SUDAN WATCH: New York Times was just desperate for a scoop? Gun-jumping by Ocampo alleged, Arab League and African Union meeting with UN Security Council

Friday, February 13, 2009

New York Times was just desperate for a scoop? Gun-jumping by Ocampo alleged, Arab League and African Union meeting with UN Security Council

From Inner City Press at the UN by Matthew Russell Lee February 12, 2009:
Sudan Pre-Indictment Frenzy at UN, Gun-Jumping by Ocampo Alleged, AU in Town

(UNITED NATIONS) - The pending indictment of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court was the talk of the UN on February 12. The New York Times reported that the decision to indict has been made. The ICC issued a denied. Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson was pelted with questions if the ICC President gave Ban a sealed envelope with the news -- denied -- and whether he last meeting with Bashir was as heated as portrayed in the Times. Inner City Press caught up with Sudan's Ambassador to the UN, walking the UN's second floor in his national dress and cobra shoes, and asked him what he made of the pending indictment.

"They are telling us our country is too big," he said, adding that news of the indictment made "some brothers in Doha say we will arrest the president." Inner City Press asked who had made this threat. "Khalil," he answered, naming the head of the Justice and Equality Movement, which Sudanese troops recently faced down in South Darfur.

The UK's draft presidential statement on that topic is now officially dead: it "did not have unanimity," Security Council president Yukio Takasu said at the stakeout, confirming what Inner City Press wrote two days earlier, quoting a Libyan diplomat that his country would not agree without a paragraph taking note of the African Union's recommendation that the ICC process be suspended for one year.

ICC's Ocampo and UN's Ban in July 2008, Bashir indictment not shown

Inner City Press asked Sudan's Ambassador if it had ideas on who was the New York Times' source?

"I think it was water-testing by the New York Times," he said.

So they are working together?

"They are all conspirators."

Others says the Times was just desperate for a scoop.
One wag quipped this is the first instance of Carlos Slim journalism. Others cited Judy Miller and Jason Blair.

But even Sudan's Ambassador conceded the indictment would probably soon issue. He said that ICC Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo spoke days ago at Yale and said that the pre-trial chamber's work was done, and the indictment would issue in days. Inner City Press asked if this was taped, and the Ambassador promised a transcript.

Ban Ki-moon at his press conference this week expressed satisfaction that Sudan had only bombed the outskirts of the town in South Sudan, and that JEM had left. Sudan's Ambassador opined that Ban "wanted to say, I was advised not to talk to the President but I did, and look at the results I got. He did it for his own sake." He said another phrase, but for diplomacy's sake we leave it out.

There is diplomacy at work. An Arab League (and African Union) diplomat told Inner City Press that despite the ICC denial, the decision has in fact been made, but some countries are pressuring the ICC to hold off on announcing. If the Doha talks between Khartoom and JEM are the reason, expect them to go on and on.

There will be a meeting between the Security Council and the African Union and Arab League at 4 p.m. in the UN's basement. Watch this space.

Update of 4:02 p.m. -- In front of Conference Room 8, Arab League's Samir Hosni says they have 7 votes and maybe Mexico and Turkey to stop the al-Bashir indictment. Meeting begins.

Update of 6:54 p.m. -- meeting breaks up, while Costa Rica's Urbana says they made a good presentation, France's LaCroix says, I don't think they have a majority. That is, for suspending the indictment, Russia and China, Libya, Uganda and Burkina Faso, Vietnam -- and who? Turkey? Mexico? Mexico, it's said, is under pressure in two ways from NAM and G-77. More on this to follow. 10-4.


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