Meets Late on Darfur Violence, Eminences to Bless
July 30 -- On Darfur, the UN and its Security Council lurch
from interest to disinterest. Friday morning, for the vote on mandate
of the joint UN - African Union Mission in Darfur, no Permanent
Representatives appeared, except Nigerian Permanent Representative
Joy Ogwu for what she thought would be her last meeting as Council
events outstrip disinterest. With news spreading of increased
violence in the Darfur camps, a request -- some say a response to pressure or
coverage -- was made for another meeting
in the afternoon, for a behind closed doors briefing by top UN
peacekeeper Alain Le Roy.
asked outgoing President Joy Ogwu if the meeting, at 4 p.m., will
focus on the shootings in the Kalma camp, which have been attributed
to members of the Abdel Wahid Nur faction, targeting members of the
Liberation and Justice Movement -- formed by a paid UN staffer -- for
negotiating in Doha with the government of Omar al Bashir. She
responded by mentioning Sudan as a whole.
with Bashir threatening to put off the independence reference unless
the border is demarcated in a way that favors Khartoum, on July 29
top UN peacekeeper Alain Le Roy told the Security Council of plans to
“monitor” the referendum. Afterward he did not speak with the
press, and won't until next week, unless this changes after the July
30 consultations on Darfur.
sources in the
UN's North Lawn building say moves are afoot to create a panel of
former and perhaps current African leaders to give their blessing to
Previously in Kalma camp (2005), protection still not shown
Press confirmed this with a Council
member's political coordinator on Friday: it will be a group of
“Eminent Persons,” with technical support from the UN.
told the Council that while the UN generally does not monitor
elections, in this case it will support Eminent Persons to do so.
Skeptics wonder if these Eminent Persons, like former South African
president Thabo Mbeki already on the case, will be decidedly pro
to cover this, including the upcoming meeting(s) on Darfur. Watch
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to Doha Taken
in Darfur by Janjaweed Seeking Pay, Russian Action
Looming Unless Released
29, updated below -- With a Russian pilot still held hostage in
Darfur, at the UN in New York Inner City Press asked the head of UN
peacekeeping and Sudan's acting Ambassador about the identity of the
hostage takers.“So are they Janjaweed?”
Le Roy didn't disagree, but said that the first priority is to
get the pilot released. “But if or most probably when that happens,
will the UN disclose what they know about how did it?”
d'affaires, asked if the hostage takers are or have been aligned
the government, also didn't disagree, and said he thought the pilot
would be released soon.
told Inner City
Press that the flight was to “collect” members of the Liberation
and Justice Movement “arrangement committee,” take them to Abache
in Chad, and from there to Doha on “regular flights.”
mid-level Russian diplomat
told Inner City Press that Khartoum is “working with the relatives
of those who took him,” but that if the pilot is not released soon,
“we'll just...”. His voice trailed off.
senior Russian diplomat also spoke with Inner City Press, presumably on
have happened is that a government aligned militia, whether or not
called Janjaweed, took the hostage as a sort of cry for help, or
that government payments to the Janjaweed have
actually decreased, now that the Liberation and Justice Movement has
been created under the leadership of a UN staff member and is willing
to negotiate. And so, this protest. Watch this site.
A helicopter in Darfur, Janjaweed and Russian response not shown
of its July 28 noon briefing:
Russia’s envoy on Darfur, Mr. Margelov, has said that
they have received information by Janjaweed, Government connected… It
is a direct quote where he says: “It has become clear today that
our helicopter pilots are in the hands of regular armed formations
that theoretically must obey Khartoum”, Janjaweed. So I am
wondering, given that that is a major Member State presumably getting
that information from…
I say, there have been a number of different reports,
different media reports and other pieces of information. DPKO
[Department of Peacekeeping Operations] is working very closely with
our colleagues on the ground to try to establish exactly what
happened. And, as I say, the main focus is on finding the pilot.
Still on helicopters in Sudan, yesterday, the Japanese, I
guess Mission, I will say… they had been very close to giving
helicopters for UNMIS [United Nations Mission in the Sudan] in South
Sudan and then decided not to. Yesterday they explained it as
follows: they said the United Nations required the total disassembly
of helicopters that arrive in Port Sudan, and that that seems
unnecessary and made it unlikely to give helicopters, and also that
the United Nations process of reimbursing countries for helicopters
does not distinguish between commercial and utility helicopters, and
therefore is a money loser, not that they would not take one on the
just wondering, does DPKO acknowledge that some of their
difficulty in obtaining helicopters was both the restrictions they
allow Sudan to impose and their failure to compensate countries even
at their own cost?
I mentioned to you yesterday, I think you will be briefed by DFS
[Department of Field Support] later this week and by DPKO soon after
that and you would be able to ask directly at that point.
Update of 3:15 pm,
July 29: The UN has just announced that the pilot was located and
returned to Nyala. Located by whom? Having been held by whom? Released
in return for what?
press release says that "UNAMID will report further on this incident
once more details become available." We'll see.
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