Sudan Elections, Susan Rice Explains Gration, UN Silent, Paid "Rebel"
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 8 -- As questions
mount about both the Sudanese
elections and the Obama administration's seeming two positions on
them, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice on Thursday took two such
questions from the Press. While the UN has in public been very quiet
about doubts about the election, Ambassador Rice said that in closed
door consultation, the head of UN Peacekeeping Alain Leroy described
government restrictions on political freedom, freedom of speech,
freedom of association, the opportunity for all political actors to
campaign without impediment, harassment of the media, limitations on
access to polling stations for many of the people of Sudan, in
particular in Darfur."
Press has reported on for weeks,
these are not things that the UN says
in public. Tellingly, despite a promise that Alain Leroy would take
questions from the Press after the consultations, his appearance was
President Yukio Takasu emerged to paint a more
positive picture of the "historic" developments in Sudan,
and to say that any questions should be directed to Alain Leroy, who
did not come and is leaving for ten days leave, sources say.
asked Ambassador Rice to explain the rosier outlook of the US envoy
City Press: Scott Gration has said that he thought the elections
would be as free and fair as possible, can you explain, I guess, what
that means, whether that is being kind of retracted in light of what
you said? Do you think that the UN, both UNAMID and UNMIS should be
more, they said very little about as these events are taking place at
least publicly, what is their role for trying to secure a free and
fair election without incident?
Rice: With respect to the characterization of the elections, I think
as we heard from Undersecretary-General Le Roy this morning, and as
we have said repeatedly at this mike and various other places, the
trends are not encouraging. There have been some significant
impediments on the ground, restrictions on civil liberties,
harassment of the media, reduction in the number of polling places,
insecurity, an inability, of many of the people, particularly in
Darfur, to be able to register and participate. So, we have overtime
expressed our concerns, those concerns are mounting as the election
approaches, and we are certainly underscoring the importance of steps
being taken immediately to try to mitigate, to the greatest extent
possible, in the time that remains, these very serious infringements
on free political activity.
sounded like an attempt to say that things have gotten worse since
Gration predicted that elections will be "as free and fair as
Susan Rice on April 8, Scott Gration (and Samantha
Power) not shown
With Sudan's Ambassador saying the elections will
proceed on April 11 -- he also said, "the war in Darfur is over"
-- Inner City Press asked if the U.S. favors any delay, as requested
by many Sudanese opposition groups.
City Press: Should there be a delay?
Rice: I think our view has been that if a very brief delay were
decided to be necessary, and we thought that a brief delay would
enable the process to be more credible, we would be prepared to
entertain that. That's obviously up to the authorities themselves,
but the larger picture is that much is awry in this process, and that
is a real concern.
are at least
two approaches to Sudan within the Obama administration. To the side
of the stakeout, Samantha "Problem from Hell" Power stood.
Could there be three U.S. positions?
Inner City Press also asked Sudan's Ambassador, and the UN, about the
propriety of pro-government
Darfur "rebel" leader Al-Tijani
Al-Sissi having been paid by the UN until March 8, 2010, as
exclusively exposed by Inner City Press.
Sudan's Ambassador said that
Al-Sissi is a "long time" rebel leader -- that is, before
March 8, while paid by the UN. The UN Spokesperson's office has
tried to refer all questions to Addis Ababa, where Al-Sissi worked.
But it is a question that goes to the top of the UN. Inner City Press
has submitted five questions and a deadline. Watch this site.
-- Regarding DPKO's Leroy's cancelation, it was explained that he
didn't want to speak if the Council president was speaking. But to his
credit Leroy has done so in the past. And in this case, President
Takasu said, "Ask Leroy." An attempt was made to get Leroy to come back
to the stakeout -- they said he "had a lunch" -- but this did not
happen. Leroy is usually open with the Press, making the failure of the
UN to speak on Sudan elections, and on the Al-Sissi scandal, all the
* * *
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,
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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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News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
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