Wednesday, May 16, 2018
The Trump administration has dispatched one of its top diplomatic officials to Africa this week, as it grapples with a brutal civil war in South Sudan that has unleashed the continent’s biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
The Trump administration has eased sanctions on Sudan, a government the U.S. once accused of carrying out a genocide. While Sudan remains an international pariah, the U.S. says it needs to work with Khartoum on some key security matters, including North Korea.
The diplomatic potential for addressing the tensions and competing interests was limited, however, said Princeton Lyman, a former US special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan and now a senior adviser at the US Institute of Peace. “The AU [African Union] and the Arab League have very little interaction and no history of close cooperation around overlapping issues. Indeed, the AU is struggling to deal with such crises as South Sudan and Somalia. Outsiders are similarly limited in their structures to address this cross-regional set of developments,” he said. “For example, the US State Department divides this area into two different bureaus. Coordination of policy across them is hampered by the lack of appointees at senior levels where such coordination would take place. Unfortunately, the prospect of greater instability in the Horn is tragic but real.”
Amb. Princeton Lyman: It’s one of the great tragedies brought about the failure of leaders, the greed of leaders and a lack of strong political institutions. And it weighs heavily on all of us who worked on behalf of giving the South Sudanese the right of self determination and independence.
Princeton Lyman, a former U.S. envoy for Sudan now at the U.S. Institute of Peace, says he thinks the diplomatic approach is working — using sanctions relief as leverage. "This is a very preliminary, first-step opening in a serious dialogue opening with Sudan," he says.
PRINCETON LYMAN: There are an awful lot of special envoys that have been named over the years. And many of them are subject matter, and they could be folded into the regular bureaucracy. But when you have a complicated conflict situation that covers a lot of different countries and requires virtually nonstop attention, that's where you use a special envoy.
The new U.N. Secretary General works to ensure the conflict in South Sudan is resolved peacefully
Reports from the UN's Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, from the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, from the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan and from every other reliable source all point to the unmistakable warning signs of an impending genocide.
Princeton Lyman is senior adviser to the president of the United States Institute of Peace and served as the US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan from 2011 to 2013. Kate Almquist Knopf is director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies and ...
Zimbabwe is one of nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa, currently under targeted United States sanctions, and a hearing in Washington on Wednesday, sought to explore their effectiveness or necessity. Honorable Princeton Lyman of the United States Institute of Peace and also Senior Adviser to the president, cautioned against sanctions in all cases saying often it’s harder to lift them than impose them, and that they are best used in combination with other strategies.