SUDAN WATCH: U.S. dismisses Sudan president's threat

Saturday, August 19, 2006

U.S. dismisses Sudan president's threat

The Bush administration on Friday dismissed a threat by Sudan's president to fire on any UN force sent to Darfur, AP's Barry Schweid reported Aug 18, 2006. Excerpt:
The African Union, which has peacekeeping troops in the western Sudanese region, would make up the majority of an expanded UN force that would benefit the Sudanese government as well as the people of Darfur, State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said.

"Ultimately, we believe that this is in the interest of all the participants in Sudan, including the government, and we expect that they will ultimately agree to let this go forward," he said.

A draft resolution by the United States and Britain was introduced at the United Nations on Thursday.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has warned that Sudan's army would fight any UN forces sent to Darfur, while Britain's UN Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry stressed that no UN force would be deployed in Darfur without the consent of the government.

Casey said the Sudanese government has said in the past it would welcome the UN forces to help monitor and enforce a peace agreement. "That's what we are trying to do here," the spokesman said.

"And, ultimately, we believe that is not only what should happen but that is what will happen," Casey said.

With violence escalating in Darfur, Jones Parry said he hopes the resolution can be adopted by the end of August.

In New York, the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, Mark Malloch Brown, said, "We are extremely worried about the deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur, and the absence of a clear political path to the deployment of the U.N. force."

"It is very important that we all pay lots of attention to Darfur," he said. "Something very ugly is brewing there."
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US THREATENS SUDAN AFTER UN RESISTANCE

Aug 19 2006 Sapa-AFP report by P Parameswaran (via IOL) US threatens Sudan after UN resistance:
A senior US State Department official warned Friday about "the reality" facing Sudan if it "confronted with a unified international community" and a UN resolution that was "the will of the international community."

Referring to Beshir's threat, the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, asked: "Do they want to defy that, and if they do, then what are the potential consequences for them?"

"Don't forget there is a process in The Hague going on in terms of investigations of potential war crimes," the official said, referring to demands by the international community that Darfur war crimes suspects be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
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THEY'RE WASTING PRECIOUS TIME ARGUING

Commentary by Drima: The Sudanese Thinker re U.S. Dismisses Sudan President's Threat:
"The debate on UN troops hasn't ended yet and it doesn't seem like it will end any time soon. I'm tired. They're wasting precious time arguing.

As I've stated previously, AU being in command is the best option we have. Bashir's regime doesn't trust the UN troops coming into Darfur under chapter 7. The UN should just accept it. They should also take Al-Qaeda's threats seriously.

Darfur will turn into a war zone if the UN troops come into it without the Sudanese dictatorship's consent. That ought to make things real "humanitarian" for the people there."
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DISPLACED WOMEN WAITING ... FOR WHAT? MORE WAR?

Displaced Sudanese women 2005

Feb 19 2005 photo: Displaced Sudanese women from Darfur. Violence in refugee camps sheltering 2.5 million people in Darfur has rocketed since a peace deal was signed in May and threatens to jeopardise the world's largest aid operation, a joint statement by four major aid agencies said on Tuesday. (Stringer/Reuters Aug 8, 2006)

Displaced Darfuris, Gereida, S Darfur

May 2006 photo: Displaced Darfuris are seen in the town of Gereida, southern Darfur, May 2006. The US and Britain presented a draft resolution to the UN outlining the deployment of 17,000 peacekeepers to Darfur, despite opposition by the Sudanese government. (AFP Aug 17, 2006/Jonah Fisher)

Sudanese woman in N Darfur

Photo: A woman stands in front of her shelter at a camp for Internally Displaced Persons in North Darfur, June 13 2006. (Reuters Aug 17, 2006/Zohra Bensemra)

UPDATE: US EXPECTS SUDANESE ACCEPTANCE OF UN FORCE

Coaliton for Darfur points to VOA report US Expects Sudanese Acceptance of UN Force. Report excerpt:
Sudan has strongly opposed the proposed upgrade of the international peacekeeping presence in Darfur, with President Omar al-Bashir even threatening to forcibly resist the introduction of U.N. troops.

However, officials here say they think the Khartoum government will eventually relent, and they make clear that the introduction of Thursday's U.N. resolution is aimed at building international pressure on the Sudanese leadership to reconsider.

At a news briefing, State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey noted that Sudanese officials initially signaled acceptance of the force upgrade when a Darfur peace agreement was forged between the government and rebel groups last May in Nigeria.

He suggested that once the global community, through the Security Council, has spoken forcefully about the need for the Darfur force, the Sudanese government will reconsider.

"Once the international community has spoken to this issue, then let's see what the reaction of the Sudanese government is," said Mr. Casey. "Again, I think if you look historically at what's occurred here, the government of Sudan has, when appropriately presented with facts on the ground, responded to them. I think at this point what we need to do is not worry about where they are today, but worry about where they are once we get a resolution passed that authorizes this force."

Casey noted that there already is a United Nations force in Sudan working to implement the country's north-south peace accord, and that the envisaged 17,000-member Darfur peacekeeping mission would be built on the existing African Union presence.

Veto-wielding Security Council members Russia and China have expressed reservations about the U.S.-British draft but spokesman Casey said the Bush administration is optimistic about chances for its early adoption.

He said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, though nominally on vacation, has been conducting telephone diplomacy on behalf of the resolution and spoke about it this week with, among others, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

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