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Two Weeks After Mbeki, UN SC Still Stalled on Sudans, Playground Moves

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 23 -- Two full weeks after Thabo Mbeki briefed the UN Security Council about Sudan and South Sudan, the Council still  has not been able to agree on a Presidential Statement about the situation.

  On August 23, a BRICS deputy told Inner City Press that the problem is that one member is intent on supporting only one side.  Another scoffed that the initial draft was so unbalanced, it took two weeks and "still nothing." But "don't forget the holidays," another said, in defense of the delay.

  Among the disputes is how to characterize aerial bombardments, and whether the Statement should criticize Khartoum for not "accepting Mbeki's map."

  A Sudanese representative on August 16 told Inner City Press Sudan had four supporters, including Azerbaijan, and even that French Ambassador Gerard Araud, this month's Council president, was critical of another Permanent member's "playground" approach.

  Mid-day on August 23, Inner City Press asked Araud, what about the PRST, the Presidential Statement? He said that some members feel it is taking too long, and that there would be a consultation of Deputy Permanent Representatives in the afternoon.

  The playground continues to expanding, both in space and time.

  At 3 pm on August 23 they filed in, the DPRs of France and Russia, Morocco and Pakistan, and all the rest.

  Past 4 pm, a South Sudanese representative came out of the quiet room and predicted to Inner City Press, there will not be anything today.

  Others said to be hopeful; one said, only a PRST if it is a good one.

   There is a difference, it is pointed out, between demilitarizing a zone and agreeing on a final border.

  On August 15 Security Council experts met on the stalled draft in the Council's consultation room. On August 16 experts wandering the North Lawn told Inner City Press they were still working on it. Talks were said to be bilateral, with the expectation of "coming back together at a higher level" to make decisions on language still left open.

  And the Deputy Permanent Representative level meeting took a week to set up?

   Back on August 16, South African Permanent Representative Baso Sangqu told Inner City Press, it is important that the Council agree on a statement soon, so that the parties don't think the Security Council is divided.

  Well, the Security Council is divided.

  On August 15 when Inner City Press asked Araud about Darfur, he answered that the Council IS divided on this issue, as on Syria and Israel - Palestine. Sudan / South Sudan was supposed to be one of the issues on which the Council works together. So what's happening?

  Meanwhile, Japan's Toyota Tsusho Corporation has put in a $5 billion bid to build an oil pipeline linking South Sudan to the proposed Kenyan port of Lamu, bragged Dennis Awori, Chairman of Toyota Kenya Limited.

  When Japan sent a few people to the UN Mission in South Sudan UNMISS, the UN hyped it up and media covered it. But this is a more real and telling connection: follow the money. Watch this site.

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