Russia Month Ends With Pilots Taken in Darfur, Congo Rape Meeting
August 30 -- While Russia's envoy to Sudan Mikhail Margelov complains
about the second hostage taking of Russian pilots in Darfur in a
month, outgoing Security Council president Vitaly Churkin on Monday
advised the Press not to make too much of the kidnappings.
Press asked if this was a trend. The first incident, Churkin
countered, was resolved, and the pilot
went on vacation. It was never announced who had taken him.
said he had met Monday morning with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
about the pilots, asking for the UNAMID mission to get involved.
Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky about the
pilots at Monday's noon briefing. Nesirky did not disclose Ban's
meeting with Churkin, which was not on Ban's schedule.
response to another Inner City Press question, that Ban's 10:30
meeting with Margot Wallstrom about the Congo rapes had been
postponed until the afternoon. (Atul Khare, it emerges won't be back to
brieif the Council until September 8.)
the Russian pilots were working for a
private Sudanese company. But wasn't it working for UNAMID? Maybe,
Nesirky said, maybe they were transporting food for peacekeepers. It is
why it was never announced who took the first Russian pilot, Yevgeni
Mustovchikov, and why DPKO's Alain Le Roy never got or passed on any
"full understanding of the facts" behind the violence in the Kalma
Camp. As with the Congo rapes, lack of accountability breeds impunity
leads to repetition of the actions.
to the pilots who are kidnapped, if as many believe government
supported militias are behind the kidnappings, could their repetition
trigger some change in Russia's position on Sudan?
are slow to
change our position, a Russian diplomat told Inner City Press after
the TV lights were off.
UN's Ban (& Kim) & Churkin in Red Sq. March
2010, pilots not shown
The next stop
would be Russia's End of
Presidency reception. Russia in August wanted a slow month in the
Security Council, with a small party at the end. They got the Congo
rape scandal and, it was promised, jovial gate crashers.
Council president passes to Turkey, who Permanent Representative has
been reviewed unfavorably, if off the record, by his Foreign
Minister. This will be his chance to shine.
briefings for his nation's media, the Ambassador is
known to defer to reporters, saying they know more than he does. One
cannot imagine this from Churkin. For those following the story,
former spokesman Ruslan is said to have found a better job with the
Ministry back in Moscow.
Permanent Representative Nicolas de Riviere is setting sail, to cover
international organizationss at the Quai d'Orsay. He will be replaced
by Martin Briens -- and he'll be supervising, in a sense, his old
boss Gerard Araud. It is musical chairs in the Council.
terms of the
next Council members coming in, South Africa says it will be running
unopposed. Some said the same of Colombia, but now there's word of
another candidate, probably from Central America and to the Left. Que
empienzan los juegos -- let the games begin. Watch this site.
* * *
August Agenda of UN Council, Russia Against Larger
Investigations But Has "Clear Picture of Bizarre Incident"
4 -- Despite increased violence in Darfur and the
stalling of talks in South Sudan about the referendum, the UN
Security Council in August does not have a single Sudan item on its
on August 3 asked this month's Council president Vitaly Churkin of
Russia how had been responsible for the hostage taking of the Russian
pilot in Darfur. Video here,
now has a “clear picture of this rather bizarre episode.”
But he declined twice to say if government aligned Janjaweed had been
responsible. “The Sudanese authorities did what they could,” he
said. Informed sources say that Janjaweed did it in order to revive
or increase payments from the Sudanese government.
the July 30 Security Council meeting on the killings in the Kalma
camp, Inner City Press asked Churkin about what other Council members
revealed, that Russia along with China opposed France's request for
are not accurate in your assertion, he then said that there is a
danger of the UN turning into an investigative body, with “new
panels springing up.” The reference, it seemed, was to the UN's
advisory panel of experts on war crimes in Sri Lanka, which Russia
In Nyala, Gambari and copter, Russian pilot and
"bizarre episode" not shown
though, and the U.S., Russia has a special envoy to Sudan, Mr.
Margelov, who was quoted blaming the pilot taking on the Janjaweed.
in the Kalma camp a “relatively minor incident,” Churkin
said Russia had accepted a UNAMID investigation, just not a “larger
investigation.” We'll see -- top UN peacekeeper Alain Le Roy is
slated to brief the Press later today.