Protest Greets UN Council in Darfur, IDP Camp Visits in Play
7 -- Chants against the US and the International Criminal
Court greeted the UN
Security Council's 15 Ambassadors when they
arrived in Darfur on Thursday. Inside the airport, a group of women
chanted their devotion to Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, who has
been indicted by the ICC for war crimes and genocide.
gate, a larger crowd including children for a time blocked the
Council's convoy, which ultimately broken through and rushed behind
the barbed wire perimeter of the Super Camp of the joint African
Union - UN Mission in Darfur, UNAMID.
Ambassadors were whisked in to meet with Joint Special Representative
Ibrahim Gambari and other UNAMID officials. Inner City Press went in
too, for the promised photo opportunity at the beginning of the
But in the
corner, Gambari and Security Director Reddy were
in intense conversation with US Ambassador Susan Rice, accompanied by
her UK and Uganda counterparts Mark Lyall Grant and Ruhakana Rugunda.
Out window of UNSC bus, children waving
fists, bridging not shown (c) MRLee
freedom of movement for UN Peacekeepers and protection of civilians,
the discussion seemed to revolve around the next days program of
work: either a close-by internally displaced persons camp and then a
Saudi-funded hospital, or an IDP camp some 20 kilometers from Al
Fasher. Inner City Press, upon request, is not publishing the name of
either camp. The impact of the protest that greeted the Council at the
airport is not yet known.
the UNAMID Super Camp, the Press was led to a welcome Internet
cafe. But in seeking to leave the air conditioned container, Inner
City Press was told that “you're really not supposed to wander
around... I'll go with you.” Essentially, a minder system.
Nevertheless UNAMID has its beauty: a V shape of birds in the sky, lit
periodically by lightening. After the call to prayer, people dropped
to their knees in a larger, carpeted container. A UNAMID staffer said
he rarely leaves the base. That's what the rebels say.
* * *
Won't Declare Independence, Susan Rice Says, Debt, Darfur &
LRA Followup Unclear
TO DARFUR, October 7 -- Susan Rice spoke on the record to the
Press on the back of the UN plane at the conclusion of her South
Sudan leg of the UN Security Council's trip to Uganda and Sudan.
Permanent Representative to the UN recounted how Salva Kiir gave
assurances that South Sudan will not make a unilateral declaration of
independence. Rather, if Khartoum delays the nationwide referendum,
South Sudan will hold its own referendum.
asked, what about the Southerns living in the North? Could they vote
in this scenario? How many of them are there?
knows," Susan Rice said, adding that the South had accepted the
count of 500,000 Southerners in the North in the last election, but
now Khartoum has boosted the figure to 2 to 3 million.
earlier on the record comments by UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.
Neither Ambassador would answer what is being done to prevent
Rice answer what if anything the US plans to do about Sudan's nearly
$40 billion in debt. She told Inner City Press that the US role on
this is to support what the parties decide.
But how could
accept the transfer of more than its fair share of the country's
overall debt without an assurance that it would be forgiven?
Rice said that there are "legislative constraints" to
forgiving Sudan's debt, and that even an independent South Sudan
might not be "HIPC eligible." But isn't most of the debt
non-IMF high interest rate loans?
Salva Kiir & Susan Rice, UDI & debt relief not shown
City Press asked her about the accusation
by South Sudan Minister of
Internal Affairs Gier Chuang Aluang, in front of the Council and
media, that the Omar al Bashir government is arming the Lord's
Resistance Army and cattle rustlers. We've heard that before, she
said, including in UN reports. But his allegations were specific.
What will be done? Watch this site.
the reception Wednesday night involved not only Rice and the Council
but also George Clooney, being followed around South Sudan by
tele-journalist Ann Curry. Clooney joked that he wouldn't take a photo
with a South Sudanese who was "too tall."
On the plan, while Susan Rice said she would leave UK Ambassador Mark
to speak about Darfur, Inner City Press asked her a question: what is
the US' position on UNAMID's proposed turn over to the government of
Omar al Bashir of five supporters of rebel Abdel Wahid Nur, which
documents obtained and published by Inner City Press exposed as being
immanent. Susan Rice said she wants to find out more about it during
the Council's time in Darfur. We'll see.
* * *
Bashir of Arming LRA as Susan Rice Smiles, Others
October 7 -- A military band greeted Susan Rice and 13
other Security Council Ambassadors on Thursday morning at this police
training camp on the banks of the Nile River.
internal affairs of the Government of South Sudan, Gier Chuang Aluong,
gave a speech, in
which he accused the government of Omar al Bashir of supplying
ammunition not only to cattle rustlers but also the Lord's Resistance
react to this accusation, rather smiling broadly as South Sudan
military figures praised her.
Council delegation took a tour of the facility, compete with mock
hijackings of VIPs in four by four vehicle, fought off by the just
trained police, Inner City Press asked another Council Ambassador if
he was comfortable with the tone of the visit to Rejaf, sometimes
called and spelled Rajaf.
“It's a very
sensitive situation,” he said, going on to wonder what the
government of Sudan in Khartoum would think of this show of readiness
independence and with what some call its Susan Rice “cult of
aspect. Others say it is merely Susan showing her passion.
was hopeful, with young South Sudanese singing and marching around in
robo-cop crowd control outfits complete with thigh and shin armor.
Inner City Press interviewed a number of the trainees, who said they
are only paid from time to time and have no toilets, having to “use
speech to the
Council members asked for $50 million to take the training facility
to the next stage. Afterward an Ambassador joked to Inner City Press,
“Did they expect us to take out our checkbooks?”
Susan Rice & SSudan minister, status neutral
$50 million not shown, (c) MRLee
was conspicuously absent: Russia's Vitaly Churkin. It
led one to wonder how such a Council Mission to Kosovo would have
looked, while UNMIK was running it, before the unilateral declaration
of independence. There, the UN's watchword was “status neutral.”
Was that only because Serbia had Russia taking its side in the
Council? Watch this site.
leg of the Susan Rice portion of the trip, a visit to Wau,
was canceled when the UN plane, run by Swift Air, broke down on the
Juba tarmac. The entire delegation moved to the Russian base of
UNMIS. Things started friendly, but then a Russian commander ordered
the Press to stop using the Internet.
site, follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.