SUDAN WATCH: US draft on UN Sudan mission skirts trials issue

Monday, February 14, 2005

US draft on UN Sudan mission skirts trials issue

This evening, Reuters news confirms the US has circulated a draft UN resolution that would send as many as 10,000 peacekeepers to South Sudan (this was on the cards nine months ago); ban arms sales to Sudan, including the government (pretty hard to monitor); impose a travel ban (it does not say if this includes top Sudanese officials, rebel and Arab tribal leaders); and impose a freeze on assets on those responsible for violating a ceasefire in Darfur (it does not detail who).

It looks like a Security Council committee would be set up to identify which individuals should be subject to the sanctions. US officials said they hoped to bring to the resolution to a vote within two weeks.

The US draft is silent on where those responsible for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur should be tried. The draft text expresses only the council's determination that perpetrators of the crimes identified by the UN commission "be brought to justice through internationally accepted means."
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UN rights chief prepares to brief UN Security Council on possible war crimes in Darfur

14 Feb Canadian and UN human rights chief Louise Arbour addressed a Moscow news conference yesterday. After flying back to Geneva yesterday she is due in New York this week to brief the UN Security Council Wednesday on the human rights situation in Darfur.

She'll return to Canada in a few weeks, where she'll press for an increased Canadian role in global politics. Full Story.

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Photo: UN human rights chief Louise Arbour (Ivan/Van Sekretarev/AP)
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14 Feb UN News Centre report confirms that just as the top UN human rights official prepares to brief the Security Council on reported war crimes in Darfur, scattered reports of violence continued to come in today from the region.

The UN Advance Mission in Sudan said incidents included an armed attack by tribal militia four days ago in South Darfur, where two civilians were reportedly killed and 1,500 cattle looted. The police intervened and the attackers fled.

The African Union, which has monitoring teams in the area, is facilitating the return of livestock stolen by the Janjaweed on 9 February in the Kass area of South Darfur where other cattle looting has been reported.

The AU reported that part of a market was burned down in tribal clashes east of Nyala in which four villagers were allegedly killed and four wounded.

In North Darfur SLA rebels reportedly attacked Sudanese Government forces east of Al Fasher and also allegedly seized nine commercial trucks, UNAMIS said.
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Sudan, France reject NATO role in Darfur

Yesterday, Feb 13, Kofi Annan called at an important security conference in Munich, Germany for urgent Western intervention in Darfur. "People are dying, every single day, while we fail to protect them. Additional measures are urgently required. Those organizations with real capacity -- and NATO as well as the EU are well represented in this room -- must give serious consideration to what, in practical terms, they can do to help end this tragedy," the UN chief said.

Annan saluted the work of the 1,850 African Union peacekeepers currently deployed in Darfur, but said other international bodies must act as quickly as possible in a region where tens of thousands have died and 1.6 million displaced. "Remember this -- our current collective shortcomings are measured in lives lost," he said.

Today, Islam online says Sudan and France roundly rejected yesterday's call by Kofi Annan for a NATO intervention in Darfur, saying that world ought to back the existing AU observer mission. Full Story.

Also, today China View news says Sudanese Minister of State in the Foreign Ministry Najeeb el-Kheir said any effort to handle the Darfur conflict must come in accordance with the stance of the Sudanese government and the African Union on the issue. "Any outside work will be rejected, the Sudanese official told reporters.

"It is AU's responsibility to ensure a just solution to the Darfur dispute," the official said. He attributed the current situation in Darfur to the failure of "the developed countries to fulfill their commitments to meet the needs of the region."

The Sudanese official said the AU has made effective contribution to improve the situation in Darfur, expressing hope that the AU would expand its mandate in peacekeeping across the region. He said the Sudanese government would cooperate with the AU to help it achieve its mission, urging the international community to fulfill its commitments to help the Sudanese government and the AU on the issue.

[Note, this sounds like (to me anyway) bargaining dialogue, ie Khartoum is really saying: "if we allow the AU to expand their mandate, there will be no need to bring in foreign troops". Also, the bit where he says the developed countries have failed to fulfill their commitments to meet the needs of the region - sounds like Khartoum are miffed at not getting the loads of money promised for development, once a peace deal was signed. The money will be handed over once there is peace in Sudan - which includes Darfur.]
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Sudan slams Annan call for Western intervention in Darfur

13 Feb AFP: Sudan hit out Sunday at a call by Kofi Annan for EU or NATO intervention in Darfur, saying the world body ought to back the existing AU observer mission.

"We believe that the AU has the full mandate and capabilities to accomplish its mission satisfactorily and we expect that no other agency would tamper with this mission," a junior foreign minister told AFP.

"We commend the work done by the AU which has been recognised by the UN as the major body responsible for supervising the peace efforts in Darfur, and we expect the UN secretary general to spare no effort to bolster the AU in carrying out its assigned mission," Abdel Wahab said. - Full Story at Sudan Tribune Feb 13.

[Note the AU mission in Darfur is hamstrung without the full mandate to be effective, which is why the Darfur rebels are complaining AU troops are only observing]
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Annan calls for urgent Western intervention in Darfur

13 Feb UN News Centre: Kofi Annan today called on European and US officials gathered at a leading international forum in Munich, Germany to support efforts to strengthen the UN so that its system of collective security can better respond to changing conditions in the world.

He also addressed the case of Darfur, Sudan. "Additional measures are urgently required," the Secretary-General said. "Those organizations with real capacity - and NATO as well as the European Union are well represented in this room - must give serious consideration to what, in practical terms, they can do to help end this tragedy."

He conceded that peace-building efforts succeed only one time out of two. "Half of the civil wars that appear to have been resolved by peace agreements tragically slide back into conflict within five years," he observed.

The UN is stretched thin, with more than 75,000 personnel deployed in 18 peace operations on four continents, while a 19th operation is planned for Sudan. "For the foreseeable future, the global demand will outstrip the capacity of the UN to respond -- particularly when only one in five of our uniformed personnel comes from developed countries," he warned. Full Story.

[Note We have heard the prospect of foreign troop intervention before. Perhaps it is another tactic to pressure Khartoum and get them and the AU to agree to expand the mandate of AU troops in Darfur. NATO recently said it might look into helping if asked to do so by the AU. If EU troops are ever deployed in the Sudan, they will be part of the 10,000 UN peacekeepers monitoring the peace deal in Southern Sudan, not for the separate conflict in Darfur in Western Sudan. The UN peacekeeping force for South Sudan is not expected to be completed for another six months]
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Darfur rebels criticise AU troops

13 Feb UN News Centre: The AU force has come in for strong criticism from the Darfur rebels. SLA spokesman Mohammed Hamed Ali charged Saturday that ever since their deployment last year, the AU observers had "sat idly by while government planes mounted air raids and the Janjaweed militias carried out massacres." A peacekeeping force should be made up of "UN troops because they have the capacity and necessary means to protect Darfur," he said.

Full Story.

[Note This criticism is unfair. The AU troops are hamstrung without a mandate that allows them to operate as protection force and not just as observers and monitors. This could be a tactic employed by the rebels to stoke the UN to stoke Khartoum and the AU to expand the mandate of AU troops in Darfur]
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Senator Clinton calls for NATO to stop genocide in Darfur

14 Feb New York Times: Ex-first lady sways security policy forum in Munich, Germany: In her maiden appearance before the clubby - and overwhelmingly male - gathering of experts, Senator Hilary Clinton advocated a direct role by NATO to stop the genocide in Darfur. She asked for logistical, communication and transportation support.

"We cannot continue to say, 'Never again,' as it happens again before our eyes," she said in her speech, although the flatness of her delivery robbed her words of their impact.

Senator Clinton's husband, former US President Bill Clinton was in the audience. He has a new job with the UN, dealing with countries providing the aid for Asia's tsunami disaster.
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14 Feb Guardian report confirms the US government, departing from its normal practice of relying on US farmers to supply food for hungry foreigners, expects to turn to overseas markets for part of its food aid program.

[Note, This is good news, first of all for the overseas farmers, and for the logistics and cost involved transporting food aid from the US to countries such as Africa]
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Could Sudanese deal inspire secession?

Southern Sudan's secession six years from now? A United States of Africa in which borders become meaningless?

Sudan was created by the British who co-ruled it with Egypt from 1899 to 1955. Four times bigger than Texas, it straddles the great African divide between the Arab Muslim north and the black, heavily Christian south, and that faultline has defined the country's 21-year southern civil war.

This month's peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels could be the first test of whether Africa's largest country can stay in one piece.

Now that a deal has been signed with Sudan's southern rebels stipulating that the south will get to vote on independence in six years, the Darfur insurgents in the west of the country have started to speak more forcefully about autonomy. There's unrest in the central areas of Sudan too.

And why stop there, in a country U.N. special envoy Jan Pronk has described as "a failed nation ... many nations together in one huge territory, held together by force"?

For that matter, why stop at Sudan? It is only one of many African nations whose borders, it could be argued, are artificial.

Click here for full story via AP at Guardian, February 14, 2005.

[Note, the report states that President Bashir sounds determined to hold Sudan together. "Our ultimate goal is a united Sudan, which will not be built by war but by peace and development," he told crowds during a tour of the south following the signing of the peace deal. "You, the southerners, will be saying 'we want a strong and huge state, a united Sudan.'"]

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