SUDAN WATCH: NATO chief off to Darfur meeting, urges Sudan not to hinder AU mission

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

NATO chief off to Darfur meeting, urges Sudan not to hinder AU mission

ARE, Sweden, May 25, 2005 (AP/ST) -- NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer flew to an international conference in Ethiopia Wednesday with an offer of logistical support for the African Union's bid to widen its peacekeeping mission in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Photo: NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (Sudan Tribune)

Making an early exit from a Euro-Asian security meeting in Sweden, he said it was important for the mission's success that Sudan does not hinder the African Union.

"What is important," he told reporters, "is that the government of Sudan will give the green light to the African Union" to more than double its current peacekeeping operation to about 7,000 troops.

He said NATO will offer airplanes to transport African peacekeeping troops, but military planners were still working out the details.

"We will do that in close consultation and harmony with the United Nations and, more specifically, the European Union," he said.

On Thursday, De Hoop Scheffer will attend an international conference in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to discuss the Darfur crisis further with EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and AU officials.

On Tuesday, the NATO allies said they stood ready to provide non-combat aid for the AU's beleaguered peacekeeping force in Darfur, approving "initial military options" for logistical NATO support. The EU has similarly agreed to offer assistance in the form of military transport, training and planning.

Last week, AU Commission President Alpha Oumar Konare asked both the EU and NATO for help.

De Hoop Scheffer stressed the AU -- not NATO -- would be running the Darfur operation.

The EU has already sent military advisers to help the AU mission and is spending US $116 million to cover almost half the costs of the operation.

Chiefs of UN and AU

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan (L) talks to African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Alpha Oumar Konar (R) as he arrived at Addis Ababa airport in Ethiopia May 25, 2005 as both will co-chair the AU meeting on Thursday. The AU is seeking $460 million to more than triple its peacekeeping force in Darfur, a senior AU official said on Wednesday. (Reuters/Andrew Heavens)

Sreef camp near Nyala in south Darfur

Photo: A displaced Sudanese girl sits inside a temporary shelter at Sreef camp near Nyala in south Darfur, October 8, 2004. (AFP).

Abu Shouk camp

Photo: Sudanese women arrive with empty containers to collect water at Abu Shouk camp, home of some 100,000 refugees in Darfur May 25, 2005. (Reuters/Beatrice Mategwa)

Today, Human Rights Watch called for officials from the UN, EU, US and AU participating in tomorrow's donor meeting in Addis Ababa to denounce Sudanese government efforts to backtrack on cooperation with relief agencies.

HRW said Khartoum is refusing to grant visas and travel permits to increasing numbers of international journalists and the government's initimidation and stepped-up denial of access for media to Darfur are part of a recurring effort to reduce international criticism of abuses committed by the Sudanese government and its militia allies in Darfur.
- - -

UN agencies help Sudan turn back polio epidemic

Continuing the all-out effort to eradicate polio from Sudan, the country's Ministry of Health, backed by United Nations agencies and other organisations, today launched a three-day campaign to immunize all children under 5.

Full Report via UN May 25, 2005.

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3 Comments:

Blogger IJ said...

"What is important is that the government of Sudan will give the green light to the African Union" to more than double its current peacekeeping operation to about 7,000 troops", says NATO's boss.

From an earlier posting: "The only reason there is not enough help to date in Darfur is purely down to the genocidal regime in Khartoum protecting its power base and sovereignty. End of story. . .To date, it is Khartoum and African politics stopping African countries from contributing troops to the African Union mission in Darfur."

Back to the current posting: "On Thursday, De Hoop Scheffer [NATO] will attend an international conference in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to discuss the Darfur crisis further with EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and AU officials."

What will they discuss? Options seem to include yet another attempt to convince the government of Sudan to climb down; or intervention by a coalition of forces into Sudan, in contravention of the UN Charter.

Thursday, May 26, 2005  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Hello ij, nice to meet you. Thanks for your interesting comments. The first one, I am still reading the links on Kaplan etc - and agree with both links - so need to re-read more closely and digest. Sorry for the delay in replying here, I am still reading up on your blogs and have put them in my sidebar and look forward to anything you write on the forthcoming G8.

You have great analytical skills. Thanks for picking up on the thread running through my latest posts. Most times I forget anyone reads these posts - there are thousands of visitors in the stats but they don't tell me they've read anything here.

What will they discuss at the meeting? Money. You are right about the first option. But the second one, imho will never happen unless Sudan forces them to or poses as a threat. Military intervention is an act of war. The only scenario I can think where it might happen is if Khartoum blocks aid in a big way or dismisses all aid workers from the country - which it has threatened to do at the first sign of foreign troops intending to enter Sudan.

The international community is using a pressure, carrot and stick strategy which seems to be working. It took several months to get the AU to contact NATO for help. And to reach the point now, where Khartoum really cannot do anything else but accept doubling of AU troops in Darfur otherwise it risks sanctions, delays in getting 4.5 billion US dollars development aid and being called before the ICC.

Last year, the prospect of more troops would have had Khartoum frothing at the mouth like rabid dogs. It took several months for them to agree to the first batch of African Union troops - lots of arm twisting of African Union leaders.

The European Union is responsible for initiating and supporting the African Union and has invested a huge amount of time, effort and funding into getting it started.

It was set up as a way of Africans providing solutions for African problems. Which is why the EU backs the AU all the way. For many reasons, NATO needs to be seen as ONLY providing logistical support not troops. Khartoum won't even allow the AU to expand its mandate in Darfur.

The international community's 4.5 billion US dollar development funding for north-south peace deal is conditional upon peace in Darfur. And then there's the list of 51 suspected Darfur war criminals the UN handed to the ICC. Plus sanctions are always on the UN security council table. Not to mention he IMF helping to cut Sudan's debts.

Also to be considered by all concerned are the oil companies, surrounding countries, and Khartoum's top grade intelligence that it provides to the US for its war on terrorism.

Please forgive if this comment sounds disjointed, I am over exhausted right now. Eyeballs are burning from too much reading. Please stay in touch. If you comment again and there is a delay in my reply, please do not read anything except that I cannot always keep up with everything and need more time.

Kind regards to ij from ij :)

Thursday, May 26, 2005  
Blogger IJ said...

ij,

Thank you for the comments - but you downplay the importance of good initial posts. They stimulate thought and sometimes discussion and/or action. You suggest that NATO, the UN, the AU and the EU will talk about what size of bribes the EU (?) should offer Sudan.

This diplomacy can be a much longer process than the US likes pursued. The US seems to prefer diplomacy backed up by military force - ie, an act of war. UN reform this year?

Here's a very informative analysis, out today: "Intelligence Brief: Sudan" http://www.pinr.com/

"Washington demonstrated its [indifference to Sudan] with a March 25 fact sheet prepared by the State Department. In this document, Washington argues that the death toll in Darfur is much lower than any previous independent estimates put forth. . . This lower death toll is intended to make Washington's current non-position on Darfur more tenable; however, it also opens the door for other states and organizations to assume the role that the U.S. once played in Darfur. . . It can be expected that any solution to the crisis will not emerge from military intervention or a bold new approach but rather through a course designated by international law."

"International law" is fast losing respect. Something that concerns not just the G8.

Thursday, May 26, 2005  

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