UN Council Plays Mother Theresa, Dodges on Inaction of UNAMID
8-9, 2010 -- Why did the UN Security Council trip to Darfur
feel so docile, so distracted?
perfunctory: the 15 Ambassadors were driven around in a convoy of
some 40 four wheel drive vehicles, from being protested at the Wali
of North Darfur's compound to the Abu Shouk
Person's camp to a hospital to the airport, where UK Ambassador Mark
Lyall Grant took and largely dodged seven questions and then got on
implied that the UN Security Council is Mother Theresa, that its main
work is humanitarian. That the Saudi Hospital in Al Fasher is
unsanitary, as one Permanent Five Council member emphasized to the
Press -- what exactly is the Security Council going to do about it?
much more directly in the Council's jurisdiction like the host
country Sudan's denial of freedom of movement to the peacekeeping
mission established by the Council, UNAMID, and UNAMID chief Ibrahim
Gambari prepares to hand over five supporters of rebel Abdel Wahid
Nur to this same government, with a president indicted for war crimes
and genocide, seems to have hardly been discussed or even accessed.
say seem because
the Press was excluded from nearly every stop along the Council
member's humanitarian tour. A breakfast with international non
governmental organizations was "for Security Council members only."
Wali's house, after formulaic speeches and much conferring with
another delegation, Lyall Grant asked the Press to leave. The same
occurred at the Abu Shouk IDP camp.
allowed for a single second into the Saudi hospital, despite one
delegation making various representations about conditions once they
was told to sit in a mini bus in front of the hospital. Here, Ibrahim
Gambari approached to promise to try to ensure access to the program
in Khartoum. He then jumped with armed guards into his four by four
vehicle, which drove over and crushed green melons or squash
painstakingly planted in front of the hospital.
UN Council members & Gambari, action on
UNAMID inaction not shown (c) MRLee
the 24 hours
the Security Council was in Darfur, two UNAMID civilian staff living
outside the Super Camp were kidnapped. Thursday night a UNAMID
spokesperson confided coyly that there had been a “security
incident” but wouldn't say anymore. He said to Inner City Press,
“you'll probably be the one to get the scoop, but I won't help
partial information to a wire service, that one of the staff escaped
and another was still missing -- the government of Sudan, the UN
said, was helping look for the staff member, who it emerged is
Hungarian. Despite Gambari's UNAMID implying that the rebels did the
Lyall Grant used the kidnapping as his example of the deteriorating
conditions in Darfur.
about the 47
people killed at Tarabat Market last month while the UN took three
days to even go? This appears not to have been mentioned.
When at the
airport Inner City Press asked Lyall Grant about Gambari's proposed
hand over of five rebels to the Bashir government, and which it might
mean for UN peacekeepers freedom of movement to places like Jebel
Marra, Lyall Grant's main answer was that this wasn't in the
Council's “terms of reference.”
offered nothing but praise for UNAMID and Gambari, despite the
latter's closeness to the Bashir government. And on the plane to
Khartoum, even an unusable account of the meeting with IDPs from
which the Press was excluded was glossed over, with a mention of “ad
hominen” attacks by the IDPs but, even in this format, no mention
of Gambari's name.
Thursday night, things hardly got better in terms of transparency of
the Council trip. The UNMIS Mission and its one year chief Haile
Menkerios held an event with Council members, which the Press was
not allowed to cover or attend.
with different members and Ambassadors, visited Khartoum in 2008,
Inner City Press attended and covered the similar event thrown by
then UNMIS chief Ashraf Qazi. So are the UN Security Council and
UNMIS getting less rather than more transparent over time?
Council is meeting with on Saturday, it is not clear how and by whom
they were selected. Watch this site.
rare praise of Khartoum, once excluded by UNMIS and the Council,
Inner City Press went with hard working Sudan-based journalists to
the Papa Costa restaurant in downtown Khartoum, for grilled hamour
from the Red Sea accompanied by a jazz quartet. It's not like this
every day, one of the correspondent said.
He pointed to a traffic
circle that until recently, and four two years, had Al Qaeda
graffiti. Now the government belatedly painted it over -- one
tangible effect of the Council's lightening visit.
* * *
& UK Defer to Gambari on Turn Overs to Bashir, Press
October 8 -- The UN Security Council's Darfur trip
was coordinated by UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, who faced off on
statistics with the Wali of North Darfur, chaired meetings with
internally displaced people, then took seven questions from the
the chief of
the African Union - UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Ibrahim Gambari is
negotiating to turn over five rebels supporting Abdel Wahid Nur to
the government of Omar al Bashir has been known, including by the UK
Mission, since September 28 when Inner City Press published Gambari's
draft letter to Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti.
when Inner City
Press at the Al Fasher Airport at the Darfur leg's conclusion asked
Lyall Grant about “this issue whether UNAMID and JSR Gambari should
turn over to the gov't the five suspends in the kalma camp,” and
Adbel Wahid Nur's threat if the turn over takes place to stop
communicating with UNAMID, viewing it as complicit in genocide.--
Lyall Grant ducked the question.
not part of our terms of reference” he answered, adding that “now
obviously that issue has come up in our various conversations.
But it is for the JSR Gambari to resolve that situation.”
it may in one
sense “be up to” a JSR or SRSG to turn over people to a
government whose president has been indicted for genocide and war
crimes, one expects the Security Council, which created the
peacekeeping mission and would have to deal with or at least vote on
the fall out from turning rebels over to the government some years
continued that Gambari “has briefed us on it and believes that he
can find a way through and a satisfactory solution.”
as it would be
strange for the UN to rely on promises of indicted war criminal Omar
al Bashir not to execute the Kalma Camp Five as a basis to turn them
over, so some find it strange for the UK to defer entirely to
Gambari, whose performance as UN envoy to the dictatorship in Myanmar
the UK so lambasted.
concluded his answer, “We haven't been looking specifically at that
issue on this visit.” If not now, when? With Lyall Grant, one hopes
that more was done than talked about. We'll see.
Lyall Grant and Gambari, oversight not shown - world
turned sideways (c) MRLee
moderator said “one more question.” Since no one else seemed to
have one, he called on Inner City Press. But Lyall Grant cut in,
“Let's have someone else for the last question.” Let's -- the
question was a long winded one in Arabic from a radio station pro
(and seemingly funded and controlled by) the Sudanese regime.
translated by a UN interpreter who earlier on Friday chided the press
bus for eating the hamburger and hot dog provided by the UN in eye
shot of hungry children from the Abu Shouk IDP camp.
Friday, back in Khartoum, the traveling press was not
invited to an UNMIS event on a leg co-sponsored by Lyall Grant and
Susan Rice of the US. On Saturday, the last day of the trip, the only
press offering are a photo op at 10:30 with foreign minister Ali
Karti, then another, one hopes better, press conference. Watch this
* * *
Nur & Inner City Press on Video,
Peacekeepers were sent to Darfur after reports of a
brutal campaign by the government of Omar al Bashir against opponents
of his regime and civilians perceived as supporting them.
Ibrahim Gambari, as shown by documents
and published by
Inner City Press, is near to turning over five supporters of rebel
Abdel Wahid Nur to that same Bashir regime, in exchange for a promise
by Bashir to commute any death sentence his courts impose.
the UN Security Council, which ostensibly oversees Gambari's actions
along with the African Union, expressed surprise to Inner City Press
once they saw the leaked documents, consisting of a draft letter and
“Additional Terms” from Gambari to Bashir's foreign minister Ali
Thursday to El Fasher from South Sudan, US Ambassador Susan Rice told
Inner City Press that she intends to inquire into Gambari's offers
about the Kalma Camp Five while in Darfur. This echoed a statement of
intention previously issued by another Permanent Member of the
meeting with the visiting Security Council members, Gambari
of his military officials, in uniform, came to see the Press.
called Inner City Press' publication of his draft documents
“reprehensible” and told Inner City Press to “be careful...
lives are at stake.” Transcription below.
Yeah, a witness to
Gambari's statements later said, the
lives of the Kalma Camp Five are
at risk if the UN turns them over to a strongman already
genocide and war crimes. “Is this what the UN should be doing?”
Gambari, Lyall Grant, Susan Rice, Churkin- oversight
not seen? (c) MRLee
Inner City Press were caught on video and will soon be
published online as such. For now, here is a transcription, prepared
late Thursday night at a guest house in El Fasher outside of
Gambari's UNAMID compound:
Ibrahim Gambari, “What's happen with the Kalma
Camp Five that you are considering turning over to the government...
or that documents indicate you are considering turning over?”
the situation. We have these five sheikhs who
have been accused of some very serious offenses. We have no means as
UNAMID to try them... Down the line if ever there was a death
sentence, the President has the prerogative of mercy. All has been
discussed confidentially. I want to say how reprehensible it was
that somebody leaked the confidential communication of the government
of Sudan...endangering the lives of those in the camps. The recipient
of such a leak I think should also think twice about what they do
considering that they are endangering the lives.. We've lost 27
peacekeepers between UNAMID and UNMIS, I mean AMIS.”
about Abdel Wahid Nur saying that if the Five are
turned over, it will make UNAMID complicit in genocide, and that his
group would not cooperate with the UN any more.
words Abdel Wahid was supposed to have
said... I met Khalil Ibrahim yesterday, asked how about how someone
said JEM wants Gambari to resign for Tarabat Market. [He
said he] ever said that, never authorized this... I want to hear from
Abdel Wahid. I've been to Paris twice, I went to Tripoli...What
happened in New York I condemn it. Matthew I have known you a long
time, you should be careful... You are a recipient of a leaked
document... Journalism also is a responsibility. I regard you as a
friend, I used to, I regard you as a friend, I am admitting that.”
Wahid Nur, Gambari said: “He wants all issues resolved almost
before he comes.”
angry with you , what are we supposed to do, keep people
“Several Security Council members, when they saw
the leaked documents, said they were not aware that you or UNAMID
were in such discussions, and some expressed worry. How much is this
Mission overseen by the Security Council?”
Ask the S-G. I am responsible to two masters. You
have the AU and you have the UN. The unity of the international
community is key to finding a solution.”
as Gambari backed out the door toward his vehicle,
“Transparency you can always say is dangerous, but I think it's
probably a good thing.”
“Believe me, lives are at stake.”
a witness to Gambari's statements later said, adding that the lives
of the Kalma Camp Five are at risk if the UN turns them over to a
strongman already indicted for genocide and war crimes. Among other
lives put at risk, without oversight, transparency or explanation.
“Is this what the UN should be doing?”
that even before Inner City Press obtained and
published Gambari's draft letter to Sudan's Ali Karti, Gambari had
already expressed anger at Inner City Press' publication
documents concerning his time as UN envoy to Myanmar.
UN's September 24 high level meeting on Sudan, Gambari didn't
argue about lives being at risk. He claimed the documents were “old”
(2009) and not newsworthy. “Just leave me alone,” he said, having
in the past declined to respond to questions sentto his UN e-mail
address by Inner City Press. Now, the claim that lives are put at
risk. Is it just opposition to transparency?
* * *
of His Kalma Turn Over Documents,
Says Press Puts At Risk
after the UN Security Council and accompanying
media including Inner City Press arrived Thursday at the joint
African Union - UN Mission in Darfur, the Joint Special
Representative Ibrahim Gambari came to visit the Press. Inner City
Press asked Gambari about the turnover
supporters of Abdel
Wahid Nur documents obtained and published by Inner City Press show
he is considering.
the leaking and then publication of the documents puts
people at risk. Inner City Press responded that others believe that
the turnover would put people at risk, not only the five individual's
turned over, who even as to execution would be relying on a promise
by Omar al Bashir, already indicted for genocide - but also for
UNAMID's own peacekeepers.
has said that if the turnover occurs, he and
his movement will view UNAMID as complicit with the genocide Bashir
has been indicted for.
Gambari about what Abdel Wahid Nur told Radio Dabanga. Gambari
responded that he does not believe quotes he reads -- Dabanga is, of
course, a radio -- and gave as his example a recent talk with Khalil
Ibrahim of JEM in which, Gambari said, Ibrahim said JEM had never
called for Gambari to resign. Self-serving?
criticizing the Press “as a friend.” But to attack a
publication for publishing a leak about the possible turnover of five
people to one accused of genocide and war crimes seems strange.
Press said while Gambari left, several Security Council
members had no idea Gambari was engaged in such negotiations. One
Permanent Representative of a Permanent Five Council member told
Inner City Press that, after checking with “the capital,” the
issue would be raised on this trip. Susan Rice of the US said it
would be looked into during the visit.
he said, the African Union as well as the UN and its
Security Council. So does Gambari confer with neither? Or with the
African Union more than the UN?
which Gambari meet with the Council Ambassadors, two hagiographic
photographs are hung on the wall: the UN's Ban Ki-moon, and the AU's
does Gambari answer only to himself?
to a resident of Khartoum, which Gambari reaches by Lear Jet?
* * *