About the Author: Major General (Ret) Scott Grationcurrently serves as the President’s Special Envoy to Sudan. (August 14, 2009)
During the days of sailing ships, vessels had to wait for the tide to rise to a certain level before they were able to sail into port. Once the tide reached the ideal point and the winds were right, a ship would to seize the moment to sail into port. This process is referred to in Latin as “Ob Portu,” and this is where word “opportunity” comes from.
We have all been working very hard to bring peace and stability to Sudan – to strive toward the full implementation of the CPA and to bring peace to Darfur. But the issues require more than just hard work; they require coordination, diligence, skill, and a generous dollop of fortune. I see the tide rising, and I think there is a unique opportunity for progress in Sudan now. This is why we need all hands on deck, and why we need to work cooperatively and collaboratively towards the common goals we all share to bring peace, stability, prosperity, and justice to Sudan. It is in this spirit of renewed cooperation that we convened a meeting at the White House with leaders from many of the organizations in the advocacy and NGO communities. I know there have been miscommunications in the past, but that’s all the more reason why we need to work more closely together. We will be asking for advice and help from the advocacy and NGO communities. My staff will be reaching out to those organizations fighting for the same goals we all share, and we are working on ways to keep the huge community that cares about Sudan better informed about what we are doing and about the evolving developments in Sudan.
I am leaving on my seventh trip this Sunday to travel to Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia. The most important objective of this visit will be to secure and bear witness to the signing of the bilateral agreement between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP) by First Vice President Salva Kiir, representing the SPLM, and Second Vice President Ali Osman Taha, representing the NCP. This is a major agreement that goes a long way towards furthering the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) by resolving many of the remaining issues and roadblocks, currently standing in the way of full CPA implementation. We will also be continuing bilateral meetings with both the SPLM and NCP, and I will be traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to resume talks with Darfuri armed movements on building cohesion and unification in support of the Doha peace process. Finally, I am heading to Cairo, where we will meet with key regional partners, Egypt and Libya, together with the Sudanese, to coordinate efforts to advance the Darfur peace process and improve regional security. We will be emailing you updates during my trip to let you know what we are learning and what we are accomplishing.
We have a moment of great opportunity. It is time for all of us who care deeply about the future of Sudan to work together to seize this moment. The opportunity of the present may not come again, and we will be left out at sea, if we don’t act now. With the elections and referenda coming up on us quickly, we do not have time to hesitate or equivocate. We must work together and speak with one voice in favor of peace, stability, prosperity, and justice for the people of Sudan.
We look forward to exploring new avenues of cooperation with you and with the community of activists, NGOs, Sudanese living in the Diaspora, and others who care so deeply about bringing peace and stability to Sudan.
Thank you for your continued interest and dedication, Scott.
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