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On Darfur, While U.S. Lobbies for Lockheed, Sudan Says No, UK On ICC Moves

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

UNITED NATIONS, July 2, updated July 4 -- On Darfur, some views are easy to hear, others require more work. Wednesday in front of the Security Council chamber, the United States' envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson told the Press that the UN as well as Khartoum are to blame for there being only 600 additional peacekeepers in Darfur since the beginning of the year, rather than the 3,600 the U.S. had called for. He said that the U.S. has expressed its support for the second in command of the mission, Rwandan general Karake Karenzi, despite him being charged with war crimes by a Spanish magistrate in February.

   Inner City Press asked about the July 15 expiration of the first of two possible three month extensions of the $250 million no-bid contract with Lockheed Martin's PAE subsidiary, for peacekeeping camps in Darfur. "PAE has the experience," Williamson said. "It would be prudent if they are allowed to continue performing the service. There'd be a substantial lag if you tried bring someone else new in," he continued. "I have raised it at the highest level in Sudan, Under-Secretary General [Susana] Malcorra has raised it. Hopefully by July 15 there'll be a sorting out." Video here, from Minute 5:05.

   But when Inner City Press asked the UN, spokesman Nick Birnback replied that " you are correct that Ms. Malcorra has recently returned from visiting Darfur. No contract extension for PAE has been requested. The Government of Sudan was requested to allow finalization of the works under the contract which will go beyond July 15th, including all equipment being imported." From this, it appears that the issue has already been sorted out and decided -- the contract will not be extended, and another contractor will have to be named by July 15.

In El Fasher UNAMID Camp, June 2008, (c) Matthew Russell Lee

  Likewise while Williamson said the U.S. has conveyed its support for indicted General Karenzi, Inner City Press has learned that the UN Secretariat has written to Rwanda asking them to propose a substitute general. Sudan's Ambassador to the UN Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem Mohamed asked Inner City Press, why didn't the Secretary-General consult with the African Union before writing to Rwanda, since it is a hybrid force?

  Ironically, Sudan and the United States are on the same side of the issue of indicted General Karenzi continue to serve as deputy commander of the Darfur peacekeeping mission, with the Secretariat taking a different view. Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem Mohamed also told Inner City Press that UK Ambassador John Sawers believes that International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo should hold off on any further indictments, at least for now, since there is a new Darfur mediator, Djibrill Yipene Bassole of Burkina Faso. This appeared at odds with Amb. Sawers public positions, including while recently in Sudan, Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem Mohamed noted. [Update -- the UK Mission has said that Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem Mohamed has "erroneously quoted" Ambassador Sawers, "they did talk about ICC, but John [Sawers] said it was a matter for the court, he didn't say that any new indictments should be delayed." Duly noted, even on the 4th of July.]

  On Lockheed Martin and PAE, "they are history," Sudan's Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem Mohamed said on July 2, "no extension will be granted."  Having since spoken with DFS chief Malcorra, we will have more soon on all this.

Footnote: On July 1 at the UN, Inner City Press asked China's special envoy to Sudan Liu Guijin about his statement, a week previous in Beijing, that some Western media and NGOs misrepresent China's role in Sudan and turn rebel groups against China. Inner City Press asked if he was aware of a statement at the UN on June 17 by John Prendergast, that Chinese oil workers could be targeted. "Yes I have heard of that," Liu Guijin said. But while Western NGOs and countries focus only on the responsibility of Khartoum and of China, on July 2 Chad's president Idriss Deby said he will not speak with Sudan's president, nor with rebels who seek to topple him. Who is criticizing Chad for adopting this stance? We'll see.

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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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