UN: "The only thing we can do at the moment is keep the AU alive - it's the only game in town"
In the past, diplomats from Russia and China have expressed their reservations about imposing sanctions against the Khartoum government and many believe that both the veto-welding members are still opposed to adopting a sanctions-oriented approach as a tool to change political behaviour in Khartoum.As noted here yesterday, Alex de Waal puts the whole situation into a nutshell when he says:
"The only thing we can do at the moment is keep the African Union alive," said the official, who did not want to be named. "It's the only game in town."
"I think the key thing to bear in mind is that the solution to Darfur is a political solution. No solution can be imposed by any amount of arm twisting, any amount of bluster, any amount of military force. Even if we sent 100,000 NATO troops, we would not be able to impose a solution. The solution has to come through political negotiation. And that, unfortunately, is a very slow process."I say, it's about time fledgling AU peacekeepers got good press. They are hamstrung with a mandate to monitor an old ceasefire agreement. They are messed around by Khartoum, denigrated by the Darfur rebels and world press, attacked and killed by Sudanese locals, while not receiving the right equipment or any pay for months on end. They live in tents and work in tough conditions while a firm in Khartoum provides them with disgusting meals. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine morale.
Photo by African soldier in Darfur August 2006. AMZAR Trading & Services Ltd., in Khartoum provides disgusting meals to African peacekeepers in Darfur. Sometimes the meals contain sand and no bread, for which they have to pay $3.60 out of non existent pay packets. Reportedly, the peacekeepers receive no pay for months on end.
Don't miss outstanding BBC report by Paul Reynolds Sep 6, 2006 - AU doesn't have enough money to pull its troops out of Darfur - UK looking to Russia and China to allay Khartoum's fears of UN peacekeepers.
Note, Apr 23 2006 Sudan Watch entry - Nonsensical Bin Laden calls for jihad in Sudan's Darfur - has been linked by Islam Watch May 4, 2006.
Also, see neatly written update at US Physicians for Human Rights Sep 1, 2006: UN Security Council Authorises a UN Force in Darfur.