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As Sudan Lashes Out at UN “Bloodsuckers,” Nambiar and Choi Theories, UN No Comments IOM Ouster, Biden Blathers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 18 -- With Darfur UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari being snubbed by the UK and US' Scott Gration, Vice President Joe Biden on July 18 said of the South Sudan referendum, "We are on it full-time. And I believe that we'll be able to pull -- they'll be able to pull (it) off, with our help and the UN's help, they'll be able to pull off a credible election.”

  The UN's role in making elections credible of late hardly merits this belief. In Afghanistan, the UN stood by in the face of phantom polling places.

  In Kyrgyzstan, the UN said nothing during a rushed referendum on a constitution which would outlaw minority ethnic parties, held while ethnic Uzbeks were chased in fear out of the country, or into IDP camps where few of them could vote.

  In Burundi, just after the visit of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, opposition parties removed themselves from the ballot, leaving it a one party election replete with tossed grenades.

  But it gets worse. At a UN reception on July 17, talk turned to a trial balloon, seemingly floated by the UN administration, that Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar might be outsourced to Sudan, to oversee the two UN Missions there, UNMIS in South Sudan, and UNAMID in Darfur.

  The senior Sudanese diplomat who raised this to Inner City Press said to quote him, without name, as conveying that the government of Sudan would never agree to this. “We are not short of useless of international civil servants to suck the blood of our people... to prolong the thing, the referendum, everything, to get money. We don't need a Paul Bremer man. We would say no.”

  (The second part of the "Nambiar to Sudan" theory he floated involves the return to New York of Ban's Cote d'Ivoire envoy Mr. Choi, essentially to run Ban's campaign for a second term, while taking over Nambiar's Myanmar and perhaps Sri Lanka roles. Nambiar, the Sudanese diplomat said, "has diminishing returns.")

  Sudan, according to this diplomat, surmises that the UK is as suspect of Gambari as when he was in Myanmar, and that the US joins the UK in this. “They like their man, Bassole,” he said.

UN's Ban and Biden, Gration's blow off of Gambari and possible pro consul not shown

  As reported, when asked by Inner City Press about Gration's absence from the meeting of Darfur envoys of China, Russia, the EU and others in El Fasher on July 4, the US Mission said only Gration's office would answer, and his spokesperson Marie Nelson refused to, despite three separate calls requesting comment. The US Mission has again declined comment, but notes Gration's more recent visit to Sudan.

  Other interested countries' diplomats have told Inner City Press that the US does not want to be a mere part of a UN process, contrary to Biden's UN comments, but rather wants to have the central role.

And if and when it fails -- who will be responsible? Watch this site.

From the UN's July 17 noon briefing transcript:

Inner City Press: In Sudan, there are these reports that the Government made persona non grata, are throwing out, two representatives of the International Organization for Migration. Does the UN have concerns about the expulsion of these humanitarian workers?

Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq: We don’t have any comment about the treatment of this. We are aware of the reports, and we’ll check up on what was behind this decision and what the facts are on that. But we don’t have anything to say on that just yet.

And still, more than two days later, no comment from the UN.

* * *

What Would a South Sudan Unilateral Declaration of Independence Trigger, with US Dissing Silent UN? "Total War"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 -- Less then six months from what is supposed to a referendum on the separation of South Sudan from the rest of Africa's largest country, the UN and others seem under-prepared.

  On July 13, Inner City Press asked the UN to respond to reports that Japan won't give helicopters for the UN Mission in Sudan, saying that “the support isn't there.”

  Inner City Press also asked about the renewed fighting in Darfur between the government and the Justice and Equality Movement rebels: could the UN confirm it, had it visited the areas or protected civilians?

On the latter, the UN could not initially say anything about this fighting in an area it has a $1 billion peacekeeping mission. Later in the day the UN issued a statement in response, that it was “aware of the reports” and would be doing to see. On the helicopter problem, almost nothing was said.

The senior military and peacekeeping diplomat of a major African country approached Inner City Press later on July 13 in the UN's new North Lawn building and asked: “what if South Sudan makes a Unilateral Declaration of Independence?”

Salva Kiir at UNMIS, block of referendum and UDI not shown

  This last, some times under the acronym UDI, hearkens to Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia and was immediately recognized by the United States, most but not all European Union countries, and now some 69 of the UN's 192 member states.

 There, grenades have been thrown, an International Court of Justice case is pending, the UN is in stasis.

In South Sudan, the diplomat continued, it would be much worse. “Total war,” he called it. Are the UN and member states, the Guarantors referred to in a study out today, prepared or preparing for that?

Inner City Press put the question in writing to the US Mission to the UN on July 13, nearly positive it would not be answered. Earlier this month, when Inner City Press asked the US Mission why Scott Gration had not attended a meeting including his Russian, Chinese and EU counterparts in Darfur on July 4, the Mission declined to answer, referring the question to Gration's staffer Marie Nelson, who after three telephone requests also did not answer.

Another UN diplomat offered this answer: Sudan is “so important to the US that the US refuses to work with, through or under the UN.” If true, and pending answers from the Obama administration's State Department, what would this mean for the short and long term future of South Sudan?

* * *

On Darfur, Gration Skips El Fasher Summit, US Won't Explain, UN Won't Comment

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 10 -- Why did the U.S. envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, not attend last weekend's El Fasher summit on Darfur including Gration's Chinese, Russian and EU counterparts? Inner City Press has asked the U.S. Mission to the UN, including Ambassador Susan Rice as she walked into the Security Council. But the question has not been answered.

A Rice aide told Inner City Press to ask Gration's spokesperson, Marie Nelson, that she would be waiting for the call. But despite three calls to Ms. Nelson, including a request for answer by voice mail or e-mail, no answer has been received. Nor did a re-request to the U.S. Mission get any answer, except the vague statement that Gration's reason is simpler than it was assumed Inner City Press would speculate.

Other press reports have linked Gration's non attendance to his disagreements with the UN's Ibrahim Gambari. It is not that at this point Gration appears any more committed to justice in Darfur than is Mr. Gambari. It's a turf war, pure and simple.

On July 7, Inner City Press told and asked the UN Mission to the UN:

I called Marie Nelson before and after the noon briefing (where I asked some other Sudan questions, including about crackdowns on free press and the youth group Girifna). I'm sending you the "Final Communiqué from JSR Retreat for the Special Envoys to the Sudan" and an article speculating about Gration's absence. They say Gration had agreed to the time and place - true? I'd like an on the record explanation of Gration's non attendance, etc.

Three days later, as of this writing, nothing. Watch this site.

Envoys in El Fasher, Gration not shown, explanation not given

At the UN's July 6 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked

Inner City Press: On this meeting that you gave a readout of, of Mr. Gambari, you said that various Member States went, but many people picked up on the fact that Scott Gration of the US, neither the UK nor French envoys went. Essentially it was Russian, Chinese envoys; you can give me, if there is a longer list, give it to me. Did Mr. Gambari invite the Western envoys on the Darfur issue, and what does the UN make of their failure to attend and participate?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: Well, first off, the full text of the communiqué is available in the Spokesperson’s office. So, you can get a clear view of the parties and the discussions there. It’s, I think, a two-page readout. I don’t know the reasons for attendance or non-attendance of some of these.

The next day on July 7 Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: hree newspapers have been closed in Khartoum, and youth, with this Girifna, have been arrested by the Government, all for purportedly supporting separation or the referendum for the south to break away. Does the UN, I heard your statement of Mr. Bassolé, but what does either Mr. [Haile] Menkerios or the UN say about the north-south issue? And it’s related to that or not related to that, are reports that recent killings in Abyei are intended to drive the Dinka people out so that the vote would go Khartoum’s way. Is there any, what’s the UN doing on the north-south front rather than the Darfur front?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: Well, certainly the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is working very clearly with all the parties trying to ensure calm on the north-south front. I don’t have anything in particular to say about the situation in Abyei right now. As for the crackdown on the press, these allegations we’ll check first and foremost with our Human Rights and UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] colleagues whether they have anything to say on that.

Still waiting on that, too. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

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.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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