SUDAN WATCH: Chinese sign up with Eronat's Cliveden and Canada's Encana to explore oil in Chad

Friday, June 17, 2005

Chinese sign up with Eronat's Cliveden and Canada's Encana to explore oil in Chad

A web page at China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) entitled "International Cooperation" states China National Petroleum Corporation (CNODC) signed a deal with Switzerland Cliveden Corporation. Excerpt:
On December 18, 2003, CNODC signed Stock Purchasing Agreement with Switzerland Cliveden Corporation in respect of the risk exploration at Block H. Canadian EnCana Corporation is the operator of the block. Block H is located in Chad Republic in middle Africa.
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Cliveden's oil deal with Chinese forces Canada's EnCana out of Chad

In his report on Friedhelm Eronat entitled Secret World of the Chelsea Oil Tycoon, published in London's Evening Standard May 26, 2005, Adrian Gatton describes a remarkable "completion" dinner held at Eronat's London home in 2003. Here are some extracts from the report:
That night, 18 December, marked a victory for China in the scramble for Africa. The banquet, with guests including Felter [Eronat's friend and legal counsel since the mid 1990's] and Chinese State officials, was held in the basement, three storeys below a Chelsea street. In the impoverished nation of Chad, Eronat had landed a huge exploration concession - the "Chad Convention" - potentially holding 10 billion barrels of oil.

The party was to toast a deal in which oil-hungry China bought a stake in this. It was a big move for the Chinese. Chad recognises China's enemy Taiwan, and the Chad initiative was part of a political strategy (Eronat facilitated introductions between the Chad and Chinese governments), thought to have been approved by the Chinese prime minister. The deal was important enough for one of the most powerful men in China, Wang Jun, chairman of Citic, the $60 billion State-owned corporation, to fly to London to sign. Together with Chinese oil firm CNPC, they purchased a $45 million, 50 per cent share in Cliveden. The deal was initialled there and then in Eronat's house.
Further extracts from Adrian's report explain what happened between Eronat and Felter, after the dinner celebrating Enorat's deal with the Chinese [note, all of China's oil interests are owned by the Chinese Government]:
Amid the popping corks, Felter privately reminded his boss there could be a problem.

Cliveden's other 50 per cent holding had been sold the year before to Canadian oil and gas company EnCana for $46.5 million, in a deal clinched by Felter. He believed EnCana was legally entitled to be informed about its new partner. According to Felter, Eronat wanted to keep it quiet.

In January 2004, Felter notified EnCana about China's involvement. Eronat was apparently "furious". By mid-February, following a shareholders' meeting in Beijing, Felter was relieved of his duties. Felter, who argues he put Cliveden on track to become a $1.2 billion entity, says he was sacked because he told EnCana about the Chinese.

Cliveden maintains there was no legal requirement to inform EnCana, and the company acted correctly. EnCana would not make any comment to the Standard about the dispute but is now said to be pulling out of Chad.

Felter had been dealt a bitter blow. As Eronat's friend and legal counsel since the mid-Nineties, he says that, in trying to do "the right thing", he had acted "out of misplaced loyalty". It must have been all the more galling since he had loyally shielded his client, he stated, startlingly, "against being indicted in the US for fraud and moneylaundering".
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Cliveden, registered in British Virgin Islands, is not making tax returns

According to Adrian Gatton's report Secret World of the Chelsea Oil Tycoon in London's Evening Standard May 26, 2005 Jean-Gabriel Antoni, Friedhelm Eronat's Geneva based financial manager, told an employment tribunal [brought by Eronat's former legal counsel Dr Peter Felter] that Eronat's British Virgin Islands-registered Cliveden, which in 2003 posted net profits of $63 million, is "not making tax returns anywhere".

Thanks to a reader for emailing a report published on June 17, 2005 by Alsahafa news. A photo from the report, copied here below, shows Eronat's Geneva based financial manager, Jean-Gabriel Antoni, in his grey suit (on the left, almost trying to get out of the picture) signing the Darfur oil deal with Sudan's energy minister Dr Awad Ahmad al-Jaz.

Jean-Gabriel Antoni

An agreement on oil prospecting and production was signed in Khartoum on October 21, 2003 at the Ministry of Energy and Mining for the Block 2 which extends from the Bahr al-Jabal State [southern Sudan] to the borders of the Central African Republic and Chad. Here is an excerpt from a report by Alasher dated October 22, 2003:
The agreement was signed between the Ministry of Energy and Mining and a group of [oil] companies including the Swiss company, Cliveden, which has a 37 per cent share; High Tech, with 28 per cent; the [national] Sudanese [oil] company, Sudapet, with 17 per cent share; Khartoum State, with 10 per cent; and the Hejlij Company with 8 per cent share.

In a press statement after the signing of the agreement, the minister of energy and mining, Dr Awad Ahmad al-Jaz, said these companies had extensive expertise in the oil industry.

He added that the presence of the Swiss company Cliveden was going to give a strong impetus in this field.
Note, Western oil companies like Talisman did not pull out of Sudan so that other Western companies could step in and exploit Darfur. Companies like Cliveden say violence is not occurring within concession areas, but fail to explain that oil revenues are funding the regime in Khartoum which has been at war ever since it stole power through the gun barrel. Who knows what human rights abuses have been committed to make way for oil exploration, drilling and the laying of pipelines? Trouble is poor people, such as those in Darfur, do not seem to have land and property ownership rights.
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Talisman must face lawsuit

Talisman Energy Inc., Canada's largest independent oil producer, must defend a case accusing it and the Sudanese government of genocide, a judge said as she turned aside a second bid to dismiss the lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York said there wasn't a legal basis to dismiss the four-year-old suit, which accuses Talisman of helping Sudanese officials bomb churches, kill church leaders, and attack villages to clear the way for oil exploration.

See full report by The Financial Post at Sudan Tribune June 15, 2005.
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See this statement from the U.S. Department of State on Chad:

2005 Investment Climate Statement - Chad - Openness To Foreign Investment:
"Other sources of foreign investment include the United Kingdom, South Korea, Holland, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Taiwan. A Swiss company, Cliveden, is investing in oil exploration with a Canadian partner, EnCana. A South Korean company, AFKO, has invested in a gold mining venture in southern Chad. A Dutch company, MSI, and a Swedish Company, Millicom International Cellular (MIC), have invested in cellular telephone services. Libyan companies have increased their investments in Chad over the past several years, particularly in hotels and real estate."
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Trinity Energy Resources' Position Advances in Chad

Extract from Business/Energy Editors Houston (Business Wire) Oct. 1, 2002:

In December 1999, Trinity Energy Resources Inc. (Trinity) (OTCBB:TRGC), original operator and 70% working interest owner of the 108 million acre Permit H Concession in the Republic of Chad, entered into a Farmout Agreement with Swiss-based Cliveden Petroleum Co., Ltd (Cliveden). The Farmout Agreement assigned 65% of the original 70% working interest to Cliveden and allowed Trinity a 5% back-in working interest after payout of project expenses. Upon execution of the Farmout Agreement with Trinity, Cliveden carried forward with obligations associated with concession exploration and development. In addition to other concession exploration activities, Cliveden has acquired approximately 1250 line miles of seismic data, consistent with obligations of the concession.
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Transparency can alleviate poverty

Excerpt from an article by George Soros, The Financial Times, March 16 2005:

Countries that are rich in natural resources are often poor because exploiting those resources takes precedence over good government. Competing oil and mining companies, backed by their governments, have often been willing to deal with anyone who could assure them of a concession. This has bred corrupt and repressive governments and armed conflict. In Africa, civil wars have devastated resource-rich countries such as Congo, Angola and Sudan. In the Middle East, democracy has failed to materialise. Lifting this resource curse could make a large contribution to alleviating poverty and misery in the world, and there is an international movement aimed at doing just that. The first step is transparency; the second is accountability.

The movement started a few years ago with the Publish What You Pay campaign, which urged oil and mining companies to disclose payments to governments. In response, the British government launched the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). On Thursday, three years into the process, the UK will convene an important EITI conference in London, to be attended by representatives of governments, business and civil society.

The rest of this article is for FT.com subscribers only [via Business & Human Rights Sudan]
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Before coup, Eronat's Chinesebacked Cliveden eyed Equatorial Guinea

James Norman, in his article at Platts Oilgram News 7/12/2004 entitled "Eronat escapes Kazakhgate" explains that Friedhelm Eronat: "the notorious oilman, cut a deal to avoid prosecution in the Giffen case, even though the US claims his 'assetless shell company' Vaeko was key to Mobil's scheming for a piece of the giant Tengiz field."

Click here for full report.
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Catering to Kazakhstan's Kleptocracy

See report by Justin Raimondo: Nurturing Nursultan Nazarbayev's Central Asian empire of corruption - a 'vital' U.S. ally.
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The Price of Oil: What Was Mobil Up to in Kazahstan and Russia?

Here are three extracts from an in-depth report by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker, July 9, 2001 via Pipelines: Caspian Sea basin - HongWiki. [Note, in the third extract, U.S. Attorney General rightly says corruption is morally wrong and is not an accepted cost of doing business.]

-- The fall of 1997, an international businessman named Farhat Tabbah filed suit in London against three American businessmen, the oil minister of Kazakhstan, and a subsidiary of the Mobil Corporation. He charged that they had cheated him out of millions of dollars in commissions on what was to have been a ten-year swap of oil between Kazakhstan and Iran. Mobil and the other defendants denied the allegations and successfully moved to suppress all Tabbah's affidavits and supporting documentation. A few months after Tabbah filed his lawsuit, he flew to the United States and gave his account of the swap plan to federal authorities. He also turned over several file drawers of documents, including internal Mobil faxes and memos, to agents of the United States Customs Service.

-- In Mobil's case, the company's in-house investigators came to believe that the proposed swap between Kazakhstan and Iran was but one element in a complex of seemingly high-risk business deals that were devised by Bryan Williams. The investigation also led to the two other Americans named in Tabbah's suit: James H. Giffen, a New York merchant banker and adviser to Kazakhstan's President Nazarbayev; and Friedhelm Eronat, a businessman who often acted on behalf of Mobil overseas. The business dealings and friendships among the three men date back many years, and they have done billions of dollars' worth of deals worldwide. The three might never have become the focus of grand-jury scrutiny if they hadn't fallen out with Farhat Tabbah.

-- In a speech in The Hague at the end of May, John Ashcroft, the U.S. Attorney General, said. "We must come to a recognition. Personally and culturally, that corruption is not just a violation of the taw, not just an economic disadvantage, and not merely a political problem, but that it is morally wrong." It should be "no longer seen as an accepted cost of doing business," he went on. "It is now widely recognized that the consequences of corruption can be devastating: devastating to economies, devastating to the poor, devastating to the legitimacy and stability of government and devastating to the moral fabric of society."

Ashcroft's concerns apparently are not shared by all in the international oil community. It may never be known why Mobil's leadership exercised so little oversight on the executives who dealt with Russia and Kazakhstan, and whose activities posed such enormous legal and financial risks. Indeed, the actions alleged in connection with the Tabbah case "bet the company," in the words of one person close to the Mobil investigation, "with maximum criminal and civil exposure." This person has concluded that people in the industry believed that the importance of oil in the national and world economy would insulate them from any complaints of wrongdoing. He summed up the oilmen's attitude this way: "What's man afraid of? The cold and the dark. We make it warm and we make it light."
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What did the British Government know about Eronat before he became a 'Briton'?

The Darfur rebellion started around February 2003. It was not widely reported until April-June 2004 when the death toll was reported as 10,000 and news was being circulated that the Sudanese government was bombing, slaughtering and burning civilians' villages to quash the rebellion and drive the people from their homes. The slaughter in Darfur started in earnest around February/March 2004.

Since February 2003, it is estimated 300,000 - 400,000 Darfurians perished and at least 1.5 million have been displaced. The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) recently predicted six million people across the Sudan are now in need of food aid. ReliefWeb reports today WFP announced Friday June 17, 2005 that about 3.5 million people, more than half of the entire population of western Sudan's Darfur region would need food aid in the coming hunger season.

The man behind Cliveden is former U.S. citizen Friedhelm Eronat, an ex-business partner of convicted Mobil dealmaker J. Bryan Williams and an unindicted co-conspirator in the U.S. Justice Department's pending James Giffen Kazakh bribe case.

As Mr Eronat, recently acquired British citizenship, news reports now refer to him as a "Briton". His company called Cliveden, registered in the British Virgin Islands, is referred to as "British."

Eronat's wife, Melisa Lawton who attended Sherborne School for Girls in England 1985-87 may be British which would have helped him acquire a British passport. One wonders though how he acquired British citizenship so quickly, especially considering he has a U.S. court case hanging over his head.

It is galling to think of Eronat leeching off Britain's credibility and respected reputation abroad. When it comes to Immigration and taxation, it seems like there is one rule for all, but an altogether different and unspoken rule when one is a millionaire or working in government at taxpayers' expense where the rules can be bent to suit. It would be interesting to know what the British Government knew about Eronat's business affairs before they granted him a British passport and citizenship.
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Sudan's oil concession map

See map showing the current concessions of oil exploration and production activities in Sudan, courtesy website of Sudanese Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands. Hover your mouse over the blocks - and note the empty blocks.
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White Nile awards seismic pact in South Sudan

LONDON, June 17, 2005 (Dow Jones) -- White Nile Ltd, the AIM listed oil & gas exploration company 50% owned by the New Government of South Sudan, said Friday that Terra Seis Geophysical Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Terra Seis International, has been awarded the contract to conduct an extensive seismic evaluation programme of White Nile's 65,000 sq km Block Ba oil licence area in South Sudan.

The company said that Calgary based Terra Seis has been commissioned to acquire 2,000 km of high resolution geophysical data focussed on a high definition seismic programme.

The 10 month project, which will start immediately, will primarily focus on the areas within Block Ba thought to be highly prospective i.e. the extensions of the Melut and Muglad Basin areas. It said that these Basins already have oil production to the north of the Block Ba concession area.

Terra Group of Companies Chairman Kevin Plintz said: "We are already organising the transportation of teams and equipment and expect the data acquisition process to be completed by June 2006."
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White Nile Hldrs OK reverse takeover by Sth Sudanese Co

Report by Benoit Faucon via SudanTribune:

LONDON, June 16, 2005 (Dow Jones) -- White Nile Ltd. (WNL.LN) Thursday said its shareholders have cleared the terms of an acquisition of a South Sudanese oil block which includes a reverse takeover of the company by state-owned Nile Petroleum Corp.

In a statement, London-listed oil minnow White Nile said an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders backed the acquisition of an interest in a petroleum concession in Block Ba from Nile Petroleum. Nile is owned by the autonomous government of South Sudan.

It said the acquisition was in exchange for 155,000,000 ordinary shares of 0.1 pence each to Nile Petroleum, the equivalent of 50% of White Nile's capital. The company had disclosed the deal's terms May 19.

White Nile said the shares allotted to Nile Petroleum are subject to a 12-month lock-in agreement from the admission date, which is due Friday.

The contract signed by White Nile, which was co-founded by former England cricket-player Phil Edmonds, is disputed by French oil major Total SA (TOT). Total has been granted the same block by Sudan's central government.
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The Government of Khartoum Province

Extract from The Mineral Industry of Sudan in 2003 by Thomas R. Yager:
"In 2003, the Sudanese Government awarded block 8 in eastern Sudan to Petronas; the company would operate in tandem with Sudapet and High Tech Group of Sudan. In October, the Government awarded block C to a joint venture of Cliveden Petroleum Co. of Great Britain, Sudapet, and the Government of Khartoum Province."
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Further reading:

Sudanese energy minister denies Western firms unwilling to invest in oil sector - BBC Monitoring Africa, Oct 09, 2003 via Sudan Tribune -- Sudanese Energy Minister Awad Ahmad al-Jaz has denied Western companies are unwilling to invest in Sudan due to pressure from Washington. In an interview with the London-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Al-Jaz said many Western companies remain engaged in Sudan's oil sector and continued to openly bid for new concessions. The following is the text of the interview published by London-based newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat on 7 October; all subheadings inserted editorially. Click here for full report.

Sudan hopes to boost oil production to 500,000 b/d in 2005 - Report dated November 30th, 2003 by Muhammad Abu-Hasbu, Al-Hayat [via BBC Monitoring Middle East]: -- Sudanese Energy Minister Awad Ahmad al-Jaz has said the country hopes to raise its oil production to 500,000 barrels per day in 2005. Al-Jaz disclosed this in an interview with Muhammad Abu-Hasbu of Al-Hayat. The following is the text of the interview published on London- based newspaper Al-Hayat on 25 November; all subheadings inserted editorially. Click here for full report via Sudan Tribune.
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Oil discovery adds new twist to Darfur tragedy

Report by Ruth Gidley Reuters June 15, 2005.

Note, error in the report refers to ABCO instead of APCO.

APCO (Advanced Petroleum Company) is a joint venture between Cliveden (37%); High Tech Group (28%); Sudan Petroleum Corporation (17%); State of Khartoum (10%) and Hejlij Co (8%).
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Sudan aims for July deal with Petronas on refinery

Sudan hopes to seal a deal with Malaysia's Petronas next month on building a new 100,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery, allowing it to use rising domestic production, its oil minister said on Tuesday.

Full report by Reuters via Sudan Tribune, June 14, 2005.

[One of Petrona's projects is Sudan Block 1/2/4 risk exploration and development]

Khartoum Refinery

Photo: Khartoum Refinery produces 75% of Sudan's energy requirements, and has plans for further growth.
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PetroChina has pre-emptive right over Sudan oil assets

Chinese integrated oil giant PetroChina has pre-emptive right to acquire upstream assets held by its parent, state-owned China National Petroleum Corp, in Sudan, the company's chief financial officer Wang Guoliang said Friday.

In a media briefing Friday announcing the company's agreement with CNPC to buy the latter's overseas oil and gas assets under a newly formed joint venture, Wang said both companies agreed not to include the Sudanese upstream assets in their deal after studying this possibility for some time because of the "sensitive" nature of the matter.

Full report by Platts via Sudan Tribune, June 10, 2005.
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Attacks on Chinese farmers caught on film

On June 16, BBC news reported on a rare video footage shown on UK Channel 4 news the previous night. The film was shot in China by a resident with a digital camera. It was then handed to a reporter from the Washington Post.

I watched the Channel 4 special report. Riots are on the increase in China but are rarely filmed. Trouble stems from an increase in China's creativity and productivity which is causing the country to "overheat". It is facing increased demand for energy and shortages in supply.

The video footage showed a shocking riot in China not far from Beijing. To clear land and make way for a power plant, peasant farmers were set upon and beaten by a marauding gang of thugs hired by local officials to drive the farmers from land they had squatted on.

According to the BBC report from Beijing by Daniel Griffiths, the eviction of local people to make way for new developments is becoming one of China's sharpest social issues. Re the video, he said the pictures showed local farmers fighting a pitched battle with dozens of unknown men wearing camouflage gear and construction helmets. Hunting rifles and clubs were used in the bloody clashes in the northern village of Shenyou. Chinese state media said that the residents had been resisting the takeover of their property by an electricity company which wants to build a power plant there.

According to both reports, violent disputes like this one are common in China, where competition for useable land is fierce.

China crisis

On June 15 I saw a Channel 4 News special report showing dramatic video footage of a riot in a Chinese village at the weekend in which six people are reported to have been killed. Here is a copy of the transcript and some stills from the report entitled "China crisis":

In China, six villagers have been killed and 50 injured in a dispute over land. Channel 4 News's Asia correspondent Ian Williams reports.

The attack came at dawn, hundreds of men armed with shotguns and clubs, rampaging through tents erected by the protesting farmers.

Although rural unrest has been growing in China, this was one of the deadliest incidents seen in years and one of the first to be captured on video.

China crisis

It left at least six dead and a hundred wounded. The farmers, who were occupying disputed land, tried to defend themselves but were beaten back by volleys from hunting rifles and flare guns.

It happened last weekend, about a hundred miles southwest of Beijing, where farmers had been resisting plans by the local authorities to build a storage facility for a state-owned power plant.

China crisis

They suspect the assailants were hired by corrupt local officials to drive them off the land, many wore hard hats and military fatigues, lashing out with long pipes fitted with sharp hooks on the end.

The police ignored calls for help from the farmers, one of whom shot this video with a digital camera, handing the tape to a reporter from the Washington Post.

Much of rural China has missed out on the country's economic boom. There is a massive wealth gap between the countryside and the booming coastal regions and the simmering rural discontent is one of the biggest challenges facing the government.

Recent mining accidents have sparked riots and corruption, pollution and land seizures have also provoked anger. The protests are growing in number and intensity. According to Beijing's own figures, there were 58,000 protests involving 3m people in 2003, the last year for which figures are available.

China crisis

China's insatiable demand for energy may have contributed to the authorities eagerness to evict the farmers last weekend. The country is facing a severe power shortage, and the farmers were obstructing the local plant's expansion plans. The rural unrest is very different from the large anti-Japanese protests and riots seen in major Chinese cities in April.

These were condoned by the government, though after a week of this the authorities did act, fearing the mobs were getting out of control and might soon find other targets for their anger.

Nothing worries Beijing more than instability, and the countryside is providing plenty of that. Remarkably this clash has been reported in at least one Beijing newspaper.

China crisis

In spite of the attack, the farmers still control the disputed land.
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Microsoft censors its blog tool for China

In a recent post, Reporters Without Borders said it was disgusted to find that Microsoft was censoring the Chinese version of its blog tool, MSN spaces, the system automatically rejecting words including "democracy" and "Dalai Lama".

Reporters Without Borders said it had been able to check, as reported by several news agencies, that when a Chinese blogger attempts to post a message containing terms such as "democracy", "Dalai Lama", "Falungong", "4 June" (the date of the Tiananmen Square massacre), "China + corruption", or "human rights", a warning displays saying, "This message contains a banned expression, please delete this expression." Full story June 14, 2005.

Note, today Rebecca MacKinnon says she has experimented setting up a blog using the MSN Spaces Chinese interface and concludes the filtering of MSN Spaces China appears limited to the blog's title only -- titles of individual posts and within the body of posts do not appear to be filtered.
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See Reporters Without Borders Blog awards 2005 results [with thanks to resistantsoy]
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White Nile Holders OK reverse takeover by South Sudanese Co

June 16, 2005 report by Benoit Faucon (Dow Jones) -- White Nile Ltd. (WNL.LN) Thursday said its shareholders have cleared the terms of an acquisition of a South Sudanese oil block which includes a reverse takeover of the company by state-owned Nile Petroleum Corp.

See full report at SudanTribune.
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British minister for International Development visits Sudan

British Minister for International Development Hilary Benn arrived in Sudan Monday June 13. He met with SPLM officials in Rumbek, southern Sudan to discuss implementation of the peace agreement and visited Darfur to get acquainted with the security and humanitarian situations there.
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UK announces military support to AU force in Sudan's Darfur

LONDON, June 13, 2005 (Sudan Tribune) -- A small, but highly capable, package of military assistance was announced today by the Defence Secretary John Reid to assist the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

The UK has identified further important capability contributions that it can make to EU and NATO efforts to support the AU. Reid said:

"I am greatly heartened to see NATO and the EU working closely together to provide real, practical assistance to the African Union's mission to end the suffering in Darfur.

"The UK has an important role to play in this, and I am very pleased to be able to offer this assistance."

Fifteen personnel from the Royal Air Force's Mobile Air Movements Team, based at RAF Brize Norton, are likely to deploy to Nairobi, Kenya, as part of NATO's efforts to coordinate and enable the airlift of additional battalions of AU troops.

The team will play a key role in ensuring that the African peacekeepers are safely, effectively and quickly deployed into theatre.

The UK will also deploy two logistics experts, as part of the EU's assistance programme, to help ensure the troops are able to sustain their support infrastructure in the challenging conditions of Sub-Saharan Africa.

These officers are expected to serve with the African Union's forward headquarters in El Fashir, Sudan.

A UK officer, currently serving in European Airlift Centre at Eindhoven, will deploy to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to assist the air movement of the expanded mission of the AU, EU and NATO contributions.

The UK strongly supports the expansion of the African Union mission in Darfur and will continue to work with NATO, the EU and the UN to identify what assistance can be provided to support the AU's objectives. The British Ministry of Defence is also working closely with the Department for International Development.

This announcement follows a UK pledge at the International Donor's Conference in Addis Ababa on 26 May 2005 of £6.6 million for the provision of additional vehicles, equipment and shelters, and to support civilian policing.

The UK has also provided a small number of planners, who have provided technical expertise and advice to the AU on movement and logistic requirements.

Further British support, including equipment, supplies, and advice, will continue on a case-by-case basis.
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Britain supports Darfur force, names special envoy

NAIROBI, 17 June (IRIN) British funding for AU mission in Darfur increased - Britain has raised its contribution to the African Union's peacekeeping force in Darfur to GBP 19 million (US $34.65 million) to enable the pan-African body to expand its mission.
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Mr Hilary Benn said veteran Sudan specialist Alan Goulty had been appointed Britain's special representative for Darfur.

"He will support the AU-led work to achieve a durable political settlement to the Darfur conflict, keeping in regular contact with all the main parties."

Full story by AFP June 14, 2005 via Sudan Tribune.

[Note, in November 2003, Alan Goulty (Ambassador to Sudan 1995-1999) the British Government's Special Representative to Sudan, gave his reflections on Britain's role in the Sudanese Peace Process. The meeting was jointly arranged with Sudanese Mothers for Peace, and chaired by Hilton Dawson MP, the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Sudan.]

Further reading:

British Minister urges Sudan to resolve Darfur crisis - report by Press Association June 14, 2005 -- Mr Benn indicated that the UK could provide additional support for further increases in the size of the AU mission. "I think we may need more," he said. "But the priority now is to get those troops in as quickly as possible."
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,1506341,00.html -

Southern Sudan suffering hidden emergency-Britain - report by Reuters June 14. 2005 -- Southern Sudan, ravaged by more than two decades of civil war, is suffering from a hidden emergency and urgently needs aid, British Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn said on Tuesday.

People in east Sudan eke out life on trickle of aid- report by Reuters Jun 17, 2005.

Sudanese child

Photo: A malnourished Sudanese child lies on his bed at a Primary Health Care centre for malnourished children in Gereida town, 90km (55.9 miles) south of Nyala town in Sudan's troubled Darfur province June 14, 2005 where doctors have recorded about 500 cases of malnourised children. Acute respiratory tract infections are the most frequent illnesses in western Sudan's troubled region of Darfur, while severe malnutrition is the most reported cause of death among children under the age of five years in the area, the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) has said. Picture taken June 14, 2005. Reuters/Beatrice Mategwa
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Sudanese intelligence visitor split US officials

A decision by the CIA to fly Sudan's intelligence chief to Washington for secret meetings aimed at cementing cooperation against terrorism triggered such intense opposition within the Bush administration that some officials suggested arresting him here, sources said. See full report via Sudan Tribune by Ken Silverstein, Los Angeles Times, June 17, 2005.

Salah Gosh, Sudan's intelligence chief
Photo: Maj. Gen. Salah Abdallah Gosh, Sudan's intelligence chief.
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U.S. probes reported Sudan link to terror

U.S. intelligence and security agencies are investigating reports that Sudan's government has renewed its covert support for al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists, The Washington Times has learned.

See full report by Bill Gertz, The Washington Times,  June 17, 2005 via World Peace Herald.
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Annan talks tough with Darfur rebels

On June 15, while a UN and Sudanese team visited Darfur, Secretary-General Kofi Annan demanded that Sudan's government disarm the militias terrorising people in the region.

In a report to the Security Council, Mr Annan said security is slightly better but warned that militias were still roaming Darfur.
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Daily news briefs on Darfur

For daily news briefs on Darfur see GIF's daily summary and news reports at the Sudan Tribune.
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G8 the most talked about economic conference ever?

Thanks to Alan Connor at Weblog Watch, BBC Magazine's review of blogs, for linking to a June 6 Sudan Watch post that I cross posted at Passion of the Present: Payback time for US on Iraq.

G8 the most talked about economic conference ever?

Also, thanks Stefanie and Pundita - and for this post Ta, Britain.

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