Comprehensive Peace Agreement

For all but 11 of the 48 years since its independence in 1956, Sudan has been engulfed in civil conflict. The conflict between the North and the South erupted one year before Sudan gained its independence in 1955.

The war that the Government of Sudan and the Sudan's People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLAM/A) recently ended, erupted in 1983, following the breakdown of the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement. The root causes which propelled the war included disputes over resources, power, the role of religion in the state and self-determination.


The ensuing 21-year conflict devastated a significant part of Africa's largest country and deprived the rest of stability, growth and development. The Sudanese people have paid a terrible price. More than two million people died, four million were uprooted and some 600,000 people sought shelter beyond Sudan's borders as refugees.

The nature and size of the country's problems have frequently overflowed into neighboring countries and brought misery and insecurity to the region.


Over the long years of war, there was a plethora of attempts by various external actors, including neighboring States, concerned donors and other States, as well as the parties themselves, to bring the conflict to an end. However, the immense complexities of the war and the lack of political will prevented its earlier resolution.

In 1993, the Heads of State of the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) became involved in the latest initiative to bring the parties together. This was the beginning of a long process that has led to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005.


The United Nations has closely followed and supported the regional peace initiative under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The Secretary-General's Special Adviser, Mr. Mohamed Sahnoun, and other senior officials represented the UN at summit meetings of the IGAD countries, and carried out consultations with regional governments and organizations in support of the peace process. They also took part in meetings of the IGAD-Partners Forum, composed of donor countries and organizations supporting the IGAD peace process and assisting the regional organization to enhance its capacity in several areas.

The Six Agreements:

Under the mediation of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Government of the Sudan and the SPLM/A signed a series of six agreements:

  • The Protocol of Machakos:
    Signed in Machakos, Kenya, on 20 July 2002, in which the parties agreed on a broad framework, setting forth the principles of governance, the transitional process and the structures of government as well as on the right to self-determination for the people of South Sudan, and on state and religion
  • The Protocol on security arrangements:
    Signed in Naivasha, Kenya, on 25 September 2003
  • The Protocol on wealth-sharing:
    Signed in Naivasha, Kenya, on 7 January 2004
  • The Protocol on Power-sharing:
    Signed in Naivasha, Kenya, on 26 May 2004
  • The Protocol on the resolution of conflict in southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile States:
    Signed in Naivasha, Kenya, on 26 May 2004
  • The Protocol on the resolution of conflict in Abyie:
    Signed in Naivasha, Kenya, on 26 May 2004

To read the full text of these six protocols, click here


Three agreements needed to be finalized in order to achieve a comprehensive peace accord: one on permanent cease-fire arrangements, one on the implementation of all Protocols signed and the one yet to be concluded on permanent cease-fire arrangements and, one on the International/Regional Guarantees.


The negotiations between the parties on Permanent Cease-Fire protocol were stalled during the round of talks, held in Naivasha in July 2004. The parties could not reach agreement on a number of issues, mainly: the redeployment of forces in eastern Sudan and the financing of the SPLM/A.


Under sustained pressure from the international community, the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary-General and his Special Representative for the Sudan, the African Union and the IGAD, the parties agreed to resume the peace talks in Nairobi, on 7 October, 2004.


The talks resumed with high level discussions between the First Vice-President Ali Osman Taha and the Chairman of the SPLM/A, John Garang.


On 16 October, the two leaders issued a joint press statement in which they declared that issues discussed and resolved during the negotiations on a Permanent Cease-Fire arrangement during the pre-interim and interim period included the following:

  1. The Joint/Integrated Units (JIUs) in Eastern Sudan;
  2. Establishment of JIUs Service Arms;
  3. Collaborative approach of handling other armed groups;
  4. Other aspects of permanent cease-fire including the role of United Nations Peace Support Mission.

The parties also agreed that:

  • The technical committee on Implementation Modalities and International/Regional Guarantees would immediately commence its work;
  • The First Vice-President and the Chairman of the SPLM/A would return after the month of Ramadan to finalize the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on a date to be communicated by the parties by the IGAD Secretariat.

The technical committee on the ceasefire negotiations would continue to discuss any remaining issues including the funding of the armed forces and timing of incorporating and integrating other armed groups into respective structures of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army.