Cordoba Initiative Unveils New Push in Sudan
Organization to Focus on Elections, US-Sudan Relations and Other Challenges and Opportunities
NEW YORK – The Cordoba Initiative (CI), a leading global civil society organization promoting understanding between the Muslim world and the West, announced on Monday a major new initiative to help improve relations between the US and Sudan.
“There is now an opportunity for the US and Sudan to fundamentally change their relationship,” said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Chairman of CI. “This will help each nation achieve its goals. It is also a way to build goodwill between the West and the Muslim world. Both nations have signaled their interest. We must seize this opportunity with both hands.”
CI’s decision to become involved with US-Sudanese relations comes after two fact-finding missions by Imam Feisal to Sudan and a similar mission to Washington. During these visits, Imam Feisal met with a range of stakeholders, including US and Sudanese officials as well as international organizations and humanitarian groups active in Sudan.
“Based on information gathered, we determined there was a real desire to see an organization like Cordoba Initiative become involved as a facilitator for US-Sudan dialogue,” Imam Feisal said.
CI’s timing was influenced by signals from Washington and Khartoum that many preconditions for such dialogue already exist. The US Special Envoy to Sudan has questioned the effectiveness of sanctions on Sudan as well as the country’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. Sudan has prosecuted around 200 individuals for alleged war crimes in Darfur, is cooperating with the US on terrorism issues, and reached a peace agreement with the South in 2005. In April, the country holds its first multiparty elections in 24 years.
Initially, CI’s efforts in Sudan will focus on those elections. While lauding Sudan’s decision to hold these elections, CI and others have raised practical concerns about the upcoming process.
CI seeks methods to build bilateral consensus about requirements for removing Sudan from the list of sponsors of terrorism and ending sanctions. CI is also engaging with the international community to find a long-term resolution to tensions in Darfur and South Sudan.
Additionally, CI will make itself available to local and international media as a source for information, opinion, and expertise.
About the Cordoba Initiative
CI is an independent, international non-profit, civil society organization. It seeks to build respect and understanding between the Muslim and Western worlds. Previously, CI leadership has advised policy makers on urgent cross-cultural and international issues, fostered cooperation between business and political leaders in both the Muslim world and the West, and built a professional network of young Muslims leaders to drive positive change in the world.
About Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf
Imam Feisal is a prominent Muslim elder statesman and independent voice for moderation, tolerance, and understanding. He is the author of three books, including What’s Right with Islam: a New Vision for Muslims and the West (one of the Christian Science Monitor’s Top Five Books of 2004). Imam Feisal has been interviewed by CNN, the BBC, New York Times, and Washington Post among others.
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