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As UN Says No Casualties From Sudan Bombing, Won't Answer on Air Force Build Up

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 15, updated -- If Sudan's bombing in South Sudan didn't cause any casualties, as the UN's Herve Ladsous said in the Security Council on Tuesday, how much will it change the condemnatory Presidential Statement that the US was preparing?

   US Ambassador Susan Rice told Inner City Press, "we need to condemn the bombings."

  But again the split in the Council is on view. Both Russia and China expressed skepticism to Inner City Press after Ladsous' report, one calling the crater a mere "hand grenade," the other saying that Western powers want to turn its into a "Council of Condemnations."

  On the other hand, UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant said that since Yide is well within South Sudan, and there's verification of the presence of an Antonov 12 -- only used in the region by the Sudanese Air Force -- then the PRST can and should proceed.

  But Russia has circulated and asked for fast action on a Press Statement about South Sudan's detention of Russian aircraft. Hilde Johnson, the UN envoy to South Sudan whom Sudan called an "advocate," called this detention "disappointing." Westerners say the two issues should be dealt with together.

  China's Li Baodong told Inner City Press, We think it should be dealt with separately. Moments later, India's Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri expressed the same view as he left the Council.  And Council President Cabral told Inner City Press he thought the two would be separate.

  Meanwhile neither the spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon nor DPKO, as of 5:30 on Tuesday, had answered these questions from noon:

Inner City Press: In Sudan, there are these satellite photographs of the Sudanese armed… air force building up bases right next to South Sudan. So I am wondering if that is something that the UN can verify, or when you said that Mr. Ladsous is going to be speaking about Sudan, is that only Darfur or does he have some jurisdictional ability to speak about the rest of Sudan?

Deputy Spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey: Well, we’ll have to see what he says this afternoon on that.

Inner City Press: Will you be sure that he will do a stakeout and take questions then?

Deputy Spokesperson: I am not sure about that, I don’t have any information.

Inner City Press: Well, then how can we wait and see what he says?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, because you will be able to hear what he says on television.

Inner City Press: I know, but this is a question. Is he going to answer that question?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, we’ll try and find out for you.

  Five and a half hours later, nothing. And despite putting in the question, again, with Ladsous' staff, he did not speak with the press when he left the Security Council.

  As noted, while exiting US Ambassador Susan Rice told Inner City Press, "we need to condemn the bombings." She also said that that the satellite images of Sudan Air Force build up, in El Obeid and Blue Nile, had not been raised - so, not by Ladsous.

   Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative Pankin said it is four times their helicopters have been shot at or detained, and freed only after involving Hilde Johnson or even Salva Kiir.

(c) UN Photo
Ladsous & mic (in S Sudan), casualties & comments on Air Force build up not shown

  One wonders what Ladsous recent trip to North and South Sudan accomplished -- and if the much overdue Status of Forces Agreement for Abyei will be signed November 15 in Addis Ababa. Watch this site.

Footnote: After Sudan's Permanent Representative said he had a confession on video from an SPLM official that South Sudan is bring arms into the North, Inner City Press asked South Sudan's representative David Choat what he thought of it. Choat scoffed, "They could put someone in one of our uniforms." And so it goes.

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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

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