SUDAN WATCH: Sudan's warning on peacekeepers is a "political message"- Darfur peacekeepers' chief: Sudan cooperating - Sudan helpful in Darfur mission, Adada says

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sudan's warning on peacekeepers is a "political message"- Darfur peacekeepers' chief: Sudan cooperating - Sudan helpful in Darfur mission, Adada says

Thu Aug 21, 2008 KHARTOUM, Sudan (Associated Press) -
Darfur peacekeepers' chief: Sudan cooperating

The head of international peacekeepers in Darfur on Thursday downplayed Omar al-Bashir's threat to expel the force if a genocide indictment against the Sudanese president is acted upon, saying Khartoum authorities have so far been helpful.

Rodolphe Adada, the peacekeepers chief, said Sudan has been working to speed up the deployment of the U.N.-African Union force, and that the government's attitude has been one of «working with us and helping us.

Adada's comments came a day after al-Bashir threatened in an interview with pan-Arab Al-Arabiya TV to go to war and ask Darfur peacekeepers to leave if the International Criminal Court formally seeks his arrest.

Prosecutors at the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands, charged al-Bashir last month with genocide and war crimes, saying militias unleashed by his government have killed some 300,000 ethnic Africans since 2003. More than 2.5 million have been displaced.

Adada says that al-Bashir, who visited the peacekeepers just days after the charges were announced, said he was supportive of the mission and promised to help.

Darfur peacekeepers have been operating at about a third of the size of authorized by the United Nations, and the mission lacks attack helicopter and other logistics.

Last week, Sudanese government allowed the mission to use the three Darfur airports around the clock, according to Noureddine Mezni, a mission spokesman. At least one airport is almost ready for a 24-hour operation.

The use of the airports would help speed up deployment of more peacekeepers. For now, equipment travels for almost 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) from Port Sudan in eastern Sudan, to the troubled Darfur. The route is fraught with security risks and had been blamed for delays in needed equipment.

Apart from upsetting the Darfur deployment, there are fears that a move to arrest al-Bashir could also threaten a fragile north-south peace deal and plunge the country into new civil war.

Underlining these fears, a top U.N. envoy to Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, told the U.N. Security Council in a briefing this week that Sudan has warned of the consequences of an indictment.

Qazi said Sudanese officials told him that if an arrest warrant for al-Bashir is issued, it could have serious consequences for the U.N. mission in Sudan.
Source: http://www.pr-inside.com/darfur-peacekeepers-chief-sudan-cooperating-r767651.htm
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[Fri 22?] Aug 2008 KHARTOUM, Sudan (smc) Sudan Vision Daily -
President warns to ask exit of UNAMID if ICC issues arrest warrant

President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir arrived back home yesterday from Istanbul after participating in Turkey-African summit.

The president held sideline press conference in Istanbul stating that he would go for war if that is necessary to protect sovereignty of the state.

Moreover, he said he would ask exit of UNAMID if ICC issued an arrest warrant against him. The president reiterates opposition of surrendering any Sudanese national for prosecution before the ICC. He said the Sudanese judiciary is competent and fair enough to maintain justice.

He noted that the ICC is complementary to local judiciary and not an alternative to it.
Source: (smc) Sudan Vision Daily [insert link]
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Thu Aug 21, 2008 (UN Observer.com/Elisa Burchett) -
Does President al-Bashir Really Mean War?

Following Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's trip to Turkey for a summit of African leaders, Al Arabiya was able to obtain an interview with the President.

The UN OBSERVER & International Report spoke with a representative of Al Arabiya at the United Nations today and according to the newspaper, President al-Bashir stated he would be "ready to go through war with ‘the power’ to protect the Sudanese citizen" if a warrant is issued by the ICC.

He is also reported to have said he will ask UN Peacekeepers to leave Darfur if the ICC seeks his arrest.
Source: http://www.unobserver.com/layout4.php?id=5066&blz=1

UNSG Ban with Bashir

Photo: UNSG Ban Ki-moon with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (UN photo by Eskinder Debebe)

Source: http://www.unobserver.com/layout4.php?id=5066&blz=1
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Sudanese warning on peacekeepers a "political message" - foreign minister says

Andrew Heavens

Photo: Freelance journalist Andrew Heavens (http://www.meskelsquare.com/)

Fri Aug 22, 2008 (Africanpath) commentary 'Sudan: The importance of an if (Update 2)' by Andrew Heavens. Excerpt:
Sudan's foreign minister has just done an interview explaining Bashir's threat to expel UNAMID.
 
Sudanese warning on peacekeepers a "political message" - foreign minister says
 
Al-Ahdath on 22 August - The minister of foreign affairs, Deng Alor, has refused to describe President Umar al-Bashir's threat to expel the hybrid [AU-UN] force as a declaration of war saying it was a political message to the international community. He further pointed out that procedures for declaring war were stipulated in the constitution.
 
Does this mean that UNAMID will now actually have to go if the arrest warrant is issued?
Source: http://www.africanpath.com/p_blogEntry.cfm?blogEntryID=5773
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The Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General and the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly. UN briefing Questions and Answers: Thursday, August 21, 2008

UN press briefing

Photos: Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General and UN Webcast TV Video (MaximsNews)

UN press briefing

Michele Montas

Photo: Michele Montas, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (MaximsNews)

Excerpt from UN briefing Q&A held Thursday, August 21, 2008:

Question:  Al Arabiya had an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Sudanese President yesterday, in which, it was reported today by AP and other agencies, he said that he would ask the United Nations peacekeepers to leave if an arrest was issued against him.  Now, we understand, things were said by other officials, and we asked General [Martin Luther] Agwai what he was going to do, and he said the Government denied it, but now it is coming from the top of the Government of Sudan, and it is very clear that he would ask the peacekeepers to leave if a warrant, which is expected, is issued.  I am sure that the Secretary-General is aware of this -- is he going to protest such statements, through the African Union maybe?  Are the plans being put to wind up the operations in Sudan, if a warrant is issued at the end of September, or in October?  What’s being done in the face of such statements by the Sudanese President?

Deputy Spokesperson:  First of all, you brought this to our attention many times now since yesterday, and we are aware of this interview.  As you know, we are still awaiting the word from the judges of the International Criminal Court, so, as of now, this is a hypothetical situation that you are talking about.  The Sudanese President’s remarks that you are referring to is referring to something that has not yet happened.  As far as what the UN Mission is doing, General Agwai, I think, was very clear about what the UNAMID mission is on the ground, and I think he is continuing to serve what is asked from him and the Mission, as long as the Security Council mandate continues.  And the Secretary-General’s remarks on this are very clear, as well.  I have nothing further on this.

Question: I mean, such strong statements threatening to wind down an operation that has been going on for three years now, trying to close UNAMID.  The Secretary-General has invested a year and a half in building this since the Riyadh Summit -- isn’t there any process for such threats by the highest of the high-ranking in Sudan?  This other thing, you must be putting contingency plans to take your people out if the Sudanese give the word?

Deputy Spokesperson: As you know, security measures are constantly being updated and upgraded around the world, depending on the situation.  This is not something we would be reporting to the public, but security measures is one of the top concerns that the Secretary-General has for his staff and the people carrying out the mandate on the ground.  Again, General Agwai, I think, was very clear about what he was doing in terms of carrying out the mission.  So I think…

Question: (talkover) but for these threats by the President of Sudan.

Deputy Spokesperson: You heard General Agwai, who just spoke to you last week, and he talked about… If I recall, in his remarks, he was talking to you about increased cooperation since 9 July, and I think he was hoping that that kind of cooperation would continue.  The UN, as I mentioned, has a mandate on the ground.  It has a peacekeeping mandate, it has a humanitarian mandate, and… (inaudible comment from the floor) I understand, but you are talking about a hypothetical situation that the ICC has not come out with yet. Okay?

Source: http://www.maximsnews.com/news20080821unossgenglishquestionsandanswers10808210601.htm
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Sudan leader al-Bashir interviewed by Reuters in Turkey August 20

Omar Hassan al-Bashir's interview with Reuters in Istanbul August 20, 2008

Photo: Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir answers a question during an interview with Reuters in Istanbul Wed August 20, 2008. Bashir, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, said the legal move strengthened his position and he is not worried about extradition. Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo last month asked the court to issue an arrest warrant for Bashir on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, saying his state apparatus had killed 35,000 people and indirectly at least another 100,000. Photo: Reuters/Osman Orsal, TURKEY. Caption: Wed Aug 20, 2008 (Reuters)

Full copy of the Reuters report is available at Sudan Tribune (Thursday 21 August 2008 'Sudan’s Bashir says strengthened by ICC arrest bid') http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article28357
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Sudan leader al-Bashir rejects ICC

Wed Aug 20, 2008 ISTANBUL dpa report - excerpt:
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir rejected Wednesday the possibility that the International Criminal Court (ICC) may charge him in connection with the conflict in Darfur, dpa reported. "Sudan is an independent country with its own strong justice system. Our judges can decide for themselves on penalties, even for a president," said al-Bashir. Al-Bashir was speaking on the edge of a Turkish-African summit in Istanbul. He said that Sharia law reigns in Sudan and he cannot accept any court that doesn't follow its rules.
Source: http://news.trendaz.com/?show=news&newsid=1274917&lang=EN
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Sudan leader al-Bashir says there are forces behind the case at the ICC who are seeking to drive him from power

Fri Aug 22, 2008 CAIRO (AP) - 'Sudan president says charges meant to topple him':
Sudan's president says the genocide charges against him are part of a campaign to topple his government and divide the country.

In an interview with the Arabic news channel Al-Arabiya, Omar al-Bashir says there are forces behind the case at the International Criminal Court who are seeking to drive him from power before elections planned for next year.

In the interview, broadcast Friday, al-Bashir did not specify who those powers were but said they fear the elections he has promised would give his government legitimacy.

A prosecutor at the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court filed genocide and war crimes charges against the Sudanese president in July, accusing him of orchestrating a campaign of killing and rape in Darfur.
Source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-08-22-sudan_N.htm
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Sudan would confront ICC decision, says Presidential Advisor Mustafa Osman Ismail

Mustafa Osman Ismail

Photo: Presidential Advisor, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail (smc)

Thu Aug 21, 2008 KHARTOUM, Sudan (smc) Sudan Vision Daily - 'Sudan Would Confront ICC Decision, Presidential Advisor':
Presidential Advisor, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail stated that Sudan would confront ICC decision through legal experts. He pointed out that the main aim is to withdraw resolution number 1593.

In a symposium yesterday in Ahram, presidential advisor explained that Sudan totally rejects dealing with ICC. He cast doubts on ICC court and stating that what follows up Oacmpo''s statements reveals contradiction as he sometimes said that he accused President Al Bashir as a person and other time he spoke of involvements of the government of Sudan in the Darfur issue.

Osman stated that the Security Council sent a legal international committee which came out with a conclusion that no genocide took place in Darfur.

The presidential advisor uttered that Sudan''s first step is to move on all arenas, the second step is freezing of resolution 1593. He added that the AU had gone ahead in this regard.

Ismail explained that although AU has the right to withdraw the resolution, Security Council is controlled by great powers.

He concluded that conspiracies against Sudan would continue and added that the government would contact all local, regional and international arenas for Ocampo's decision.
Source: http://english.smc.sd/enmain/entopic/?artID=14137
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On July 24, 2008 Sudan leader al-Bashir visited Darfur city of el Fasher

On July 24, 2008 Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited Darfur city of el Fasher, W Sudan

Photo: In a July 24, 2008 photo, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was on a two days trip to Darfur, releases a dove during the welcoming reception at the Darfur city of el Fasher, Sudan. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf) - Tue Aug 19, 2008 (AP)
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Sultan of the Masalit tribe, Saad Abdel-Rahman Bahr-Eddin

Sultan of the Masalit tribe, Saad Abdel-Rahman Bahr-Eddin

Photo: In a July 24, 2008 photo, the sultan of the Masalit tribe, Saad Abdel-Rahman Bahr-Eddin walks during the welcoming reception of the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was on a two day trip to Darfur, not seen, at the western Darfur city of el Geneina, Sudan. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf) - Tue Aug 19, 2008 (AP)
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Pledge of support in accomplishing peace in Darfur

A framed pledge of support in accomplishing peace in Darfur

Photo: In a July 24, 2008 photo, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was on a two days trip to Darfur, holds a framed pledge of support in accomplishing peace in Darfur handed to him by local tribes leaders during a welcoming reception at the Darfur city of el Fasher, Sudan. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf) - Tue Aug 19, 2008 (AP)
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UN-AU Joint Mediator Jibril Bassole HQ'd in El-Fasher, N Darfur

Sat Aug 23, 2008 (Sudan Vision Daily report by Najla Abdulatif) -
UN-AU Joint Mediator in Darfur Peace Arrives on Monday [Aug 24, 2008]

UN-AU joint mediator Jibril Bassole is due to arrive next Monday to start his mission after meetings with officials of the federal government of Sudan and the states of Darfur and consultations about resumption of negotiations between the government and armed movements, focusing on internal peace process, said Director of the Peace Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Al-Tayeb Ali Ahmed. The ambassador said that the mediator will officially start his work from his headquarters in El-Fasher, North Darfur.

He added that the mediator will review the initiative of the President of the Republic for peace in Darfur, which he declared during his recent visit to the region.

Director of the Peace Department pointed out that it's the first time a peace mediator starts his mission inside the country, explaining that the former Peace Envoys: Jan Eliasson and Salem Ahmed Salem used to assume their missions via intermittent visits to Sudan.. The joint mediator is expected to start his missions officially after his visits to Addis Ababa and New York where he held meetings to arrange for his work as mediator for peace process in Darfur.
Source: http://www.sudanvisiondaily.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=38039

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