Amid Darfur Force Build
Up by Sudan, UK is Cautious, UN Cuts Off
By Matthew Russell Lee
November 2 -- The UK leads on Darfur for the UN Security
Council, over which it presides this month. Inner City Press asked UK
Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant what the UK is doing about the arrests
which have followed the Council's visit to Darfur last month, and
about reports of the Government of Sudan amassing forces for an
assault on Darfur before the North - South referendum is scheduled on
that it is “unclear who was arrested” and whether they met in
preparation “for the Security Council meeting or actually met”
with the Council members. He said it will be pursued, before the at
the Council's November 16 session about Sudan. He did not address
reports of a build up.
Inner City Press that tanks and troops have been seen in the North
Darfur areas of Kutum, Kernoi, and Altina, while janjaweed gatherings
have been seen in the West Darfur in areas of Geneina and Kulbus.
Government of Sudan volunteers reportedly landed in Kutum airport,
one was asked by a Darfuri policeman, who are you and where are you
going? The person reportedly answered, we are mujahideen and the
government told us we have to fight the infidels and their supporters
in Darfur. We came to clean Darfur.
revolted and refused to participate in the operation. Sources say
most of those revolted were in the army and belong to Bani Halba Arab
tribe. The operation would start with aerial bombings with planes
from Dongola in the North Sudan (neighboring state to Darfur in th
nile north) rather than from Darfur airports (due to the last noise
regarding U.N.S.C. visit and arms embargo reports). The operation is
timed to finish before referendum of
Jan 2011. That's what sources say.
asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky if the UN could confirm that its
humanitarian coordinator in Sudan Georg Charpentier has ordered the
cessation of all “non essential” monitoring missions and thus
reporting, and if it could confirm the build up. Nesirky said that
he will check and get back. He curtailed the Q&A session for
Lyall Grant's briefing, and declined to continue it afterward.
UK's Lyall Grant & US Susan Rice stroll
in Sudan, arrestees & Darfur build-up not shown
Grant's program of work briefing, Inner City Press also asked about
the November 4 “horizon scanning” briefing by the UN's Department
of Political Affairs, whether it was meant to be called “preventive
diplomacy” but some countries opposed that. Lyall Grant did not
directly answer, but said it should be free wheeling, as he said that
evening's dinner and UK ship ride with Ban Ki-moon will be. We'll
setting the program of work, the UK service muffins and coffee,
and gave each Council member a copy of a caricature of all 15
Ambassadors by artist Steve Nyman. Inner City Press asked UK Deputy
Permanent Representative Philip Parham, said to have originated the
idea of giving a caricature instead of, say, a clock, about the
artist. It's said he has a web site. For the UK's knowledge, the
names of two people arrested after the Darfur visit are Abdullah
Ishaq Abdel Razek, the supervisor of the nutrition program of the
camp’s schools, and Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed Al-Haj. Their
connections to the Security Council visit are also on the web. Watch
UK put out this
statement, against which its month atop the Council may be judged:
Statement: UK Presidency of the UN Security Council and
the start of the UK’s Presidency of the UN Security Council
which we hold for the month of November.
priority will be Sudan. On 16 November I will chair a
Security Council debate on Sudan. It will focus on the importance of
peaceful and credible referenda in January 2011 and progress on the
political, humanitarian and security situation in Darfur.
use our Presidency to push for timely completion of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement, giving strong support to the efforts
of President Mbeki and the African Union. We will maintain the
Security Council’s focus on Darfur and reinforce the importance of
a lasting and inclusive peace settlement for the Darfuri people.
will chair two other debates during this month on
counter-terrorism and the protection of civilians. These will be
forward-looking sessions to identify future challenges and global
responses to an evolving threat.
will hear updates on progress toward a settlement in Cyprus
and in the Western Sahara. We also hope to discuss the situation in
Burma/Myanmar following elections scheduled for 7 November.
will also hold regular discussion of situations in the Middle
East, Lebanon, Kosovo and Bosnia; and hear latest reports on Iraq and
sanctions regimes in DPRK and Somalia."
A different permanent or non-permanent member of the UN Security
Council holds the Presidency each month. It is an opportunity to
shape the various discussions held and there has been an increasing
tradition of the Presidency arranging a debate on an issue of concern
or interest to it. The UK last held the Presidency in August 2009.
The UK is working with donors and both Sudanese parties to make
urgent progress on preparations for the Referenda on Southern Sudan
and the status of Abyei. The UK is providing over £10 million to
support the Referenda processes. These funds will help to finance
part of the voting process itself, for example providing ballot
papers, ink, officials, logistics support and international technical
experts to the Referenda Commission - as well as helping to provide
civic and voter education and support to domestic and international
observer groups. The UK also continues to support peacekeeping in
Sudan, pledging over £100 million this financial year to support
work of UNMIS and UNAMID.
On 6-9 October the UN Security Council visited Sudan. During their
time in Juba, Darfur and Khartoum, they met with a range of
Governmental and non-Governmental interlocutors, including Ministers
from the Government of Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan.
On 24 September the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hosted a high
level meeting on Sudan, attended by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick
Clegg and Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham. A Communiqué was
agreed by members from 40 regional and international organisations
and country representatives. They confirmed their commitment to
peaceful, credible and timely referenda in the South and Abyei that
reflects the will of the people and to respect the outcome of
credible referenda. On Darfur all participants reiterated their
strong support for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Darfur.
* * *
Arrestees Named, UN Has No Comment, Gambari On Vacation in NY
By Matthew Russell Lee
October 27 -- Following the UN Security Council's visit to
Darfur on October 8, the UN has been asked to verify the arrests by
Sudan of at least two people who were present in the Abu Shouk camp
for internally displaced people.
October 27, Inner City Press
asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm a report that the
arrestees are Abdullah Ishaq Abdel Razek, the supervisor of the
nutrition program of the IDP camp’s schools, and Mohammed Abdullah
Mohammed Al-Haj, who gave a speech to Council members on October 8.
replied that if top UN peacekeeper Alain Le Roy had been asked to
look into the situation, he would. But previously, Le Roy was asked
to obtain and provide a “full understanding of the facts”
underlying the deadly violence this year in the Kalma IDP camp,
without doing so.
the opacity that the UN allowed after the Kalma violence, Sudan had
demanded that the UN turn over five sheikhs of the Kalma camp. As
exposed by Inner City Press with leaked
documents, the head of the UN
- African Union mission UNAMID Ibrahim Gambari was close to an
agreement with Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti to turn the five
sheikhs over, in exchange for a promise not to execute by Omar
al-Bashir, indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal
October 27, Inner City Press approached and asked ICC Prosecutor Luis
Moreno Ocampo outside the UN Security Council for his view of UN turn
overs to Omar al Bashir. I have nothing to do with that, Ocampo said.
He said that Inner City Press' previous questions to the Special
Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak were well placed. But what about
Inner City Press has repeatedly asked Nesirky for Gambari's or the
UN's view of Nowak's statement that to turn the sheikhs over to
Bashir would violate customary international law, no response has
been provided. On October 27, Nesirky belatedly told Inner City Press
that Gambari is “on leave.”
UN's Ban & AU's Ping, Ibrahim "On Leave" Gambari
and Kalma 5 not shown
according to Nigerian Mission sources Gambari had been in New York
since Friday, October 22 -- but didn't appear at the UN Security
Council for its October 25 session on UNAMID -- questions are
mounting about the appropriateness of taking a vacation in the midst
of Darfur's problems, and not even pausing the vacation to attend a
nearby Security Council meeting about UNAMID. Watch this site.
* * *
UN Sudan Debate
Degenerates to Book Sales, In Empire of Deng,
By Matthew Russell Lee
October 27 -- When the UN holds an event entitled “Sudan,
a Vision for the Future” six weeks before the referendum on
secession is slated to be held, it seems worth going to.
were piles of books for sale by the event's entrance in the UN's
North Lawn building. UN official Francis Deng, charged with
preventing genocide but rarely seen these days, was speaking about
his writings, including “New Sudan in the Making” published,
strangely, by Third World Book of Trenton, New Jersey and Asmara,
event was moderated by Kiyotaka Akasaka of the UN Department of
Public Information, who intervened to cut short the response by
Sudanese Ambassador Dafaala El Haj Ali Osman so that questions could
be asked the audience, including those online.
City Press asked about the religious differences between South Sudan
and the North, about how external debt might be divided, and the
implications of a planned new oil pipeline to run south through
Kenya. Only one of these questions was answered, and even then only
by saying that debt is being negotiated in Addis Ababa, under the
rubric of Liabilities.
City Press asked Mr. Deng what other countries he and his UN
Prevention of Genocide are working on, including what he might think
of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's panel of experts on accountability
in Sri Lanka, which has not even asked to visit that country.
said “we don't like to single out countries” then said he was
distracted due to an upcoming appointment. He was courteous as always
and patrician -- of Abyei aristocracy -- but one wonders what is being
say that under Deng, the UN Prevention of Genocide office is largely
devoted to producing and promoting Deng's writings, including the
time of other staff members of the Office.
work if you can get it,” one insider
commented, while noting that a less distracted person might be better
for the UN's Prevention of Genocide post, unless it is by UN design a
Deng earlier at UN, book sales and Prevention of
Genocide not shown
Deng's writings are being produced on UN time and with UN money, then
shouldn't they be attributable to the UN? His “New Sudan in the
Making” volume has a chapter by “Eltigani Seisi M. Ateem” --
the former UN staff member at the Economic Commission on Africa who
was drafted, including by joint UN - African Union mediator Bassole,
to lead the Darfur “Astroturf rebel” group the Liberation and
Justice Movement. (Astroturf, the artificial surface in the now
demolished Houston Astrodome, means fake grassroots.)
appearing on the panel was UN peacekeeping's Team Leader of the Sudan
Operational Team Jack Christofides, who afterward briefed a Permanent
Five Security Council diplomat about the “logistics” of the
Security Council's recent trip to Sudan.
is the UN accomplishing with all this book publishing and self- and
Deng-promotion? As Deng concludes New
in the Making?,
question mark... is therefore pertinent.” Watch this site.
to UN DPI and Mr. Akasaka, having debates with Q&A is
generally a good thing. But it was alleged by a panelist after
Tuesday's session that the purpose was to promote sales of a UN
official's book. This should be clarified. Mr. Akasaka at the end
mentioned possible future sessions on Haiti or Pakistan -- perhaps
Jean Maurice Ripert could lead that session, since he is still being
paid despite being relieved of his Pakistan envoy position. Could
there be a book deal in the works?
* * *
At UN on Darfur
Arrestees, Susan Rice Issues Skeptical Statement,
Sudan Blames on NGOs
By Matthew Russell Lee
October 25 -- So did Sudan arrest internally displaced
people who spoke with the UN Security Council in Abu Shouk IDP camp
earlier this month?
went public about the issue, first in background comments late last
week. Then on Monday after a Security
Council meeting at which Sudan
denied the arrests, including after the meeting in a stakeout Q&A
with Inner City Press, the US issued a written
Ambassador Susan Rice, who was not present at the Council meeting.
concluded that “the U.S. and the UK asked the UN to address this
issue in today's UN Security Council briefing so that the full
Council could hear directly from UN officials about this matter. We
have yet to receive any information that alleviates our deep concern
over this issue.”
Security Council's closed door consultations told Inner City Press
that the UK and one non-Permanent member asked UN peacekeeping chief
Alain Le Roy to say what the UN knows about arrests, and to “not
politicize” the issue. Le Roy's subsequent answer was described as
“strange” and “not convincing.”
asked Le Roy, as he left the meeting, if the US or UK had provided
him with names, on a confidential basis. No, he said, adding that the
names were not known.
camera at the
UN stakeout, Inner City Press asked Sudan's Ambassador to the UN
Dafaala El Haj Ali Osman about the arrests. He acknowledged arrests,
but not of anyone who had met with the Security Council. Video here.
El Haj Ali at stakout, Susan Rice not shown
scoffed to Inner City Press that “Susan Rice got a letter from the
Enough Project and Genocide Intervention, that's all this is.”
did these two groups and the four other ones signing the
that Susan Rice would be at the Security Council meeting where it was
discussed, to push on the issue and speak afterward to counter the
defient denial of her Sudanese counterpart Dafaala El Haj Ali? Watch
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
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
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
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.