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SUDAN ECUMENICAL FORUM APPEALS ON SUDAN PEACE NEGOTIATIONS
In an appeal issued today in Geneva, the Sudan Ecumenical Forum stressed that "a just and lasting peace can only be achieved through meaningful and genuine dialogue; no party can maintain the illusion that a military victory is possible", and that "the best hope for achieving a comprehensive cease-fire and a lasting peace is the negotiating framework provided by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD)".
The Sudan Ecumenical Forum was created in 1994 to provide a shared platform for advocacy between the churches of the Sudan and partner churches, church-related agencies and ecumenical councils in Africa, Europe and North America. Members of the Forum meet annually to coordinate efforts for peace with justice in the Sudan.
The appeal, which goes to the parties in the Sudan conflict - the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) - as well as to IGAD member states, the IGAD Partners Forum, the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), continues as follows:
"...The people of the Sudan are suffering immeasurably as a result of the civil war which has raged in the South for 16 years. This war must be stopped, and the IGAD 'Declaration of Principles' for a lasting peace put in place without further delay.
A new round of negotiations will begin on 18 July in Nairobi, Kenya. We appeal to the government of the Sudan, to the leadership of the SPLA/M, to the member states of IGAD, and to the IGAD Partners Forum to spare no effort to ensure their success. We appeal especially to the two parties to the conflict to engage in an open-ended process of negotiation, and continue until they have made measurable progress towards an agreement and committed themselves to a fixed schedule for further negotiations on the detailed terms of a full settlement.
The conditions for success are there. The Sudanese people in both North and South manifestly desire peace. The government of Sudan and the Sudanese People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) have both accepted the IGAD Declaration of Principles in 1998. The IGAD Partners Forum (IPF) has committed itself in Oslo in March 1999 to provide the necessary resources for an effective secretariat under the auspices of the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to allow the IG
The political stalemate which has lasted for nearly a full year must be broken now. These talks must mark a turning point for peace. Neither the people of the Sudan nor the wider international community can accept anything less. The fighting must stop on all fronts, and the rights of the communities of Sudan to a peaceful environment, to equity, to democracy, to justice, to the reconstruction of the physical and social infrastructure, and to development must be realized without further delay."
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 336, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.