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On Sudan, UN Won't Specify When Khor Abeche Blockade in Darfur Reported, Nor When Le Roy Asked For More Troops

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 7 -- On Sudan, the UN appears engaged in one-way communication, not in answering questions. Two days after a senior UN official, insisting that he not be named, told the Press that the government of Sudan had blocked food resupply to Tanzanian peacekeepers in Khor Abeche in Darfur, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky simply refused to provide any information about the incident. Audio here, from Minute 10.

  Inner City Press, for the second day in a row, asked why the UN's envoy in Darfur Ibrahim Gambari had not publicly complained of the blocking of resupply to his peacekeepers. Nesirky said that blockage of resupply of UN peacekeepers by host governments take place “not only in Darfur.”

  It is not clear to which UN missions Nesirky was referring: Liberia? Haiti? The UN in Cote d'Ivoire last month loudly protested the mere threat of a blockade, and Ban Ki-moon said other member states should break any blockade. But this was and is not said in Darfur.

  Turning to South Sudan, Inner City Press asked Nesirky to specify when top UN peaceekeeper Alain Le Roy asked Sudan to agree to an increase in peacekeepers. On January 6, Sudan's Ambassador to the UN said he had been in a meeting with Le Roy for two hours the previous day, and Le Roy never made the request.

You don't expect me to contradict the Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations,” Nesirky said.

UN's Ban & Le Roy: loud on Cote d'Ivoire blockage, no answers on Darfur

 It was another opportunity to rebut a public allegation of misspeaking by a high UN official, which the UN Spokesperson's Office declined. “Ask DPKO,” Nesirky said, as he's referred Inner City Press to the UN Mission in Kosovo about a UN judge freeing a person accused of organ trafficking.

Several Security Council diplomats have told Inner City Press there is the Council less and less satisfaction with the performance of Ibrahim Gambari, who at the same time is drawing more and more praise from Sudan's government. But will there be accountability? Watch this site.

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On Sudan, Questions of Expulsion of Darfur Rebels & Ocampo on Bashir's Billions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 6 -- As the UN and Security Council engage in happy talk about the South Sudan referendum, events in Darfur get worse and worse.
   On January 6 Inner City Press put questions to the UN Permanent Representatives of the US and Sudan, and to the UN itself. On background, a number of Council sources said that the African Union - UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur is not pushing hard enough for access to civilians in harm's way. But the focus is on the referendum.

Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice:

Inner City Press: this agreement by Salva Kiir to eject or stop the rebel groups from Darfur from being in South Sudan. Is it a positive thing? Does it help resolve things in Darfur, the idea that they wouldn't have to go back? It was announced by Salva Kiir.

Ambassador Rice: Our view has long been that it's vitally important that both parties to the CPA refrain from, in any way, direct or indirectly supporting rebel or proxy activity against the other. And so we urged that, to the extent that that has been the case, that it cease.

  But if the fighting that's hurting civilians is by the government against the rebels, how is pushing the rebels back into Darfur going to make things better? Inner City Press asked the UN:

Inner City Press: yesterday during a background briefing, a senior [UN] official said — about Sudan — said of Sudan that there had been, during the fighting in Khor Abeche in Darfur, that a Tanzanian battalion had fed IDPs [internally displaced persons] with their own rations and had been unable to be re-supplied due to Government restrictions on the re-supplying, it seemed to be, of the peacekeepers. Can you confirm that there was a time during that fighting that even the UN peacekeepers were unable to get their supplies in? And if so, was that ever said publicly, and — it seems like in other countries, they complained when its peacekeepers were being in any way blockaded. Did that take place in Khor Abeche, as it seemed to be said yesterday?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Let me find out.

But seven hours later there was no answer. Inner City Press asked Sudan's Permanent Representative about Khor Abeche, if Sudan had blocked resupply of peacekeepers. The Sudanese Ambassador again offered praise for UNAMID, then said that when there is fighting, movement is restricted for the peacekeepers' own good.

    While top UN peaceekeeper Alain Le Roy had told the press that he requested a boost in UN troop levels but Sudan would not agree, Sudan's Ambassador said he was in a meeting with Le Roy on January 5 and Le Roy made no such request. The UN should clarify this.

UN's Ban & Sudan's Ambassador, Khor Abeche answer not shown

Inner City Press asked asked Sudan's Ambassador about the allegations by International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo that Omar al Bashir spirited $9 billion out of the country. He replied it was ridiculous, that Lloyds had immediately denied it.

(As Inner City Press reported at the time, Lloyds was in the news for violating sanctions in Sudan and elsewhere.)

Inner City Press asked about the meeting on this topic between Ocampo and Susan Rice and Alejandro Wolff at the US Mission to the UN, memorialized in a Wikileaked cable. (Ambassador Rice has twice said she doesn't recall the meeting.) Sudan's Ambassador said this showed that Ocampo was “taking his orders” from sources other than the ICC. We will have more on this.

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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