RNW: UN envoy criticises Security Council and Khartoum
Jan Pronk, former Dutch government minister and now UN envoy for Sudan, has criticised Western diplomacy with regard to Sudan as lacking intelligence. He also says the Khartoum government is held together by lies and tricks, and the UN Security Council's statements are not backed up by deeds. His comments came at a discussion meeting with students, held on Wednesday in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam.
Photo: As head of the UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS), Mr Pronk currently fulfils two different roles. On the one hand, he is responsible for ensuring that peace is maintained in Southern Sudan. For that purpose, he has a UN peacekeeping force in that part of the country, which - as he says himself - is proving successful in calming the sporadic resurgence of the regional conflicts in that area. However, the object of most attention is his second role: that of trying to bring peace to Darfur and of caring for the victims of the ethnic conflict in this western part of Sudan - the two million local refugees which account for around one third of the total population of Darfur.
IN THE DARK
Speaking in Amsterdam, Mr Pronk pointed out, for example, that the AU troops in Darfur are strictly observing the local curfew regulations, which means all kinds of militia groups are free to operate after dusk.
LIES AND TRICKS
The fact that Mr Pronk criticised the government of Sudan - "held together by lies and tricks" - comes as no surprise, especially since there have been many verbal onslaughts from Khartoum against the UN envoy. However, Jan Pronk was also critical of the people who represent the Darfur rebel movements at the peace talks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja: "They are people who live in the Netherlands, Britain or the US and do not feel the urgency of achieving peace."
He believes there's considerably more willingness to achieve peace among the military forces on both the government and rebel sides. They may be engaged in the fighting, but they also have first hand knowledge of the misery it is causing.
Mr Pronk's criticism also extended to the White House, which has launched the plan to deploy a NATO peacekeeping force in Darfur. He regards this as a misbegotten idea and one which will simply infuriate all Muslims because of the association with events in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Western diplomacy is indeed extremely foolish at this moment," he said, "We're strengthening the regime and strengthening the opponents in Sudan against a UN intervention".
He also played down reports about the threat of war with Sudan's western neighbour, Chad. He believes the risk of all-out war is extremely small, but confirmed that incursions by militia forces have been taking place on both sides of the border.
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LOLOGO TRANSIT CAMP, SOUTH SUDAN
Photo: A Sudanese boy walks in the Lologo Transit camp, near the southern Sudan capital of Juba on 02 April. UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland called on the international community to put pressure on Sudan to allow aid groups to work freely in Darfur. (AFP/File/Simon Maina)
Apr 4 2006 UNMIS statement protesting the decision by the government of Sudan not to welcome the visit of UN's Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr Jan Egeland, to Sudan.
Apr 6 2006 EU Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on access for humanitarian operations in Darfur.