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Tweeking Sudans Resolution, No Comment on Child Soldiers, Hilde's Anti-Aircraft

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 1 -- On April 30, the United States put its amended draft resolution on the two Sudans "into blue," setting it up for a vote. Still that evening, US Ambassador Susan Rice spoke with her Chinese counterpart Li Baodong and Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative Pankin.

  On May 1 outside an afternoon meeting of Council members' political coordinators, Inner City Press was told that the US was adamant that the resolution would be put to a vote on May 2, that the US has "the votes." One wondered, does that mean an abstention is possible?

  Later one of the objectors told Inner City Press that talks and even changes on the draft resolution would continue Tuesday night, right up to any Wednesday vote.

  Another well placed Council member pointed out that while the African Union's request "carries a lot of weight," the African Union did NOT ask for Article 41 (sanctions) and also did not specify WHICH paragraph it wanted supported under Chapter 7. "That's where the negotiation is," the source told Inner City Press. We'll see.

  Meanwhile at the May 1 UN noon briefing Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: an Ambassador of South Sudan has said that Khartoum is conscripting young South Sudanese in the territory of the north and making them fight; for example in Heglig and on the border, and I wanted to know, is anyone in the UN system aware of that? And do they have, can they confirm that, and what is going to be done about it?

Deputy Spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey: Well, I’ll have to check on that. I don’t have the information with me. I saw the media reports this morning; we will have to check and see and come back on it. As you know, our Missions in Sudan are limited to Darfur and Abyei, so we don’t have missions in the rest of the country. Consequently, we can’t monitor what is going on in the entire country.

Inner City Press: But Ms. Coomaraswamy does do reports on countries where you don’t have a peacekeeping mission. She says this is a problem, the recruitment of children, this would be the forced recruitment of child [inaudible]…

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, you might want to contact her Office and find out.

Inner City Press: Right. But, isn’t she the Special Envoy of Ban Ki-moon?

Deputy Spokesperson: Yes, but you might want to contact her Office and see.

Inner City Press. OK. Hilde Johnson gave an interview to The Citizen in Juba, and she said that we have a mandate, we, UNMISS have a mandate to protect civilians but we can’t do it. We don’t have the resources, because we don’t have anti-aircraft missiles. She said it a couple of times. At least the article reports it twice. And so, it is unclear to some, is she asking, she seems to say that they’d like to have them. And is that something that UNMISS, does UNMISS want to have anti-aircraft missiles? Is that what the interview means?

Deputy Spokesperson: I don’t interpret it that way. What she was asked was, you know, what can you do, you are there in South Sudan, what can you do to stop people from being killed by aerial bombardment? And, she said, well we don’t have the tools to be able to repulse the aerial bombardment, and she mentioned specifically the fact that they had no ground-to-air missiles to deal with planes coming over the border to bomb the place. I don’t think she was asking for anything; she was basically making a statement of fact.

Inner City Press: does South Sudan have such equipment? Does she think that they should?

Deputy Spokesperson: I don’t know if South Sudan has that equipment or not. But, I don’t think she was saying that they should have it. All she was saying was that, in terms of her mandate to protect the civilian population of South Sudan, she does not have the tools in her arsenal to be able to fight against aerial bombardment. Okay, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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