Sudan Election Fears, UN Silent, As Visas Denied, EU Observers Leave
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 8 -- Even as Sudan denies visa for UN pilot to fly
ballot boxes around, even as the European Union withdraws elections
observers due to a lack of safety, the UN has nothing to say about
the polls slated for this weekend.
7 a Security Council ambassador of a Permanent Five member bluntly
told the Press, "Bashir is going to be re-elected, but he's
indicted by the International Criminal Court. He cannot be our
interlocutor. It is an awkward situation... but all African leaders
will recognize the election and Bashir."
ambassador relayed that Ibrahim Gambari, the UN's envoy to
Darfur, confided that Bashir might agree to a one week delay in the
polls. There's an attempt, it is said, to set up a four way briefing of
the Security Council by Gambari, Haile Menkerios, and Messrs. Bassole
and Mbeki. "It is hard to get Mbeki to New York," the ambassador said.
Council is slated to receive a closed door
briefing by top UN Peacekeeper Alain Leroy about the impending
election. It's said that US Ambassador Susan Rice will speak to
the Press at 10:45, before an NSC call at 11. Watch this site.
Gambari and Qazi in Khartoum, comments on visas
denied not shown
From the April
noon briefing transcript:
City Press: In the run-up to the elections in Sudan, there are
reports that one of the opposition candidates, who is now boycotting
the elections, has said that the UN was supposed to transport ballot
boxes, and that visas for the UN’s pilots for the planes have been
denied by the Government of Sudan. The European Union observers say
that they may pull out of the country due to a lack of safety. So I
have two questions -- one, can you confirm that the visas were denied
and, if so, what is the UN going to do about that? And two, what is
the UN and UNMIS’s [United Nations Mission in the Sudan] role in
providing safety to election observers, albeit not UN but European
Union elections observers?
Spokesperson Marie Okabe: Well on the European Union, the question
about the European Union observers is a press report, so I do not
have confirmation on that. And your first question about…
City Press: …the denial of visas to pilots for the UN.
Spokesperson: …visas, I have not received anything on the visa
situation, so I am going to have to ask DPKO [Department of
Peacekeeping Operations] to look into that for you.
City Press: But what is the, I guess we are really coming right up
to the election, what is the UN’s assessment? You are having more
and more opposition parties saying they are going to boycott it. More
and more outside observers say it is, you know, I do not want to
characterize it, but say that it is not credible. What is the UN,
given its presence on the ground, what is its view?
Spokesperson: Well, while we respect the right of candidates and
political parties to reach their own decisions, we continue to
encourage all Sudanese political actors to recognize the importance
of dialogue, for the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace
you know, one of the prime facets of the CPA is the opening of
democratic space in Sudan, so that the people and the wide variety of
political forces in the country can represent and participate in the
process of decision-making. Therefore elections are an important
step, designed to revive the democratic institutions and processes,
so we encourage the Government of National Unity, the Government of
Southern Sudan, and the National Elections Commission to ensure that
the elections credibly reflect the will of the Sudanese people.
as you know, the UN Mission on the ground is there with a mandate to
assist the Government and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) by
providing technical and logistical support in order to enable timely
conduct of the elections and in advising and encouraging the
Commission, the Government and all parties to address concerns that
may jeopardize their credibility. Okay?
* * *
On Sudan, Moonlighting UN Staffer as
Darfur "Rebel" Leader, As
JEM Is Pressed to Support Elections on April 11
Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
NATIONS, March 28 -- With elections in Sudan approaching as threats
and irregularities multiply, a United Nations employee in Addis
Al-Tijani Al-Sissi suddenly emerged
as the head of newly formed rebel
Liberation and Justice Movement. Beyond the politics, one wonders
a person can be a paid UN employee and at the same time by a
pro-government "rebel" leader?
Al-Sissi being out of The Sudan for 20 years, and being a full time
staffer of the UN's Economic Commission for Africa, he was brought to
the fore as purported replacement for Abdel Wahid Al-Nur, leader of
the legacy rebel Sudan Liberation Movement, whose Fur tribe has thus
been unrepresented as Al-Nur refuses to participate in the Darfur
talks much less elections.
Fur willing to talk with al-Bashir was needed, and a UN staffer was
found. But to be a leader, he must have put time into the rebel
movement, while being a UN staffer. Why was this accepted?
City Press is informed that Al-Sissi's supervisor at the UN Economic
Commission for Africa, Abdalla Hamdok, complained about the
moonlighting or double service of Al-Sissi, but that nothing was
does not look good, one long suffering Darfuri told Inner City Press
on Friday. The UN has some explaining to do: watch this site.
Al-Tijani Al-Sissi, moonlighting from UN
ECA job not shown but accepted
with Sudanese opposition parties nearing a decision next week on
whether to boycott the April 11 election if Omar al-Bashir's National
Congress Party does not agree to postpone it, Inner City Press is
told by Arab Group ambassadors at the UN that pressure is being
brought to bear on Khalil Ibrahim of the Justice and Equality
Movement rebels to have JEM come out favor of April 11 polling.
Ibrahim has been summoned to Doha," Inner City Press was told by
an attendee of the March 26 meeting of the Arab Group, at the
Ambassadorial level, held in the UN's new building by New York's East
the UN on Friday, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky to explain Ban's quote in Al Hayat
against any postponement of the election, video here,
City Press: There is an interview that the Secretary-General gave
with Al Hayat about… there are portions about President Bashir --
that he would not meet with him unless “absolutely necessary”. But
particularly it seemed to be quoting him as saying that he is not
in favour of any postponement of the Sudanese election. Something
the opposition parties there requested and the Carter Center has said
that -- and I believe that the UN in a background briefing has said
-- that 11 April would be would very difficult to accomplish. So,
what does he mean by no postponement? He believes it absolutely
should be held on 11 April?
Nesirky: Read out the exact quote.
City Press: Okay: “I understand that elections could be postponed
for a short period of time, but why should be made to postpone the
month of November? I am not sure it can properly [be] arranged at
that time.” So I am asking, I guess there are some words missing
Spokesperson: Yes, there are some words
missing. I read that, too, and there are
some words missing in that transcript. What I think is clear is, as
we have said before and has been said from here, there are fairly
considerable technical challenges to delivering that election for the
Government that is in the driving seat on this, and for those who are
providing technical assistance. It is a considerable undertaking. What
I think he is suggesting there is that, if there is a delay, it
does not mean that it will be any easier should there be a delay to
deliver at a later date. I think that is all he is saying.
some see a connection, which the UN has yet to address, to the UN
housing or hosting a pro-government rebel leader to support talks
with Al-Bashir, while also ignoring Sudanese opposition parties' call
for a postponement in light of abuse. Watch this site.
on the above quote by Ban Ki-moon, which came from the Sudan
Tribune's pick-up of Al Hayat's interview, a junior Al Hayat
correspondent ran into the UN press briefing room to say that her
newspaper's version of the transcript did not have any words missing.
While Inner City Press then explained where it got the quote from,
strangely neither statement was included in the UN's
although both can be seen in the video,