US Silent on Sudan, Khartoum Brags of Victories at UN, Demands Gration
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 29 -- With the US and UN surprisingly quiet about
ballot stuffing and deaths in Sudan, on Thursday Sudan's Ambassador
to the UN bragged to the Press about changes made to the resolution
extending the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan, UNMIS. He said that
a congratulations for the elections had been added, as well as
various statements "against outside interference."
asked him about a controversy concerning statements reportedly made
by lead US envoy to Sudan Scott Gration, about expecting the South
Sudanese to vote for independence in the referendum slated for 2011.
Sudan's Ambassador said that even on this, his country had sought
clarification from Gration's Office, and that in any event Gration
was soon traveling to Khartoum.
on April 28,
while US Ambassador Susan Rice was at the stakeout taking five
questions on Iran, Inner City Press spoke up and asked, A question on
Sudan? Ambassador Rice said no, the Iran questions had taken up all
the time. Then she left. Video here,
US' Rice at UN, declining Sudan question not shown
from the April
29 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press emailed Ambassador Rice's
spokesman and one of his colleagues, asking among others these
you confirm that Sudan has sought clarification, from the Mission or
you provide whatever clarification there is of Gration's remarks, or
what he actually said?
that Amb Rice yesterday took five questions (from two questioners)
about Iran, and did not take a Sudan question which was begun, can
you provide Amb Rice's view of the now completed Sudanese elections,
and of what Gration said?
confirm that Amb Rice is not going on the now rescheduled Council
trip to DRCongo to try to keep MONUC in the country, and state who
from the US Mission is going, and what they hope is accomplished on
Rice on Monday having told Inner City Press to always seek
confirmation from her spokesman about such matters as who would go in
her stead to the Congo, and what their rank is, four hours later none
of the above questions had been answered.
Mission is focused on Iran and the NPT is further made clear by the
announcement that on Friday at 1 p.m., Ms. Rice will appear by video
in New York from Washington DC, along with Ambassador Burke, to speak
about the NPT. Why so little, at least in public, on Sudan and the
* * *
UN Council, Rice on Sudan and Congo, S. Africa Running for Seat, UN
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 26 -- Promoting its candidacy for a Security Council
seat in 2011-12, South Africa threw a reception at the UN Monday
night. The news, however, came from current Council members. U.S.
Ambassador Susan Rice was there, meeting and greeting including with
the Press. One of her answers, about the Council's Congo trip, she
said was off the record. Other answers will be reported,
diplomatically of course.
on the day Sudan's
Omar al Bashir declared electoral victory the UN had said
nothing at its noon briefing, rebuffing a shouted question from Inner
City Press on Sudan and from another journalist about the Balkans,
Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rice if she thought the UN was
being too quiet.
as she would on Northern Congo, that she had spent the day immersed
in something else, presumably Iran. These proposed sanctions, it
seems clear, are the US Mission's and Administration's focus. But
what about the outbreak of fighting between the SPLM and northerners,
either tribes or Bashir's army?
Rice said, the "big enchilada," is really on the referendum
on South Sudan being independent. But if the process of these
election was not credible, why and how would that one be?
when Inner City Press told Ambassador Rice about reports of UN envoy
Ibrahim Gambari meeting earlier in the day with Omar al Bashir, she
smiled thinly. On the other hand, Sudan's Ambassador told Inner City
Press he had called Gambari directly, and Gambari had gushed about
the meeting, He said that in the pending UNMIS resolution, there is
an attempt to give UNMIS chief Haile Menkerios a role up in Darfur.
political coordinator, on the other hand, said the mixing of UNMIS
and UNAMID would give Gambari a role in the South, "even if it
breaks away." We'll see.
Congo, Inner City Press asked about the UN's strange failure to
commit to investigating the alleged 11 civilian deaths caused in the
re-taking of the airport in Northern Congo. When told that the
alleged perpetrators are the Congolese Army, with which the UN works,
Ambassador Rice said "good question." Inner City Press told
her she is more likely to get an answer. "Thank you," she
US's Susan Rice, Gambari and "big enchilada" not shown
chat, too. A reporter recounted that St. Lucia's Ambassador said Ms.
Rice is part Caribbean. Ambassador Rice nodded. "All you need to
know about me," she said, is I am half Jamaican and was
conceived in Nigeria. She laughed. "My grand mother's maiden
name was Daley [or Daly], as in Irish."
suggested she speak more with the press, contrasting her approach to
that of the French. She shrugged. I can't do it every week, she said,
adding that Americans are "not peacocks."
happens, will speak to the Security Council on Tuesday afternoon and
then, it is promised, with the Press. An African Ambassador,
requesting anonymity, told Inner City Press on Monday night that
Menkerios' old position with the Department of Political Affairs will
be filled by current Cyprus representative Taye-Brook Zerihoun. Then
who would take Cyprus -- Atul Khare? Watch this site.
requested by the South African mission, Inner City Press would be
remiss not to note that, with the African Union's endorsesment, South
Africa is virtually assured of re-gaining a Council seat in 2011-12.
When Inner City Press quipped that this fast return made the country
the "Japan of Africa," a South African representative reminded that
before what's now called the Dumisani Kumalo term, South Africa had not
been represented. So welcome back -- the fix is in.
* * *
Sudan Deaths, Bashir Victory Declaration, Silence at UN, Disdain
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 26 -- With Sudan's Omar al Bashir declaring victory in
Sudan amid deadly clashes and kidnapped
UN peacekeepers, in New York
the UN Security Council, which had been scheduled to meet about
Sudan, was silent Monday morning.
schedule provided for a meeting about UNMIS, the UN Mission in South
Sudan. Inner City Press was told that UNMIS chief Haile Menkerios
would be present and take questions. But at this key moment, in the
UN's basement, the Council sat empty.
in the UN's
three story North Lawn building, an Assistant Secretary General told
Inner City Press that Bashir's 68% of the vote made him look more
legitimate than "those countries where the leader claims
Is this why
the UN is implicitly blessing
the election? "This way we avoid violence," said the ASG.
And the UN gets to stay in the country. But at what cost to its
later, a South African diplomat told Inner City Press his country's
peacekeepers had been released. Just as Al Bashir said it would be:
once the results -- and his winning -- were announced. As they say in
legal Latin, res ipsa loquitur:
the things speaks for itself.
al Bashir declared victory, Inner City Press asked
the UN about
City Press: There are these reports of 50 civilians killed in South
Darfur that I am sure, I believe, the UN has probably seen. There
are also, it’s reported that Mr. [Djibril] Bassole was told by JEM
[Justice and Equality Movement] that they believe the Government is
about to begin another military assault in Darfur. What’s the UN
doing, just as an update? Has it gone to Jebel Marra? Is it trying
to investigate the death of civilians? And can you confirm JEM’s
Martin Nesirky: Well, it’s not for us to confirm JEM’s concerns,
of course. On the second part, UNAMID [African Union-United Nations
Hybrid Operation in Darfur] has also received an unconfirmed report,
but the mission has not received any reports that confirm signs of an
imminent attack by the Government, or indeed the presence of the JEM
in east and North Darfur. So, that’s the first bit, that we’ve
heard these unconfirmed reports. We cannot, we have not received any
reports that would confirm signs of an imminent attack.
as for the violence in South Darfur that you are referring to,
according to UNAMID, and you may wish to ask them for more details,
but from what I understand, this was an incident on 20 April, and it
involved inter-tribal violence, the details of which are a little
sketchy, I would say. But its result, from what we know, according
to UNAMID [is] 15 people killed, 24 injured. This also included
Sudan border guard police, who were, according to UNAMID, ambushed in
the course of this inter-tribal violence that I referred to. That’s
pretty much what I have for you there. As I said, it may well be
that UNAMID could provide you with more details.
Ibrahim Gambari was meeting one on one with al Bashir, who telling
promised to get the kidnapped UN peacekeepers from South Africa
released. Reporting by Inner City Press indicates that the kidnappers
are affiliated or aligned with Bashir's government. The UN has said
UN's Ban and Bashir, in previous handshake: repeated?
Inner City Press that Gambari would like Bassole to step down, so he
could take over the Doha portfolio as well. Gambari was pushed out of
his role in Iraq by UNAMI chief Ad Melkert. On Sudan he wants to
consolidate his position. In New York he had told Ban, I can help
with with GA President Ali Treki. He told Treki the same. Thus are
careers made and preserved in the UN. But what about Darfur? What to
make of the UN's and Council's silence?
In front of the empty Security Council Monday morning were
ambassadors of several developing countries, waiting for a meeting of
the Non-Aligned Movement next door. The NAM recently told UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon he has no jurisdiction over war crimes,
should not follow through on his promise to name a panel on Sri
Lanka. And Ban has not moved forward, reverting to meeting with the
Sri Lankan attorney general and hoping, like Sudan's scam elections,
that the issue fades away.
* * *
Fraud in Sudan and Kidnapping by Bashir-Affiliated Militia,
UN Cuts Off Questions
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 21 -- With fraud exposed, on film, in the Sudanese
election to which the UN provided technical assistance, and with four
UN peacekeepers still missing in Darfur, apparently taken by a
government affiliated militia, UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky
on Tuesday cut off questions about Sudan and the election in favor
of a press conference on Guatemala. Video here,
from Minute 11:28.
April 19, when
Inner City Press asked for a
response to the view that the kidnappers
of the UN peacekeepers are from a government-aligned militia, Nesirky
dodged the question. On April 20, he simply did not take the
Meanwhile, "UNAMID spokesperson
Noureddine Mezni said, 'The Sudanese authorities know the identity
of the kidnappers.'"
Consider that on
the UN's own ReliefWeb site, it is reported that
– A new group calling itself the Movement for the Struggle of the
People in Darfur claims to have kidnapped four South African UNAMID
peacekeepers in South Darfur. They want a ransom of an amount
equivalent to half a million US dollars (a billion sudanese pounds)
and the release of their 'detained leaders'... the group is part of
the Irada Hura (SLM Free Will), a mixed group that signed a
Declaration of Commitment after the Darfur Peace Agreemnent in Abuja.
Their leader prof. Abdelrahman Musa died. The new leader, Ali Majok,
was apparently appointed with support of the government and became a
minister. But a faction within the group disagreed with his
leadership. Adam Salih, another member of the faction, called for a
meeting to contest the leadership. He formed in the meantime a new
Movement for the Struggle of the People in Darfur."
Salih, aka "Ahmad
Salah Abubakr Abdallah" was previously associated with the "SLA
Free Will" movement. The leader of the "Sudan Liberation
Movement - Free Will faction had joined the national unity
government" in 2008. "Aid
agency sources say that SLA-Free Will is the creation of the GoS
delegation in Abuja, whose goal is to split the rebels along tribal
Saleh, a Birgid, is a former SLA-Minni commander who joined SLA-Free
Will in September 2006 and is believed to be close to the GoS"
Amnesty International has implicated Adam Salih in "Janjaweed
militia attacks"... [source]
were the UN
peacekeepers taken by a government-affiliated militia?
Is the UN
not only "liaising" but negotiating with the government for
Inner City Press,
which has been asking the UN about its role in the re-election of
indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir, sought to proceed with the
question, or to have Mr. Nesirky return to the rostrum after the
Guatemala presentation. While Nesirky said, "Let's do that,"
he left the briefing and did not return. But the questions
will continue. Watch this site.
April 21 transcript, Inner City Press' questions and OSSG's
City Press: On Sudan, the missing or kidnapped peacekeepers in
Darfur, it is now being reported that South African Government has
been negotiating with the group and the group has said that they will
release the peacekeepers once the election results are released in
Darfur. There are also reports that this group, both by the name of
its founder and otherwise, are a somewhat Government-supported
militia. What I wanted to know is whether the UN has had any
involvement in these discussions between the South African Government
and the hostage takers or, and whether, what it would say to a trail
of evidence that seems to indicate that the hostage takers are in
fact in some way initially created by or affiliated with the
Government of Sudan?
I have mentioned here before that the UN is concerned for the
well-being of the four people, the four South African peacekeepers
who are missing. And I have also said that the UN has been liaising
with the Government of Sudan and, as in other such cases, it’s the
responsibility of the host Government to ensure the safe return of
people in such circumstances. And beyond that, I don’t have any
comment at the moment.
Of the concern that this liaising, that in fact, I mean, there’s
also been, a UNAMID Spokesman has said that the Government knows who
the hostage takers are, so that’s why I am assuming that that’s a
At the moment…
Is that a matter of concern to the UN; that the host Government is
aware of and allegedly is connected to the hostage talkers, is that
of some concern?
At the moment, there are two things. One is that the overriding
concern is, again, for our people on the ground. And for that
reason, I don’t have anything further to say.
But you will, I mean once they’re released maybe you will…?
The whole aim of the game is for our colleagues to be returned
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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.
* * *
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for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
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