U.N. Security Council hopes South Sudan peace deal will help resolve Darfur crisis
Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Sudan, will attend the signing ceremony. US Secretary of State Colin Powell will attend and discuss the Darfur crisis with the Sudanese. Former US President Jimmy Carter may attend.
The UN is to send a peacekeeping force to keep the peace in the six-year interim period that begins on Sunday after the major signing ceremony has been held in Nairobi. Britain has proposed 10,000 UN peacekeepers and says it will consider sending British troops. Within the next six months the UN will have set up its own offices in Southern Sudan.
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PEACE TALKS MUST ADDRESS CIVILIAN PROTECTION
In a letter to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the current AU chairman, Human Rights Watch said the AU should ask the UN Security Council for a full mandate to protect civilians.
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ATROCITIES, IMPUNITY THREATEN LASTING PEACE
Lasting peace in Sudan requires security for civilians and justice for atrocities committed both in Darfur and Southern Sudan, says Human Rights Watch.
HRW report warns today that Sudan's peace agreement lacks any provision for a truth commission, prosecutions or other forms of accountability for past abuses in the southern conflict.
It will be interesting to see how the US handles this issue. It's possible the US may have to stand with China and vote against prosecuting those named in a UN report due out this month following the UN investigation into genocide in Darfur. The US and China, along with several rogue states, are the only ones refusing to join the new International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. After Bosnia and Rwanda, the ICC was set up to deal with suspected perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity.
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21 SUDANESE PLEAD NOT GUILTY IN PLOT TO OVERTHROW PRESIDENT
On the opening day of a military tribunal in Khartoum on Wednesday, an AP report says 21 army personnel pleaded not guilty to a range of charges including allegedly plotting to overthrow Sudan's president last year.
Turabi, who has not been charged, helped President Bashir engineer his own 1989 coup to topple Sudan's last democratically elected prime minister, Sadiq el-Mahdi, but later fell out of favour with the president who believed his former aide was trying to make a grab for power.
President Bashir's government has accused the coup plotters - including Turabi, who is under house arrest - of fomenting the Darfur conflict. The defendants gave no testimonies, but are expected to do so when the tribunal resumes Sunday.
On Sunday, when the peace deal is signed, President Bashir is expected to lift Sudan's State of Emergency which means Turabi will be freed because he had been held under the laws of the Emergency.
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SPLM REBEL LEADER BECOMES V.P. TO SUDAN'S PRESIDENT IN FEBRUARY 2005
No doubt the ceremony on Sunday will be quite a show with many leaders attending. The more witnesses there are to the peace deal, the better I guess. News reports say neither side trusts each other. It's a wonder how the warring parties expect outsiders to trust them. Personally, I find it difficult to imagine the leader of the southern Sudan rebel group SPLM, John Garang, working harmoniously as VP to Sudan's President Bashir and VP Taha. According to a report in today's Sudan Tribune, Garang becomes VP in February, not on Sunday.
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SUDAN'S GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE 2.5 YEARS TO WITHDRAW THEIR TROOPS FROM SOUTH SUDAN
The peace deal on Sunday involves John Garang (note this does not include the rest of Sudan) agreeing to withdraw his SPLM rebels over a 6-month period and Sudan's President agreeing to withdraw his forces over a 30-month period. Two and a half years! They've wiped out 400,000 civilians during the last 22 months. Also part of the deal is Sudan agreeing to UN peacekeepers for the ceasefire agreement.
Some news reports give readers the impression that when the peace agreement is signed, massive amounts of development aid pledged for the following three years will be paid out by the international community. My understanding is Britain and the EU have made it clear they won't pay up until progress has been made on Darfur. But the 10,000 UN peacekeepers for Southern Sudan proposed by Britain at last months meeting of the UN Security Council in Nairobi was (as far as I am aware) on condition that the peace deal was signed.
As soon as the peace deal is signed, news of UN peacekeepers may start emerging. This concerns South Sudan only. 2,000 AU [not UN] troops are expected in Darfur by next month. 12,000 peacekeepers could start arriving in Sudan in dribs and drabs so as to not make it look like military intervention while keeping access open for humanitarian assistance. Khartoum could start dismissing aid workers on a whim.
NUBA GRIEVANCES EMERGE IN A STATEMENT
As noted here in a previous post, the Darfur rebels have admitted their sights are set on two regions adjacent to Darfur. Oil operations are situated in those areas. A rebellion could start up anytime in east Sudan by those who feel their region is as marginalised as Darfur in Western Sudan. East, west and central Sudan are not included in the final peace agreement to be signed on Sunday.
Some analysts say new rebel groups could spring up out of nowhere, even in Southern Sudan, after the peace deal is signed. Janjaweed camps were never dismantled. Arab tribal leaders, who are a law unto themselves, are still at large ruling over vast regions of Sudan. Sudan is a huge country without proper security forces. Bandits run amok, making their living through theft and looting. The outlaws say they are too proud to accept charity. Who is funding the rebels for so long, is a question I keep asking myself but cannot find answers to. News reports last year said the Darfur rebels have bases in Europe.
A timely statement out yesterday says the final peace deal fails to address Nuba Grievances. Please see map in sidebar here showing Nuba.
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SUDAN'S FORGOTTEN VICTIMS LIVE LIFE ON THE EDGE
A report via Reuters today describes Hashim, a Sudanese, peeking out from the remains of his hut, partly bulldozed and then patched up with plastic sacking, to see if help had arrived to alleviate the misery of life in the slum suburbs of Khartoum. Again he was disappointed.
Hashim is one of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese who have fled conflicts in the south and west, or extreme poverty in the east, to come to the capital of one of the world’s poorest countries. These displaced camps get little help from humanitarian agencies and rarely see aid workers. Read full story.