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From UN, Sudan's Abdalmahmood Says Farewell, Ban Calls Him "Memorable," Others Say "Jovial Goebbels," Trimmer of Ocampo

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 23 -- Sudan's Ambassador to the UN is finally leaving, after months of rumors and fight back, and just as his President, Omar al Bashir, successfully flaunts the International Criminal Court warrants against him by visit ICC member Chad, without getting arrested.

 That perhaps is a fitting cap to Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamed's time at the UN, during which he calls ICC Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo a rapist and a menace, only to be threatened with ICC prosecution.

   Back in May, when reports had it that he was being ousted from the post due to his age and enemies in Khartoum, Inner City Press asked if it was true. The President is behind me, Abdalmahmood replied, he said I am the man who trimmed Ocampo. Article here.

  Later, Abdalmahmood said he would only return to Khartoum to a job higher than his post at the UN. At a reception for Venezuela's independence two weeks ago, he intimated that the end was near, but said he would be sure to tell Inner City Press to what post he would return.

  Now on July 23, he appears on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's schedule, at 3:30 p.m., “farewell call.” So it's official: the Abdalmahmood era is over. At the time of this writing, it has not been reported any other other English language media included in Google News.

After his meeting with Ban Ki-moon, Abdalmahmood told Inner City Press it was a “cordial” meeting in which Ban “said I am one of few most memorable Ambassadors in the history of the UN!”

On his next job, Abdalmahmood told Inner City Press that “contacts are continuing with Khartoum to identify new position as many entities are competing, I will inform you shortly.” He indicated he may stay in the United States for now.

Abdalmahmood holds forth before Ocampo, trim job not shown

During the Venezuela reception, Abdalmahmood was greeted by many diplomats, including an elderly Indian ex Ambassador who Abdalmahmood introduced as central to the fight against apartheid. Abdalmahmood was posted in India for years, a stay he described one night while watching a fashion show combining tall Indian models with Untouchables who had traveled to New York for the event.

Once in the Khartoum airport during a visit by the Security Council, a wispy French journalist accused Abdalmahmood of defending genocide. Abdalmahmood demanded, who are you? The journalist backed away -- trimmed, as Abdalmahmood might put it.

Many human rights advocates who visit the UN consider Abdalmahmood disgusting, worthy of prosecution. More than one likened him to Joseph Goebbels, leading to the come back: a jovial Goebbels.

 Others say he has just be doing his job, defending his country and president, and with some aplomb. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. But now Abdalmahmood is leaving.

This, we can say: the UN will be a less interesting place without him.

* * *

It's Khartoum or NY for Sudan's UN Rep, Trimmer of Ocampo, Ban's Darfur Drip

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 11 -- As the supposed peace deal between the Sudanese government of Omar al Bashir and the Justice and Equality Movement rebels falls apart and the UN has no comment, Sudan's Permanent Representative to the UN Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad has faced his own rebellion back in Khartoum.

For the second time this year, his detractors have announced that he is losing his job in New York. On May 8 it was reported that

"The Sudanese government has relocated its ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Abdel-Mahmood Abdel-Haleem in a surprise move after his tenure was extended on an exceptional basis last March by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir. The pro-government Al-Rayaam newspaper said that Abdel-Haleem was summoned to Khartoum last Thursday and that he will likely be replaced by Dafalla Al-Haj Ali Osman."

Seeking confirmation, Inner City Press sent Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem a text message on May 9. He replied, "Will call you in a couple of hours as I am boarding a train to New York." Clearly, contrary to the report, he was not in Khartoum.

On May 10 and May 11, supporters of Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem who requested to be left unnamed told Inner City Press that it is his position he will keep the post at the UN or return to Khartoum "only as a minister."

  It is said that Omar al Bashir told Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem's opponent that he wants "powerful people" as ministers, and that Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem was "the only one who trimmed Ocampo," meaning the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Sudan's Rep and Ocampo, trimming not shown

  Meanwhile, when Inner City Press on May 11 asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky about development in Sudan, Nesirky portrayed the events as routine, a "drip, drip" --

Inner City Press: On Sudan, the Government has called for the arrest of JEM [Justice and Equality Movement] leader Khalil Ibrahim, and JEM has responded by saying if he is arrested, they will renew outright war in Darfur. I wonder if Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari, UNAMID [United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur], Mr. [Haile] Menkerios, the Secretary-General, does anyone following this have anything to say about this deterioration of conditions?

Spokesperson: I’m sure my colleagues on the ground are following every twist and turn that is happening to the best of their ability, but we don’t need to comment on every single media report that comes out about the twists and turns that you refer to.

Question: I mean, it seems like the JEM is the major rebel group in Darfur, and when they threaten to go back to war…

Spokesperson: I’m familiar with who they are and what they are. But we can’t take a kind of a drip, drip approach to this, okay.

Drip drip, indeed. Watch this site.

 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.

* * *

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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