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At UN, As Clinton Accuses Sudan of Harassing Witnesses, Karti Denies, Hague Meets

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 16 -- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the UN Security Council's Sudan meeting Tuesday morning referred to Khartoum having arrested and harassed even people who met with the Council in Darfur in October. She said "activists are arrested, some merely for speaking to members of this Security Council."

Afterward Inner City Press asked UK Foreign Minister William Hague about the statement, and what has been done by the UK, which led the leg of the Council's trip that went to Darfur. Hague said he would be raising the issue to the Sudanese later in the day.

As the Council meeting moved behind closed doors, Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti came out to take questions. His delegation urged two reporters to ask Karti about improved relations with the United States.

Inner City Press asked Karti directly about the people arrested after the Security Council traveled to the Abu Shouk camp for internally displaced people outside El Fasher in Darfur. Karti insisted that these were “gang members” apprehended by Sudan.

Minutes later, Karti and his entourage went into the Security Council chambers. Inner City Press asked if this would be the Karti - Hague meeting, and was told “yes.”

Sudan's Ali Karti meet UN's Ban, Kim & Le Roy, harassment of witnesses not shown

  Ten minutes later, the Southern Sudan delegation went in. Can't tell the players without a scorecard.

Footnote: Inner City Press also asked Karti about the statements by Hillary Clinton and Hague that the US and UK are working on reducing Sudan's debt. These are just talks, Karti said, while calling them positive.

  Sudan's Permanent Representative then read off of a paper, “someone asked about new good will with the US.” Karti lit up, said it seems that this might be. A reporter asked about the International Criminal Court. “The US is not a member,” Sudan's Permanent Representative answered, smiling.

* * *

At UN on Sudan, Scratchy Mbeki, UN Silent on Bombs, Hillary on Decoupling Darfur

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 16, updated below -- The UN Security Council ministerial meeting on Sudan was kicked off Tuesday morning by UK Foreign Minister William Hague reading out a Presidential Statement, largely boilerplate about the Southern Sudan referendum scheduled for January 9. On Darfur, it condemned “militia attacks on civilians,” then government aerial bombardments.

The day previous, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about one such bombing:

Inner City Press: over the weekend, there was this incident in which the South Sudanese said that Khartoum or the Sudanese Air Force has bombed Southern Sudanese territory. What has been found about the casualties, injuries and what comments does the UN have on this bombing in South Sudan territory?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: We don’t. We were trying to get some information, but we didn’t have a confirmation of that particular fighting. If we get any further details, including a confirmation, we’d have something.

But for the rest of the day, and the following morning, no information was provided. As with attacks in Darfur, the UN tries to not see and not report. And to not be seen -- while envoys to Sudan Haile Menkerios and Ibrahim Gambari are to brief the Council on Tuesday, it will be by video and only in closed consultations, not allowing any questions from the Press.

Among the questions Gambari is ducking is his negotiation with Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti, in attendance Tuesday, to turn over five supporters of Fur rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to the government of Omar al Bashir, indicted already for war crimes and genocide.

Gambari has tried to get a written commitment against the death penalty -- many doubt its credibility -- while saying nothing about evidence that Sudan engages in torture. To many, it is a new low for the UN.

The Council itself has shown a failure to follow through. After they visited the Abu Shouk camp in Darfur on October 8, people who had planned and attended the meetings were harassed and arrested by the Sudanese authorities. So far nothing has been done.

The UN's humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, visiting a month later, at first spoke of “fear,” then modified that to blame the internally displaced people for not meeting with her.

While the European Union held a session on Sudan on November 14, attended by some 60 people, many EU member states have yet to follow through on this commitments to the “Basket Fund” for the Southern Sudan referendum.

After Hague read out the Presidential Statement, Ban Ki-moon read a speech. On Darfur, he blamed the rebels for not joining the supposedly successful Doha negotiation process, moribund until December 19.

Hillary Clinton walked in, rebuffing a question about what she expected from the meeting. One might have asked, why did you decouple Darfur?

Hillary and Hague preivously, before Darfur decoupled

In the chamber, Thabo Mbeki spoke by scratchy video link which few could understand. Hague said there had been a power failure in Jo'burg, which Mbeki denied. He would be followed by Ali Karti, Pagan Amum of the SPLM then Hillary.

In order thereafter, Spindelegger of Austria -- which hosted a human rights reception on Monday night, no mention of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, Sven Alkalaj of Bosnia, Odein Ajumogobia of Nigeria, Henry Okello Oryem of Uganda, Takeaski Matsumoto of Japan, Antonio de Aguiar Patroita of Brazil then mere Ambassadors. Watch this space.

Update of 10:37 am - Ali Karti says his government met its responsibilities to the referendum, denounces Darfur rebels as “saboteurs” who hide behind civilians. Outside the meeting, so far two people have fallen on the stairs, including the EU's representative Rosalind Marsden. An African diplomat tells Inner City Press the AU shound be running the show.

 A sad and telling e-mail from the UN Department of Public Information:

Subject: Correction - the Security Council meeting is on the Sudan NOT on Darfur
From: Dpi Mdc [at]
Date: Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Media Documents Centre

Update of 11:03 am -- Hague, speaking for UK, says “What I have heard today from our four distinguished briefers convinces me that there can be peace and stability in Sudan.” But this was written BEFORE any of the four briefers spoke. It seems doubtful that Ali Karti of Sudan shared his statement with the UK before he delivered it. Hague as clairvoyant?

Update of 11:10 am - while Hillary Clinton says Darfur important, says journalists and activists arrested “some merely for speaking to members of this Council,” she does not explain why Obama administration now offers to take Sudan off terrorism sanctions list without regard to what they do in Darfur. Will she take a question on this?

* * *

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

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 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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