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UNMIS Wrap-Up Draft Eyes End of August, Kordofan Offer in Dispute

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 11, updated -- On Friday, the eve of South Sudan's independence, the UN Security Council met at 5 pm to consider a draft resolution “liquidating” the old UN Mission in Sudan, UNMIS, after having formed a new UNMISS only south of the border.

Several Council sources told Inner City Press that this wind-down resolution might allow for the retention of some UN peacekeeping presence in conflict plagued Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, at least during the wrap up period.

We're just waiting for Russia and China to get instructions, several sources told Inner City Press on Friday evening, saying it might be adopted on Saturday at 11 am. But at that time, the Security Council was closed, and there was no announcement over the weekend.

On Monday morning a Western spokesperson told the Press that the draft would set the end of August as the deadline, and that the draft mostly reiterates what is in the Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA.

But a source on the Northern side told Inner City Press there is “an issue with Paragraph six,” in which the Council would express its willingness to stay in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Bashir and Kiir on July 9, 2011, liquidation reso not shown

The parties are talking,” the source said, “and some don't want the Council to say anything about it at this time.”

Meanwhile bombs are being dropped on the Nuba people.

Update of 11:28 am -- look like the fix is in. China rep tells Inner City Press have agreed to language about the UN being ready to provide assistance “upon the consent” of the parties. Should be adopted after the morning's Libya briefing by Al-Khatib.

Update of 11:44 am - the draft in blue says the Council “expresses its readiness to continue current UN operations in these states, with the consent of the parties, until those new security arrangements have been implemented.”

Watch this site.

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On Sudan, Could an UNMIS “Wrap-Up” Resolution Provide S. Kordofan Protection?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 8 -- As the UN Security Council adopted its resolution for 7000 peacekeeping troops in South Sudan, behind the scenes negotiations continued to see if a separate resolution on the dissolving UN Mission in Sudan was needed, and what it could accomplish.

  Sudan's president Omar al Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in Darfur, has ordered the UN mission in North Sudan to start winding down the moment South Sudan declares independence.

  But the political coordinator of a BRICS country told Inner City Press that it is possible that a “wind-up” resolution could provide for UN peacekeepers staying in the violent border areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile at least while the mission is being wound up.

  “That would require the consent of Bashir,” a representative of a Permanent member of the Council pointed out, adding that the UN Department of Field Support and Office of Legal Affairs, headed by Patricia O'Brien, had been asked to opine if a wind up resolution is needed.

  The spokesman of another Permanent member said that negotiations were continuing, even on the eve of South Sudan's independence, with Ban Ki-moon in Khartoum, meeting with not with Bashir but foreign minister Ali Karti.

  “It would be a good message to have such a resolution,” the representative said, indicating the UN was not just getting thrown out. But isn't it?

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

  At Friday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about reports that the Egyptian UN peacekeepers in Kadugli in Southern Kordofan sat by while civilians were killed right outside their gates, and that two Nuba UN local staff were killed.

  Haq denied the later, and pointed to earlier statements on the former. Inner City Press is still waiting for a response from UNMIS promised earlier in the week. Better hurry up: for now, UNMIS is over on July 9. Watch this site -- and this, Inner City Press July 7 debate on about Sudan.

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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.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

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.

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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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