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After Outrage at Sudan Humanitarian Role, It Shifts to UN Coordination

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 21 – Amid outcry that Sudan would head up the Humanitarian segment at the UN's Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC President Nestor Osorio tells Inner City Press he has worked out a compromise.

   Sudan will cede the Humanitarian segment to Pakistan, from which it will take over the so-called Coordination segment. Osorio told Inner City Press this deal, hammered out with each country's Permanent Representative, will be announced on February 28. The ECOSOC session takes place this summer in Geneva.

   Whether this will or should be enough for those who opposed Sudan for the Humanitarian segment is open to question. “Coordination” involves the interplay of UN system entities like the UN Development Program, UNICEF, UNFPA and other funds and programs. What's the difference?

   But given the situation in Sudan's Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where a Tripartite Agreement to deliver aid was never implemented, chairing the Humanitarian segment was for some a step too far. And Coordination?

   Earlier on Thursday after the Security Council held a biweekly closed door meeting about Sudan and South Sudan, Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about the status of the draft Presidential Statement pending in the Council. It will be updated, Rice told Inner City Press, based on the day's briefing.

   Sudan's Permanent Representative Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman told Inner City Press there had been some “good news” in the briefing by UN envoy Haile Menkerios; another Permanent Representative on the Council told Inner City Press that Menkerios had sounded hopeful.

   Earlier this week Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky about deadly fighting in or near Abyei on the Sudan and South Sudan border. The UN has yet to answer the question, despite having a peacekeeping mission there. Watch this site.

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