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Abyei Attack Also Wounded a Peacekeeper, Resettlement Postponed, Kiir to Uganda for Pope

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 27 -- In Abyei a peacekeeper and a young girl were killed, days after the UN Security Council meet about its UNISFA mission there. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a short statement. Inner City Press exclusively publishes a more detailed summary circulated inside the UN system there:

"It happened  at 09:30 pm.  We heard the shelling and then the small arms fires. It was coming from the northern side of the UN Camp.  According to people in the scene, the seven shelling  originated from north-west of Abyei town, of which, five landed near the vicinity of the Dinka Paramount Chief accommodation  and one  landed inside the compound.  The 7th landed in a primary school. Apart from unfortunate fatality of one of the TCC (Ethiopian) members and one injury , a  12 year  girl was also killed and other three young girls were injured. All wounded civilians are currently treated at Abyei hospital, while the wounded TCC member has been under treatment at the Level II Hospital."

 Ban Ki-moon' (or DPKO's Herve Ladsous') statement did not mention any wounded peacekeeper. Inner City Press has submitted a DPKO South Sudan question to the UN on November 27 in lieu of a noon media briefing. Meanwhile it here reports its sources say Salva Kiir may try to meet Pope Francis in Uganda; we'll have more on this.

 The Abyei incident has resulted in the cancellation of a planned tour of the area intended to assist in the resettlement of those displaced. The UN has written:

we will organize an inter-agency assessment mission to the potential villages of return on MONDAY, 30 NOVEMBER. Reports indicate that many people have already returned to Low, Tejalei and other villages. We will leave ABYEI TOWN AT 09:00 HOURS; RRC ABYEI IS THE MEETING POINT. The plan is to visit Midol, Low, Tejalei, Dungop and Noong villages, and return back to Abyei town before 16:00 hours.... Mr. Ogwal Benson Stanley of UNICEF is preparing one security clearance for all UN staff planning to participation in the assessment."

  But after the "incident" in Abyei, the same UN author wrote:

"Because of last night's security incident, we may postpone the assessment mission for a suitable date / time. Please kindly convey this message to Mr. Deng Juac Dau, the new Director of RRC who is currently in Agok and not reachable to phone. I shall discuss the possible dates with UNISFA and UN security and will inform the partner organizations on the revised plan accordingly."

  On November 24 after the UN Security Council met behind closed doors about Sudan and South Sudan and its UNISFA mission, Inner City Press asked the Council's President for November Matthew Rycroft if Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile were discussed. (None of the other selected questions were about Sudan or South Sudan, much less Abyei.) As transcribed the UK Mission:

Inner City Press: Did the issue of the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan regions and their humanitarian situation come up in the consultations?
Amb. Rycroft: We had a good discussion about the whole range of issues that relate to Sudan and South Sudan, including the two areas. And we did hear very full briefings both from Haile Menkerios in Addis by video conference and from Herve Ladsous in the room. And on the humanitarian issues, we underlined the importance of humanitarian access, so we urged all of the parties to step up and do more to ensure that the people in these desperately deprived areas [re]ceived the humanitarian assistance that they so badly need.

 Ladsous rushed past the stakeout without taking questions; he has linked rapes to "R&R," video here. Rycroft also read out these press elements:

"This is to give you a readout of the consultations which the Security Council has just concluded on Sudan and South Sudan and UNISFA. We agreed the following elements:
- First of all, we expressed our support for President Mbeki, for the African Union through its high-level Implementation Panel and its Peace and Security Committee and its Special Envoy Menkerios for their work.
- We welcomed the discussion between the parties in Addis, but are disappointed that those have concluded without agreement, in particular without agreement on a cessation of hostilities.
- We urged the parties to avoid further acts of violence. We urged them to agree a cessation of hostilities, to return to talks in the very near future and to allow the facilitation of humanitarian assistance.
- We also urged the parties to agree a way forward, for an inclusive and comprehensive national dialogue.
- And finally, we welcomed the agreements reached by the government of Sudan and South Sudan on the border arrangement between their two countries and urged them to build on those agreements and to implement them."

 On October 29 when UN aid official John Ging held a press conference about Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, Inner City Press asked him about Blue Nile, Somaliland and then also about the flooding in the Tindouf camp. Video here.

  On Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, Inner City Press asked what the reported commitment by the UN not to give aid to “rebels” really means. Ging said it means that the UN doesn't hand over aid to rebel groups and let them decide who needs it.

  Since Ging has spoken of “state formation” in Somalia, Inner City Press asked him if this includes Puntland and, more to the point, Somaliland. Ging replied that the UN maintains a single coordinator “for the whole country.” Video here.

  The floods in the Tindouf camp seem nearly off the radar, so Inner City Press asked Ging what the UN is going. He said more is expected - and we hope to have more on this.

 Since the Nepal earthquake, Inner City Press has been asking the International Monetary Fund if it would move to relieve the country's debt burden. See below.

  On July 8, Inner City Press asked UN humanitarian official John Ging about the IMF saying that post earthquake Nepal is NOT eligible for its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, and about reporting that the UN had "substandard" food in Nepal. Video here.

  Ging said the IMF issues is a real one, but that OCHA has no direct input with the IMF. If the IMF truly is a part of the UN system, shouldn't it?

 On the food issue, Ging said any such food was in a warehouse, not to be distributed. Inner City Press asked if he believed the government accepts this position (he does) - meanwhile a reader chimed in with this.

  On Nepal's debt, Inner City Press resubmitted the question for the IMF's embargoed June 25 briefing, and during it, IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice read out the question and answered it. Transcript here; video here from 47:50.

  Inner City Press' question: "On Nepal, in the run up to the June 25 International Conference of Nepal’s Reconstruction, and with the World Bank announcing $500 million, is the IMF intending to do anything beyond the $50 million (one year) and $124 million (overall) in its response in the last briefing? Through the IMF's Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust?"

  Rice said the IMF is represented at the conference in Katmandu -- contrary to some reports, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is NOT there -- and could be the request for the $50 M / $124 M to the Board in July. He emphasized this would be zero interest under the RCF but said Nepal is NOT eligible for the CCRT, GDP damage is not enough.

  Inner City Press would ask, should that threshold be lowered?

  On Jordan, Inner City Press asked: "On Jordan, having seen the IMF's announcement about the end of July, has there been any movement on the criticism by the head of UNHCR and others that the IMF and World Bank in treating Jordan (and Lebanon, etc) as “middle income” can't or don't do enough to provide support given the volume of refugees they have received?"

  Rice said, in essence, that the IMF has been flexible and has given fiscal space to deal with the refugee issues (we'll add the transcript later). 

  Back on June 11 Rice said that Nepal had made a request to the IMF under the Rapid Credit Facility, and that the IMF will send a mission to the country coinciding with the donors' conference on June 25. He said Nepal could be eligible for $50 million annually, for a total of $124 million. We'll see.

   Rice also answer questions Inner City Press submitted on Ghana's Eurobond and about Jamaica. (He said these questions, “from the UN in New York,” remind of other things in the IMF briefing room other than Greece and Ukraine).

  On Ghana, Rice said that the Eurobond was “envisioned” in the recently agreed program. But what is the status of any talks about it? Inner City Press asked, “Ghana's Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper, says the government intends to issue a $1 billion 10-year Eurobond in 2015. What are the status of talks with the IMF in this regard?”

  On Jamaica, Inner City Press asked, “On Jamaica, please comment on criticism that the percentage of people in under the poverty line has grown alongside the IMF's program and that 'last year, Jamaica paid the IMF over $136 million more than it received.'”

   Rice acknowledged that in 2014-15 there was a negative flow out of the country to the IMF, of $163 million. But he said with the new program that has reversed, to in-flow into Jamaica of $127 million in 2015-16, projected to rise to $176 million in 2017-18. Rice acknowledge the rise in the poverty rate from 9.9% in 2007 to 20% in 2012, but said this had to do with the global financial crisis and is the reason for the IMF's program. We'll see.

   Inner City Press had also asked for updates if any on Yemen and Burundi -- apparently there are no updates -- and one on a quote from Romania's National Bank Governor Mugur Isarescu saying the IMF's “communication has sometimes been problematic.” Still, three answers are appreciated.

  On Greece, for the record, Rice said there are major difference between us, with little to no progress made in narrowin them. On Ukraine, he said the IMF can lend to a country that has arrears to private creditors provided other conditions are met. Ukraine certainly has Western political support.


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