LORDS

South Sudan: EU must act to stop Africa's newest nation becoming its next failed State say Lords

22 June 2011

South Sudan needs the EU to invest time, finance and practical resources if it is to become a viable state following its declaration of independence on 9 July say the Lords EU Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee today following an  inquiry into the EU’s role there.

The Committee concludes that there is a "high risk" that South Sudan will fail as a state. Its report calls on the EU to prioritise joining together with the United Nations, African Union and United States to resolve the most urgent issues threatening South Sudan’s stability in order to avoid this.

The Committee urges the EU to focus on four areas if the turning point of South Sudan's independence is not to be a missed opportunity for peace after decades of civil war.

  1. The EU and international community must act together to calm violent inflammatory situations in Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile State; and to settle questions still in dispute between the North and South over debt, borders, citizenship and the distribution of oil revenues.
  2. The EU must urgently establish the structures it needs to play a constructive role in South Sudan.  The EU has an important part to play in building the structures a state needs to do such things as absorb international assistance, tackle corruption, and improve transparency in the economic and financial sectors to help put the South’s oil wealth to work for its people. The EU should also help to resolve the problem of militias, which have the potential to destabilise the country. It must continue its aid programmes and it could lead development in the justice sector. However, South Sudan is  a test case for the new European External Action Service and the EU needs to act faster if it is to be successful,    starting by getting an effective Head of Delegation in place in Juba as soon as possible.
  3. In the North the EU must find innovative ways to continue its development aid, despite the difficulties caused by the government of Sudan’s lack of co-operation with the International Criminal Court.  The EU must also press the  leadership in Khartoum  to support the establishment of the South   as a successful independent state.
  4. The EU must not squander the respected role it has established for itself in supporting peacebuilding in Sudan. It must strengthen its measures against small arms proliferation and to enforce its arms embargo. And as a symbolic demonstration of commitment, EU Member States could start by coordinating their acts of recognition of South Sudan as an independent state.

Commenting on the report, Chairman of the Committee Lord Teverson said:

"With independence only a few weeks away we have moved from peace and celebration over the decision to separate Sudan, to violence and distrust.  We are now facing the real risk of Africa’s newest nation becoming its most recent failed state. While the EU doesn't need to be the lead operator in order to make an important contribution to both North and South Sudan, it must continue applying resources and attention to Sudan if the independence of South Sudan is to succeed. The situation on the ground is so complex and unstable, particularly in Abyei, that without urgent action from the international community the humanitarian conditions will only deteriorate further.

The international community must not give up.  It must not lose its focus over making this deal work.  If Europe with the UN and African Union fail, we have the promise of many more decades of misery for the people of both Sudans."

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