As US Gration Says Genocide Charge Makes His Job Harder,
Rice Insists Policy is Clear and United: Or Is It AWOL?
July 27 -- Days after Sudan's Omar Al Bashir was indicted
for genocide by the International Criminal Court, UN envoy to Sudan
Scott Gration said that the indictment “makes my job harder.”
This not surprisingly gave rise to outrage among human rights
advocates. Tuesday at
the UN, Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice if Gration's
in the Obama administration's view. Video here,
from Minute 2:49.
responded,“No, the United States is very clear and united behind
President Obama's policy towards Sudan.” Activists, on the other
hand, say that the Obama Administration's policy on Sudan
is drifting, or AWOL
Leave) as one campaign puts it.
City Press: Some say that the administration, sort of, that you have
and Scott Gration has another message. He was quoted recently as
saying that the indictment for genocide of President Bashir makes his
job more difficult. So I guess what I'm wondering is, is there
something called Project AWOL that says the administration has sort
of lost its way on Sudan policy? What do you make of that criticism
and do you think that-is the administration moving with one voice to
put pressure on President Bashir both on Darfur and on South Sudan
having the referendum, or are there mixed messages, as some say?
No, the United States is very clear and united behind President
Obama's policy towards Sudan, which has multiple components as it was
outlined by Secretary Clinton and I and others and General Gration in
October. We are placing very strong emphasis on full and urgent
implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement as the referendum
approaches and we attach great urgency to resolving the many issues
that remain unresolved. At the same time, we are gravely concerned by
the deteriorating security situation in Darfur, the need for
accountability for justice for ending the violence and ensuring full
protection of civilians. And so, the situation in Sudan is complex,
there are multiple imperatives, and we're united in our efforts to
meet those imperatives.
Susan Rice on July 27, Gration, AWOL
City Press: Does the genocide indictment make your job more difficult,
follow up. Is that actually what he said?
I'm not in a position to say precisely what others have said.
Suffice it to say that the United States stands firmly behind justice
and accountability for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity
in Darfur and elsewhere.
also raised about the U.S. position on accountability for war crimes
when Ambassador Rice issued a statement largely lauding Sri Lanka's
Rajapaksa government's own panel on “Lessons Learnt,” which was
meant to forestall a advisory UN Panel of Experts on Accountability
in Sri Lanka.
envoy to Darfur
Ibrahim Gambari, it was said, would speak to the Press after the
Council's consultations. At the UN's noon briefing on Tuesday, Inner
City Press asked a question about Darfur, to which spokesman Martin
Nesirky said, you can ask Ibrahim Gambari. But Gambari left and did
not do the stakeout. Later it was announced he would appear at 4:30.
Questions about Scott "Alaska" Gration will be asked. Watch this site.
* * *
Not “Police the Police,” Even in Sudan, Passive As
Leaving Birao in CAR
July 20 -- The UN's job, in Sudan and by extension
elsewhere, “is not to police the police,” UN Spokesman Martin
Nesirky told the Press on Monday. Inner City Press had asked about
of torture and crackdown on independent media by the Sudanese
National Intelligence and Security Service.
While saying there may be
“further guidance” from the Department of Peacekeeping
Operations, Nesirky said it's not the UN's job to “police the
if the UN is
spending over $1 billion each on two peacekeeping missions in Sudan,
with stated goals including ensuring a fair referendum on the
independence of South Sudan and the protection of civilians,
shouldn't the UN have been aware of this police activity, including
torture? If the UN was aware of it, why did it not speak?
Inner City Press asked
the UN about
Press: a crackdown on the press. Three newspapers have been
closed in Khartoum, and youth, with this Girifna, have been arrested
by the Government, all for purportedly supporting separation or the
referendum for the south to break away. Does the UN, I heard your
statement of Mr. Bassolé, but what does either Mr. [Haile]
or the UN say about the north-south issue? And it’s related to
that or not related to that, are reports that recent killings in
Abyei are intended to drive the Dinka people out so that the vote
would go Khartoum’s way. Is there any, what’s the UN doing on
the north-south front rather than the Darfur front?
Farhan Haq: Well, certainly the UN Mission in Sudan
(UNMIS) is working very clearly with all the parties trying to ensure
calm on the north-south front. I don’t have anything in particular
to say about the situation in Abyei right now. As for the crackdown
on the press, these allegations we’ll check first and foremost with
our Human Rights and UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization] colleagues whether they have anything to
say on that.
since July 7,
nothing has been said on this by the UN, its “Human Rights”
(Commission?) or UNESCO. And now on July 19, the UN again said maybe
one of its constituent units -- DPKO -- may have something to say.
We'll be waiting.
asked asked about the Central
African Republic government's report
that it retook the town of Birao from rebels. The UN's peacekeeping
contingent in Birao, 300 strong, “confirmed” the government's
why didn't the
UN, with 300 peacekeepers on site, report the initial attack and take
over by rebels? Why didn't the UN's 300 peacekeepers do anything?
The outgoing Holmes in Sudan, torture and Birao in
CAR not shown
July 19, UN
Spokesman Martin Nesirky said that DPKO and Ban Ki-moon had made it
clear they would prefer from the MINURCAT mission to stay deployed.
But when Idriss Deby threw the Chad component out, DPKO did not even
try to keep the CAR component in Birao and elsewhere.
referred to outgoing top UN humanitarian John Holmes. Inner City
Press saw Holmes on Monday leaving the North Lawn building and ran
after him to ask: what about Birao?
Holmes to his
credit stopped. He
explained that DPKO had said to keep the CAR component, with the
Chadian, wouldn't be “sustainable.”
a cost -
benefit analysis by the UN, without transparency or accountability,
and the Central African Republicans, like the Sudanese, are losing.
Watch this site.
* * *
El Fasher Summit, US Won't Explain, UN Won't
-- Why did the U.S. envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration,
not attend last weekend's El Fasher summit on Darfur including
Gration's Chinese, Russian and EU counterparts? Inner City Press has
asked the U.S. Mission to the UN, including Ambassador Susan Rice as
she walked into the Security Council. But the question has not been
Rice aide told
Inner City Press to ask Gration's spokesperson, Marie Nelson, that
she would be waiting for the call. But despite three calls to Ms.
Nelson, including a request for answer by voice mail or e-mail, no
answer has been received. Nor did a re-request to the U.S. Mission
get any answer, except the vague statement that Gration's reason is
simpler than it was assumed Inner City Press would speculate.
linked Gration's non attendance to his disagreements
with the UN's Ibrahim Gambari. It is not that at this point Gration
appears any more committed to justice in Darfur than is Mr. Gambari.
It's a turf war, pure and simple.
July 7, Inner
City Press told and asked the UN Mission to the UN:
before and after the noon briefing (where I asked
some other Sudan questions, including about crackdowns on free press
and the youth group Girifna). I'm sending you the "Final
Communiqué from JSR Retreat for the Special Envoys to the Sudan"
and an article speculating about Gration's absence. They say Gration
had agreed to the time and place - true? I'd like an on the record
explanation of Gration's non attendance, etc.
of this writing, nothing. Watch this site.
Envoys in El Fasher, Gration not shown, explanation not given
briefing, Inner City Press asked
this meeting that you gave a readout of, of Mr.
Gambari, you said that various Member States went, but many people
picked up on the fact that Scott Gration of the US, neither the UK
nor French envoys went. Essentially it was Russian, Chinese envoys;
you can give me, if there is a longer list, give it to me. Did Mr.
Gambari invite the Western envoys on the Darfur issue, and what does
the UN make of their failure to attend and participate?
first off, the full text of the communiqué
is available in the Spokesperson’s office. So, you can get a clear
view of the parties and the discussions there. It’s, I think, a
two-page readout. I don’t know the reasons for attendance or
non-attendance of some of these.
7 Inner City Press asked:
newspapers have been closed in Khartoum, and youth,
with this Girifna, have been arrested by the Government, all for
purportedly supporting separation or the referendum for the south to
break away. Does the UN, I heard your statement of Mr. Bassolé,
what does either Mr. [Haile] Menkerios or the UN say about the
north-south issue? And it’s related to that or not related to
that, are reports that recent killings in Abyei are intended to drive
the Dinka people out so that the vote would go Khartoum’s way. Is
there any, what’s the UN doing on the north-south front rather than
the Darfur front?
certainly the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is
working very clearly with all the parties trying to ensure calm on
the north-south front. I don’t have anything in particular to say
about the situation in Abyei right now. As for the crackdown on the
press, these allegations we’ll check first and foremost with our
Human Rights and UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization] colleagues whether they have anything to say
too. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]