SUDAN WATCH: Jan Pronk's blog entry picked up by the press: UN envoy calls for changes to Darfur peace plan (Reuters); UN envoy attacks Darfur agreement (BBC)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Jan Pronk's blog entry picked up by the press: UN envoy calls for changes to Darfur peace plan (Reuters); UN envoy attacks Darfur agreement (BBC)

Mainstream media has taken three days to pick up on Jan Pronk's blog entry published here at Sudan Watch June 29.

It's the first time I've seen the press pay attention to any of Jan Pronk's blog entries. Not even when there were threats on his life. I wonder what's taken them so long. I guess it goes to prove a lot of journalists aren't on the ball, even when it comes to a superb source by an outstanding author with excellent photos.

Several months ago, I noticed a typo on the date of a post at the blog and emailed a short note to the contact address. A few days later I was surprised to receive a charming email from Mr Pronk himself, one that I shall treasure. I'm a fan of his and think he does a great job for the UN and works very hard to help broker peace in the Sudan. Excerpts from Reuters and the BBC:

July 1 2006 (Reuters Opheera McDoom) UN envoy calls for changes to Darfur peace plan:
Sudan's top U.N. official has said the Darfur peace deal should be amended to meet key rebel demands to save the foundering agreement, in an apparent shift from his previous statements.

Jan Pronk, on his Internet blog, said international guarantees of security, a more visible disarmament of the Arab militia and more compensation for war victims needed to be added to the pact. All these have been demanded by two rebel factions who refused to sign the May 5 deal. Angry protests have erupted in some Darfur refugee camps against the agreement.

"None of the deadlines agreed in the text of the agreement has been met. The African Union is in charge but it clearly lacks the capacity to lead the process of implementation," Pronk said in his blog, seen by Reuters on Saturday and dated June 28. Pronk has been mostly silent in the weeks since the deal, which two U.N. sources said was because he feared angering the AU, the lead player in Darfur. Pronk signed the May 5 deal as a witness and expressed his support for the text immediately after the signing ceremony. AU and U.N. officials declined to immediately comment on the blog. Pronk's comments are likely to cause friction between the pan-African body and the New York-based United Nations.
July 1 2006 (BBC) UN envoy attacks Darfur agreement:
The head of the United Nations mission in Sudan, Jan Pronk, has said the Darfur peace agreement is in danger of collapse and needs re-writing. Writing his weblog, Mr Pronk called for security guarantees, more disarmament, and more compensation for victims. He said the pact does not resonate with the people of Darfur, describing it as "severely paralysed".
July 2 2006 (AP Lauren Frayer) via Washington Post UN: Darfur Peace Deal on Brink of Collapse:
CAIRO, Egypt -- The head of the United Nations mission in Sudan said on his personal blog that the Darfur peace agreement "does not resonate with the people" and is in danger of collapse. But Jan Pronk also wrote last week that the pact was still salvageable if revisions were made, calling it "a good text, an honest compromise." And he urged its quick implementation, saying, "it meets more and more resistance" as time passes.
July 2 2006 ( Annan: Darfur out of control:
The AU's mandate in Darfur ends in the autumn, but the situation was today confused by the head of the UN's mission in Sudan, Jan Pronk, who has criticised the Darfur peace agreement (DPA) signed earlier this year, despite originally being one of its main proponents. 'It is no wonder that the people in Darfur get the idea that the DPA is just another text without substance, like earlier ceasefire agreements, and is not meant to be kept,' he said on his personal website.


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