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On Darfur, UN Confirms Amos Meeting Canceled, Blames IDP Splits Not Sudan Arrests

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 8 -- With UN Humanitarian Coordinator Valerie Amos in Darfur's Al Salam camp for internally displaced person, it was reported that camp leaders canceled a meeting with her out of fear. A month after the UN Security Council visited the Abu Shouk camp and spoke with IDPs, two were arrested and others harassed.

  On November 8, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky if Ban's Peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy, or Darfur Mission chief Ibrahim Gambari, had in the month since gotten any closer to confirming or denying that those arrested met or planed the meeting with the Council on October 8. Video here.

Nesirky said he had no information on any confirmation, but that he would seek to clarify Amos' remark, quoted by Inner City Press, that “I hope that there is no fear” -- that is, of renewed harassment or arrest by Sudanese authorities.

Four hours later, the UN provided Inner City Press with an answer that confirms that Amos' meeting with sheikhs was canceled, but blames the IDPs themselves and not any fear of government harassment for the cancellation:

Subject: Your question on Valerie Amos in Sudan
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
Date: Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Valerie Amos did speak to two women at the Al Salam camp. But two of her meetings with camp elders could not take place. This failure to meet reflects the divisions in political opinions among IDPs and their subsequent inability to come up with an agreed message for Amos.

Contrast that UN answer -- it is not clear who wrote it -- with this article , by Radio Netherlands citing AFP, and ask which is more credible...

UNAMID patrols, UN's erasure of or action on "fear" not shown

Leaders at a refugee camp in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region refused on Sunday to meet visiting United Nations aid chief Valerie Amos, an AFP correspondent reported.... On Sunday at Camp al-Salam on the outskirts of El-Fasher, the capital of the western region of Darfur, elders scrapped a planned meeting with Amos without giving reasons for their decision.

'I hope that there is no fear,' Amos told reporters after the camp leaders failed to show up for their meeting. 'My understanding is that there are a number of issues that the sheikhs would like to raise with me, and they have said that they would raise them with me the way they wish,' she added.”

The statement provided later to Inner City Press by the UN does not explain Amos saying “I hope that there is no fear.” Watch this site.

* * *

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.

* * *

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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