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As Sudan Ejects 20 UN Staff from Darfur, What'd Ladsous' Bashir Meeting Do?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 6 -- Now that Sudan has blocked the visas of, and "ejected," 20 UN staff from Darfur, additional questions are raised about what was accomplished by UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous meeting with the country's International Criminal Court indicted president Omar al Bashir.

  The UN under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says it has a policy of only meeting with ICC indictees on a "strictly necessary" basis. But little was said of the goals or "accomplishments" of Ladsous' meeting with Bashir.

  There is a breakdown in the system here. Human Rights Watch, which continues to brag about Bashir having left Nigeria, while citing the blocking of Bashir's airplane by Saudi Arabia, has said nothing about Ladsous' face time with Bashir.

  HRW chief Ken Roth characterized Bashir's trip to Nigeria as an attempt to "rehabilitate" himself. But doesn't face time with a UN official, even this one, similarly represent a rehabilitation attempt? How can HRW have nothing to say about it?

  Some say that, beyond the HRW's more and more obvious softness on the UN, which its UN lobbyist Philippe Bolopion previously of Le Monde and France 24 has admitted is in order to maintain "access" to the UN, the silence on Ladsous is related to HRW's Roth's support for his position on Eastern Congo and Rwanda.

  Inner City Press on Tuesday at the UN noon briefing asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky if the UN say any comment about Bashir's plane being blocked by Saudi Arabia. Ban tried to assuage Latin countries, which met with him yesterday, with a statement about the plane of Evo Morales. But there was no comment Tuesday at noon.

  Amid reports of at least one Sudanese soldier killed in Heglig, Inner City Press asked for whatever the UN knew about the clash. They're read the reports; they might have more. Inner City Press asked a Sudan Mission to the UN diplomat about it Tuesday morning, he called it a one time occurrence. Watch this site.


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