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On Abyei, Sudan Diplomat Races After UN's Mulet, Of Voting & Transparency

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 7 -- When the UN Security Council's closed-door meeting on Abyei ended, UN Peacekeeping's Edmond Mulet walked briskly out and to the elevator. A Sudanese diplomat raced after him, catching him before the elevator door closed and speaking for a minute. The diplomat told Inner City Press there are “issues” on the ostensibly non-controversial technical roll-over of the mandate of the UN mission in Abyei, UNISFA.

Inner City Press spoke with a number of Security Council members and learned one issue is unilateralism -- specifically, the Dinka held their own unilateral referendum, and now the Sudanese want to include Abyei in their own elections.

At least one Council member insisted Sudan is within its rights on this, and others agreed afterward. But it's said such inclusion would fan tensions. So who can ask Sudan to stop, particularly when for example it is blocked from any debt relief?

The Abyei meeting, and a meeting earlier on October 7 on the tail end of the Syria chemical weapons mission, were both behind closed doors. This is when the Free UN Coalition for Access has asked that Council president's hold question and answer stakeouts. It did not happen on October 7.

  At the day's noon briefing when FUNCA asked, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said his Office was to blame for the lack of notice to the press of October's UNSC President's read-out at the UNTV stakeout of multiple press statements. We'll have more on this.


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