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How to Engage Sudanese Civilians in Security Sector Reform Negotiations?

How to engage Sudanese civilians in security sector reform negotiations?
How to engage Sudanese civilians in security sector reform negotiations?

The ostensible trigger for the outbreak of hostilities between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15, 2023, was disagreement about the nature and timing of merging Sudan’s two legally constituted armed forces. SSR was one of five issues left for further negotiation when a “Framework Agreement” was being negotiated in December 2022, between the SAF, RSF and civilian representatives led by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) for creation of a new transitional government. With neither the SAF nor the RSF in a position to “win” the now year-old civil war, any negotiated peace will need to address the issue of security sector reform. Given the major, long-standing role the security forces, especially the SAF, have played in the politics and economy of Sudan, SSR in the Sudanese context will be more complicated than a force integration/force reorganization matter. Sudan’s citizens thus have legitimate interests, like nature of the economy, budgetary priorities and balancing human versus state security, that warrant their having a meaningful role in SSR negotiations. As one of the April 2 session speakers said, SSR must be guided by a political and national agenda, not a purely military one. 

The Sudans Working Group (SWG) engages US, African, and international policymakers and stakeholders in inclusive and forward-leaning policy dialogue aimed at advancing the prospects for peace, security, and development between and within Sudan and South Sudan. The SWG serves as a space for key stakeholders to share analyses and perspectives and provide policy options for addressing critical issues related to the two countries. The SWG is currently co-chaired by Ambassador Nureldin Satti and Ambassador Donald E. Booth.

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