Gambari, Menkerios to Attend Inauguration of Bashir, Who
Supports UN's Radio
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 21 -- When indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir holds an
inauguration on May 27 for having won the recent
fraud and violence
plagued election, two senior UN official will be in attendance:
Menkerios and Ibrahim Gambari, Inner City Press was told on Friday.
May 20, Inner
City Press asked
the Spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban
City Press: who from the UN system if anyone will be attending the
inauguration of Omer Al-Bashir on 27 May? There has been a call by
some human rights groups that various world leaders should not
attend. Who is attending for the UN? Mr. Menkerios? Do you know?
Martin Nesirky: I’ll find out who has the invitation card.
[So the UN is going to] go, I mean, there is no question?
Nesirky: That’s not what I said. I said I’ll find out where the
invitation card, who received the invitation card. Those cards
usually have an RSVP on them, and we can let you know how, whether
there has been an RSVP.
May 21 Nesirky's
deputy Marie Okabe responded that both Menkerios and Gambari will
attend, calling them "the senior UN officials on the ground...
in contact with the host government regularly to ensure that their
missions are able to function effectively." Video here,
International Criminal Court makes UN interaction with Bashir
controversial, this phrasing about contact necessary to run the UN
missions is rationale for contacts. But how is attending the
Omar al Bashir speechifying, Gambari, Menkerios and
ICC not shown
on May 21,
Inner City Press asked
the UN's Nesirky:
City Press: The Minister of Communications of the South Sudanese
Government, Paul Mayom, has criticised UN Radio Miraya for putting on
rebel General [George] Athor and he said not only that he was wrong,
he said I can stop it. He closed down the radio station for
undermining stability in South Sudan. What does the UN think of his
Nesirky: Well, we’re aware of the statements, and I know that my
colleagues there on the ground have indeed been speaking to the
Ministry concerned. It was the Regional Coordinator for Southern
Sudan from UNMIS who had a meeting with the Minister of Information,
and I am informed that they discussed, in a constructive manner,
matters of mutual interest. And the Minister of Information
expressed concerns about Radio Miraya and its coverage. And I am
advised that these concerns are being addressed by the radio station.
The point about this radio station is that it is committed to
promoting the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the culture of peace
in Sudan with objectivity and professionalism.
City Press: When you say it’s addressed, does the UN agree that it
should not put on rebel, you know, renegade Generals like Mr. Athor,
or are they going to continue to…?
Nesirky: What I said is that it’s being addressed.
City Press: Oh, okay.
Not that it has been addressed. Apologies if I misspoke. I thought
I said these concerns are being addressed by the radio station.
City Press: [inaudible] in terms of what the editorial policy of the
UN radio station is to put on rebel…
Well, this is a UN-sponsored radio station, not a UN radio station,
as I understand it. But the point is that the coverage of the
elections just as one example — but an important example — was
marked by neutrality and professionalism, and as I have mentioned
just now, a commitment to the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace
Ms. Okabe did
not provide any further information on this on May 21, at the
previous evening's reception for Cameroon's 50th anniversary of
independence, Sudan's Permanent Representative to the UN told Inner
City Press that the UN should put this anti-South Sudan government on
government of Omar al-Bashir, usually critical of the United Nations
and of freedom of the press, is ironically supporting UN-affiliated
Radio Mireya in its dispute with Southern Sudan for putting renegade
general Athor on the air. And the UN's two most senior officials in
Sudan will attend an indicted war criminal's inauguration. And so it
* * *
Sudan Deaths, Bashir Victory Declaration, Silence at UN, Disdain
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 26 -- With Sudan's Omar al Bashir declaring victory in
Sudan amid deadly clashes and kidnapped
UN peacekeepers, in New York
the UN Security Council, which had been scheduled to meet about
Sudan, was silent Monday morning.
schedule provided for a meeting about UNMIS, the UN Mission in South
Sudan. Inner City Press was told that UNMIS chief Haile Menkerios
would be present and take questions. But at this key moment, in the
UN's basement, the Council sat empty.
in the UN's
three story North Lawn building, an Assistant Secretary General told
Inner City Press that Bashir's 68% of the vote made him look more
legitimate than "those countries where the leader claims
Is this why
the UN is implicitly blessing
the election? "This way we avoid violence," said the ASG.
And the UN gets to stay in the country. But at what cost to its
later, a South African diplomat told Inner City Press his country's
peacekeepers had been released. Just as Al Bashir said it would be:
once the results -- and his winning -- were announced. As they say in
legal Latin, res ipsa loquitur:
the things speaks for itself.
al Bashir declared victory, Inner City Press asked
the UN about
City Press: There are these reports of 50 civilians killed in South
Darfur that I am sure, I believe, the UN has probably seen. There
are also, it’s reported that Mr. [Djibril] Bassole was told by JEM
[Justice and Equality Movement] that they believe the Government is
about to begin another military assault in Darfur. What’s the UN
doing, just as an update? Has it gone to Jebel Marra? Is it trying
to investigate the death of civilians? And can you confirm JEM’s
Martin Nesirky: Well, it’s not for us to confirm JEM’s concerns,
of course. On the second part, UNAMID [African Union-United Nations
Hybrid Operation in Darfur] has also received an unconfirmed report,
but the mission has not received any reports that confirm signs of an
imminent attack by the Government, or indeed the presence of the JEM
in east and North Darfur. So, that’s the first bit, that we’ve
heard these unconfirmed reports. We cannot, we have not received any
reports that would confirm signs of an imminent attack.
as for the violence in South Darfur that you are referring to,
according to UNAMID, and you may wish to ask them for more details,
but from what I understand, this was an incident on 20 April, and it
involved inter-tribal violence, the details of which are a little
sketchy, I would say. But its result, from what we know, according
to UNAMID [is] 15 people killed, 24 injured. This also included
Sudan border guard police, who were, according to UNAMID, ambushed in
the course of this inter-tribal violence that I referred to. That’s
pretty much what I have for you there. As I said, it may well be
that UNAMID could provide you with more details.
Ibrahim Gambari was meeting one on one with al Bashir, who telling
promised to get the kidnapped UN peacekeepers from South Africa
released. Reporting by Inner City Press indicates that the kidnappers
are affiliated or aligned with Bashir's government. The UN has said
UN's Ban and Bashir, in previous handshake: repeated?
Inner City Press that Gambari would like Bassole to step down, so he
could take over the Doha portfolio as well. Gambari was pushed out of
his role in Iraq by UNAMI chief Ad Melkert. On Sudan he wants to
consolidate his position. In New York he had told Ban, I can help
with with GA President Ali Treki. He told Treki the same. Thus are
careers made and preserved in the UN. But what about Darfur? What to
make of the UN's and Council's silence?
In front of the empty Security Council Monday morning were
ambassadors of several developing countries, waiting for a meeting of
the Non-Aligned Movement next door. The NAM recently told UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon he has no jurisdiction over war crimes,
should not follow through on his promise to name a panel on Sri
Lanka. And Ban has not moved forward, reverting to meeting with the
Sri Lankan attorney general and hoping, like Sudan's scam elections,
that the issue fades away.
* * *
Fraud in Sudan and Kidnapping by Bashir-Affiliated Militia,
UN Cuts Off Questions
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 21 -- With fraud exposed, on film, in the Sudanese
election to which the UN provided technical assistance, and with four
UN peacekeepers still missing in Darfur, apparently taken by a
government affiliated militia, UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky
on Tuesday cut off questions about Sudan and the election in favor
of a press conference on Guatemala. Video here,
from Minute 11:28.
April 19, when
Inner City Press asked for a
response to the view that the kidnappers
of the UN peacekeepers are from a government-aligned militia, Nesirky
dodged the question. On April 20, he simply did not take the
Meanwhile, "UNAMID spokesperson
Noureddine Mezni said, 'The Sudanese authorities know the identity
of the kidnappers.'"
Consider that on
the UN's own ReliefWeb site, it is reported that
– A new group calling itself the Movement for the Struggle of the
People in Darfur claims to have kidnapped four South African UNAMID
peacekeepers in South Darfur. They want a ransom of an amount
equivalent to half a million US dollars (a billion sudanese pounds)
and the release of their 'detained leaders'... the group is part of
the Irada Hura (SLM Free Will), a mixed group that signed a
Declaration of Commitment after the Darfur Peace Agreemnent in Abuja.
Their leader prof. Abdelrahman Musa died. The new leader, Ali Majok,
was apparently appointed with support of the government and became a
minister. But a faction within the group disagreed with his
leadership. Adam Salih, another member of the faction, called for a
meeting to contest the leadership. He formed in the meantime a new
Movement for the Struggle of the People in Darfur."
Salih, aka "Ahmad
Salah Abubakr Abdallah" was previously associated with the "SLA
Free Will" movement. The leader of the "Sudan Liberation
Movement - Free Will faction had joined the national unity
government" in 2008. "Aid
agency sources say that SLA-Free Will is the creation of the GoS
delegation in Abuja, whose goal is to split the rebels along tribal
Saleh, a Birgid, is a former SLA-Minni commander who joined SLA-Free
Will in September 2006 and is believed to be close to the GoS"
Amnesty International has implicated Adam Salih in "Janjaweed
militia attacks"... [source]
were the UN
peacekeepers taken by a government-affiliated militia?
Is the UN
not only "liaising" but negotiating with the government for
Inner City Press,
which has been asking the UN about its role in the re-election of
indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir, sought to proceed with the
question, or to have Mr. Nesirky return to the rostrum after the
Guatemala presentation. While Nesirky said, "Let's do that,"
he left the briefing and did not return. But the questions
will continue. Watch this site.
April 21 transcript, Inner City Press' questions and OSSG's
City Press: On Sudan, the missing or kidnapped peacekeepers in
Darfur, it is now being reported that South African Government has
been negotiating with the group and the group has said that they will
release the peacekeepers once the election results are released in
Darfur. There are also reports that this group, both by the name of
its founder and otherwise, are a somewhat Government-supported
militia. What I wanted to know is whether the UN has had any
involvement in these discussions between the South African Government
and the hostage takers or, and whether, what it would say to a trail
of evidence that seems to indicate that the hostage takers are in
fact in some way initially created by or affiliated with the
Government of Sudan?
I have mentioned here before that the UN is concerned for the
well-being of the four people, the four South African peacekeepers
who are missing. And I have also said that the UN has been liaising
with the Government of Sudan and, as in other such cases, it’s the
responsibility of the host Government to ensure the safe return of
people in such circumstances. And beyond that, I don’t have any
comment at the moment.
Of the concern that this liaising, that in fact, I mean, there’s
also been, a UNAMID Spokesman has said that the Government knows who
the hostage takers are, so that’s why I am assuming that that’s a
At the moment…
Is that a matter of concern to the UN; that the host Government is
aware of and allegedly is connected to the hostage talkers, is that
of some concern?
At the moment, there are two things. One is that the overriding
concern is, again, for our people on the ground. And for that
reason, I don’t have anything further to say.
But you will, I mean once they’re released maybe you will…?
The whole aim of the game is for our colleagues to be returned