Sudan's leader al-Bashir says ready to go to war
CAIRO: Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir has told a pan-Arab TV network he would go to war and ask Darfur peacekeepers to leave if the International Criminal Court formally indicts him and seeks his arrest.Source: http://www.dailystaregypt.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=15872
Al-Bashir was interviewed by Al-Arabiya Wednesday during a visit to Turkey. [see next item here below] It was Al-Bashir's first trip abroad since the ICC prosecutor accused him of directing genocide in Darfur. The ICC will make a decision in weeks on whether to issue an arrest warrant.
Al-Bashir said he will resist pressure to hand over any Sudanese suspects to the court. He said, "We are ready to go through war with the great power to protect the Sudanese citizen."
Al-Bashir said his government would ask international peacekeepers to leave if a warrant is issued. –AP
Turkey-Africa Co-operation Summit held Aug 18-21, 2008
A summit of African leaders began in Turkey on Monday August 18, 2008. The Turkey-Africa Co-operation Summit started with talks among officials from about 50 countries. The summit is part of Turkey's efforts to expand ties with Africa.
Turkey has increased its trade volume with African nations from about $5,4-billion (R42-billion) to $13-billion (R100-billion) in less than three years, and is targeting $30-billion (R231-billion) by the end of 2010. - Sapa-AP (Istanbul) Tuesday August 19, 2008
Photo: Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, left, welcomes Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, as he arrives for a Turkey-Africa Cooperation meeting in Istanbul Turkey, Tuesday, August 19, 2008. Turkey's president urged Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir during talks Tuesday to act responsibly and to end the suffering in the devasted Darfur region. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta)
Look at where Turkey is on this map
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Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline "isn't necessarily safe"
Excerpt from BusinessWeek.com commentary by Steve LeVine, published Thursday August 14, 2008:
Targeting the PipelineSteve LeVine covers foreign affairs for BusinessWeek. He previously was correspondent for Central Asia and the Caucasus for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for 11 years. His first book, The Oil and the Glory , a history of the former Soviet Union through the lens of oil, was published in October 2007. Putin’s Labyrinth, his new book, profiles Russia through the lives and deaths of six Russians. It was released this week.
Until now, the notion that the battle in Georgia had an oil component was an educated conclusion, in my case based on the 11 years I spent living in the region, including in Tbilisi during the 1990s. Now we have two independent reports, including one this morning by my former Wall Street Journal colleague Guy Chazan, confirming that Russia took advantage of its assault to tell the West that the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline isn’t necessarily safe.
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The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (green) is one of several pipelines running from Baku.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (sometimes abbreviated as BTC pipeline) is a crude oil pipeline that covers 1,768 kilometres (1,099 mi) from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It connects Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan; Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia; and Ceyhan, a port on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, hence its name. It is the second longest oil pipeline in the world after the Druzhba pipeline. The first oil that was pumped from the Baku end of the pipeline on May 10, 2005 reached Ceyhan on May 28, 2006.
[hat tip Steve LeVine, BusinessWeek.com]
Warning by Sudan on Charges
Full copy of The New York Times report 'Warning by Sudan on Charges' by Daniel B. Schneider, Monday August 18, 2008:
The Sudanese government has warned of "serious consequences for U.N. staff and infrastructure" if the International Criminal Court charges President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with war crimes in Darfur, the head of the United Nations mission that monitors the peace accord in Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, told the Security Council on Monday. Mr. Qazi did not elaborate on the specific sources or timing of the warning, but said his mission would take "all necessary precautionary measures" and would strengthen its cooperation with Sudanese security forces.Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/19/world/africa/19briefs-un-sudan.html?ref=world
Khartoum protesters cry 'death for Ocampo'
More than 1,000 protestors gathered outside the republican palace in Khartoum on Thursday [July 17, 2008] shouting death to the world court prosecutor who is seeking an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Beshir.
Photo: A Sudanese from Darfur burns a poster of the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo during a demonstration outside the presidential palace in Khartoum on July 17, 2008. (AFP)
Source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article27918 (Friday July 18, 2008)
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Protesters chanting 'Down, Down USA!' rally in support of Sudan leader al-Bashir
Photos : (Reuters July 14, 2008) Protesters chanting 'Down, Down USA!' rally in support of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum July 13, 2008 after reports that the International Criminal Court (ICC) may seek the arrest of Sudan's president for alleged war crimes. (Mohamed Nureldin/Reuters)
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"Our Judiciary is Independent ... We defy Ocampo the (traitor?)"
Photo: Sudanese supporters of President Omar al-Bashir shout slogans as they carry posters with his photo during a demonstration outside the Presidential palace and United Nations headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday July 28, 2008, against the International Criminal Court's (ICC) indictment of Bashir for genocide. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
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Demonstration outside the Presidential palace and UN HQ in Khartoum
Photo: Sudanese supporters of President Omar al-Bashir shout slogans as they carry his poster during a demonstration outside the Presidential palace and united nation headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday July 28, 2008 against the International Criminal Court's (ICC) indictment of Bashir for genocide. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
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Disabled Sudanese veterans rally in support of Sudan leader al-Bashir
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Sudan leader al-Bashirl visits Darfur's capital of al-Fasher, Sudan, Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Photo: Supporters of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir wave during his arrival at Darfur's capital of al-Fasher, Sudan, Wednesday, July 23, 2008. Sudan's president said he would not be cowed by his indictment on genocide charges nor allow it to distract him from the search for peace in troubled Darfur. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
Photo: Supporters of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir raise anti-Ocampo banners during Bashir's visit to Darfur's capital of al-Fasher, Sudan, Wednesday, July 23, 2008. Sudan's president said Wednesday he would not be cowed by his indictment on genocide charges nor allow it to distract him from the search for peace in troubled Darfur. Addressing supporters in Darfur's capital of al-Fasher, a defiant Omar al-Bashir also sought to cast himself as a peacemaker and discount the significance of his July 14  indictment by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
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Sudanese Muslim Suffis wave various Islamic flags
Photo: The Sudanese Muslim Suffis wave various Islamic flags as they gather for a special prayer service, Dua'a (appealing to Allah) rituals, at a mosque in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, July 20, 2008, in support for Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir, who had genocide charges filed against him at the International Criminal Court. (AP Photos/Abd Raouf)
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Sudanese Muslim Suffis pray for Sudan leader al-Bashir
Photo: The Sudanese Muslim Suffis gather during a special prayers Dua'a (appealing to Allah) rituals at a mosque in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, July 20,2008, in support to Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir, who had genocide charges filed against him at the International Criminal Court. (AP Photos/Abd Raouf)
Sudanese anti-terrorist court convicted and sentenced to death eight members of a Darfur rebel group
Photos (AP Aug 17, 2008) - Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir inspects an honor guard during a celebration marking the 54th army day at the city of Omdurman, near the capital Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday August 17, 2008. A Sudanese anti-terrorist court convicted and sentenced to death two senior members of a Darfur rebel group and six others for their role in an attack on the capital three months ago, court officials and a lawyer said Sunday. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
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Sudanese rally of trade unionists
Photo: Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir waves as he arrives to attend a rally of trade unionists to support him in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, Aug.3, 2008. Sudan's president says he refuses to deal with the international court whose prosecutor has charged him with war crimes and genocide in Darfur. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
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Sudan warns "consequences" over Bashir warrant: UN
Full copy of Reuters report by Daniel Bases 'Sudan warns "consequences" over Bashir warrant: UN' dated Monday August 18, 2008:
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Sudan has warned the United Nations of "serious consequences" for its staff and facilities if the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir over Darfur, a U.N. envoy said on Monday.Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN1845538320080818?sp=true
Addressing the U.N. Security Council, Ashraf Qazi, head of the U.N. mission charged with monitoring a 2005 peace accord between Sudan's north and south, said the mission was preparing for any such actions.
"The government has conveyed to me that the issuance of an arrest warrant against President Bashir could have serious consequences for U.N. staff and infrastructure in Sudan," Qazi said, without specifying where the threat might come from.
"We are taking all necessary precautionary measures including strengthening our cooperation with Sudanese security institutions," Qazi said.
On July 14, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo charged Bashir with masterminding a campaign of genocide in Darfur, western Sudan, and asked the court for the warrant. The Hague-based court has yet to issue a decision.
Khartoum has acknowledged the distinction between the ICC and the mandate of the two peacekeeping missions in Sudan, Qazi said. However he noted the Bashir government had called the ICC prosecutor's action a political and not a legal move.
The missions in Sudan are UNMIS, a 10,000-strong U.N. force that aims to ensure the north and south comply with the 2005 peace deal that ended two decades of civil war, and UNAMID, a joint operation with the African Union in Darfur.
International experts and U.N. officials estimate at least 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes in Darfur since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in 2003 accusing the central government of neglect.
While UNAMID is struggling to reach its planned level of 26,000 troops and police, UNMIS came under criticism after heavy fighting between Sudan's army and southern Sudanese forces in the disputed oil-rich town of Abyei in May.
U.S. envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson has accused the force of hiding in barracks during the fighting instead of protecting Sudanese civilians.
Qazi acknowledged mistakes but also defended the actions of UNMIS peacekeepers during the fighting, which resulted in an estimated 89 deaths, including 18 civilians.
"The fact of the matter is that there was a breakdown of local command and control. Instructions of high officials were simply ignored by local commanders," Qazi reported, apparently referring to the Sudanese.
He conceded that an internal UNMIS review had acknowledged failure to protect U.N. agency compounds in the town.
But he said the peacekeepers sheltered and escorted more than 100 civilians during the fighting in the town, which straddles the border between northern and semi-autonomous southern Sudan.
"When two regular armies fight each other with tanks, multi-barrel rocket launchers, artillery and heavy machine guns, then, irrespective of the specific number of peacekeepers assigned to Abyei, there is no way they can actively intervene to suppress the fighting," Qazi said.
"Moreover, UNMIS has no such mandate," he added.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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Map showing Abyei, Darfur, Khartoum, Omdurman, Shendi
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Sudan denies threatening UN staff over ICC arrest warrants
Here is full copy of Voice of America report by Peter Clottey - entitled 'Sudan Denies Threatening UN Staff Over ICC Arrest Warrants' - dated Tuesday August 19, 2008:
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir government is denying threatening United Nations staff and facilities in the country over a possible International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against him for war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region. This comes after a UN envoy to Sudan told the Security Council Monday that Bashir's government warned the UN of "serious consequences" for its staff and facilities if the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant against Bashir over Darfur.Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/2008-08-19-voa1.cfm
Ashraf Qazi said there is need for the UN to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of UN staff. But Sudan's government denies the charge, saying that it has been cooperating with various UN organizations operating in Sudan. Ambassador Ali Saddick is the spokesman for Sudan's foreign ministry. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the government is doing all it can to deal with the possibility of ICC arrest warrants.
"It an alleged threat and it is not true. The government of Sudan is a serious government and it is totally committed to its obligations, especially when it comes to agreement signed with other organizations and especially the United Nations and the African Union. I'm not aware of any threat that has been towards to the United Nations regarding their very existence in the Sudan if the ICC has and the judges have confirmed the indictment of the president," Saddick noted.
He said President Bashir's government is steadfast in its determination to cooperate with the United Nations.
"I would rather say that the government is totally committed to its obligations and we have never threatened the United Nations peacekeeping force here in Sudan, whether in Darfur or in the South," he said.
Saddick said it was routine for the United Nations to take precautionary measures to protect its staff and facilities.
"In fact they usually do that not only in Sudan, but everywhere just in case because it happens that when the ICC announced its indictment of the president of Sudan, some of the UN peacekeepers here have been relocated outside of the Sudan in case anything might happen. And this proves just a precautionary measure. And because nothing happened and things are going normal in Sudan and now those are taken away from Sudan, the peacekeepers have been flown back to Sudan," Saddick pointed out.
He said Sudan's government is making its case before the UN Security Council to have the indictment of President Bashir squashed.
"In fact, we are launching some sort of diplomacy with the United Nations and with major players in this game, and we are doing very well. We have got support form almost all organizations, and we are going to carry this support to the Security Council. We are doing very well in that regard," he said.
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Security Council decides to extend mandate of African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur by 14 votes in favour, 1 abstention. FULL TEXT OF RESOLUTION 1828 (2008)
Source: United Nations Security Council
Date: 31 Jul 2008
5947th Meeting (Night)
With less than two hours left before the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) expired, the Security Council extended its mandate for a further 12 months this evening following extended consultations.
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P.S. Here's saying a big warm hello to my blogmates and thanks for emails. I'm doing OK, thanks, looking forward to more regular updates. Thanks to Paul of BBC World Service for email and comment. Sorry I was unable to reply. However, I did manage to tune in to the BBC's World Service hour-long discussion programme 'World Have Your Say', talking about indicting President Bashir, and wondered if I had heard correctly, when the Sudanese official (I think) said that there are thirty-eight (38!) different armed groups fighting in Darfur? It was great to hear Julie Flint. Thanks again. If there's a transcript available, I'd be happy to publish it here. Hi scary :)