd be an accusation, they'd investigate, and so you get a balanced report and then you begin the reverse process. Because then, instead of saying, "Stop it, stop it, stop it," you're able to say, in a much more fine detail, "This particular colonel here, this particular command here, is the problem. This needs to stop. Maybe he needs to move." Or, "There's a communications problem. We know that the right instruction was given. It was interpreted the wrong way. You need to do this about that."

All those things have happened because of the CPMT on this broader north-south thing and in the Nuba Mountains where the Norwegian general is in charge. All those things are worked out and these ceasefires have held. But, in the very beginning, there was very much this education process, and that's why it's so important to get this ceasefire mechanism in place so that we can begin to reverse in a very specific way on the ground the problem, which even if the government said today, "I've got full control of it," nobody would believe. There's nobody on the ground to verify that. We need a team out there for that.

QUESTION: So it sounds like --

QUESTION: Just one more quick --

QUESTION: Can I just follow up, just quickly? But it sounds like you're a far ways away from that. I mean, you're not going to -- they're not going to go from, like, you know, no access and -- or, like, pretty crappy access to, you know, all of a sudden, allowing all the access teams and having this mechanism put in place and it being -- and it being worked upon.

So it sounds like you're a long ways away from a Rose Garden ceremony or an ambassador or things like that.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: They could reverse. The truth of the matter is, if they did what they said they would do in terms of allowing the access, they could reverse that pretty quickly, in a matter of days and weeks, not months.

On the ceasefire mechanism, for it to function at the high level that I'm talking about, the CPMT level, it'll take the thing a month to set itself up in practical ways. It'll be on the ground much quicker, I hope, post the signing. But until they get into a work pattern and we begin to get reports and we begin to see this thing's working, that piece won't be there. But I think we can see the practical steps first on the humanitarian side very quickly, and if that happens we'll begin to change our attitude and tone towards it. And I'm optimistic, having talked to the Foreign Minister, that that's going to happen. I think the Naivasha thing, actually, is already starting to produce those kind of rewards. There's a peace feeling in Khartoum. One of the troubles, if you're a leader that doesn't mean these kind of things, to sign peace agreements, is a lot of times you find out your constituents are wildly enthusiastic for it and you don't have control anymore, there really is a peace fever and a peace faction that begins to dominate. And some of those signs are beginning to emerge in Khartoum cautiously and in the south as well.

Last question, please.

QUESTION: What was the final concession yesterday that broke the logjam after all those hours? Was it the SPLA giving in on the percentages in the government? And also, you mentioned the UN peacekeeper -- the UN doing the role. And you said if the UN agrees. Is the UN expected to agree to that?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Oh, yeah. On that piece, yeah. We have to go through the usual technical kabuki dance, but the UN has been involved in this all along, and so I don't foresee there being a problem. Mohamed Sahnoun and others have been there and present. They know the details of this. I don't foresee that being a problem. Kofi Annan has been very active behind the scenes on this as well. The Secretary and he have talked about this several times.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Yeah, they're very active on this score. And they need to be. They need to get their organization fully behind this and step it up because this crisis is upon us in terms of the Darfur piece of it.

That took me off on a second piece of your question. I answered the first one, I think.

QUESTION: About the final concession that broke the logjam.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: The final concession was -- there really wasn't a final concession in the sense of this is really about making a political deal that was comprehensive. So each one of them has made compromises in different places, and to focus on just one, the hang-up yesterday, literally, was on percentages. But it was within the range that they had been talking all along, and so the final agreement in the Nuba Mountains is 55/45, and that solved it. They had been talking 60/40 for a long time. It was just a matter of facing that reality. And the problem is, in the new decentralized system, I think one of the things they hadn't factored into it when they made these decisions was, if you change the legislative power structure, you actually change power in the center, and so it got complicated. It wasn't -- one of the reasons these talks went on so long, these ratios played against each other. So the final compromise, if you wanted to look at it, is this 55/45 thing, but the truth is, it was the pattern of compromise across that made that possible. And then they had to resolve the technical problem. The other pieces of the power-sharing agreement made this ratio much more important than they thought. And so when they got back to it, they had to play very carefully against it.

And it's about jobs and power, and that's really what it's about. To split 55/45 implies 45 percent of the ministerial positions -- jobs -- go to people. And so the difference between 40 and 45 matters now that you're beginning to see this is a political process. One of the things that happened during these talks is it stopped being a civil war and started to become a political negotiation because they could see peace, they could see this new Sudan emerging, and that was a political challenge, not a combat challenge. And so they started to see these ratios differently. It was not so much to agree by the back of the hand anymore, but it meant real jobs for my supporters, who I need in the new environment, and for people that I want to recruit back and forth. If it works right, there should be an exchange of power north and south. If I have allies in the north, my power in the south is enhanced; if I have allies in south, my power in the north is enhanced. All this game. That's why they struggled over the Nuba Mountains. If I can build allies in the north, my position in the south is enhanced, multiplied.

So this became a very political negotiation and dragged out. In the beginning, we were making pretty good progress. We were talking big picture issues. We got to practical politics before it was done, and that's a very tough proposition. Guys in the room knew that this meant jobs for them and their constituents. And that's what I mean about this process has encompassed a huge group of people. So this is not an agreement among a tiny elite. This is a broad set of power barons that have made an arrangement to represent, in different ways and in different degrees, a large chunk of the population.

So we'll see what happens. We have every reason to be optimistic. This agreement, if it gets implemented, is a good one. It could begin to change Sudan. But the proof is in the pudding, in Darfur and other places. The right answers can't just be on paper. They have to be in practice.

Thanks a lot.

QUESTION: Just very briefly, I know this is way down the line and a lot depends on it, but does the United States have a position as to whether Sudan should remain a single country after the six-year period, or is there -- are you not --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: We have said all along that we actually want the unity of Sudan. We've said that to the Egyptians and we mean it. But given what's happened to the southern Sudanese over the years, one of the big things that those of us that want that are going to have to do is convince the southerners that things have changed and they should vote to stay because they're better off in a functional, unified state, where checks and balances on local politicians, by bringing in other regions, are there, too, because wealth has now gone to the people. Roads -- there's not a bit of tarmac in southern Sudan. There are six years and six months for the outside world that cares about this to change the southern opinion. I think it can be done if they're serious. The Arab League and others are going to try and do this as well, but they're going to have to put money on the ground to change their minds.

So we believe in the unity of Sudan, but it's going to have to pass a harsh test, and the harsh test is six years, six months and, if we're real lucky, 90 days away from the test.

QUESTION: As a technical matter -- well, not a technical matter, but what's the number people use of how many people have been killed in this civil war?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: Well, the number we've been tossing around for so long, but we should probably go back and revisit, is close to 2 million over the 18 years. But we should go back and take a hard look at that. We've been too cavalier with that number. In fact, I'll ask somebody to look into that, check that number for you. But that's the number we're using.

QUESTION: If somebody could shoot an e-mail from the Press Office if you get an answer to that.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SNYDER: All right. Thanks a lot.


Released on May 27, 2004