France puts U.S. in tight spot on Sudan
The US circulated three Sudan resolutions Tuesday one authorizing a peacekeeping force, another imposing sanctions, and a third tackling the issue of where to punish those responsible for atrocities. It said a vote on the final issue would have to be put off because of the divisions in the council over the court. But France, Britain and others were determined to handle the issues at once. Full Story.
Further reading -- Nigeria wants new panel on Sudan crimes, not ICC. People's Daily Online news says China opposes economic sanctions against Darfur crisis.
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Mahatma Gandhi once said, "When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it, always." - via Be
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UN chief meets Sudanese President, calls for Intl engagement in Darfur
March 23 (AP) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels Tuesday to stick by a frequently-broken cease-fire, saying it could take months for UN peacekeepers to deploy in the region if they are approved.
At the request of the US, the council voted last week for a second week-long extension of the UN political mission in Sudan. But many members including France, Algeria and Britain made clear they are fed up with the delays and want a vote next week on a new resolution.
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UK calls on Sudanese rebels to resume Darfur peace talks
March 22 (AP) -- A British minister on Tuesday called on two Sudanese rebel factions to resume peace talks with the Sudanese government to end the crisis in Darfur.
Foreign Office Minister Chris Mullin said the Darfur rebel groups SLMA and the JEM "should reconsider their current position and agree to the immediate resumption of the peace talks in Abuja without preconditions."
"The current position of non-engagement is unacceptable and is unnecessarily delaying peace in Darfur," said Mullin, after meeting with Minni Minnawi of the SLM in London.
Britain has also called on the Sudanese government to do more to end the Darfur conflict.
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Sudan criticises aid agencies over Darfur aid money
March 20 (AFP) -- Sudan has accused humanitarian agencies operating in Darfur of using only a fraction of funds from donors on the crisis and retaining much of it for their own activities, the independent al-Sahafa daily reported Sunday.
The paper quoted the governor of South Darfur state, Al-Hajj Atta al-Mannan, as saying that just over 10 percent of the total amount of financial assistance donated for the crisis in Darfur had reached the needy. He claimed that the majority of the money was used to fund activities not related directly to the plight of the people of Darfur.
"The share of the people of Darfur from this fund was only 12 percent while the remainder was spent on administrative operations and workers of the international organisations in Darfur," Mannan charged. Full Story.
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Appeal for billions in development aid
Sudan needs almost eight billion dollars (six billion euros) for reconstruction and development over the next two years to recover from two decades of North-South civil war, an assessment team has indicated. The team, made up of representatives of the Khartoum government and the ex-rebel SPLM, said 7.8 billion dollars (5.8 billion euros), would be required through 2007.
Much of that was to be funded with domestic oil revenues, and international donors would be asked to contribute 2.66 billion dollars (two billion euros) of the total, the team said.
But the amount did not include the massive expenditures that will be needed for UN peacekeeping operations in the South, it said. Nor did it cover money that would be required to restore stability to Darfur.
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Sudan Airways to Fly to London
March 21 -- Sudan Airways will fly the London route, barely a month since it resumed flights to Entebbe Airport. The airline's country manager, said on Saturday, the move to be implemented in April, was aimed at popularising the airline and cope with the demand.
"We shall be embarking on the London route. We have already ordered for one Airbus for that purpose. We want all those people who choose to fly Sudan Airways to continue enjoying the high class services of their first choice airliner while they also get the opportunity of flying with it to London," Adam said."
"It's just as well though that we also had to introduce the London route since there is an overwhelming demand for it," he said.
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Darfur rebels call on Arabs to protect minorities
March 22 (Reuters) -- Darfur rebels want an Arab summit this week to show support for minorities in Arab countries and help bring war criminals to justice, rebel leaders said on Monday.
"We are calling on the Arab leaders at the Arab summit in Algeria to pass a resolution to respect the rights of non-Arabs in Arab countries," Khalil Ibrahim, a leader of the JEM, told Reuters from the Eritrean capital Asmara.
Abdel Wahed Muhamed al-Nur, a leader of the SLA, another rebel group, said he wanted the Arab states to back the recommendations of a UN-appointed inquiry commission that suspected Darfur war criminals be put on trial at the International Criminal Court.
"We call on the Arab states to support the trial of the people the UN has said are perpetrators of war crimes," he told Reuters from Kenya's capital Nairobi.
Arab leaders met in the Algerian capital Algiers on Tuesday.
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AU force presence encourages Darfur displaced to return home
March 20 (PANA) -- The presence of the African Union monitoring mission in Sudan has encouraged certain local communities in Darfur, especially in Tine and Labado to return to their homes, the continental body's assessment mission reported Saturday.
"The recent arrival of AU civilian police in a number of camps hosting internally displaced persons has also encouraged the local population to resume their normal activities without fear of harassment," says an AU press release issued Saturday after a weeklong tour by a high level team in Darfur.
The visit to Darfur was recommended in a resolution adopted by the 17th session of the AU Peace and Security Council on 20 October 2004, which urged the AU Commission to report regularly on the situation in Darfur and on the operations and activities of its mission.
AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Council, Ambassador Said Djinit, led the assessment team, which left Khartoum for Darfur on 11 March. The head of AMIS, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, ANIS Force Commander, Major General Festus Okonkwo, as well as representatives of AU partners accompanied Djinit.
The assessment team visited all the eight AMIS military sectors with headquarters at El Fasher, Nyala, El Geneina, Kabkabiya, Tine, Zalingei, El Daien and Kutum. It also met with SLA and JEM representatives and field commanders as well as senior Sudanese officers in the Western Command area.
"The meetings focused on strengthening further cooperation between the AU and the Sudanese parties and how to pave way for an early resumption of Abuja peace talks," the release said. Full Story.