His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, visited Sudan early this month as the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) was winding up after five years of work to implement the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
Celebrations took place in El-Fashir, north of Darfur, graced by, among others, President Edris Debby of Chad, who is also the chairperson of African Union; President Faustin-Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic, and President Omar Hassan AlBashir of Sudan.
The visit of the Emir of Qatar is a symbol of strengthening traditional diplomacy and partnership. It is a show of unwavering zeal in ushering peace in the region through the DDPD which was finalised at the All Darfur Stakeholders Conference in May 2011, in Doha, Qatar.
On July 14, 2012, the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed a protocol agreement committing themselves to the Document which was the framework for the comprehensive peace process in Darfur. The DDPD was the culmination of long negotiations, with the major parties to the Darfur conflict, all relevant stakeholders and international partners.
The DDPD addressed the root causes of the conflict and its consequences, including power sharing, wealth sharing, human rights, justice and reconciliation, compensation and internal dialogue, among others. The proposal includes provisions for a Darfuri vice-president and an administrative structure that includes both the state structure and a regional authority, to oversee Darfur as a whole. The DRA was officially inaugurated in February 2012 in El Fashir and all Ministries and Commissions were established and political appointments concluded. The agreement was ratified by being considered as part of the Sudanese provisional constitution.
Few people were optimistic that the agreement would move to the stage of implementation because of the past experience about such agreements, most of them binned before the negotiators leave conference halls.
The case with Doha agreement was so different. It could be a first in the world as an agreement that went through all the stages of implementation without being violated by either parties as it remained the cross junction they meet at, the wide umbrella they stand under, because it was drafted to be simple and flexible.
The Doha agreement was so special and distinguished because of the genuineness of Qatar, a mediator and sponsor with no hidden agenda other than to achieve peace in the region.
The journey of Doha Agreement implementation was met with many challenges but Qatar was always ready to support, financially and otherwise, including the US$88 million through the UN.
Another intelligent strategy adopted by Qatar was not to wait until peace is achieved on the ground, as most of the donors put as a condition to start their plan of action in the region. Qatar devised the slogan of “development is the remedy of war,” and delivered development support through Qatari NGOs; Qatar Charity Org, Raf, Aid, and the Qatari Red Crescent that saw the construction of five model villages for returnees, among others.
What is left is witnessing total return to the road of development, where everyone shall be proud of building a stronger Sudan.
The writer is a commentator based in Khartoum.