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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.

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On S. Sudan Referendum, EU Countries Behind on Funding Pledges, Speak of Delay

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 5 -- With shooting and kidnappings continuing in Darfur, the Sudanese government has reportedly taken to conditioning medical care in Khartoum to those from South Sudan upon their voting for unity and not separation in the referendum scheduled for January 9.

Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky about this and kidnappings in Darfur on November 5 and was, again, promised future answers. Meanwhile, Inner City Press got a read out of which countries have actually followed through on their pledges to the Basket Fund for the referendum, and which have not.

Sweden has pledged $6.76 million but has so far given nothing.

Likewise, there has been no follow through yet on these pledges: European Union $4.23 million, Denmark $3.38 million, Australia $2.69 million.

The UK remains $3.87 million short of its pledge.

France has not paid ANY of the mere $600,000 it pledged.

One wonders what these countries, which say the referendum is so important, are waiting from. Privately diplomats from several of these countries tell the Press that the planned South Sudan referendum will nearly certainly have to be postponed, and that their work consists of trying to convince the South Sudanese not to then go ahead and hold their own referendum.

  They also express concern that once Khartoum learns they are okay with a date later from January 9, the new date will become a new target to go past and delay.

In S. Sudan, UK PR, France DPR, follow through on funding not yet shown

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

UN's transcription of its November 5 noon briefing:

Inner City Press: there are also these reports of three pilots from a Latvian helicopter company working for WFP [World Food Programme] that have been taken hostage. Can you confirm that? And there seems to be some unclarity about what country they are from or who took them. What’s the UN going to do?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, I can confirm that three crew members working for the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service contracted to the World Food Programme, as you mentioned, were abducted in Nyala town on Thursday. They are all Latvian nationals and are helicopter crewmen. And we don’t have any more information at this point.

Inner City Press: Thanks. The SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] is saying that… they have come out with an allegation that Southerners who live in the North are being told, in Government medical facilities, are being told they’ll only get medical treatment if they vote for unity. I wonder if it’s something… it’s in the Sudan Tribune and I am assuming elsewhere. I am wondering if that’s something… I guess that would be an UNMIS [United Nations Mission in Sudan] issue, or perhaps… whether the UN system is aware of that allegation, what they think of it, if it is true and what they are doing to find out if it is true?

Spokesperson: Well, at the very least, if they are reading the Sudan Tribune like you, they will have seen the same reports and I would assume that they are doing so. We will need to check whether they have further information that was not in this Sudan Tribune. But, I don’t have that right now.

Inner City Press: Okay. No, no, I mean I am pretty sure they would be aware of this, I just wonder if this is the type of thing that they feel a duty to investigate to see if it’s true or to make some statement about.

Spokesperson: As I say, let’s first establish what they know about it.

We'll see. Watch this site.

  Watch this site, follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.

 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.

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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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