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Museveni Pressed on Killing of Civilians in Somalia, Disfavors Shelling, Cites Mao

By Matthew Russell Lee

UGANDA, October 6 -- President Yoweri Museveni took questions from the Press after meeting with the Security Council on Wednesday. Inner City Press asked about calls to investigate the killing of civilians in Mogadishu by Ugandan and Burundian troops. President Museveni said that those his forces killed “in June, July, August” must have been combatants, since they were assaulting a fortified position.

But what about killings of civilians in markets? President Museveni said he does not favor the shelling of such areas. Inner City Press posed similar questions last month to Jean Ping of the African Union Commission, who responded angrily that Al Shabab insists on using human shields and even fighting from mosques. He did not speak about disfavoring response.

Uganda's Ambassador to the UN Ruhakana Rugunda said that the Lord's Resistance Army was discussed in the meeting with the Council. Inner City Press asked if Uganda thinks the UN mission in the Congo MONUSCO is doing enough against the LRA bases in the Congo.

President Museveni said that the LRA is degraded, so degraded they had to go to “the Central African Republic and Darfur.” He praises his “revolutionary” forces, citing Mao about a people's army not taking a needle from the people without paying for it. Three times he praises Tanzania for sending 45,000 to throw out Idi Amin.

About the UN's Mapping Report on the Congo, President Museveni said he hadn't read it, but it must be fiction. There are fiction writers, he said, in international organization. US Ambassador Susan Rice sat stonefaced. What is the US view on what happened in Rwanda, and the Mapping Report? Watch this site.

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In Uganda With UN Council, LRA On Agenda But Not Present, Like Karamoja

By Matthew Russell Lee

KAMPALA, October 6 -- On its way to Sudan, the UN Security Council early Wednesday morning reached its first official stop in Entebbe, Uganda. Their UN-painted plane landed on the airstrip where in 1978 Israeli assault troops moved on a plane full of hijackers and hostages. This was barely comment on, however. It was the middle of the night.

  The Security Council's Terms of Reference for Uganda were released Monday in New York, after Uganda's Permanent Representative Ruhakana Rugunda had held a press conference about the Council's work.

  The five bullet point range from supporting the fight against the Lord's Resistance Army and the Uganda troops in Somalia to “examining... the Regional Service Center in Entebbe.”

   With Entebbe the first stop after sunrise Wednesday, some wondered why the Council members, staff and press were driven fifty kilometers in the middle of the night, past other hotels, past Kampala, to the plush “Speke Resort - Munyonyo.” The scuttlebutt is that the government wanted the Ambassadors to stay in this particular hotel.

  Inner City Press rode in a World Health Organization van, past tidy shops including the Jesus Cares Supermarket and branches of Tropical Bank and Post Bank, speaking with a Ugandan staff member of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The UN Resident Representative had asked him to come to the airport at midnight and he had.

  He said his job is to monitor human rights, showing reports to the government, and to work with the local media. Inner City Press asked if his Office has received any push back about the wider OHCHR's Democratic Republic of the Congo Mapping Report, which accuses the Ugandan UPDF army of atrocities in the DRC. Not much, he said. Those complaints are directed elsewhere.

  Since the Lord's Resistance Army forms one of the Council's five bullet points for Uganda, Inner City Press asked what his office had to say about the LRA. Not much, he said, the LRA has long left, to the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan (where they Council's going midday Wednesday).

  In fact, the Council could order its mission in the Congo, MONUSCO, to do more to break up reported LRA camps there. Uganda's Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda was his government's negotiator on LRA in 2006, and visited Juba as he will later on Wednesday.

To the UN plane, October 5-6, 2010, TOR not shown (c) MRLee

Inner City Press asked about the situation in Karamoja on which it has reported, specifically on UNDP funded involuntary disarmament of pastoralist Karamojong resulting in death and village burn downs. There are still incidents, he said. But what is the UN doing about them? It is not on the Council's agenda.

Footnote: in the VIP lounge in Nairobi, a request was made to Inner City Press on behalf of a unnamed Council member not to report that “nothing is being done.” There is, of course, one or more ways to avoid that. Inner City Press is here to cover the Council's trip and results through Uganda, South Sudan, Darfur and Khartoum. Watch this site, follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.

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P-5 Interests in Sudan & Darfur Reviewed, With Ambassadors in Nairobi Airport

By Matthew Russell Lee

NAIROBI, October 5 -- As the UN Security Council and its five Permanent Members mill around the Nairobi airport before belateding being whisked to a VIP lounge to wait for their flight to Uganda then Juba, the historic role of each P-5 member in Sudan seems worth surveying.

The British, of course, colonized Sudan until its independence in 1956. In Darfur, for example, the British sought local leaders, even defining which tribes were large enough to name their own nazir and have a formal tribal homeland. Arabs in Darfur who didn't make the cut more recently spawned Janjaweed and much destruction.

While the US has been more interested in the North - South, Muslim - Christian conflict, it's worth noting that the CIA as well as France backed Chad in 1987 in driving Gaddafi's Arabist forces back into Darfur, which also played its role in the more recent conflict there.

Now, France is the host to Darfur rebel leader Abdel Wahid Nur, as Inner City Press asked French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner about last week.

China's business relations with Khartoum are well known; why China did not use its Security Council veto to block the referral of Darfur, and ultimately Omar al Bashir, to the International Criminal Court is still not known. Some say China wanted to have additional leverage over Bashir. But now the indictment seemingly cannot be put off.

On October 4 in New York before he and Inner City Press left for the airport, Ugandan Permanent Representative Ruhakana Rugunda said that his country favors suspending the indictment for a year, under Article 16 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, but that there is not Council unanimity for this. It wouldn't require a unanimous vote, but any of the P-5 could stop it.

Just as one of the Western P-5 Permanent Representatives told the Press last month that it is impossible to imagine any of the Western P-5s taking a photo with Bashir, it is similarly difficult to imagine them -- much less all three of them -- voting to suspend Bashir's indictment for genocide and war crimes.

Seemingly the least implicated P-5 member is Russia. Their Cold War involvements in Africa notwithstanding, Russia's involvement today seems limited to dominating air transport. But this has led to at least two recent incidents of Russian pilots and crews being kidnapped and beaten in Darfur. While when Inner City Press asked him about it, Russia's Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin minimized these incidents, they may explain his personal participation on the trip.

Footnote: when the plane carrying the Security Council Ambassadors reached Nairobi, less planning than might have been expected had been done. The Ambassadors “sneaked” through a gate for another group's flight.

In future installments we hope to review the business interests of the P-5 members, and the wider interests of the Elected (or Temporary) Ten. Watch this site, and follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress

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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, less than half of the polling places will be in South Sudan: 1600. Fully 2000 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 $1o 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.

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.

  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.

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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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