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As al-Bashir is Feted in Doha, UN's Ban Affirms Position, Obama and Gration

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

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 -- As in Doha Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir basked in Arab and African support, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon railed stronger than usual against Bashir's expulsion of 10 non-governmental organizations from Darfur. In New York, Ban's Spokesperson went out of her way to point out that Ban never officially met Bashir in Doha, but only looked across the conference hall at him.

One explanation of Ban's stance was found in yet another city, Washington, where on Monday afternoon, US President Barrack Obama met with his new envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration. Also attending the meeting were, among others, Senator Isakson, Rep. Berman, Sen. Feingold, Rep. Payne and Jerry Fowler of the Save Darfur Coalition.

  Obama told the press he wanted to affirm his support of Gration in advance of Gration's trip to the region. Perhaps he wanted Ban Ki-moon, too, to affirm his support for Gration and the US.

UN's Ban and Emir of Qatar in Doha, Sudan's al-Bashir not shown

  Of Gration, a Sudanese diplomat told Inner City Press that Khartoum notes, seemingly with optimism, that Gration has an anti-terrorism mandate: this works for Sudan. He role in Iraq is viewed less positively. How his humanitarian experience will play out is not known.

A Chinese diplomat, explaining his country's dissatisfaction with last week's Security Council briefing by UN humanitarian John Holmes and joint UN-African Union mediator Bassole, told Inner City Press that at least two other officials should be there: UN Peacekeeping's Alain Le Roy, and Luis Moreno Ocampo of the International Criminal Court. All four pillars, the Chinese diplomat said, arguing that since the Council gave Ocampo his mandate, he should come and explain himself...

Footnote: speaking from Doha against the International Criminal Court's indictment of Bashir, the African Union's chief Jean Ping questioned by the ICC has not acted on five situations: Iraq, Georgia, Gaza, Colombia... and Sri Lanka. To be continued

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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