SUDAN WATCH: UN chief urges Sudan's cooperation but is vague on arrest

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

UN chief urges Sudan's cooperation but is vague on arrest

Report by DPA (via The Earth Times) 4 March 2009:
Ban urges Sudan's cooperation, but is vague on arrest - Summary
New York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the Sudanese government on Wednesday to cooperate with the joint UN- African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur despite the arrest warrant issued against President Omar al-Bashir. In his statement in reaction to the International Criminal Court's international arrest warrant for al-Bashir, Ban did not explicitly demand that Khartoum surrender the Sudanese leader to the court based at The Hague. [...]

Ban said he recognized the ICC's authority as "an independent judicial institution."

He called on Sudan to "address the issues of peace and justice" in a manner consistent with the 2005 resolution in which the UN Security Council referred the case of Darfur killing to the ICC. The resolution called on governments to fully cooperate with the court even if they are not signers of the Rome Statute that created the court.

Ban focused his demand on the Sudanese government to "fully cooperate with all UN entities and their implementing partners, while fulfilling its obligation to ensure the safety and security of the civilian population, UN personnel and property, and that of its implementing partners."

"The secretary general calls on all parties to work in good faith toward a political solution to end the conflict in Darfur," he said in a statement. [...]

Sudan's UN Ambassador Abdalmahmood Mohamad, picking up on Ban's failure to clearly demand al-Bashir's arrest by Khartoum, said, "We are not under the obligation to abide by the verdict."

"We strongly condemn this verdict because, for us, the ICC does not exist and we are not bound by it," Mohamad said. [...]

The UN headquarters in New York said Khartoum had revoked on Wednesday the legal registrations of between six and 10 humanitarian groups operating in Darfur. They included Oxfam, Solidarite of France and Mercy Corps.

"Affected non-governmental organizations are the main providers of life-saving humanitarian services, such as water, food, health and sanitations," the UN said. "Their departure will have an immediate and serious impact on the humanitarian and security situation in North Sudan, especially in Darfur."

The UN called on Khartoum to restore the registrations to those groups so they can continue their relief work.
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Reuters report by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum 4 March 2009 - excerpt:
Sudan shuts down six aid groups
Sudan's state Humanitarian Aid Commission called in managers from the high-profile aid groups, which all work in Darfur, and told them their operating licences were revoked within minutes of the ICC announcement on Wednesday, officials told Reuters.

No one was immediately available for comment from the Commission.

Managers were still hoping to persuade the commission to change its mind and were hoping the United Nations would press Sudan to reverse the decision, said senior humanitarian officials, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

"This is very serious. This will have a major impact on humanitarian work in Darfur," one official said.

"At least six high-profile groups have been told their licences have been revoked. We could be talking of at least 10."

Earlier in the day, Oxfam, Medecins Sans Frontiers and other aid groups said the commission had told them to pull international workers out of some areas of Darfur, citing security concerns.


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