Meeting Has Weak Communique, Little Darfur Focus, “Big-Footing”
September 24 -- This afternoon's closed door meeting on
Sudan at the UN has been presented as a watershed, a highlight of
this year's UN General Assembly. US President Obama's “14 minute
speech” has been hyped by his Special Adviser Samantha Power, when
Inner City Press asked why
Obama had not mentioned Sudan in his
General Assembly speech.
The UN Secretariat has bragged to reporters
about its role in putting together the Communique to be issued after
has obtained a near
final draft of the Communique and it putting it
online here in advance of the meeting. Of its 14 paragraphs, three
deal with Darfur and one with Eastern Sudan. The Communique
surprisingly weak statement, human rights advocates say. “How could
this be the highlight of the US' involvement?” one asked Inner City
President Taha will participate in the meeting, and is slated to
speak to the Press afterward. The day before, Inner City Press asked
African Union Commission President Jean Ping what the AU hopes to
come out of the meeting.
Ping said the
AU takes a “holistic”
approach, which some view as a codeword for “drop or suspend the
International Criminal Court indictment of Omar Al Bashir for war
crimes and genocide.”
hours before the meeting, Inner City Press asked Nigerian president
Goodluck Jonathan what if he thought the meeting -- and by
implication, the Communique -- dealt sufficiently with Darfur, where
Nigeria has peacekeeping battalions controlled by former Nigerian
diplomat Ibrahim Gambari.
Obama & AU president, Sudan not seen in speech,
Darfur hardly in meeting?
President Jonathan spoke about Darfur but
also about the referendum, saying that the borders should be clear
before the vote, scheduled for January 9, 2011. It seems unlikely
that the borders, much less the division of oil revenue, will be
decided before then.
the US “big
foots,” as one advocate put it, nearly unilaterally stalling a
planned Security Council trip to Sudan due to a reticence for the US
Permanent Representative to meet or take a photo with Omar al Bashir,
smaller non-Permanent Council members try to do what they can.
is on record
as favoring the Council trip to Sudan, even if “some P-5
Ambassadors stay in their hotel rooms.” Austria has offered legal
expertise to both sides, in meetings Friday with Khartoum's foreign
minister Ali Ahmed Karti and two ministers from South Sudan.
told by Inner
City Press of this work and these complaints by non Permanent Council
members on Sudan, a senior UN official this week replied, “I'd hate
to be a small member state.” And so it goes at the UN. We will be
Tweeting and live blogging from outside the Sudan meeting: watch @InnerCityPress
* * *
Sudan in GA Speech, Trip “Is Dead,” Power Speaks of Kitchen Sink
23 -- The UN
Security Council's long planned trip
to Sudan in early October “is dead,” a non Permanent member of
the Council told Inner City Press on Thursday.
Council members meet with the country's President, Omar al Bashir,
who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war
crimes and genocide. To the US, at least the US Mission to the UN,
this was a non-starter.
asked US Presidential senior adviser and Senior Director for
Multilateral Affairs Samantha Power about the trip, and the
absence of the words Sudan much less Darfur from President Barack
Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday morning.
Power acknowledged the absence of Sudan from the speech, saying that
“he didn't mention it, you're right, in the General Assembly today”
but “the truth is the President is giving a very substantial set of
remarks on Sudan tomorrow, so the judgment was, let's do this right,
you'll hear alot about Darfur, a lot about the CPA.”
it's not either
- or: if Sudan is so important, it could have joined such topics as
Poland and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in the speech.
the trip, Ms.
Power said “the details and logistics are still being worked out,
it's still very much in play, as part of this drumbeat...pretty much
the kitchen sink is being through at this challenge, the trip is
being seen in this light.”
sources tell Inner City Press that the trip is dead, killed by the
US' resistance to meeting with Omar al Bashir. Several Council
members expressed frustration to Inner City Press, that the US and UK
monopolized the deliberation on the trip. Some said the US wants to
get all the credit if things “somehow work out in Sudan” -- a
“strange multilateralism,” one called it.
Samantha Power viewing rights (commissioner), SC
Sudan trip not shown
terms of Obama
delivering a 14 minute speech at the September 24 meeting, the UN's
planners of the meeting, bragging about Ban Ki-moon's role and five
minutes speech, have indicated they hope all participants keep
themselves to five minutes. The US now seems to think that's good to
about whether the opening of the meeting will be open and can be
filmed. The US seems to want there to be footage of Obama talking
about Sudan at Friday's meeting. But he could have done it in the
General Assembly on Thursday. We'll see. Watch this site.
* * *
Sudan VP, Bashir “Does Not Come Up,” UN Dodges on
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"
Tuesday asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky five
questions about both Darfur and South Sudan:
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?
have heard some reports. I don’t have details. I would
need to get some details on that. I don’t have that.
And I guess there is a few, yesterday I had asked you
reports is what I am referring to.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Even to participate in Friday’s meeting?
beg your pardon?
Even to participate in Friday’s meeting [inaudible]?
I don’t know, this I don’t know.
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