Meets Sudan VP, Bashir “Does Not Come Up,” UN Dodges on
September 21 -- When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
met Tuesday with Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha, somehow the
topic of President Omar al Bashir and his indictments for genocide
and war crimes by the International Criminal Court “did not come
up,” Clinton's spokesman PJ Crowley told the Press.
this is possible, not only given the US' claimed interest in
accountability for genocide but also Bashir's
importance in the
processes in South Sudan and Darfur. Could Clinton meet about
Zimbabwe and have Robert Mugabe “not come up”? Could she meet
about North Korea and not mention Kim Jong Il?
fact, the UN
Security Council's planned trip to Sudan about the referendum and
Darfur, slated for October 4 to 11, is being blocked by the stated
concern of the UK, France and the US to not have to have a photo op
September 19, a
Permanent Five Council member Ambassador told Inner City Press that
the issue of the trip, and of having to meet Bashir, would be raised
with Taha as early as Monday night's dinner hosted by the Sudanese.
So how could the issue, and Bashir himself, not come up in Clinton's
meeting Tuesday with Taha?
there will be other meetings throughout the week, in the run up to
the meeting involving President Obama on September 24. He also to his
credit promised answered to other questions at his next briefing in
New York. We'll see.
Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair & UN's Ban in
past, Bashir not shown - "did not come up"
City Press on
Tuesday asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky five
questions about both Darfur and South Sudan:
Press: First, can you confirm that some staff members of UNAMID
in South Darfur were attacked and injured near Muhajeriya. Do you
have anything on it?
I have heard some reports. I don’t have details. I would
need to get some details on that. I don’t have that.
Press: And I guess there is a few, yesterday I had asked you
Media reports is what I am referring to.
Press: Right. Yesterday
I had asked you this question of
whether the Commissioner of the Referendum, the Secretary-General of
the Referendum Commission for South Sudan, was a UN staff member
previously serving with United Nations Mission for the Referendum in
Western Sahara (MINURSO) in Western Sahara. Were you able to get
answer on that?
I think my colleagues in Department of Peacekeeping Operations
(DPKO) will be in touch with you. But as I understand it, the person
concerned was a UN staff member, but is no longer.
Press: Right. Okay. And also, I mean, maybe it will be in
connection with that. I have heard that, in fact, the UN, while
saying publicly that they will be opening 80 monitoring stations
throughout South Sudan for the referendums scheduled for January, in
fact expects to open no more than 55 or so. That seems the number,
the difference between internal and external presentation seems so
wide that I wonder if you can confirm that.
I am not aware of any change in the intention to open the number of
monitoring stations that has already been publicly stated. Let me
find out if there’s been a change. I am not aware of that.
Press: And just one last one. This is a Secretary-General
question rather than DPKO, I believe. Can you, I guess, confirm that
the Secretary-General intends to name this panel of eminent persons,
three-person panel to monitor or at least he is attempting to name
this before Friday’s meeting? And can you give any sense of what
the back and forth is or whether it will contain a Head of State? There
is a lot of interest in this panel and not a lot of
Well, I can fully understand that there is a lot of interest in the
forming of a monitoring panel, which is something that, as you know,
was mentioned in a Security Council press statement last week, if I
am not mistaken, that the Security Council supports the request that
there has been for such a monitoring panel. This is something that
is in the works. We will have something to announce when it is
finalized. I think we are getting quite close to that. The
intention is to have something in place and the people in place in
good time for this to be useful for all concerned.
Press: Even to participate in Friday’s meeting?
I beg your pardon?
Press: Even to participate in Friday’s meeting [inaudible]?
This I don’t know, this I don’t know.
More important at the moment is simply to make sure that the pieces
of the jigsaw puzzle are in the right place. This is something that
is being worked on and I hope that we will have a little bit more to
say about this in the next couple of days.
Clinton, after her 3 pm meeting with the Middle East Quartet, was
scheduled to appear at a 4 pm press conference at the UN on the topic.
The presser was canceled, Inner City Press was told by the UN, due to a
power outage. But Clinton's name plate wasn't on the rostrum, even
before the lights went dim.
Crowley said that Clinton had planned to meet with Tony
Blair. But as one reporter pointed out, Blair's name plate WAS on the rostrum. More than a
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to Name Panel This Week, Obama's 5 Minutes on
Darfur & Bashir Photo Op?
20 -- Before the Sudan meeting on September 24,
which will include US President Barack Obama and Rwandan President
Paul Kagame among others, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is trying
to name the three members of his Panel to monitor the referendums set
for January 9.
UN says it is
trying to name a former African head of state as the panel's
chairperson, but has received push-back from the National Congress
Party of Omar al Bashir and from the SPLM. The UN privately admits
that it will not open the 80 monitoring sites it has announced, but
perhaps only as few as fifty five.
joint UN - African Union mediator Bassole wants to announce a
new set of talks in Doha for September 28-29 with “a movement,”
believed to be the relatively pro government Liberation and Justice
Movement, which is headed by a former UN staff member.
staff member who served with the Mission in Western Sahara which has
yet to hold the referendum promised there is now in charge in Sudan
of the Referendum Commission, with the UN trying to provide
assurances to the SPLM that this does not portend delay.
on September 20 asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm that
previous service with the UN in Western Sahara. Nesirky, who often
tried to shirk off such questions from Inner City Press to the UN
Department of Peacekeeping Operations or Department of Political
Affairs could not do so in this instance, and promised to revert.
should also explain how it is legitimate for the UN to use UN
Volunteers for most of the 600 new posts in its UNMIS Mission.
Nesirky's office has previously claimed that the UN's humanitarian
coordinator Georg Charpentier does not show his press releases to the
Sudanese humanitarian affairs minister, something of which a more
senior UN official has since said that Nesirky's answer was not true,
that the releases ARE being shown during this “tense” period.
the September 24
meeting itself, the UN has already circulated the elements of the
statement it hopes will issue, and says that Ban Ki-moon will
restrain himself to five minutes, hoping that other participants
will. But President Obama's advisor Samantha Power, on a September
20 conference call, said that Obama will be delivering “substantial
remarks” in the meeting.
Ban, Obama, Pascoe, Menkerios: focus on Darfur not shown
was not called on to ask Ms. Power or Ambassador Susan Rice to
describe the current status of the UN Security
Council's trip to
Sudan, which has been stalled based on the desire of the US, UK and
France to avoid a photo op with Omar al Bashir, indicted for war
crimes and genocide. There is a dinner on Monday night hosted by
Sudan at which this may be discussed. Or will the trip be among
Obama's “substantive remarks” on Friday?
the White House
conference call, very little was said of Darfur. The UN has accepted
restrictions on its freedom of movement so that it does not even
leave its bases while civilians are being slaughtered, as happened
earlier this month in the Tarabat Market. President Obama, it seems,
will not be mentioning this. And the UN, retaliating for coverage of
its inaction, speaks only to its friends. Some diplomacy. Watch this
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