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On S. Sudan Resolution, UN Role on Borders of Blue Nile & Kordofan Unclear, Troop Numbers Game

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 6, updated -- With the countdown to South Sudan's formal declaration of independence on July 9 begun, at the UN in New York on Wednesday negotiations on the resolution for a new peacekeeping mission went into overtime.

  A Deputy Permanent Representative emerged from the Security Council chamber and told Inner City Press that while the size of the mission will be reconsidered after three or six months, a sticking point is whether and how the disputed borders in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states will be monitored.

  “If the North does not agree,” the DPR told Inner City Press, “there can't be any UN peacekeepers there.”

  Khartoum has agreed to Ethiopian troops in Abyei, but has stepped away from a deal about South Kordofan. When Inner City Press asked the UN earlier on Wednesday to confirm troops build ups in South Kordofan, the response was a reiteration of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's call for freedom of movement. Does that mean the UN doesn't have freedom of movement? Yes, was the answer. Video here, from Minute 47:30.

  Questions posed to the UN in New York on July 5 were then e-mailed to UNMIS in Sudan, but have yet to be answered. A delegation from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations came out of the Security Council at 5 pm on Wednesday. Referring to the number of troops proposed, Inner City Press asked, “Seven thousand?” A UN military official laughed; a civilian official said “DPKO has no comment.”

[See update below: UK says between six and seven thousand.]

  On the numbers, a Permanent Representative inside the negotiations told Inner City Press that DPKO while asking for 7000 also refers to a 5400 figure. We'll have more on this.

Footnote: as the above was finished, the Obama administration announced its delegation to Juba, including Susan Rice, Colin Powell, Brooke Anderson, Rep. Donald Payne, Princeton Lyman, Donald Steinberg, Africom's Carter F. Ham, and Johnnie Carson. “Johnny Carson?” a US official asked. Not that Johnny Carson...

Update of 7:35 pm -- among Western P-5 Permanent Representative, the UK's Mark Lyall Grant emerged and told Inner City Press, somewhere between six and seven thousand. France's Gerard Araud said nothing. And Susan Rice of the US... is still inside the Council, if the presence of USUN body guards is any guide.

Update of 8 pm -- the problem of adopting the resolution on Friday has apparently been solved: the resolution will say that the mission is created "upon" independence, and will be voted on Friday. The last of the diplomats have left.

* * *

UN Resolution for New S. Sudan Mission May Be Delayed Until July 9

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 6, updated -- With the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan set to expire on July 8, the day before South Sudan declares independence, as of June 6 at the UN in New York the Security Council resolution to create a new force in South Sudan has not yet been passed.

   At a meeting of Deputy Permanent Representatives on July 5, one member voiced opposition to forming the new Mission until after South Sudan formally declares independence, and found some suppporters. They pointed at a paragraph in the draft resolution which welcomes the creation of South Sudan.

  Either the word “imminent” should be added, or the resolution not adopted until Saturday, July 9, they said.

Kiir & Bashir in Juba, new UN resolution & mission not yet seen

  Inner City Press asked US Permanent Representative Susan Rice about this on the morning of July 6. She replied, “As long as it's done by [July] 9th, it doesn't matter.”

By” or “on”?

Update: as the Security Council continued consulting Wednesday on the South Sudan resolution, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative Sasha Pankin came out and told Inner City Press, regarding the timing of adopting, “Does it really matter to a mission in New York, Friday at 7 pm or Saturday at 8 am?” He added that there are other issues, too, to be addressed. Inner City Press hears these include the size -- and cost -- of the force. Watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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