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As UNISFA Extended, Disputes of Borders & Bombs, No SOFA Promised by Ladsous

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 17 -- After the UN Security Council Thursday renewed the mandate of the "interim" peacekeeping mission in Abyei for six more months, representatives of South Sudan and Sudan came to take questions from the press.

  Inner City Press asked South Sudan's Ambassador Francis Nazario if his government would like to see UNISFA expanded to cover Heglig. He said "for the time being, we are quite pleased to see the extension for another six months... the presence should be legal." He called for human rights monitoring.

  After Sudanese diplomats on May 16 told Inner City Press that South Sudan had not pulled back behind the 1/1/1956 border, Inner City Press asked Nazario to respond. He said that the parties agree where that border is. But that is not at all clear. Inner City Press asked the Sudanese representative who followed about aerial bombing, and he insisted it is all within the borders of Sudan and thus legal and "legitimate."

  Inner City Press asked the representatives of both Sudan and South Sudan why there is still no Status of Forces Agreement for the mission, which for example would specify how med-evac of injured peacekeepers can take place. Already, four Ethiopian peacekeepers have died after landmine injuries and delays in med-evac due to the lack of a SOFA.

  Back in November 2011, one of the last press availabilities by the French chief of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous, Inner City Press asked Ladsous about the continuing lack of a Status of Forces Agreement in Abyei. Ladsous said it was not problem, the SOFA was nearly done.

  That was six months ago, but still there is no SOFA, which puts UN peacekeepers at risk. When after a long period of invisibility Ladsous held a press conference this month, he insisted that it be limited to questions about Syria.

  Inner City Press said, you should take questions on Sudan, and Haiti. But he did not. There is more to say, but Ladsous' DPKO has descended to seeking to censor articles and demand to know their sourcing. We will have more on this.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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