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Sudan's Tumsaha Claim Not Investigated, or Even Heard, by UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 21 -- While the government of north Sudan in Khartoum stands accused of genocide and war crimes in Darfur and now South Kordofan, sometimes even they have a point.

  For weeks, even months, Sudan has been raising at every opportunity their claim that the Justice and Equality Movement rebels took Gaddafi weapons from Libya through Darfur into South Sudan, to a place called Tumsaha.

  According to Sudan's Permanent Representative, when UN Sudan Sanctions Committee panel member "Mister Bryan" asked for access into South Sudan to check on the claim, he was not allowed access.

It should be easy enough to verify or disprove this. And Sudan has not only said it to Inner City Press numerous times -- it says it in open sessions of the Security Council, in the presence of the 15 members.

But when this month's Council president Mark Lyall Grant came to the stakeout Wednesday evening to summarize the meeting of the Sudan Sanctions Committee, he did not mention Tumsaha. And so Inner City Press asked, as transcribed by the UK Mission to the UN:

Inner City Press: On Sudan sanction, the Sudanese Ambassador has raised a number of times, in the open chamber, and out here in front, this issue that he calls ‘Tomb Sahad’ (?), that somehow that Sudan’s sanctions committee, a British gentleman he says, Mr Brian, was unable to verify if Jem had taken Qadaffi weapons into South Sudan. He said it a number of times, I don’t know if it’s true or not, but is it something the committee has even taken up.

Amb. Lyall Grant: I’m not aware of that particular issue, it wasn’t discussed in the Council today. That’s something you’d have to take up with Ambassador Osoria directly.

It is hard to accept this answer, given that Sudan has raised its complaint in writing and in testimony to the Security Council. Is the committee not paying attention?

To follow up on this, two letters have been seen by Inner City Press in which the Sudan Sanctions Committee praises Sudan for granting visas, in November and December 2011. A well placed source, otherwise anti-Sudan, told Inner City Press that the sanctions committee gets visa after the first or second request. The problem, the source said, is with visas to the international staff of UNAMID -- a problem, but a separate problem.

  To Inner City Press it seems similar to the Council's treatment of Eritrea. Whatever that country's sins, it essentially won a court decision about the land around Badme. But no one enforced it.

  Frustrated, Eritrea through the UN and its UNMEE mission out. Now even before the Council imposed yet more sanctions on Eritrea, the US and others made it difficult for the country's President to be heard by the Council in a meaningful, pre-decision way.

  It is important that claims be followed through, regardless of which side they come from. Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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