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Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

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On Darfur, Sudan Complains of UN Rejecting African Troops, While Italy Calls for Somalia Cooperation

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, September 25 -- While French president Sarkozy presided over a session of the UN Security Council full of self-congratulations for the Council's "hybrid- force" resolution on Darfur, Sudan's Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad told Inner City Press that the force will be delayed by UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno's decision to reject offers of African troops. The example the Sudanese Ambassador listed were 3000 Egyptian soldiers, which he said Guehenno rejected.

            At the Council, though, Sarkozy bragged about "the adoption of the resolution authorizing deployment of an international operation in Chad and the Central African Republic." Last year, France dropped a "psychological" bomb in Chad to prop up President Deby, then refused to discuss the specifics or intent of the bomb. Yet Tuesday Sarkozy said, "Our Security Council thus demonstrates its determination to work for peace and stabilities in the subregion."

            The UK was not represented by its head of state Gordon Brown, nor even by its foreign minister. Rather, Dr. Kim Howells expressed "hope the UN and AU will agree the Hybrid's composition." Sudan's Ambassador highlighted disagreements which he called anti-African. Unrelatedly, the strikingly non-high level of UK representation at the meeting is explained by the summoning-back to Britain of Mark Malloch Brown, purportedly so that sitting with heads of state wouldn't further go to his head. For a Permanent Five Council member, however, these games cause some to question Britain's commitment.

Ban, Milliband, Nambiar on September 25, 2007

            That said, just as Malloch Brown did on September 22 outside the Darfur meeting, Kim Howells in the Security Council said that "Sudan should fully co-operate with the International Criminal Court." Tuesday, Slovakia's president Ivan Gasparovic echoed that "Slovakia fully supports fighting impunity and particularly the role of the ICC."

            Belgium's representative went further, opening calling for a cut in development aid to any country found to be using child soldiers. He spoke of Joseph Kony of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army, saying that it is known where he is and what he's done, and yet no one acts against him.

            Italy's Romano Prodi said, of Somalia, that "because of our special relationship with this country... in Somalia we must also be committed to closer cooperation between the UN and the AU." But if what Sudan's Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad told Inner City Press on Tuesday is true, this cooperation is still some way off. We'll see.

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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

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540