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For UN's Nov 16 Sudan Meeting UK Plays Hide the Ball With Invitations and Darfur, Hillary to Come?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 11, updated -- The UK called Sudan their priority when they took over the Presidency of the UN Security Council for November. But they haven't called Sudan -- that is, for the November 16 ministerial level meeting on Sudan, the UK has yet to announce the format or participants, nor to convey any invitation to Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti.

  Inner City Press asked UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant about this just outside the Council on November 10. He acknowledged no invitation had been sent to Karti, saying the format had yet to be decided. He added that South Sudan's representative would already by in New York.

  On November 11, other Council sources told Inner City Press that the UK as president is nearly entirely in charge of “it's” November 16 debate. So far they say it has been decided that Thabo Mbeki (by video link-up) and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will speak in the open meeting; the participation of Khartoum has not yet been decided. What is known is that the UK's William Hague will preside and, it is said, Hillary Clinton will be present.

  Now that the US has "detached" Darfur from its terrorism sanctions on Sudan, to many there is an even greater risk that the November 16 meeting, and Security Council for the rest of the year, will turn an increasingly blind eye to Darfur. The UK's lack of transparency for the November 16 meeting, and so far this month, has done nothing to allieviate these concerns.

UK Hague and US Hillary Clinton, Darfur not shown

For the closed door consultations after the open session, it has yet to be finalized that Haile Menkerios of UNMIS and Ibrahim Gambari of UNAMID in Darfur will appear by video, along with Benjamin Mkapa.

  The UK has told other members to expect a Presidential Statement, but early November 11 a non Permanent member complained to Inner City Press it had seen no draft.
   The UK is excluding not only those media which most closely follow Sudan, but also the other Council members. We'll see.

Update: now a draft PRST has been circulated, to be negotiated at the expert level. Invitations to Sudan and South Sudan still unclear. Watch this site.

* * *

Sudan Death Sentences Met with UN Silence, LRA in Darfur Called Unconfirmed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 11 -- With authorities in Sudan condemning to death some 20 alleged rebels, Inner City Press on Thursday asked UN acting deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq if the peacekeeping mission in Darfur or its chief Ibrahim Gambari had anything to say about the death sentences, which the Liberation and Justice Movement rebels says violates their ceasefire agreement with Khartoum. Video here at 8:18.

There is no comment from Mr. Gambari or UNAMID,” Haq answered. On whether the death sentences will undermine LJM's negotiations in Doha with the government of Omar al Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide, Haq said of mediator Djibril Bassole that if there's a problem, “he'll inform... the public about any particular obstacle.”

   But Bassole rarely reports to the public on the Doha process, which does not include JEM or the movement of Abdul Wahid Nur or now the Movement of Nomads.

Meanwhile Inner City Press asked Haq if UNAMID will do anything about the Lord's Resistance Army and its leader John Kony, also indicted by the ICC, who are now reported to be in Darfur. “Those reports have not been confirmed,” Haq said. He'd begun by saying, “If you need to have the last question” -- before responding with a pre-prepared statement. Video here at 19:39.

UN's Ban, Menkerios, Khare & Gambari, comment on death sentences not shown

  Nor would Haq confirm reports that the UN-supported African Union peacekeepers in Somalia have blocked Somali parliamentarians from meeting. Haq said to ask the African Union, despite the UN's own envoy Augustine Mahiga. Video here, from Minute 17:29.

The Somalia work of either the UN or European Union was supposed to be boosted on November 1 by the inclusion of longtime UN official Charles Petrie. But tens days past that deadline, Petrie is still quoted about his last UN assignment, Burundi, condemning violence. We'll check on Petrie's location, Haq said. Video here, from Minute 14:25.

But there are simple questions pending in his office for more than a week now, including one about Genocide Prevention reiterated this week. Watch this site.

Footnote: The Security Council on Thursday moved its Western Sahara briefing up from November 23 to November 16 after their Sudan debate. France has said next week was too busy. Watch this site.

* * *

On Sudan, Susan Rice Defends Decoupling Darfur from Terror Sanctions, Karti Not Invited

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 10 -- With killing in Darfur escalating and internally displaced people arrested and harassed for providing testimony, United States Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice was asked Wednesday by the Press why the US has told Sudan that if it allows the referendum in South Sudan and “addresses” Abyei, the Obama administration will move to take Sudan off the state sponsors of terrorism list.

This was called “decoupling from Darfur” by an Obama administration official who asked to not be named; human rights advocates have called it “de-emphasizing” or even selling out Darfur.

  When Ambassador Rice came to speak about blocking Iran from the board of UN Women at the stakeout in front of the UN Security Council, which will host a November 16 ministerial level meeting on Sudan, mostly on the South Sudan referendum, Inner City Press twice asked that she take a Sudan question. To her credit she did, offering an explanation -- unconvincing to some -- of the administration's thinking. Video here.

  In essence Ambassador Rice argued that since there are other US sanctions regimes on Sudan, taking the country off the state sponsor of terrorism list in exchange for allowing the South Sudan referendum should not be read as de-emphasizing Darfur. Said otherwise, the US is offering a “carrot” for something other than Darfur.

Inevitably, Sudanese diplomats see in this a de-emphasize of scrutiny on Darfur. Something that they went -- off of the terrorism sanctions list -- could be obtained regardless of escalation of killing and harassment in Darfur. Some might even call this, intentionally or not, a green light.

Regarding the November 16 meeting, a Sudanese diplomat complained to Inner City Press on Wednesday that while “it is a ministerial meeting and the Council is supposed to send formal invitations to the Minister of Foreign Affairs” Ali Karti, no invitation has been sent.

This seemed strange, since other Council sources have already described to Inner City Press statements in an open session of the Council by Thabo Mbeki and diplomats from both Khartoum and South Sudan, following by closed door briefings from the envoys on South Sudan and Darfur, Haile Menkerios and Ibrahim Gambari respectively.

Inner City Press asked this month's Council president, Mark Lyall Grant of the UK, about the Sudanese complaint that Ali Karti had yet to be invited. Lyall Grant acknowledged this is the case, saying that the format has yet to be decided. But why the talk already about the attendance of South Sudan? Lyall Grant said that he understands they (South Sudan) will already be in New York that day, November 16. But will Ali Karti?

At the November 10 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked acting deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq to confirm a report by Radio Dabanga, the closure of whose Khartoum office has been denounced, that UN Humanitarian Coordinator Valerie Amos “apologized” to IDPs in Darfur for the UN's failure to protect them, including after some spoke to the Council and Ms. Rice on October 8.

  Haq pointed to canned (and confusing) statements issued by Amos' office, while indicating she may speak to the press upon her return to New York. Video here.

Susan Rice in Rajaf, decoupling of Darfur not shown, (c) MRLee

Here is the US Mission to the UN's transcript of Inner City Press' question and Susan Rice's answer:

Inner City Press: I wanted to know about the decoupling Darfur from the state sponsorship of terrorism, with a State department official quoted, unnamed saying that the Obama administration would move to take Sudan off the state sponsored terrorism list if the referenda go forward, but that Darfur is being decoupled... I just wanted to understand, how is one to read that in terms of the importance of humanitarian and the escalating violence in Darfur?

AMBASSADOR RICE: Well first of all the United States, as you've heard me express on many occasions, and so have my colleagues and counterparts in Washington, is very much focused on the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Darfur. We're very concerned about it. We're focused on it. There are a number, frankly a large number, of sanctions in U.S. law that relate not only to the situation between the north and the south, but also to Darfur, and they will not be alleviated [unless and] until the situation in Darfur is adequately addressed consistent with U.S. law. What we have also said to the Government of Sudan is that were it to take the steps that it's committed to and allow the peaceful and on-time conduct of the referendum in the South, and resolve all of the outstanding issues that remain between the two sides, including Abyei and borders and security and citizenship, to name just a few, as well as respect the outcome of the referendum, then that could initiate a process of improved relations with the United States. We've communicated to them what that process might look like, and we think it's in the interest of the Government of Sudan and the people, all of the people of Sudan, to fulfill their commitment to implement the CPA and choose a peaceful resolution to this longstanding conflict. Thank you very much.

  On this last, another Permanent Five member of the Council's Permanent Representative has said, on condition of anonymity, that it is increasingly unlikely that even the South Sudan referendum will be held on January 9, and that focus has turned to convincing the leaders in South Sudan not to hold their own referendum. Watch this site.

* * *

Here is the table of pledges and actual contributions to the Basket Fund for the south Sudan Referendum, followed by the UN's transcript of its November 5 noon briefing:



Amount             ($ million) Committed

Amount           ($ million) Received












Canada (CIDA)









European Union




























 Source: UNDP response to Inner City Press 11/10 question

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Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

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and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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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