At UN, Saudi Denies
Shipping Arms to Somalia, Sudan Makes Nice with
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
October 16 -- Information about the
Horn of Africa flowed Wednesday in the half-light outside the UN
Council, after an uneventful session about Sudan and Guinea-Bissau. Unprompted, the representative of Saudi Arabia denied that
his country has shipped arms into Somalia, while Sudan accepted a
benign spin of Ethiopian shipments into South Sudan.
Inner City Press began by asking Sudan's Ambassador, on
the record, about reports of Ethiopian arms shipments to Juba and South
and that the tanks hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia were
headed for South Sudan. He said quickly that the tanks' destination s
and Ethiopia has provided clarification,
ostensibly the weapons are meant for some exhibition in Juba, leaving
relations with Ethiopia positive. The connection between this and
positions on suspending
the International Criminal Court's proceedings against Sudanese
Al Bashir remain to be reported, on the record.
the week, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Michele
any UN response to reports that Sudan has arrested one of the two
Sudanese ICC indictees, Ali Kushayb. The first day, she said those were
reports. Then on Wednesday she said, "I've been
asked about reports
indicating that the Government of Sudan has detained Ali Khushayb for
committed in Darfur, which the Secretary-General has noted. If confirmed, this is a welcome step towards
the vital need to end impunity and bring to justice those responsible
crimes in Darfur." Video here.
Press asked Sudan's Ambassador later on Wednesday to respond to this UN
"Who is she to comment on that?" he asked. "What business is it
Saudi Arabia's Abdullatif
Sallam, at left, with Qatar's rep, thou
dost protest too much
Thursday, Inner City Press asked Ms. Montas if she, Ban or joint
Union envoy Bassole had any comment on President Al-Bashir's so-called
"people's initiative" convened in Darfur, without involvement of
armed rebels. Ms. Montas said that
Bassole is attending, and that any comment would be made only after the
initiative is over. Video here.
review of Mr. Bassole was given, but on an off the record basis.
coming down the second story hallway of the UN was Saudi Arabia's
representative / charge d'affaires, Abdullatif Sallam.
"Ask him something," it was suggested to Inner City
a softball, Inner City Press asked, "What about Saudi Arabia's role in
Somalia negotiations" -- a process that like that in Darfur excludes
armed insurgents, but which has nonetheless been repeatedly praised by
UN. "It is not good," the
Saudi said enigmatically.
later he doubled back and whispered in the Sudanese Ambassador's ear. "Saudi Arabia denied it has been
providing weapons in Somalia," was the statement that emerged. Thou
protest too much?
Footnote: the UN's
own press release about
Wednesday's Security Council resolution on Sudan says that 400,000
been killed in Darfur. Since many knowledgeable sources use the figure
200,000 and controversy obtained to the UN's John Holmes raising the
300,000, one wonders where this 400,000 comes from -- inflation?
this reporter on
Icelandic television, www.ruv.is
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
Reporter's mobile (and
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]