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On Sudan, UN Blurs Abyei, Rice Says No Output Until Input, Ladsous Test

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 5 -- Five days after Sudan violated its agreement to leave the Abyei region, and two months after four Ethiopian UN Peacekeepers bled out there when medevac from Wau in South Sudan was blocked, the Security Council prepared to belatedly consider Abyei, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan.

  On October 4 outside the Security Council, Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice if there was any output being readied for the Council's October 6 meeting: a press or presidential statement, even a resolution, in response to Sudan's continued presence in the contested zone.

  Ambassador Rice replied, "We're looking forward to seeing all the input, then we'll think about an output."

  But what would the "input" be, and by whom? UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's report on Abyei, dated September 30, only covers events up to September 23, before Sudan violated the deadline to leave Abyei.

  In describing the August 2 bleed-out of the four UN peacekeepers says vaguely that "evacuation of the casualties by air was significantly hampered by a delay in the issuance of a flight clearance by Sudanese authorities."

  It fails to disclose that, while the UN has deployed 1800 troops without even a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in place, the request was to fly a helicopter in from Wau in South Sudan, now a separate country.

  Amazingly, the UN STILL does not have a SOFA with Sudan, putting the lives of these peacekeepers at risk.

  During all this time, incoming Department of Peacekeeping Operations chief Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to be given the post, has not been present. He was appointed on September 2, reportedly after a single interview the day before, but was only sworn in this week, a full month later.

Ban at Ladsous' belated swearing-in, answers on Abyei & Haiti not shown

  Inner City Press is told that it will be Ladsous, not Edmond Mulet who filled in for him, who will do the briefing for the Security Council on October 6. What will have have to say, on this and the UN Peacekeeping scandals in Haiti, where in his previous work for the French government he called for the ouster of elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide? Watch this site.

Footnote: Also on October 4, Inner City Press asked this month's Security Council president Joy Ogwu of Nigeria if Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile will be addressed by the Council this month. She said they will be part of the October 6 meeting, under what she called a "holistic" approach. An approach without outcomes, without even a SOFA? We'll see.

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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

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