A Role for Egypt in Ending War in Sudan

Released September 19, 2002

The Honorable Mohammed Hosni Mubarak
President, Arab Republic of Egypt
Cairo, Egypt

Dear President Mubarak,

We are writing on behalf of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, comprised of affiliated national medical organizations in some 60 countries.

We are keenly aware of the ongoing warfare and humanitarian crisis occurring in Southern Sudan. As physicians we deplore the bloodshed, the suffering, the targeting of civilians, the massacres and the razing of villages. The war in Sudan is taking an unacceptable toll on human life and health. An estimated 2 million people have been killed -- many of whom were civilian women, children, and men -- and 4 million people have been displaced. As physicians charged with the care of the wounded, we are especially troubled that humanitarian aid and services have been regularly denied to the people of Southern Sudan.

Recent steps toward a peace agreement at Machakos -- made against a backdrop of escalated conflict over territory in Southern Sudan -- are of critical importance, and the Machakos Protocol should be upheld. But the present withdrawal of the Government of Sudan from the peace process and the return to armed struggle is deeply regrettable. At this critical crossroads the warring parties can opt to commit to a negotiated peace settlement or to continued atrocity.

Regional powers, including Egypt, should move to ensure that the Government of Sudan, represented by the National Islamic Front, and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) opt for a negotiated peace settlement that allows for self determination for the people of South Sudan.

We solemnly urge the Government of Egypt -- as an important power in the region that has substantial influence in Northern Sudan -- to take every possible diplomatic step to support the following measures:

  1. a return by the northern regime to perform good faith negotiations within the framework of the Machakos Protocol negotiated in July, including its provision for a referendum on self-determination to be held in six years time;
  2. negotiation of a cease fire to be implemented at the soonest possible time;
  3. commitment on both sides to ensure the unhindered access of humanitarian aid and services to the population of Sudan.

We are deeply concerned that the entire peace process could collapse if the Government of Egypt opposes the provision for a referendum on self-determination for the South now present in the Machakos Protocol.

Without the good faith best effort of regional stakeholders, such as Egypt, we may lose the window of opportunity to resolve the longstanding and tragic war in the Sudan. At this point there is no claim, political or economic, neither in oil nor water, which is more compelling today as a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Sudan and the preservation of Sudanese lives.

We urge you and your Government to exercise its leadership to ensure that the Government of Sudan continues the peace process with the SPLM/A and brings the colossal 20-year human tragedy to an end.


R.S. McCoy, MD

Ian Maddocks, MD
Chairman of the Board

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