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March 1, 2011: Libya

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As Sudan Violates Deal to Leave Abyei, UN Waits for Questions, US Ignores Them

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 1 -- In the disputed Sudanese flashpoint of Abyei, the acting chief of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet gushed to the press weeks ago that the Sudan Armed Forces would withdraw by September 30.

  As the day grew closer and it became clear it would not happened, one expected the UN to speak out. But outside a meeting about Abyei in the UN's North Lawn building, after peacekeeping sources told Inner City Press that inside the Sudanese representatives were making it clear the SAF would not leave, Mulet emerged to tell Inner City Press that there was not "frustration" in the meeting, that it went well.

  On September 30 itself, Inner City Press ran to the UN noon briefing, expected Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spokesman Martin Nesirky to make a statement about Sudan's failure to comply. But nothing was said. So Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: today is the stated deadline for the Sudanese Armed Forces to pull out of Abyei with UNISFA. what’s the status? have they pulled out or not? And has the level of UNISFA deployment risen above 1,800 or not?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, to my knowledge, the deployment of the troops is at 1,800 out of the authorised 4,200. To answer your first part of the question, to our knowledge, this is not the case. We would urge the parties to implement the agreement they reached early this month, and to withdraw their forces from the Abyei area so as to facilitate the return of the displaced populations and ensure the smooth beginning of the migration season. And also, I mean, as you know, on 8 September, the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan held the first meeting of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee. And there the two parties agreed on a timeline for the redeployment of their forces from Abyei that was to begin on 11 September and to end today. So, as I say, we would urge the parties to implement that agreement.

Inner City Press: there was a meeting in the North Lawn earlier this week involving Mr. Mulet, the Ethiopian peacekeepers and Sudanese and South Sudanese sides Did Sudan give some explanation at that point? is this a surprise to the UN that they haven't actually met the deadline?

Spokesperson: Well, I don’t think it’s a surprise. It’s been evident for some time. But as I say, two things: It’s really incumbent on the parties to implement the agreement that they reached earlier this month. And also simply by doing so, to allow people who were displaced to return, and for those who need to, to be able to begin the migration season.

Inner City Press: when does Mr. Ladsous --I have heard late September, early October -- when does he actually begin as the head of DPKO?

Spokesperson: Well, we’ve consistently said early October, and I would think that next week you will hear more about that.

  Ban Ki-moon on September 2 named Herve Ladsous the fourth Frenchman in a row to head DPKO. But for some unexplained reason, Ladsous did not begin, and still has not begun, amid peacekeepers sex abuse scandals in Haiti and this situation in Sudan.

Abyei in flames in May, UN and US silence in September

  After the September 30 noon briefing, Nesirky gave additional information to another reporter who has been a defender of Ladsous or at least of how he was selected. (We'll have more on this.) Meanwhile, the following question was put to the US Mission to the UN on September 29, the eve of the Abyei deadline: " What does the US think about Sudan's compliance (or non compliance) with agreement to remove SAF from Abyei by September 30?"

  Two days later, there has been no response or statement by the US Mission, perhaps due to discomfort with another questions asked. Watch this site.

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

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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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