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At UN on Darfur, Dispute about “Enabling Environment" for DPP But a 15-0 Vote, Reference to ICC Referral Removed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 29 -- Disputes about how much the UN Security Council should try to “pull the strings” of the Darfur Peace Process as one member put it caused three delays of Friday's vote to renew the mandate of the UNAMID peacekeeping mission: from three to five to six pm.

  Ultimately the Council voted 15-0 for a resolution which refers to needing an “enabling environment” for the Darfur Peace Process. Inner City Press is putting the resolution online, here.

  A source well-placed in the negotiations told Inner City Press that the US didn't want reference to UNAMID's "further" engagement in the DPP -- perhaps wanting no engagement at all.

  South African Permanent Representative Baso Sangqu told Inner City Press that giving the Security Council a “veto” over UNAMID's participation in the Darfur Peace Process “undermined the African Union.”

 In the chamber Sangqu said he was disappointed with the Council's “timid” approach to following the AU's embrace of the DPP. Nigeria and Gabon also took the floor to this effect.

  After the vote, UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant explained to Inner City Press that the first step will be the Secretary General's report, to see if the enabling environment has been created.

  The US, represented by its Deputy Rosemary DiCarlo spoke only in the Chamber where she said the Council will also listen to the AU in deliberating if the enabling enviroment exists.

  Specifics about this “enabling environment” are in the resolution's seventh operative paragraph, the one most objected to by African and other members. Other references were moved to the perambular, that is non-operative, paragraphs.

   India's Deputy Permanent Representative Mandeep Singh Puri, who did not speak in the chamber after the vote, told Inner City Press that UNAMID is a hybrid with the AU, and the UN should respect the AU.

  Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative Sasha Pankin told Inner City Press that the Council shouldn't “pull the strings” of UNAMID, but “how” the Mission participated in the DPP was up to the Council, since UNAMID is a creature of the Council.

  A Sudanese diplomat bragged that the negotiations took out of the draft any reference to Resolution 1593, which referred Darfur to the International Criminal Court and requires ICC briefings of the Council. President Omar al Bashir and Southern Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun, among others, have been indicted after the Resolution 1593 referral to the ICC.

(The UK's Lyall Grant acknowledged reference to Resolution 1593 had come out, but pointed to a perambular paragraph about justice.)

Gambari being "interviewed" by UN: Kordofan answers and DPP enabling enviro not shown

  Meanwhile regarding Southern Kordofan, Inner City Press on July 29 asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky

Inner City Press: the SPLM-North — and you will see where I am going with this — they say that they have now surrounded the city, Kadugli in Southern Kordofan, and have blocked the airport; they say so to stop the aerial bombardment in the Nuba Mountains. And I understand that the UN doesn’t, you know, all the things that you’ve said, that they can’t patrol, but it strikes me if, if the UN — and I don’t know how many troops are still left there of the Egyptian battalion — but is the UN, can the UN confirm or say something about reports of now the surrounding of Kadugli, the airport being closed, since that would even impact on the UN’s ability to get its peacekeepers out? Is there any knowledge of what’s happening there?

Spokesperson Nesirky: My colleagues in Peacekeeping Operations are seeking to provide information, including on the number of peacekeepers who remain in Southern Kordofan. I don’t have that information to hand. We have asked for it. But the fact remains, as you have mentioned yourself, I have made it clear before that the peacekeepers who are there and have not yet been able to leave, they do not have a mandate to patrol or indeed to operate in any way. Should there be something that they are passing back to Headquarters, then obviously we would make that known. But to my knowledge that is not the case.

  In fact, outgoing DPKO chief Alain Le Roy told Inner City Press later on July 29 that he thinks the remaining peacekeepers in Southern Kordofan cannot legally report, only the staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights can, and they cannot get visas.

  So the UN is in Southern Kordofan, but says not only that it cannot DO anything, it cannot even report anything. A Council diplomat whom Inner City Press asked about this on Friday called it “awkward.” That is being diplomatic.

* * *

At UN on Darfur, 2 Views of Gambari, Silence on S. Kordofan & JEM

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 22, updated -- With Darfur the topic in the UN Security Council on Friday morning, Inner City Press asked Council diplomats about Ibrahim Gambari's new double job, replacing Djibril Bassole as Darfur mediator while keeping his UNAMID job.

  “It's only for three months,” UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant told Inner City Press. “There are still some issues to work out with [Djibril] Bassole, who wanted to stay involved. And if the state of emergency is not lifted, there is not Darfur Peace Process.”

  South Africa's Permanent Representative Baso Sangqu also told Inner City Press that the state of emergency should be lifted, but was critical of setting conditions before the Darfur Peace Process could begin. Let it begin, he said, on the ground in Darfur.

Some of the rebel leaders who don't live in Darfur, it was implied, might be isolated by such a process.

  Lyall Grant also said that Gambari's “contract expires at the end of the year.” Inner City Press went to the UN's noon briefing and asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm this, and that Gambari is the new joint mediator on Darfur.

 Nesirky said he couldn't confirm or comment on either, that he would look into it. (He also said the UN cannot confirm events in Southern Kordofan, including if any of its peacekeepers have in fact left the war torn area -- while activists are by contrast calling for limited intervention, click here for that.)

Later when Gambari emerged from the Council, after a “bilateral” meeting with Brazil's Permanent Representative Viotti, he graciously agreed to answer questions at the stakeout. Inner City Press asked about continued aerial bombing by the government in Darfur.

 Gambari called it unacceptable but said that in Darfur from January to May 2011 there were 400 deaths due to armed conflict and that “in South Sudan there were four times that many.”

He noted that several Darfur rebels leaders are not in Sudan, specifying that Abdel Wahid al Nur, once in Paris, is now in Kampala. And what about Khalil Ibrahim in Tripoli?

Inner City Press asked Gambari if he is “the new Bassole.” He laughed and said that because Bassole had been named foreign minister of Burkina Faso -- this happened after a mutiny against president Blaise Campoure -- Bassole could not “practically” remain as Darfur mediator, due to “accountability.”

Gambari said he is the mediator “ad interim.” He declined to comment on the arrest of SPLM leaders in Nyala in South Darfur or on whether the JEM rebels are fighting with SPLM-North in Southern Kordofan. So how many death, especially of civilians, due to armed conflict have there been in Southern Kordofan? We'll have more on this.

From the UN's transcript of its July 22, 2011 noon briefing:

Inner City Press: just now in front of the Security Council during the Darfur briefing, it was said that Mr. Gambari is going to be now taking over from Mr. Bassolé for three months. And one Permanent Representative said that’s because his contract expires at the end of the year. What’s the UN’s understanding of whether he is going to be wearing those two hats and for how long, and is it true that his contract, I guess UN or UN-AU contract, expires at the end of the year?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I have to look into that, I don’t know.

Inner City Press: But is he the new mediator, Doha process mediator?

Spokesperson Nesirky : The answer I just gave you applies to everything you said.

  And five hours later there was still no information from the UN Office of the Spokesperson, even after what Gambari himself said...

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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