What Ban Saw

The Secretary General writes an op-ed about the complexities facing a peace settlement in Darfur.

I have just returned from a week in Darfur and the surrounding region. I went to listen to the candid views of its people — Sudanese officials, villagers displaced by fighting, humanitarian aid workers, the leaders of neighboring countries. I came away with a clear understanding. There can be no single solution to this crisis. Darfur is a case study in complexity. If peace is to come, it must take into account all the elements that gave rise to the conflict.

For peace in Darfur to take hold a perfect storm of sorts needs to manifest. Financial and diplomatic support must to flow from donor countries; Libya and Chad need to be fully committed to supporting the peace; the government of Sudan needs to become convinced that it has more to gain from peace than continued war; rebel groups need to be convinced that the government of Sudan is approaching the peace talks in good faith; and all the while, the international community cannot afford to ignore the tenuous peace holding in southern Sudan.

The conflict in Darfur is so seemingly intractible because absent anyone of these elements, a peace process risks failure.