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At UN, Sudan Accuses France of Drafting Chadian Letter, Origin of Rebels Disputed

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, May 8 -- As rebels seek to overthrown Chadian President Deby, who himself took power by force, Chad's Ambassador to the UN Ahmad Allam-mi wrote a letter to the Security Council requesting an emergency meeting. Friday morning as the meeting began, Sudan's Ambassador to the UN told the Press that Chad's letter was “written in the French mission.” Inner City Press asked France's Jean-Maurice Ripert for his response to the charge. “I don't even answer,” Ripert said. “I think this is an insult to the Chadian government.” Video here, from Minute 4:40.

Inside the Council, France was pushing to include in the draft Presidential Statement a line that the rebels originated from inside Sudan. On the other side, Sudan's supporters were saying this should not be included. Sudan's Ambassador asked the Press, “What about Omdurman?” He was referring to the Justice and Equality Movement's drive last year from Chad all the way to the suburbs of Khartoum.

   Friday at noon, the meeting broke up, to be continued at 3 o'clock. Over a lunch with selected journalists, the French mission said that the afternoon meeting might only take place if “the experts” worked out a compromise.

Security in Abeche, Chad, battlewagons not shown
  But the bells rang and the meeting started Friday afternoon. Some predicted it extending to Saturday.

   Monday in the Council, Russia's center piece event of the month is slated, a ministerial meeting on the Middle East. They have managed to push back discussions of the UN's report on Gaza until Tuesday, and to confine discussion of the carnage in Sri Lanka to outside the Council chamber, most likely in the basement.

  The round and round fighting between Chad and The Sudan is on the Council's agenda, and can therefore give rise to day long meetings about a single phrase. We will continue to follow these issues -- watch this space.

Update of 3:51 p.m. -- a deputy Ambassador, exiting the Council, tells Inner City Press "they are going to say the rebels came from 'outside' of Chad." Another compromise...

Update of 4:14 p.m. -- a five minute break has been taken, and an old draft given to the press, with the phrase “Chadian armed groups [receiving support and coming from the other side of the border, in Sudan]. But that was “rev 3;” inside, they are already up to “Rev. 5.” The Libyans, it's said, can't go further than their instructions, and their instructors are in South Africa for the Jacob Zuma festivities. Now there's talk of Monday...

Update of 5:20 p.m. -- it's done, the Council agreed on a compromise statement “condemn[ing] the renewed military incursions in eastern Chad of Chadian armed groups, coming from outside.” Coming from where? So far, no one has come to the stakeout to explain. US Deputy Permanent Representative Alejandro Wolff has done in to speak with Russia's Vitaly Churkin, this month's Council president, presumably about the Monday meeting on the Middle East.

  Click here for a new YouTube video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

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