Even in UN Council's Goodbye to Khartoum, Rice Fights For
9 -- Not a single question about Darfur was taken at the
press conference on Saturday ending the UN
Security Council's mission
In the basement of the luxury Rotana Hotel, the outgoing
Public Information Officer of the UN Mission in Sudan chose five
questions, all about the North - South referendum, including
questions from the UN's own media.
which accompanied the Council from the South Sudan government's
conference hall in Juba through the UN's Super Camp and an IDP Camp
in Darfur to Sudan's foreign ministry in Khartoum, sought to ask what
if anything was accomplished about Darfur.
their heads and later stated they were never going to take this
question, or questioner.
including Press was whisked to the Khartoum airport's VIP terminal.
(On the way to the flight, $15 had been collected from each passenger
as a form of tax.) In the terminal, Ambassadors milled around also
apparently unsure what had been committed to about Darfur.
blow off steam, US Ambassador Susan Rice raised her voice to Sudan's
Permanent Representative, complaining about the requirement on her
entourage, and even on her, to go through the metal detector, and then
with increased vehemence about the $15 fee. [Update: the fee was later
returned, although at least one other Permanent Five ambassador said he
had not problem paying the fee.]
gathered and one wag remarked, if only Susan Rice had been this
forceful about Darfur, including the turn over of five supporters of
Fur rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to the government of Omar al Bashir by the
UN's Ibrahim Gambari.
is not to say
that Ambassador Rice did not show passion at times during the
Council's trip. At the Government of South Sudan's training base at
Rejaf, next to the GoSS Minister of Internal Affairs as he praised
her and said that independence had been a long time coming, Susan
Rice was beaming.
How IDP camp residents in Darfur live, $15 not
shown (c) MRLee
what another Council diplomat later incredulously called “a
political rally,” Susan Rice gave a speech to a tentful of young
trainees. “Are you ready for independence?” they were asked.
“Yes!” they answered.
perhaps for drama's sake, that US envoy to Sudan Scott Gration cares
most about Sudan's North - South conflict, while Susan Rice cares
about Darfur because, they say, of her action and inaction during the
(“first”) Rwanda genocide in 1994.
But on this
trip, to the eye,
Susan Rice also cared (much) more about South Sudan than Darfur.
Officials of the Bashir regime clearly will pick up on this. Will
things get even worse for the people of Darfur? Watch this site
* * *
UN Council Was Told Not to Visit Shangil Tobaya IDP Camp by
9 -- Sudanese authorities blocked the UN Security Council
members from visiting Shangil Tobaya Internally Displaced Persons
camp in Darfur on October 8, a Council diplomat told Inner City Press
on Saturday in Khartoum.
Press before the Council flew back to New York, the diplomat said the
Council was monitoring cooperation with the UNAMID peacekeeping
mission. Inner City Press asked what had been raised or accomplished
on the freedom of movement of peacekeepers.
peacekeepers in Tawila did not go to the Tarabat market site where 47
people were killed by janjaweed until three days after the relatives
of those attacked had made the request.
diplomat, insisting on being identified as such, said that the
authorities' claim that 90% of Darfur is peaceful was “not what we
heard in Darfur” from IDPs. The Council diplomat continued that
“the IDP camp we originally were thinking of going to considered
was considered too difficult because it wasn't under government
control, and it wasn't far from El Fasher.”
Kids in IDP camp with peacekeepers, UNSC not shown
Inner City Press asked the diplomat point blank if the reference was
to the Shangil Tobaya camp. Yes, the diplomat said.
asked, who told you not to go -- the government or UNAMID itself?
diplomat said, “Both... after consultations between the two.” But
wasn't that true of the failure to get to the Tarabat Market? And
if the Shangil Tobaya camp is safe enough for children to live in
it, the Council members couldn't visit, with all the armed guards
seems to sum
up the situation in Darfur, and the Security Council's visit. Watch
* * *
& Inner City Press on Video,
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.
Gambari, as shown by documents
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.
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
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:
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?”
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.”
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.
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.”
Nur, Gambari said: “He wants all issues resolved almost
before he comes.”
with you , what are we supposed to do, keep people
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?”
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.”
Gambari backed out the door toward his vehicle,
“Transparency you can always say is dangerous, but I think it's
probably a good thing.”
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?”
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
concerning his time as UN envoy to Myanmar.
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?