SUDAN WATCH: SUDAN: Annan tells UN Security Council Darfur civilians must be better protected

Friday, September 23, 2005

SUDAN: Annan tells UN Security Council Darfur civilians must be better protected

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan pledges UN support for Sudan's new national unity government.

IRIN report Sep 23 goes on to say this:

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Meanwhile, in his monthly report to the Security Council on Darfur, Annan said the region's civilian population must be better protected because they had fallen victim to attacks from armed groups and forced relocation by the previous government.

"One major issue is the protection of internally displaced persons," Annan said. "On some occasions, internally displaced persons who have returned to their villages of origin to cultivate their fields have been attacked, resulting in their re-displacement back to the refugee camps."

Government troops and military police forced their way into the Bella site near Saraf Omra, North Darfur, on 15 and 16 August, destroyed shelters and wounded eight people, Annan said.

"Once again, despite the agreements with the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations, the government failed to notify the international humanitarian community of its intentions," Annan said.

He added that the establishment of the government of national unity and the normalisation of the situation in the rest of the Sudan offered tremendous promise for Darfur.

"These developments offer the parties an unprecedented opportunity to translate the present relative stability in Darfur into a lasting settlement, anchored in the new national political order," he said.

Further statements:

Sep 23 Statement by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on Sudan - The EU congratulates Sudan and also expresses its grave concern about recent reports of serious clashes in Darfur, apparently involving members of the armed movements, the Government of Sudan and Arab militias, including most recently on the Eastern slopes of the Jebel Marra, and in Sheiria, South Darfur.

Sep 23 AngolaPress Paris, France hailed the formation of a government of national unity in Sudan, saying this was a major stage in the implementation of the 9 January 2005 Nairobi peace accord. France was however "very concerned about" the decline in the security situation in the Darfur, and urged all the parties to the conflict in this region of Sudan "to display greatest restraint ... to scrupulously comply with the cease--ire concluded in N'Djamena on 8 April 2004 and to negotiate without conditions and in good faith in Abuja".

Sep 22 USINFO - Bush congratulates Sudan on new National Unity Government - calls it an important milestone, urges steps to stop violence in Darfur.

Sep 23 Government of Canada Statement by Minister Pettigrew on resumption of Darfur peace talks and recent events in the region.
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Fresh fighting in Darfur threatens peace talks, says AU mediator

"Military activities in all sectors in Darfur ... have negatively impacted on the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need and threaten the current round of the peace talks," Salim Ahmed Salim, the special representative of the AU overseeing negotiations, said in a statement on Thursday.

See full report Sep 23 2005 (IRIN)

UPDATE: Darfur rebels call for ex SPLM to join peace talks

This sounds promising. AFP report says the two main rebel groups from Darfur called Friday for South Sudan's former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) to be included in African Union attempts to end their war with the Khartoum government.

Let's hope Rebecca Garang can attend:

Garang's widow is appointed MP

The widow of Dr John Garang de Mabior, Rebecca Nyandeng has been nominated as a member of southern Sudan Parliament.

She was among 161 MPs appointed in accordance with the January 9 Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in Nairobi.

Rebecca is among the top officials of Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/Army) that her late husband led for 22 years.

Garang died in a helicopter crash in Southern Sudan on July 30 and was succeeded by Salva Kiir.

See full story Sep 24 2005 (Standard)
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Sudanese President swears in new government of national unity

See full report Sep 22 2005 (IRIN)
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UN envoy says LRA to blame for violence in South Sudan

The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to Sudan, Jan Pronk, said a Ugandan insurgent group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), was to blame for much of the violence in southern Sudan. The group had hindered demining work and the opening of roads in the area, he added.

"The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, North-South, is on track," Pronk told reporters, after urging the UN Security Council to renew the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and expedite its deployment.

Jan Pronk UN envoy to Sudan

Photo: Jan Pronk of The Netherlands, UN special envoy to Sudan

Splits and splits and splits in Darfur rebel group SLA

Jan Pronk said peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in Darfur between the government and rebels were under way in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

He said it was hard to pin down the causes of increasing violence in Darfur, but to "a certain extent" it was related to disputes between nomadic communities and farmers, and a split within the region's main rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A).

"There are groups that are not government and that are not SLM, but the result of splits and splits and splits," he added.

Pronk urges UN Security Council to issue December 31 deadline

Jan Pronk said he had urged the Security Council to issue an ultimatum to the parties to the conflict in Darfur to come to a comprehensive peace agreement by 31 December.

"There is no reason any more to solve the problem through further shooting and fighting. We don't accept it any more," he said, noting that a similar ultimatum had led to progress when the southern peace agreement was being negotiated.

Pronk said the riots in Khartoum following the death of SPLM/A leader John Garang, in a July helicopter crash, had exacerbated ethnic tensions.

The establishment of essential political institutions and legal reforms in line with the southern peace pact had been slow, he said.

New tensions in eastern Sudan and the fact that certain areas of the south had been left as ambiguous zones of "special status" in the peace agreement were other causes for concern, he added.

See full report Sep 22 2005.
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Large-scale camel and cattle rustling

International Committee of the Red Cross claims one factor for the fighting escalating in Darfur is the recent upsurge in large-scale camel and cattle rustling.
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Several factions claiming control of SLA rebels in Darfur

IRIN report explains the situation in Darfur is further complicated by the reported lack of cohesion in the SLM/A's chain of command:
Several factions have recently claimed to control the movement's forces on the ground.

The head of the SLM/A delegation in Abuja, Abdulrahman Musa, is thought to be representing the Fur ethnic wing of the movement, loyal to the movement's chairman, Abdul Wahid Mohammed Nur.

A second faction under SLM/A general secretary Mani Arko Minawi, however, represents the militarily powerful Zaghawa wing and has already boycotted the talks. Observers on the ground claim that it was fighters under the control of Minawi who took control of Shareya town.
See full report Sep 21 2005.
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Darfur peace talks: full political negotiations next weekend

IRIN report explains the sixth round of the Abuja peace talks between the government and the rebels resumed in the Nigerian capital on Thursday:
The parties are currently debating several issues - power sharing, wealth redistribution, security and governance issues - ahead of full political negotiations next weekend, but observers fear the talks might be called off as a result of recent violence.
Meanwhile, a humanitarian source in the capital of North Darfur, El Fasher, said two Rwandan soldiers of the AU Mission in Sudan were wounded on Monday in an ambush and the AU had stopped all activity in the area.

Some shooting could be heard outside El Fasher on Tuesday morning and government soldiers came out in large numbers to reinforce the outskirts of the town.

See full report Sep 21 2005 (IRIN)
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Sudanese President announced the national unity government

IRIN report notes observers said the formation of a unity government was another milestone in the implementation of the CPA that ended the country's 21-year north-south conflict:
Sudan's new interim National Assembly held its first session on 31 August.

The CPA, signed on 9 January by Bashir and the late first vice president of Sudan and chairman of SPLM/A, John Garang, in Nairobi, Kenya, attempts to encourage wealth- and power-sharing in the oil-rich nation.

The agreement, which began a six-year transitional period in the country, details protocols on sharing legislative power and natural resources. South Sudan will vote to decide whether to remain politically united with the north or separate from it after the transitional period.
Sudanese President swears in new government of national unity

Photo: Sudanese President el-Bashir. The war between his government and the SPLM/A rebel group in the south erupted in 1983 when the rebels took up arms against authorities based in the north to demand greater autonomy. The fighting has killed at least two million people, uprooted four million more, and forced some 600,000 to flee to neighbouring countries.

See full report Sep 20 2005 (IRIN)
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Major clash in Darfur reportedly killing more than 40

A large retaliatory attack by armed nomadic tribesmen on the rebel SLA on Monday left more than 40 people dead in Darfur, local sources said.

See full report 20 Sep 2005 (IRIN)

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