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As US Defends Record on Darfur, France & UK Took Lead, Silence on Bashir Noted

By Matthew Russell Lee

KAMPALA, October 6 -- With US Ambassador Susan Rice and the rest of the UN Security Council heading to Sudan later today, the US Mission to the UN has argued to Inner City Press that it is wrong to say the US has become less vocal about the killing of civilians in Darfur.

  Many beyond Inner City Press have asserted that US policy, as symbolized by envoy Scott Gration, has prioritized the North - South conflict over that in Darfur.

  But the US Mission, in an October 5 email from New York received by Inner City Press in Uganda, has pointed to quotes by Susan Rice, Gration, Samantha Power and even President Barack Obama for the proposition that it is “just wrong” to say the US has pulled back.

  We will run below the quotes the US Mission compiled. This more than meets the Mission's request for “prominence” in addressing this issue. But consider:

In early August, when there were killings in the Kalma Camp in Darfur, it was France and not the US which asked for a Council meeting.

Later, when Inner City Press obtained documents showing the immanent turn over of five supporters of rebel leader Abdel Wahid Nur from the Kalma Camp to the Omar al Bashir government and handed them to representatives of a number of Security Council members including the US, it was another Permanent Member which responded it was actively looking into the documents, and another member which said the context of the impending turn over troubled them. From the US, no response.

  Even in President Obama's speech in the UN high level meeting on Sudan on September 24, it was not only Inner City Press which noticed that Obama did not mention Bashir, or the International Criminal Court which has indicted him for war crimes and genocide -- the Organization of the Islamic Conference later cited Obama's failure to mention the ICC as support for its position that Bashir should not have been indicted at all.

  We note that the Obama Administration fought to make the UN's September 24 meeting on Sudan open to the press and public.

Susan Rice & unidentified aid arrive in Entebbe on Oct 6, response on turn over of Kalma 5 documents not shown (c) MRLee

  Also noted: Obama in his speech to the General Debate (but not on MDGs) did not even mention Sudan.

  The perception of the Obama Administration as surprisingly unclear on war crimes is shared by, among others, many in the Tamil diaspora, who expressed shock at Susan Rice's statement taking a wait and see approach to the self - serving self - investigation announced by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as a replacement for a UN panel of experts into accountability in Sri Lanka.

  Others have noted the US' silence on Myanmar, then seeming joining of others' call for an international inquiry into war crimes, then a stepping away from that position.

  While we are always willing to listen to and publicize responses to analysis, the point here is that questions about the Obama Administration's and Susan Rice's position on war crimes and Omar al Bashir, and even Darfur, extend far beyond Inner City Press. The answer may be not better public image management, but different actions. We'll see. Watch this site.

From the US Mission to the UN:


We saw your recent blog post/story which included this erroneous line: “Most troubling is the failure not only of the UN but now also the US to speak out about the rising rate of death in Darfur.”

In the interest of accuracy, we are sending you (below) a collection of just some of the recent statements by senior US officials (including the President of the United States) about the violence in Darfur.

We look forward to your immediate and visible correction of your significant mistake.

(Not pictured here, Matt Lee missing very basic and easily reportable facts.)

Thanks, as always,

Susan Rice, Oct 5: A top US envoy expressed concern Tuesday about renewed violence in Darfur as the UN Security Council powers headed to Sudan to maintain pressure over a referendum which could lead to the country's break-up.

"With less than 100 days until the vote, our visit comes at a crucial time for Sudan," said US ambassador Susan Rice, who highlighted the new fears about events in Darfur, in western Sudan.

"We will push for peaceful, on-time referenda that reflect the will of the people of South Sudan and Abyei, and we will visit Darfur to assess the humanitarian situation and the plight of civilians in the wake of a disturbing uptick in violence," she said.

President Obama, Sept 24:“Despite some recent progress, preparations for the referenda are still behind schedule. Now, the vote is only a little more than a hundred days away. And tragically, as has already been referred to, a recent spike in violence in Darfur has cost the lives of hundreds of more people.”

Samantha Power, Sept 24: Samantha Power is a senior advisor to President Obama. She told reporters this week during a telephone briefing that Mr. Obama's main message to the Sudan meeting will be the need to rapidly implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement - or CPA - which calls for the North-South vote and another one on the same day by the people of the Abyei region.

"So the number one message is that these referenda must go off on time; that they must be peaceful; and they must reflect the will of the people of South Sudan," she said.

Power says President Obama would also speak about the recent uptick in violence in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Ambassador Rice, Sept 15: if in fact the government upholds its commitments as it says it will, then that will benefit the people of Sudan, and will benefit our bilateral relations-- provided that equal progress is also made on Darfur, where we remain very concerned about the security situation there.

Scott Gration, Sept 15: We’re also very concerned about some of the things that we’ve seen recently that are destabilizing. There have been some assassinations. There have been fighting between those who are pro-Doha and those who are against Doha. And we’re very concerned in getting to the bottom of these and mitigating those tensions.

So we are very involved in Darfur, we will continue to be involved in Darfur, and we don’t see a solution in Sudan until the Darfur issues are resolved, and we’re talking there about increased stability, we’re talking about an environment that people voluntarily can go to places that they want to settle, we’re talking about access for UNAMID, and we’re talking accountability, justice, and ability for people to have their wrongs righted in a way that they respect and the way they want.

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

On Sudan, Voting Materials Delayed Blamed on US, Silence on Darfur Questioned

By Matthew Russell Lee

LONDON, October 5 -- While Khartoum's backsliding is the storyline of the UN Security Council's trip now to Sudan, some of the delay in starting registration is due to decisions by the US and UN, sources tell Inner City Press.

  The registration materials are, as widely reported, being printed in South Africa. But why? The US promoted procurement practices and IFES, either because committed to transparency or to keep Khartoum from creating mischief in this way. But the move has resulted in delay. The materials won't be ready until late October. Then they have to be transported all over South Sudan.

  In fact, barely half of the polling places will be in South Sudan: 2000. Fully 1600 will be in the North of overseas. No one knows how many Southerns are living in the North. One fear is that the North will over-register them, or create names without voters behind them, to make it impossible to reach the 60% turn out necessary in order to have the secession vote count.

  There are questions too about the cost of the elections. Experts tell Inner City Press that the rule of thumb, if there is one, for post-conflict votes is form $10 to $ 15 per voter. Assuming an electorate of 4 to 5 million, this vote should cost $75 million tops. But it is now budgeted for $360 million. Where will the money go?

  Most troubling is the failure not only of the UN but now also the US to speak out about the rising rate of death in Darfur. [For more, including US Mission to the UN response, see next installment.]

Rugunda in a previous life in Juba, LRA talks: back to the future?

  There is a sense that the suffering in Darfur was raised to gain leverage over Omar al Bashir, and is now being ignored or traded in, for the seemingly more important North - South referendum. It will be hard to rebut this. Watch this space.

Footnote: in John F. Kennedy airport, Inner City Press ran into the Permanent Representatives of Mexico, Turkey and Bosnia, preparing for the flight. Ambassador Heller of Mexico said even he hadn't yet read the full terms of reference of the Security Council's trip, which Inner City Press had just obtained and put online. The trip is being run by two countries, and maybe one and a half. They will have to own also the results.

And, we note, Russia's Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin is on the trip. Who was it, now that we think of it, who kidnapped and beat those Russian pilots in Darfur? Watch this site.

* * *

On Way to Sudan, UN Council Praises Chad, Talks Contingencies, Terms of Reference

By Matthew Russell Lee

JFK AIRPORT, NY, October 4 -- As UN Security Council Ambassadors take over on a marathon set of flights from New York to Nairobi then Uganda and Sudan, the final Terms of Reference for their trip speak of the need for “contingency planning... in view of the upcoming referenda” in Sudan. Click here for the Terms of Reference, as obtained by Inner City Press, and see below.

Earlier on Monday in Khartoum, Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha spoke darkly of the referendum being delayed in oil rich Abyei. At Monday noon briefing at the UN in New York, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky if there is any UN response to Taha's statements. Nesirky as usual had no comment.

  Additions were made to the Terms of Reference, such as included human rights and children and armed conflict. It is not clear why the initial draft, largely the work of the US and the UK, needed such amendments.

To the 9th of the 13 Sudan paragraphs, “the recruitment of children by armed groups” was added. Not explicitly added is the issue of UN-African Union Darfur chief Ibrahim Gambari negotiating to hand over five supporters of rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to the government.

  At least one Permanent Five member of the Council, having read Gambari's leaked documents on Inner City Press, has sent them to “the capital” and hopes the issue can be pursued in Darfur. Mais bien sur.

In the penultimate paragraph, the Council's Sudan Terms of Reference “welcome improved relations between the Governments of Sudan and Chad,” even though this led to the closure of the peacekeeping mission in Chad and Central Africa Republic, and drove Justice and Equality Movement rebel leader not only out of Chad but also out of the Doha peace process. Will the Council meet or at least speak with JEM's Khalil Ibrahim?

Susan Rice & team in past, belated TOR and JEM not shown

  Here are the Terms of Reference, as obtained by Inner City Press:

Terms of Reference for Sudan

Led by Ambassadors Susan Rice (United States) and Mark Lyall Grant (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

1. To reaffirm the Security Council's commitment to and the international community's support for the Sudanese Parties' full and timely implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to encourage a peaceful, comprehensive, and inclusive resolution for the situation in Darfur. To reaffirm the Security Council's support for the Sudanese Parties in working to make unity attractive and respecting the right to self-determination of the people of South Sudan through credible, peaceful, free and timely referenda on 9 January 2011 that reflect the will of the Sudanese People of these areas and to hold popular consultations, in accordance with the terms of the CPA, and for all parties and states to respect the outcome.

2. To emphasize the importance of the partnership between the UN and the African Union for the international support to the Sudanese peace processes. To express support for the work of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel and the engagement of other regional and international partners of Sudan.

3. To stress that full and successful implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is essential to sustainable peace and stability throughout the Sudan, including Darfur, and in the region and to encourage increased cooperation between the National Congress Party and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in carrying out their responsibilities to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, including through successful and timely completion of negotiations on post-referendum arrangements.

4. To assess ongoing preparations for the referenda, and to reiterate that, regardless of the results, both parties to the CPA will need to work cooperatively to resolve critical issues and that the United Nations will continue to play an important role in supporting and promoting this dialogue, including through the recently designated UN High-Level Panel for the Referenda to be led by President Benjamin Mkapa.

5. To reiterate the Security Council's support for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), to assess its performance and review the assistance provided by the mission, within its current mandate and capabilities, to the implementation of the CPA and the contingency planning being developed by the mission in view of the upcoming referenda, as well as the planning developed for its post-referenda presence in the Sudan, and to underline the importance of full and unhindered access for the mission, to all sites within its area of responsibility.

6. To emphasise the importance of addressing the challenges faced by South Sudan, including insecurity, humanitarian and development needs and capacity building, irrespective of the outcome of the referendum.

7. To emphasise the importance of continuing efforts to support the people of Sudan, democratic governance, rule of law, accountability, equality, respect for human rights, justice and establishment of the conditions for conflict-affected communities to build strong, sustainable livelihoods.

8. To stress the responsibility of all central and local authorities of Sudan for the safety of members of peacekeeping missions, humanitarian workers, and all working under local contracts.

9. To express the Security Council's deep concern about the upsurge in violence in Darfur; the number of civilian casualties and victims of sexual and gender-based violence; the recruitment of children by armed groups; the illegal arms flow into Darfur; and the continued restrictions on humanitarian access. To underline its concern for the security of civilians, humanitarian aid workers and peacekeepers in Darfur and to reiterate the vital importance of the protection of civilians and maintaining full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers to the population in need of assistance.

10. To reiterate the Security Council's support for the AU-UN led peace process and the work of the Joint Chief Mediator, Mr Bassole, including the principles guiding the negotiations, and the urgent need for achieving substantive progress. To urge all rebel groups to join the Doha peace process without preconditions or further delay and to call on all parties to immediately cease hostilities and engage constructively in negotiations with a view to finding a lasting peace in Darfur.

11. To reiterate the Council's support for UNAMID and its personnel and to reiterate its call on the Government of the Sudan and all relevant parties to co-operate fully with the mission; to assess UNAMID's performance and review the challenges it faces in carrying out its mandate, giving priority to the protection of civilians and the facilitation of humanitarian delivery, as well as the priority given to UNAMID's continuing efforts to promote the engagement of all Darfurian stakeholders in support of and to complement the AU-UN political process in Darfur.

12. To welcome improved relations between the Governments of Sudan and Chad following the agreement of 15 January 2010 to normalise their bilateral relations and the establishment of a joint border monitoring mechanism, and to encourage continued co-operation and strengthening of relations.

13. To underline the need to ensure that Security Council resolutions are implemented.

Terms of Reference for Kampala

Led by Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda (Uganda)

1. To reiterate the Security Council's support to the improvement of relations among the countries of the region and to encourage them to strengthen cooperation in all fields.

2. To emphasize the Security Council's support for action against armed groups in the region, particularly the Lord's Resistance Army.

3. To reiterate the Security Council's support for the Djibouti Peace Process and support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in the stabilization of Somalia

4. To stress the Security Council's firm commitment to the cause of peace in the Sudan, the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and successful negotiation of a comprehensive and inclusive peace agreement for Darfur.

5. To examine the important contribution by the Regional Service Center in Entebbe, to the work of UN Missions in the region.

Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

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.

* * *

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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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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