SUDAN WATCH: AU to pull out of Darfur 30 Sept? Aegis Trust calls for UN intervention - with or without Sudan's consent

Saturday, July 08, 2006

AU to pull out of Darfur 30 Sept? Aegis Trust calls for UN intervention - with or without Sudan's consent

What to make of a statement (see below) by the Head of the African Union Mission in Darfur? The erroneous news reports to which he refers, were widespread via IRIN, Reuters, VOA and many others because the AU Chairman, Denis Sassou Nguesso, announced to the press at the AU Summit in Gambia that the AU had agreed to a UN request to extend the mandate of its military mission in Darfur by three months until the end of 2006 - quote:
"On the request of the secretary-general, the African Union will continue to fulfil its mission until the end of the year," said Sassou Nguesso, the president of the Congo Republic, who holds the rotating AU presidency.
So, what's going on? Which of the reports, listed here below, are true? What on earth do Aegis think they are doing calling for war on Sudan? Are they proposing a UN force invades Darfur without Sudan's permission and without a UN resolution (China and Russia would never agree)? I don't get their crazy thinking. It makes no sense. See Aegis Overview - Who We Are, I can't believe peace loving people like Desmond Tutu would approve of the warmongering stance taken by Aegis.

From Jerry Fowler (U.S.) 7 July 2006 - Mixed Signals:
The UK's Aegis Trust today posted an interview with the head of the AU Mission in Sudan, Baba Gana Kingibe, in which he denies that any decision was taken at the Banjul summit to extend the AU mission in Sudan past September 30. Kingibe insists that the AU will not stay past that date unless Khartoum agrees to a transition to a UN force, which case the AU would be "willing to hold the fort until such time as the UN is ready and able to come in." As I noted earlier this week, press accounts out of the Banjul summit indicated that the AU had agreed to extend its mandate at the request of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
From Aegis Trust (UK) 7 July 2006 - AU to pull out of Darfur 30 Sept: Aegis calls for UN intervention - with or without Sudan's consent:
Because World leaders cannot make a decision on Darfur, the little protection there is for civilians in this western region of Sudan will be gone in three months.

Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, Head of the African Union Mission in Darfur, confirmed yesterday that contrary to widespread media reports, the AU will pull its troops out of Darfur on 30 September unless Sudan gives its consent for a transition to a UN force.

"The African Union Peace and Security Council did take a decision that the mandate of the African Union forces would be ended on the 30th of September," he stated in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, London. "There is no change to that date."
From Aegis Trust (UK) press release via AllAfrica 7 July 2006 - Sudan: No Protection for Darfur from 30 September - AU to Pull Out :
Because World leaders cannot make a decision on Darfur, the little protection there is for civilians in this western region of Sudan will be gone in three months.

Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, Head of the African Union Mission in Darfur, confirmed yesterday that contrary to widespread media reports, the AU will pull its troops out of Darfur on 30 September unless Sudan gives its consent for a transition to a UN force.

"The African Union Peace and Security Council did take a decision that the mandate of the African Union forces would be ended on the 30th of September," he stated in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, London. "There is no change to that date."

Addressing mistaken reports that the AU had now decided to stay on to 31 December, he added, "What could have been misunderstood as a change of that date to the end of the year is the address given by Kofi Annan, in which he requested that the African Union should consider extending its mandate to 31st December. But at the end of the day, 30th of September was retained."

Speaking to the Aegis Trust, Ambassador Kingibe stated, "If the Government of the Sudan gives its consent for a UN deployment, we will be willing to hold the fort until such time as the UN is ready and able to come in." (Aegis' interview with the Ambassador can be viewed online at www.aegistrust.org)

Aegis calls for UN intervention with or without Sudan's consent

In the wake of Ambassador Kingibe's comments and recent developments, the Aegis Trust is calling for a UN force to be sent to Darfur under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, with or without Sudan's consent, comprising troops from middle powers.

Aegis is calling for the objectives of this UN force to include securing humanitarian access to the three million people dependent on international aid; providing protection for the women, who are daily attacked and raped; and securing the safe return of the 2.5 million displaced people back to their land across Darfur.

To meet these objectives, Aegis recommends that the force be authorised to neutralise the Janjaweed militia, facilitate implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, and arrest anyone indicted by the ICC.

"We said that the situation in Darfur is going from bad to worse, and the AU pull-out scheduled for 30 September is the worst news possible," says Dr James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust.

"It will be better if the Sudanese Government agrees to an orderly transition to a UN force, but provision of international protection for Darfur's civilians cannot be left at the mercy of Khartoum. Far from protecting its citizens, Khartoum has already demonstrated its readiness to systematically destroy them.

"Whether or not the nations of the UN Security Council move beyond reliance on Khartoum's consent will show quite clearly whether or not the international commitment to the "responsibility to protect" - made at the World Summit in September 2005 - is worth more than the paper it's written on. Twelve weeks are left. It's decision-time - today."
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AU MISSION IN DARFUR: MANDATE EXTENDED UNTIL END OF 2006

From Sudan Watch 2 July 2006 Reuters report via The Age - AU Mission in Darfur mandate extended until end of 2006:
The African Union has agreed to a UN request to extend the mandate of its military mission in Darfur by three months until the end of 2006, its chairman Denis Sassou Nguesso said, The Age reported July 3, 2006:

"On the request of the secretary general, the African Union will continue to fulfil its mission until the end of the year," said Congo Republic president Sassou Nguesso, who holds the revolving AU presidency.
From IRIN 2 July 2006 SUDAN: AU mission extended to year-end but no deal on UN force:
The African Union has extended the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Sudan until the end of 2006, and Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir has agreed to the reinforcement of the AU presence, but he fell short of agreeing to the eventual deployment of a full UN force for the region. Congo president Denis Sassou Nguesso, who holds the revolving AU presidency, later told reporters that the African Union had agreed to the Secretary General's call for "flexibility" on their deadline for troops to pull out. "On the request of the secretary general, the AU will continue to fulfill its mission until the end of the year," Sassou Nguesso said.
From Voice of America 3 July 2006 - AU Summit Extends Peacekeeping in Darfur:
African leaders meeting at an African Union summit in Gambia on Sunday agreed to extend the mandate of their peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region until at least December. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan failed to convince Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to allow U.N. peacekeepers to replace the seven-thousand AU forces trying to protect civilians in Darfur till September. Sudan maintains it does not need an international intervention by the U.N. But Mr. Annan, speaking on the last day of the summit Sunday, said the talks with Sudan will continue. He said is optimistic U.N. peacekeepers in time will be deployed in Darfur. "I, of course, will continue to press for the eventual deployment of U.N. forces in Darfur. On this point we agreed that the dialogue had to continue," Mr. Annan says. "In the meantime, President Bashir said he would prepare a plan for the next six months, which he would submit to me by the end of the month." Meanwhile, AU leaders agreed to a United Nations request to extend the AU peacekeeping operations in Darfur until the end of the year.
From Agencies via Aljazeera.net 3 July 2006 - AU extends Darfur peacekeeping role:
The African Union on Sunday agreed to extend its peacekeeping role in the Darfur region of Sudan by three months until the end of 2006. The under equipped AU force of 7,000 had been due to handover to the UN at the end of September. Sudan, however, has so far refused to allow UN peackeepers into the country. Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, asked the AU to extend its mission during their weekend conference in the Gambia capital Banjul. "On the request of the secretary-general, the African Union will continue to fulfil its mission until the end of the year," said Sassou Nguesso, the president of the Congo Republic, who holds the rotating AU presidency.
From Reuters July 2 via Sudan Tribune July 3 - African Union extends Darfur force to end of 2006:
The African Union agreed on Sunday to a U.N. request to extend the mandate of its military mission in Sudan's violent Darfur region by three months until the end of 2006, its chairman Denis Sassou Nguesso said.
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UPDATE: July 11 2006 James Smith of Aegis Trust commentary in The Times The clock ticks. Sudan heads for disaster: The world seems to be turning away from the refugees of Darfur - but the United Nations has a duty to act. A COUNTDOWN of less than 90 days has begun until the vulnerable people of Darfur are abandoned by world leaders who cannot make a decision - whether to protect them or leave them at the mercy of a Government that has killed at least a quarter of a million and driven millions more from their land. The scene is set for the world's worst humanitarian crisis to tip from bad to worse.

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