SUDAN WATCH: Sudanese VP in Europe visiting European Union: EU restores ties with Sudan before "Genocide Report" goes to UN Security Council

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Sudanese VP in Europe visiting European Union: EU restores ties with Sudan before "Genocide Report" goes to UN Security Council

This post - and update - has turned into a vent. I want to complain. But where to? I am too exhausted. Politics makes me sick. Literally. I cannot blog news of what is happening from a UK/European perspective because reports have been so few and far between these past few months. Is there a news black out on Sudan or what? I cannot understand the clampdown. Even the Scotsman does not have the Sudan listed within its "hot-topics" section.

Well, here is a good example of what I mean about things going on behind the scenes that we do not find out about until they have more or less happened. Sudan's First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, left Khartoum for Brussels yesterday on a three day visit to the Belgium capital where he is to witness the signing of the defreezing of the Sudanese assets with the EU. Note Taha does all the signing. Bashir did not even sign the peace deal.

The BBC and other news agencies have given the impression the Genocide report expected on Sudan will be out as early as Jan 25 but Xinhua now says the report won't be submitted to the UN Security Council until Feb 1 [how come China always seems to get news before it's reported by the European media?]

Meanwhile, apart from an Agence France-Presse report out today, I can find no other European reports - not even at the EU website - confirming the visit to Brussels today of Sudan's VP Taha and top rebel leader, Nhial Deng Nhi, commissioner for external relations of the SPLM. They are due to sign an accord dubbed the "country strategy paper" for EU-Sudanese cooperation with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and EU aid chief Louis Michel. The AFP report explains the following:
Officials said the signing would open the way to the release of more than 450 million euros in EU aid funds -- provided a peace deal between the government and SPLM sticks, and peace is restored to the region of Darfur.

"It's a way to show that peace dividends are available after the signing of the January 9 accord between the north and the south, and to encourage the main actors to pursue peace in Darfur," Michel's spokesman Amadeu Altafaj said.

"The strategy paper has been suspended since 1990 so there is a significant amount of money available that has been held up. But this does not mean that we are today giving 450 million euros," he told AFP.

"We are just at the beginning of this cooperation process. The money is available for the future, provided there is progress in implementation of the north-south peace agreement and to an improvement of the situation in Darfur."

The EU aid funds would be used to safeguard the delivery of food aid, for education, internal refugees and to build up Sudanese administrative institutions, the spokesman said.

The legislative body of the SPLM on Monday unanimously ratified the January 9 peace deal signed between the Muslim-dominated government and the southern rebel group to end 21 years of war.

The situation in Darfur was expected to dominate talks later Tuesday between Taha and EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana.
UPDATE: It sure looks like war, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide pay. Take a look at the excerpt below from a French report today titled "European Commission and Sudanese authorities sign the Country Strategy Paper to resume co-operation" and see if you can figure what it all means. I can't make head or tail of it [for instance what are Non-State Actors? The new jargon creeping into politics makes democracy sound like whacky showbiz: words like players, actors and theatres in regard to war criminals proves how sick politics really is] Here is the excerpt:
The County Strategy Paper creates a framework structuring the EU contribution to the Sudan of an indicative allocation of around Euros 400M:

Euros 127.5M: 9th European Development Fund - allocation for new programmes,
Euros 191M: transfer of resources for the losses incurred on earning derived from agriculture exports. These funds will be allocated to food security operations,
Euros 16.5M: programmes already decided, still to be implemented,
Euros 43M: 9th European Development Fund - unforeseen needs, in particular humanitarian,
Euros 5-10M per year: indicative budget lines allocations (excluding humanitarian assistance).

Also following the signature of the CSP a quick disbursement programme of Euros 50M will be launched, as an immediate peace dividend, benefiting equally North and South (Euros 25M to each region). The programme foresees mostly community based projects, to be implemented in partnership with local NGOs and Non State Actors.
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Nine months have now gone by since I started blogging almost daily about Darfur. I am becoming so disillusioned with politics and politicians, the world over, that I am seriously thinking of turning my back on it all. Democracy, or what most of us voters believe democracy to be, for sure is being eroded. The world is run by a handful of suits without regard to voters.

Too many things appear to be going on over which we have no say or control. We the people are treated like little children by governments acting like autocratic parents who think children should be kept at arms length and seen but not heard.

If I am feeling this way, I imagine many other voters are losing heart and switching off from politics. What is the point in keeping up to date with current affairs, participating in consultations, lobbying politicians, and voting? Politicians are made from the same mould and indoctrinated by the same pool of education and thinking. To me, it seems all too Machiavellian and corrupt. You can't believe a word politicians say. Leaders have hidden agendas and public images to maintain and are surrounded by yes men who are loyal to their bosses while humouring the public and stringing them along. I am finding this in other areas of life too, particularly in the medical professsion. Healthcare professionals, hospitals (and politicians involved in funding medical research etc) seem to view patients, and the elderly and infirm, as a nuisance.

In the olden days, there were revolutions and people took up arms and went out into the streets. Then there was communism and underground politics. Today's alternative appears to be multi media communications. A day will come in the not too distant future when politicians will control and stifle our voices on the Internet. But we will have mobile communications and radios. Yesterday, I read something about an Iranian website that was switched off by Western powers.

The world is in a scary mess. It looks like the US is going after Iran soon and trying to drag Britain along with it. No chance. Something has to change. A catalyst will happen that will change everything. Perhaps another few 9/11's. I don't know what the solution is, or how politicians can be interested in what people want when they know the public don't know half of what is really going on behind the scenes.

What if people refused to vote? Perhaps the only real power people have is their vote. If voters went on strike and politicians did not get enough votes to form a government, what would happen? I know nothing about political science/history but feel people are treated like serfs of the land, only worthy of being milked of taxes and perceived as a nuisance when they speak up and make a noise or live too long while not generating taxes. Let them eat cake, I hear them say.

Maybe Western politicians feel they are invincible. Whatever, they need to watch out and listen carefully to what people are feeling. Mainstream media may have the power to influence public opinion and politics but we the people now have the Internet to influence and even bypass mainstream media. Maybe communication tools like blogs will start going "underground" and disappear from the radar of search engines. Internet and mobile communications might enable people to create their own jargon/language using new tools spawned by Wikis and such like. Politicians would have difficulty keeping tabs and controlling anarchy they may end up acting like the Stasi, and employing the public as snitches and spies. Years ago, communists gathered at cafes to discuss and plot strategies. Cyberspace communities will develop into a jungle network where everyone will know how to find out which cafe to go, and who to speak to, when something is up.

What we needed for Darfur was some sort of global mechanism that, if enough of us voted for 40,000 peacekeepers to be deployed in Darfur, would have triggered politicians to take action - and if they refused to take action, we should have automatically received a proper response and statement explaining why. This is what I find so galling about what has been going on over the Sudan these past nine months: not a single politician within the international community has explained the situation to us. Right now, I would like to see Dr Eric Reeves' reports put forward to the UN Security Council with a demand from us the people that a proper response be given to the reports, point by point. Bottom line is, none of the so-called "actors" and "players" on the "world stage" are really accountable, they wheel and deal with impunity, and are no different from the regime in Khartoum really. My only explanation as to why security was not provided for the aid and workers in Darfur and action was not taken against the regime in Khartoum is that they (and possibly the so-called Janjweed and Arab tribal leaders) have been helpful - and continue to be useful - in the war against terrorism.
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Here is a must-read at Jim Moore's Journal: Eleven good reasons to become a nonvoter. Be free! Become a non-voter today! Help form the Nonvoter party.

And more on becoming a nonvoter.

Stay tuned for more on this at a later date.
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UPDATE: I am lost for words on this report, just out from Reuters an hour ago, titled "EU restores ties with Sudan, offers quick aid". Jim Moore at Passion of the Present is the only person who could possibly understand how sickened and disappointed I felt as I read the report - copied here in full:

BRUSSELS, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The European Union restored ties with Sudan on Monday and offered 50 million euros ($65 million) in aid to help boost a peace agreement in the African country, plagued by civil war in the past two decades.

Senior EU and Sudanese officials signed a cooperation agreement, which the European Commission said would launch an immediate aid package of 25 million euros for the northern region and a further 25 million for the south of the country.

"This meeting is the starting point of normal relations between the European Union and Sudan," EU Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel told reporters.

The EU, the world's leading aid donor, suspended cooperation with Sudan during the war in 1990. It resumed political dialogue with Khartoum in 1999 but did not relaunch cooperation.

Normal relations between Khartoum and Brussels will mean that Sudan now also has access to a 400 million euro development aid package from the EU's executive Commission.

Rebels in the south and the Khartoum government signed the peace deal on Jan. 9 this year, ending 21 years of north-south war. Two million people, mostly civilians, have died in the south from violence, disease or famine in the oil-rich region.

Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha pledged to implement the peace pact, which in turn could help end the Darfur conflict in which over 1.2 million people have been left homeless by rampaging militia and Sudanese security forces.

"We are committed to use the same drive and to draw from our experience in resolving the conflict in southern Sudan to bring a prompt and fair answer to the conflict in Darfur," Taha said.
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UPDATE: Finally, after one hour of publishing this post, 17 minutes ago on Tue 25/01/2005 at 22:30 GMT a statement by the EU appears online at Google news. It confirms "the European Union reopened its financial aid taps to Sudan Tuesday during a landmark visit by top government and rebel leaders to celebrate a peace accord that has ended one of Africa's longest-running wars." Full Story.

Strange how the EU made no big deal of this meeting before it took place. Maybe they thought some of us might object.


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