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At UN, As Rebels of SPLM-North Meet with UK & Others, Sudan Angry

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, January 24, updated -- For several days, since a delegation of the SPLM-North rebels from Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states were in Washington, Sudanese diplomats in New York have been complaining to Inner City Press that the rebels have had meetings in and around the UN.

   Sudan says this would be inappropriate, and claims that the SPLM-North met not only with Security Council delegations but also with UN officials, naming the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the concepts of child protection and child soldiers.

   Since the UN Secretariat has, for example, urged the Credentials Committee of the General Assembly to switch sides in the cases of Cote d'Ivoire, Libya and other countries, Inner City Press would not be surprised, or object.

  But as a matter of journalism, Inner City Press endeavored to ask Security Council delegations if they had met this week with the SPLM-North in New York.

  One Permanent Representative looked surprised and said, "I couldn't tell you that." Another confirmed the SPLM-North delegation, but only not for attribution.

  And then to his credit UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant, when Inner City Press asked him if the SPLM-North had been in town and met with the UK mission said, "Yes."

  Another UK diplomat said it concerned humanitarian issues and Resolution 2046.

  Why not then do a Arria Formula meeting? Why all the cloak and dagger?

Update of 3:02 pm: France's Deputy Permanent Representative Martin Briens, when Inner City Press asked him if France met with SPLM-North, said "no comment."

  Sudan's Permanent Representative Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman told Inner City Press it is very strange to meet, and use UN premises to meet, with a group that destabilitizes peace.

  Russia and China, when asked, were aware of SPLM-North presence in New York. The Chinese position is, we are not going to meet with them.

Update of 5:40 pm And that is the Russian position as well. Watch this site.

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