Negotiations between the parties on the cease-fire permanent protocol were stalled at the roundtable in Naivasha in July 2004. The parties were unable to agree on a number of issues, in particular: the deployment of troops in eastern Sudan and the funding of SPLM/A. Three agreements had to be concluded to reach a comprehensive peace agreement: one on permanent ceasefire agreements, the other on the implementation of all signed protocols and the other, which has yet to be concluded through permanent ceasefire agreements, and the other on international/regional guarantees. The CPA was never implemented as planned. The signing of the agreement was more due to skilful international mediation and diplomacy than to a sincere change of position on both sides. For the South, the six-year deadline imposed by the agreement before the referendum was only a waiting period to achieve the independence target. And the northern government has not indicated that it is willing to try democracy and power-sharing as a solution. It has remained authoritarian in the North, it is tough on the opposition and it is more determined than ever to suppress resistance in Darfur by force. Sudan under the CPA was not a country at peace.
The Abyei region, located near the historic border between North and South Sudan, established by the CPA, has been granted special administrative status. Abyei, which is defined in the agreement as a “bridge between North and South,” consists of the area of nine Ngok Dinka chiefs, transferred from south to north in 1905, while Sudan was under common Anglo-Egyptian rule. Under the provisions of the CPA, Abyei should be governed by an elected executive council. In addition, its inhabitants were considered citizens of the western state of Kordofan in the north and bahr al-Ghazal state in the south, and were represented in the parliaments of both states. At the end of the six-year period, the people of Abyei would decide whether to settle Abyei in the southern state of Bahr al-Ghazal or maintain their special administrative status in the north in the referendum originally scheduled for 9 January.