Sudan's Bashir rules out UN force in Darfur - AU summit this weekend hopes to persuade Sudan to accept UN force
In an open-air speech attended by thousands in Khartoum, Bashir said a U.N. force was out of the question.Note, the report points out that analysts say Khartoum has objected because it fears U.N. soldiers would arrest officials or militia leaders likely to be indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. I've yet to see any news report, analysis or opinion piece addressing this issue.
"We will not allow international troops under the U.N. to deploy in Darfur," Bashir said in an address marking the anniversary of the bloodless coup that brought him to power in 1989.
"Life in Darfur will return to its normal state without the presence of the international community or the participation of international troops in Darfur," he added.
Photo: Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C), Wall Meyange (L), the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, and Al Motaffi (R), governor of Khartoum, wave to the crowd during a celebration of the National Congress Party's 17th anniversary at Green Square in the capital Khartoum, June 29, 2006. (Reuters)
AU summit hopes to persuade Sudan to accept UN force
Excerpt from Sudan Tribune 29 June 2006:
"Beshir fears that once the United Nations moves to Darfur, it will be difficult to stop the prosecution of some people before international tribunals," said another diplomat.Calling for Sudan to agree a U.N. force with Chapter 7 mandate seems like banging ones head against a brick wall. Why should Sudan agree? Such a move would threaten Khartoum regime's existence - unless, of course, the suspected Darfur war criminals on the UN's list of 51 names lodged at the ICC were given immunity.
Recent developments have are also likely to complicate the scenario.
The hauling of former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor before an international war crimes court has not warmed the Sudanese to UN peacekeeping efforts. Now similar calls are being made for Chadian ex-dictator Hissene Habre, currently held in Senegal over alleged atrocities, to be extradited to face justice abroad.
"Some heads of state think that with what happened to Taylor, there is need to be cautious," according to a Western diplomat based in Ethiopia.
Nonetheless, the United States and the UN have relentlessely called for a rapid deployment of the UN peacekeepers to halt human suffering and help end the Darfur conflict that has now spilled into the neighbouring Chad.