SUDAN WATCH: June 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ICC prosecutors seek genocide charge against Sudan's Bashir

Lawyers to seek genocide charge against Sudan's Bashir
AMSTERDAM, June 29, 2009 (Reuters) - Prosecutors will try to charge Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with genocide in Darfur after the International Criminal Court (ICC) denied this count in March, prosecutors at the court said on Monday.

The court said last week it would allow prosecutors to appeal its ruling.

Prosecutors said in an e-mailed statement they would appeal on or around July 6 against the ICC's decision to exclude the genocide count.

The court, set up in 2002 by international statute, could change its decision if the prosecution could gather additional evidence, the ICC said in March.

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger)
Maybe ICC chief prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo is missing being in the spotlight.

South Sudan: Pre-war development projects are revived

From Sudan Radio Service, 29 June 2009:
(Khartoum) – The President of the Government of southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Federal state Minister for Industry, Paul Marial Dot Agok met last week in Khartoum to discuss ways of reviving projects that were interrupted by the war.

[Paul Marial Dot Agok]:“My meeting with the first Vice-President was related to the development projects which were stopped due to the last war. We want to re-launch six projects, which are vital to those people in that part of Sudan, in south Sudan. We want to restart these projects so that people can have jobs. Among the projects are the Nzara industrial and agricultural project, the Tonj sisal factory, the Malut sugar factory, the Mongala sugar factory, the Tali Project and at the brewery in Wau. These are six projects we would like to start up again.”

The original projects date from the sixties. They were set up to help develop rural areas in south Sudan, but were abandoned at the outbreak of the twenty-one year civil war.

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US 'is willing to consider' contributing to UN peacekeeping operations with more military observers, officers and police

The United States does not provide troops for U.N. peacekeeping forces, which would mean putting American soldiers under U.N. command.

But U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the United States "is willing to consider directly contributing more military observers, military staff officers, civilian police, and other civilian personnel — including more women — to U.N. peacekeeping operations."

The U.S. has already increased its military observers in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Liberia and is providing two additional military staff officers to the mission in Chad and the Central African Republic, U.S. officials said.

Source: Associated Press report by Edith M Lederer, AP Writer, June 29, 2009 -
US ready to beef up UN peacekeeping operations with military observers, officers and police

Micro-finance: BRAC provides loans for women in Yambio, Western Equatoria state

From Sudan Radio Service, 29 June 2009:
BRAC Provides Loans in Yambio
(Yambio) – An international micro-finance institution, Building Resources Across Communities, BRAC, is providing loans for women in Yambio, Western Equatoria state.

The scheme is aimed at enabling women to help them set up small businesses so that they are not dependent on aid.

Speaking to Sudan Radio service on Monday, Esther Wayo, BRAC’s branch manager in Yambio, described how the loans were benefiting the women.

[Esther Wayo]: “We give loans to women. We gave to 19 members. They are now doing their businesses and they are happy. We started giving them loans on 20th June. The amount we give depends on their ability to repay the money. The amount ranges from 400 to 600 Sudanese pounds because this is our first program in Yambio, that is why we are giving at that rate. Most of the women are doing businesses like selling things, cooking food. With installments, somebody who is given 500 Sudanese pounds will give it back at the rate of 16 pounds per week. The way I look at it, is that it is going to increase development in the area, not only in Yambio but also in other states”.

Esther Wayo was speaking to Sudan Radio Service from Yambio.

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See Save Darfur Coalition's accounts for the year Oct 01, 2007 to Sep 30, 2008

Check this out. Save Darfur Coalition's accounts for the year October 01, 2007 to September 30, 2008 - published on June 29, 2009 - can be viewed at:

http://www.savedarfur.org/page/-/PDFs/FY08_990.pdf

Hat tip: Alex de Waal's comment at his blog post Monday, June 29, 2009: Does “Save Darfur” Feed Darfur?
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Here is a copy of some emails received from Save Darfur Coalition in March, April, May, June of this year. Three different emails were received during the month of March.

From: info@savedarfur.org
Subject: A five-year-old child
Date: 29 June 2009 15:20:37 BST

The rainy season will put thousands of Darfuri children at risk.

We need your help to urge world leaders to finally end the genocide.

Make your contribution to the Save Darfur Coalition today.

Dear friend,

What if life in a displacement camp was all you've ever known?

Five years of dependence on refugee rations and an inadequate water supply. Five years living with the threat of disease. And worst of all, five years of knowing too well what anguish looks like in your mother's eyes.

For thousands of Darfuri children, this is reality—another under-reported tragedy in the wake of genocide.

And, with the rainy season approaching, we only have two days left to reach our goal of 2,700 donors ready to say to President Obama and other world leaders: This suffering must end.

Make a generous gift today in support of our crucial advocacy efforts that give voice to those who are suffering.

Children make up half of the 2.7 million Darfuris who were driven from their homes and now call these displacement camps home. And Sudanese President Bashir knows this.

When his regime expelled 13 humanitarian aid organizations in March, Bashir knew this action would devastate relief efforts and reduce access to medical services, water and sanitation. He knew these camps might not be ready to face the challenges brought by the rainy season, especially the standing water that brings with it mosquitoes and the threat of disease.

Bashir knows this and doesn't care. That is the callousness we're up against.

That's why we need your help today. Together, our movement is demanding that the United States and the United Nations intervene to end this crisis once and for all. We're enlisting congressional allies to ensure continued funding for peacekeeping operations. We're meeting with administration officials to demand that they engage in sustained diplomatic negotiations.

And most importantly, we're bringing grassroots pressure to bear on our leaders and giving voice to a worldwide constituency of conscience to ensure that the children of Darfur can look forward to a future of peace.

Contribute to the Save Darfur Coalition today—and help us keep the pressure on world leaders so we can finally end the suffering.

With your continued support, I believe we can succeed.

Sincerely,

Suzie Armstrong
Save Darfur Coalition
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From: info@savedarfur.org
Subject: The rainy season
Date: June 2009 15:54:12 BST

The rainy season is on its way—and with it greater risk for 2.7 million Darfuris.

Help us urge world leaders to move quickly to protect them now—and finally end the suffering.

Please, donate to the Save Darfur Coalition before June 30.

Dear friend,

For Darfur, the rainy season is on its way.

Roads will be washed away in minutes, cutting the flow of aid to 2.7 million Darfuris who depend on it. Displacement camps will be deluged with standing water, leaving millions vulnerable to disease.

By June 30, we need 2,700 people—one for every 1,000 Darfuris living in these camps—to stand up and say: I will not let them be abandoned.

Click here and make a gift today—before the rainy season intensifies suffering for the people of Darfur.

We're at a new stage in this conflict. What once was the daily threat of armed gunmen terrorizing Darfuri villages has been replaced by despair and a daily struggle to survive in crowded, under-resourced refugee camps.

Khartoum's expulsion of 13 organizations caused a 40% drop in humanitarian aid capacity. The heroic efforts of the remaining aid groups have succeeded in stockpiling as much food as possible before the rains hit. But medical supplies and sanitation services are largely lacking and, with the heightened risk of disease, there could be tragic consequences.

This is the Sudanese government's design—to keep the world focused on managing the crisis instead of ending it.

We won't let it happen. Together, our movement is demanding progress for long-term peace. We're enlisting congressional allies to pressure the administration and world leaders. We're meeting with administration officials to push for action. And most importantly, we're bringing grassroots pressure to bear on our leaders and giving voice to the constituency of conscience.

But, if there's one thing we've learned, it's that the Bashir regime will not relent on its own. Putting an end to the suffering will take an even greater commitment on our part.

Contribute to the Save Darfur Coalition today—and help us increase our efforts now, before the rainy season strikes Darfur.

The rainy season brings with it intense new challenges. It's up to you and me to meet them head on. Thanks to the dedication you bring, I think we're up to it.

Sincerely,

Suzie Armstrong
Save Darfur Coalition

The Save Darfur Coalition is an alliance of over 180 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations whose mission is to raise public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and to mobilize a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of more than two million people in the Darfur region. To learn more, please visit http://www.SaveDarfur.org.
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Your gift lays the groundwork for lasting peace

When the rainy season soon reaches Darfur, a horrifying situation will grow worse for 2.7 million Darfuris living in makeshift camps.

Your gift today will fuel our campaign pressuring world leaders to act. But it will also do so much more.

With your support, we won't just call for an end to the suffering—we'll unite the constituency of conscience and push for long-term peace in Sudan.

Don't delay. Make a generous gift now—and help us get to 2,700 donors before June 30.

Please select a donation amount:
$2,500
$1,000
$500
$250
$100
$50
$25
Other: $
Minimum payment: $5
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From: info@savedarfur.org
Subject: Don't delay - help us get to 50,000 signatures
Date: May 2009 14:33:00 BST

Bashir's regime isn't committed to peace—so President Obama must lead.

Help us get to 50,000 signers on our citizen open letter TODAY, and we'll bring copies to the White House on Friday during our March for Darfur.

Add your name now!

Dear friend,

It's become clear that the Bashir regime is not committed to peace—and that peace is dependent on President Obama's leadership.

That's why 41,938 people have already signed our citizen open letter and sent it to President Obama, and why Darfuris from across the country will march in front of the White House Friday and call on the Obama administration to act.

If we can get to 50,000 signatures by midnight tonight, we'll bring copies of the letters with us to the White House. Don't delay!

Just hours left—sign on to the letter now.

In the last two weeks, the Sudanese government prevented Darfuri delegates from traveling to a peace conference in Ethiopia, and appointed a man wanted for war crimes in Darfur as the governor of South Kordofan, a critical border region between North and South Sudan.

And Bashir's regime has yet to make good on promises of unfettered access for humanitarian groups to provide clean water, sanitation and essential health care services.


But our movement is refusing to be silent. Actress and activist Mia Farrow stoically undertook a 12-day fast in support of the people of Darfur. Richard Branson, Peter Gabriel, Representatives Donald Payne and Ilena Ros-Lehtinen, and hundreds of people worldwide carried on when her health forced her to stop the fast.

On Tuesday, members of the Congressional Black Caucus announced they are joining the fast in support of the people of Darfur. And on Friday, Darfuris and Sudanese from across the United States will march in front of the White House and call for action.

These courageous actions are bringing awareness of the crisis to millions. Now, it's up to us to transform that awareness into a powerful message for the White House: we need bold action now.

Sign our citizen open letter—if we get to 50,000 co-signers by midnight tonight, we'll bring copies to the White House!

Thank you for all that you do.

Sincerely,

Suzie Armstrong
Save Darfur Coalition

P.S. For more about Mia Farrow and the committed Darfur activists and members of Congress joining her fast, click here.

Donate to Help Save Darfur
Help build the political pressure needed to end the crisis in Darfur by supporting the Save Darfur Coalition's crucial awareness and advocacy programs. Click here now to make a secure, tax-deductible online donation.
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From: info@savedarfur.org
Subject: Your money - funding genocide?
Date: April 2009 20:55:04 BST

Tell the Vanguard Group not to invest in companies that fund genocide.

Vanguard shareholders are considering a new genocide-free investing proposal. Will you help us make sure it passes?

I'm a Vanguard investor, and I'm voting for genocide-free investing.

I'm not a Vanguard investor, but I'm calling on them to become genocide-free.

Dear Friend,

PetroChina is one of the largest oil industry partners of the government of Sudan—a government now headed by a wanted war criminal.

So you might be shocked to learn that in the past 3 months, The Vanguard Group—the world's largest family of mutual funds—has increased its holdings in PetroChina!

This week, Vanguard shareholders begin voting on a proposal to adopt a genocide-free investing policy—a proposal Vanguard opposes. Will you help us make sure it passes?

Yes, I'm a Vanguard shareholder, and I don't want to invest in companies that fund genocide.

I'm not a Vanguard shareholder, but I support genocide-free investing.

Investments from companies like PetroChina allow the government of Sudan to fund its campaign of death and destruction—and resist international pressure to restore humanitarian aid to Darfur. Genocide-free investing is a crucial effort to cut off funding for the genocide in Darfur.

TIAA-CREF, the giant US pension fund, has joined states and colleges in adopting Sudan divestment policies. Now, if Vanguard divests, it could set a new standard for the world's mutual funds.

Vanguard mutual fund shareholders are receiving proxy ballots in the mail this week. If you are a shareholder, please vote FOR Question 3, which would force Vanguard to transparently adopt a genocide-free investment policy. Vanguard claims to have a policy in place—but admits that it has yet to divest from a single holding due to concerns about human rights abuses.

And if you're not a Vanguard investor, make it clear that The Vanguard Group must stop doing business with PetroChina and Sudan—or you won't consider doing business with Vanguard.

I'm a Vanguard investor, and I'm voting for genocide-free investing.

I'm not a Vanguard investor, but I support genocide-free investing.


The voices of citizens and investors like you have compelled 27 states, over 60 universities, and big corporations like TIAA-CREF to take action against PetroChina. Together, we can add Vanguard to that list.

Sincerely,

Suzie Armstrong,
Save Darfur Coalition

P.S. Not sure if you are a Vanguard shareholder? Click here to learn more.

Donate to Help Save Darfur
Help build the political pressure needed to end the crisis in Darfur by supporting the Save Darfur Coalition's crucial awareness and advocacy programs. Click here now to make a secure, tax-deductible online donation.
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From: info@savedarfur.org
Subject: Bullets can miss
Date: March 2009 15:59:13 BST

Each day brings more alarming news about access to food, water, and medical care in Darfur. And with attacks on aid workers and peacekeepers increasing, calling on world leaders to act now couldn't be more important—and your support couldn't be more essential. DONATE $50 TODAY.

The situation in Darfur has grown more perilous each day.

We need to raise $150,000 by 3/31 to call on world leaders to act.

Watch our new video and send $50 immediately!

Dear friend,

Even at close range, bullets can miss. Starvation and disease are another matter.

At least 1.1 million lives are at immediate risk due to the Bashir regime's decision to expel aid organizations that provide essential food and medicine from the country.

The time to act is now. But there are only 2 days left to meet our goal of raising $150,000 to support our urgent advocacy work. Please donate today.

We're $52,007 from our goal with ONLY 2 DAYS left. Make your gift of $50 today! If we pressure world leaders to resolve the crisis, we can save thousands of lives.

Our new video tells the stories of survivors of the genocide and the constituency of conscience that brought us to this game-changing moment, with an ICC warrant for the arrest of Sudan's president and a newly-appointed U.S. special envoy ready to lead a sustained diplomatic effort toward peace in Sudan.

But the video also makes clear—we've entered a new phase of destruction, and we can't sit on the sidelines. In recent weeks, peacekeepers in Darfur have been attacked, aid workers have been kidnapped, and hunger and disease may soon spread like wildfire in refugee camps.

The crisis in Sudan demands a bold response from world leaders, and we are working night and day to get one. We are applying pressure at the highest levels of the White House and the U.N., helping Darfuris tell their moving stories to the world, and organizing thousands of Americans in their communities. Please stand with us today.

Only 2 days left to support our urgent advocacy campaign. Make your gift now.

When we speak out together, we impact the lives of thousands of courageous people facing unspeakable hardship. Watch our video. Hear their stories. Give them hope.

Sincerely,

Suzie Armstrong
Save Darfur Coalition

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Re Abyei: NCP says both sides agree on accepting decision made by international arbitration

From Sudan Radio Service, 25 June 2009:
NCP Says Both Sides Agree on Crucial CPA Issues
(Washington D.C.) – The information secretary in the Sudanese embassy in the US, and the spokesperson of the NCP delegation, Saif el-Din Omer, said that the two parties have managed to agree on the most contentious issues in the implementation of the CPA.

He spoke to our producer Hussein Halfawi.

Halfawi: How do you in the NCP evaluate the outcome and the recommendations of the Washington meeting?

[Saif el-Din]: “I can assure you that the two partners have discussed all the contentious issues in the implementation of the CPA, and have reached an understanding, except on one important issue, which is the referendum issue, and the discussions are still going on about it here in Washington and they will continue discussing it in Khartoum or anywhere else. There are some suggestions on how to narrow the differences about this issue. But all the other issues have been agreed on.”

Halfawi: But the two main agendas discussed there, the census results and the border demarcations issue, have they been agreed on by the two parties?

[Saif el-Din]: “I have told you that the only important issue remaining is the referendum, and dialogue and discussions are going on about it. Regarding the Abyei issue, the two parties have agreed on accepting the decision which will be made by international arbitration, and their commitment to it. So the negotiations are not yet over. There is nothing worrying or disturbing to the two parties, who managed to reach a peace agreement which has stopped the war. They are capable of resolving any small differences.”

Halfawi: There are accusations from the SPLM that the NCP came to Washington to discuss the normalization of their relationship with the US, not to discuss the CPA issues, what do you say about this?

[Saif el-Din]:(interrupting) "I can tell you that the government did not come with any advance conditions, and this is not one of its policies in any negotiation. Whether it is with the United States or with the brothers in the rebel movements in Darfur. It does not believe in policy with conditions at all. Some people are criticizing the government for discussing the normalization of the relationship with the US. Personally, I think we should thank the government for it, because the sanctions on Sudan by the US are affecting all of the Sudanese people in the south and the north.”

Halfawi: So, can we say that the two partners will come back with a new spirit, to continue the full implementation of the CPA?

[Saif el-Din]: "I think so and hope so, and the good spirit they have started with, indicates that these small differences which emerge here and there from time to time are not new, unfortunately, and despite some parties trying to magnify these differences, the essential issue is not like that.”

The information secretary at the Sudanese embassy in the US, Saif El-din Omer, was speaking to Sudan Radio Service on Wednesday from Washington.
Further reading:

Aug 16, 2005 - Sudan Watch: Sudan: Abyei Boundary Commission report

May 30, 2006 - Sudan Watch: Interview with Dr Douglas H Johnson, expert on the Abyei Boundary Commission - Hofre Nahas area; part of Bahr El Ghazal transferred to Darfur in 1960s

Aug 21, 2006 - Sudan Watch: S. Sudan: SPLM says Abyei is exclusively for nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms

Jun 29, 2009 - Sudan Watch: Re Abeyi: SPLM's Pagan Amum says both sides tentatively agree on accepting decision by international arbitration court

For further reports, click on Abyei label here below.

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US special envoy Gration's genocide remarks cause storm of protest

From Sudan Radio Service, 22 June 2009:
Gration's Genocide Remarks Cause Storm of Protest
(Nairobi/Darfur) - Representatives of internally displaced persons in Darfur have strongly rejected the US special envoy Scott Gration’s statement last week that what had happened in Darfur is “remnants of genocide”.

For its part, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry expressed the hope that what it described as Gration’s “denial of genocide” in Darfur would be the official position of the US administration.

ABC, a US TV channel, reported that the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, was furious when she was informed about General Gration’s remarks.

The US special envoy to Sudan made the remarks during an on-the-record press briefing in Washington on 17th June. A journalist asked him if he would describe the situation in Darfur now as genocide.
Gration said, “What we see is the remnants of genocide. What we see are the consequences of genocide, the results of genocide.”

His remarks indicate that he is under the impression that genocide had taken place (a point of view that the International Criminal Court was not willing to endorse in its accusations against President al-Bashir when they issued an arrest warrant against him). His answer suggests that he had no evidence that genocide is happening at the moment.

Nevertheless, General Gration’s remarks have sparked a controversy which may come back to haunt him as the partners to the signing of the CPA prepare to meet in Washington to discuss the progress of CPA implementation.

Sudan Radio Service spoke to some IDPs from refugee camps in Darfur on Monday, to ask them what they thought of the special envoy’s statement.

All the IDPs who spoke to us preferred not to be identified.

[Female IDP]: “It is clear that this statement is from a person who is biased to the government side. The law is clear, what is genocide? There is clear evidence which shows that there is genocide in Darfur. When someone displaces more than 29,000 people from only one camp, what do you call that? More than 200 or 300,000 have died. More that 300,000 rape cases. So what do you think genocide is? This is genocide, so from his statement, is clear that he is biased to the regime.”

[Male IDP]: “We think that this is an unacceptable statement from him as US envoy, because what is going on here, we have seen it ourselves and we don’t want evidence or proof from other bodies. We know that it is genocide and that this is happening against the African elements or the blacks, all these special envoys when they come, they meet with the government officials first, that’s why they try to implement their agendas. This is unacceptable statement and it was rejected by all the IDPs.”

[Male IDP]: “According to the UN definition of genocide, nobody needs to tell us that what has happened in Darfur was or wasn't genocide. If you eliminate a whole family, or a certain element completely, this is a clear indication that the government’s strategy was to eliminate all the people here. So the statement by the US envoy was disappointing and painful.”

Those were the views of some IDPs in Darfur who preferred not to be identified.

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Re Abeyi: SPLM's Pagan Amum says both sides tentatively agree on accepting decision by international arbitration court

From Sudan Radio Service, 25 June 2009:
SPLM Says Washington Meeting Will Help Full CPA Implementation
(Washington D.C.) – The CPA partners, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the National Congress Party say that they are optimistic that the Washington D.C. CPA meeting will enhance the full implementation of the CPA.

The SPLM secretary-general, Pagan Amum, spoke to our producer Hussein Halfawi from Washington on Wednesday.

Halfawi: How satisfied is the SPLM with the outcome and the recommendations of the Washington meetings?

[Pagan Amum]: “The Washington meeting was a good meeting, because it has highlighted the issue of CPA implementation. This meeting comes at a time when only 18 months remain until the end of the interim period, to conduct the referendum in southern Sudan, and 10 months to go before the elections in Sudan and there are many issues that have not been implemented yet in the CPA. We hope that this conference and the meetings after this one will help us to concentrate on the implementation of the CPA, and that it will help pressurize the NCP to stop delaying the implementation of the CPA, particularly the referendum act, freedom of expression, and the issue of border demarcation and the census results - which have all been manipulated by the NCP.”

Halfawi: We know that SPLM have disagreed with the NCP on the census and border demarcation issues. How sure are you that these two issues will be resolved in the coming meetings in Khartoum and Juba?

[Pagan Amum: “We have agreed to continue our meetings, with the participation of the US. In the next few days there will be input from the IGAD countries. We hope that with the participation of these countries and particularly the US, we can exercise the necessary pressure to implement the CPA.”

Halfawi: Have you discussed the Abyei issue?

[Pagan Amum]: “Yes, we have discussed the Abyei issue, and there is a tentative agreement from the two sides on implementing the decision which will come out from the international arbitration court on Abyei, and to prevent any outbreaks of violence in the area.”

Halfawi: Can we say that the NCP and the SPLM after this meeting will come back with a different spirit to implement the CPA, or will there still be doubts and and exchanges of accusations?

[Pagan Amum]: “Concerning the issue of the implementation of the CPA, there are delaying tactics from the NCP side, we hope that the new American concern and the new international concern for the full implementation of the CPA will be able to create a new atmosphere to encourage the NCP to lift the barriers that they have put in the way of the implementation of the agreement, and to encourage them implement it, so they can normalize their relationship with the US.”

Halfawi: The head of the NCP delegation, Doctor Ghazi Salah el-Din announced earlier that they will discuss the issue of normalizing the Sudan-US relations first with the US officials, and then the CPA issues, do you think they went to Washington only for that purpose?

[Pagan Amum]: It seems that they came to the US to normalize their relations and to persuade the US to lift the sanctions on them, and to erase the name of Sudan from the list of the countries that are suspected of supporting terrorism in the world, in addition to other bilateral issues. But what has emerged there in the US is that the Americans wish to progress on the ground in the implementation of the CPA, and a resolution to the Darfur conflict, before normalizing their relations with the NCP.

Halfawi: In our interview with the SPLM delegation in Nairobi before you left for Washington, you complained about the lack of transparency in the distribution of the oil revenue to the south. Did you discuss this issue as well?

[Pagan Amum]: “We have discussed all the issues, including the lack of transparency in the process of administrating and distributing the oil revenue. We are concentrating on working on the implementation of the CPA, to realize the full implementation of peace in all parts of Sudan, and to achieve a democratic regime in Sudan. On this basis, we can develop a good relationship with the US and the rest of the world.”

That was the secretary-general of the SPLM, Pagan Amum, speaking to Sudan Radio Service from Washington.
Further reading:

Aug 16, 2005 - Sudan Watch: Sudan: Abyei Boundary Commission report

May 30, 2006 - Sudan Watch: Interview with Dr Douglas H Johnson, expert on the Abyei Boundary Commission - Hofre Nahas area; part of Bahr El Ghazal transferred to Darfur in 1960s

Aug 21, 2006 - Sudan Watch: S. Sudan: SPLM says Abyei is exclusively for nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms

Jun 29, 2009 - Sudan Watch: Re Abyei: NCP says both sides agree on accepting decision made by international arbitration

For further reports, click on Abyei label here below.

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AUPD - Idriss Yousif of the Darfur Forum: "The war is over, there is nothing to do but to sit around the table.”

From Making Sense of Darfur blog by Alex de Waal, Sunday, June 28th, 2009:
“There Is Nothing to Do But To Sit Around The Table.” The AU Panel and Civil Society
Across Darfur and in Khartoum over the last month, well over 2,000 leaders and representatives have interacted with the African Union Panel headed by President Mbeki.

This was by far the most extensive cross-section of the Darfurian population which has ever engaged with an international figure, and included representatives of civil society, native administration, IDPs, refugees (on an earlier visit to Chad), civilians in areas held by the movements, and political parties.

AUDP & CSOs June 2009

As will be clear from some of the postings over the last few weeks, no-one was censored, and people were free to speak their minds. Occasionally meetings ran out of time, but the Panel members took pains to explore differences of opinion and areas of controversy. 

It has been an extraordinary exercise in consultation requiring great stamina from the three former heads of state, Presidents Mbeki, Abubaker and Buyoya. 

The final meeting, in Khartoum on 25 June, brought together one hundred civil society leaders, of whom more than thirty spoke, in a day-long session that ran well over its scheduled time due to Pres. Mbeki’s determination that everyone who wished to speak should be given the chance.

Simply bringing these people together was an achievement. Amin Mekki Medani, one of Sudan’s most eminent human rights lawyers, made an important contribution in the final hearing. One of the points he made was this:

“I looked at the faces here, I have heard their names, but I don’t know eighty percent of them at least. That is telling, about how civil society is allowed to work together. The few I have met, I have met in Nairobi or Cairo or London. So the extent of collective civil society here, is it worth the name? I applaud bringing us together, due to the work of this Panel.”

Hamad Ali, speaking personally as a civil society activist, made a similar point: “National CSOs [civil society organizations] are suffering, they are not allowed to work. We are only working on an individual basis and in specific sectors – so we see the trees not the forest. We need a unified civil society forum, with access to the people. This could do much more, but every effort that we have tried so far has been cancelled.”

The AU Panel hearings provided the forum that Hamad was calling for, which had earlier been blocked.  Across these consultations and public hearings, there has been a far greater consensus on a raft of core substantive and procedural issues than I would have expected. One of the main areas of consensus was that all stakeholders should be represented in any forthcoming peace negotiations. The restricted format of the Abuja talks, in which the government and the armed movements were the sole parties represented, was widely criticized.

Idriss Yousif of the Darfur Forum summed up the views: “The war is over, there is nothing to do but to sit around the table.”

AUDP & CSOs June 2009

President Mbeki’s views on civil society became well-known during his visit. Speaking to civil society in Zalingei, in his closing remarks, he said:

“One of the things we hear, from you and from others, is that we must avoid the mistakes of the past. One of those mistakes was to exclude civil society from the negotiations. It’s clear that in the recommendations that the Panel will make, civil society has to be involved in the future of Darfur, in making peace and in all related questions.   These recommendations will also have to be implemented, there has to be a programme of action, specifying what urgent actions are required to bring about peace, reconciliation and justice, and because it is a programme of action, someone must implement it.   
"Our view is that we will have to maintain contact with yourselves. Whatever recommendations we will make, they will have to be implemented, and civil society is important in the implementation of those recommendations. So this is not the first and the last meeting.
"We shall have to stay in contact with yourselves. Also we shall need a clear follow-up mechanism, to ensure that the recommendations are implemented. So we are not closing the meeting, in reality we are adjourning the meeting.”

Pres. Mbeki continued with another recurrent theme, which is that recommendations have no value unless they can be implemented:

“Having done all of that, there comes a day when we go into the area of implementation. Then we shall get together again to say, what does civil society do with respect to our programme of implementation? We shall incorporate your views in the report we shall prepare and the programme of work we shall propose. The solution to the conflict in Darfur should not be imposed upon the people of Darfur.”

“In conclusion let me say this. Too many people have suffered. This situation must surely come to an end very quickly and it is our responsibility to ensure that we produce that result very quickly.”

AUDP & CSOs June 2009

But how should civil society participate? Idriss Yousif of the Darfur Forum said, “Civil society must participate in any peace talks, as observers, experts, support people. There are many stakeholders in peace, but with different roles.” 

Hussein Imam made a similar point: “The Sudan government and armed movements have their own agendas which are not the agenda of the majority of Darfurians. The movement’s cause was one with the people of Darfur but their approach was not supported by Darfurians. There is now a trend of local reconciliation. People are fed up after waiting for six years. These initiatives must be supported now, for example those around Jebel Marra. How should civil society be represented. Should it come as a third party or stay as a consultative partner? Or should nothing be agreed upon unless civil society accepts?”

Nawal Hassan Osman, of the Sudanese Women’s Initiative for Darfur, stressed the limits of traditional reconciliation mechanisms, which were not designed for dealing with a conflict on a huge scale, or conflict involving the government. She argued that in any peace process, representatives of the IDPs, women, and other affected groups, must take the lead. “If women are convinced with the peace process, it is going to happen.”

There were some dissenting voices. Ibrahim Mohamed Adam was one, arguing that “The Panel should take into consideration that all the historical leadership of Darfur is destroyed, exposed to too much. Some are accused, some murdered, some monitored, traced, separated from their people in Darfur. The government is dealing with a people without leaders. The destruction of the leadership continued to the destruction of the native administration, which has been politicized by the government. And the CSOs are not real CSOs. They have complicated the issues inside and outside. … We should be represented by our tribes, not CSOs.”

This was, however, very much a minority opinion. While participants and panellists alike had no illusions about the weakness of civil society vis-à-vis those holding political and military power, they argued there was no peace without representation. Yousif Ismail Abdalla, from Masar Organization, said, “We must involve all and have dialogue among all Darfurians.” 

Asha Khalil al Karib of the Sudanese Organization for Research and Development, thanked the Panel for responding positively to the civil society demand for representation. “It was a call from us. In the absence of civil society, there will not be a sustainable peace.”
Note from Sudan Watch Ed: I have used red to highlight text for my own reference. Reminder: read comments at Alex's posting: “There Is Nothing to Do But To Sit Around The Table.” The AU Panel and Civil Society

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tehran, Iran: Leading demonstrators must be executed, Ayatollah Khatami demands

A hardline cleric close to the Iranian regime demanded the execution of leading demonstrators yesterday as the opposition ended the week in disarray.

In a televised sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami called on the judiciary to “punish leading rioters firmly and without showing any mercy to teach everyone a lesson”. He said that those leaders were backed by the United States and Israel. They should be treated as mohareb — people who wage war against God — and deserved execution.

In a clear warning to all other dissenters, he declared: “Anybody who fights against the Islamic system or the leader of Islamic society, fight him until complete destruction.”

The Ayatollah claimed that Neda Soltan, the woman shot during a demonstration last Saturday, had been killed by fellow protesters because “government forces do not shoot at a lady standing in a side street”. [...]

The most outspoken criticism of the regime is now coming from outside Iran. On Thursday President Obama called the regime’s suppression of dissent “outrageous”. He admitted that his hopes of opening a dialogue with Iran had been damaged but rejected Mr Ahmadinejad’s demand that he apologise for criticising the crackdown.

Speaking after talks with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, he said that their two countries spoke with “one voice” in condemning the regime’s behaviour.

The foreign ministers of the G8 powers, meeting in Italy, issued a statement deploring the crackdown and urging Iran to resolve the crisis over the disputed election through democratic dialogue. “We deplore post-electoral violence which led to the loss of lives of Iranian civilians and urge Iran to respect fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression,” the G8 ministers said in a joint statement.

Full story: The Times by Martin Fletcher, Saturday, 27 June 2009:
Leading demonstrators must be executed, Ayatollah Khatami demands

Note, one of 101 comments at the article says:
Do not be fooled by the uneasy calm. There is something in the offing in Iran. They have a saying 'there is fire underneath the ashes'. Ayatollah Khatami (not to be confused with the former president of the same name) might find himself being strung upside down, sooner than he thinks.

Google access in China temporarily disrupted - outage follows criticism by Chinese watchdog

Google China

From Bureau News - Breaking News 24/7, Thursday, 25 June 2009:
Google to take serious action after being banned in China for providing pornographic links
BEIJING — Internet users in China were unable to access search giant Google Inc.’s main Web site or its Chinese service, and the company said Thursday it was investigating. The outage came after the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center last week accused Google of providing links to vulgar and obscene sites. Google, based in Mountainview, California, said it would do more to stop users in China from accessing pornography.

The outage began late Wednesday and affected Google’s main site, its Gmail.com e-mail service and its China-based site, Google.cn. On Thursday, all three were accessible from a computer in Beijing, but users in two other cities said they could not open Google’s main site or Gmail.

“We are investigating the matter and hope the service will be restored soon,” Google spokesman John Pinette in Hong Kong told The Associated Press.

The Chinese agency that oversees the Internet, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China has the world’s largest population of Internet users at more than 298 million. The communist government has the world’s most extensive Web monitoring and filtering system, and it regularly blocks access to foreign Web sites.

While the government claims the main targets are pornography, online gambling, and other sites deemed harmful to society, critics say that often acts as cover for detecting and blocking sensitive political content.

Authorities launched a crackdown this year that led to the closing of more than 1,900 porn-related Web sites.

Google has struggled to expand in China, where it says it has about 30 percent of the search market. The company launched Google.cn with a Chinese partner after seeing its market share erode as government filters slowed access to its U.S. service.
I have just checked the visitor stats for this site, Sudan Watch and can see there have been no visitors from China which is quite unusual. I'll keep an eye on the stats today to see if this blog post attracts a visitor from China. Usually they are quite on the ball.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sudan to execute diplomat killers - US Embassy in Khartoum urged its citizens to keep a low profile

Four men in Sudan are sentenced to death for the killing of a US diplomat and his driver last year.

"We sentence the first four defendants to death by hanging," Reuters news agency quoted Judge Sayed Ahmed al-Badri as saying.

Earlier, the US embassy in Khartoum urged its citizens to keep a low profile if there was a guilty verdict.

Sudan to execute diplomat killers

John Granville (pictured above) and driver Abdel Rahman Abbas died after gunmen opened fire on their car early on New Year's Day.

Full story: BBC News, 25 June 2009
Sudan to execute diplomat killers

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

AU Panel on Darfur conducts public hearings in Darfur

The African Union Panel on Darfur (AUPD), which is examining the root causes of the Darfur conflict and aiming to promote justice and reconciliation, held public hearings over the weekend across the region.

Chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, and comprising former Burundian president Pierre Buyoya and former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar, as well as other African dignitaries, began its hearings on 20 June in El Fasher, North Darfur, before conducting similar hearings the following day in the South Darfur capital of Nyala.

Children from Seraf Jidad village, Darfur

Photo 16 June 2009 El-Geneina: Children from Seraf Jidad village, during the visit to Sector West of the UNAMID DJSR, General Henry K. Anyidoho. (UNAMID - Olivier Chassot)

The hearings are aimed at listening to the voices of Darfurians and other stakeholders to determine how best to expedite the peace process to create conditions conducive to promote justice, healing, and reconciliation in Darfur.

The AUPD also conducted hearings with native administrators, women, youth, and representatives from the Sudan Liberation Movement/Abdul Wahid faction (SLM/W) in the North Darfur village of En Siro, and with Sudanese political parties in Khartoum last week. Further hearings will be held this week in El Geneina and Zalingei, both in West Darfur.

Source: AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) 22 June 2009 (via AllAfrica)

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Computer mouse cartoon (Iran Cyberwar News Update 4)

Peter Brookes cartoon

Cartoon by Peter Brookes - Times Online UK, 18 June 2009.
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Update on 19 June 2009: From Channel 4 News' Snowmail by Jon Snow, UK, Thursday evening, 18 June 2009 - excerpt:
IRAN ON THE BRINK

Iran is incredibly finely balanced tonight. Despite being asked by the opposition leader, Mr Mousavi, not to come onto the streets for a planned demonstration, there are huge numbers of people out tonight supporting him.

There is also an Ahmadinejad rally elsewhere in town. This as the guardian council say they will do some kind of limited recount in contested areas (clearly leaving the door open to the possibility that they might simply put Mousavi into power – after all, many of the mullahs are well disposed to him).

Mr Ahmadinejad himself has, perhaps predictably, left Iran altogether for a conference in Russia. For him either it is business as usual or in some way he’s been advised to remove himself from the scene for a bit.

For our people on the ground it is exceptionally difficult. All foreign media who do not have bureaux in Tehran have been ordered out by tomorrow. And mobile phone networks upon which we heavily depend, are down.

We hope Lindsey Hilsum will be able to file tonight. Alex Thomson is also covering events. And I shall be doing a take on the remarkable cyber-war that is going on inside Iran.

Iran in turmoil: http://bit.ly/2hGI8

Briton caught up in Iran internet wars: http://bit.ly/KrL76
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From BBC News:

Iran's powerful Guardian Council says it is ready to recount disputed presidential election votes in some areas, after huge protest marches.

For more details: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news
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From BBC News - 19 June 2009:

Iran's top leader Ayatollah Khamenei says the results of the country's contested elections were not rigged, and warns about more protests.

For more details: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news
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Update : Excerpt from Channel 4 News' Snowmail by Jon Snow 19 June 2009 c. 6pm GMT -
TOP OF THE HATE LIST

Iran's Supreme Leader has put the frighteners on. In a gripping speech at Friday prayers in front of Iran's top brass he said the protests must end, people must accept the result. It was impossible to fix 11m ballots he claimed, and threw his all behind President Ahmadinejad.

Any further protest, he added, would amount to an attack on Iran. http://tinyurl.com/mvhafb

So will that be enough to stop things? A 'friend' of Moussavi is being quoted as saying he does not want his supporters to protest tomorrow. We'll just have to wait and see what happens on the streets.

The Ayatollah also took aim at Britain and put us top of the hate list cueing chants of 'Death to Britain'. The regime is partly angered by Gordon Brown and David Miliband's comments this week (although they have been pretty muted) but is most irritated at the BBC World and BBC Persian TV channels. We'll be assessing what it all means.
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Update: Excerpt from UK Channel 4 News' Snowmail by Alex T dated Saturday, 20 June 2009 c. 19:30 GMT
Alex T here - our lead item tonight can only be the distressing news given in a bald statement from the Foreign Office by the foreign secretary, David Miliband.

The Iraqi authorities in Baghdad have informed the British there that two bodies have been found.

Their identities are not confirmed. But Mr Miliband indicated that they were likely to be the bodies of two of the five British nationals who have been held for more than two years in Baghdad.

TEHRAN CLASHES

The authorities in Tehran and beyond promised they would get tough(er) with any opposition protesters on the streets today.

Word is, they've made good on that promise. Basiji militias, riot police, ordinary police, undercover police, you-name-it police - they're all out there in force and beating up protesters.

As I write I'm getting word of shots being fired. Our team has been slung out of the country along with most other foreign reporting teams, so getting a clear picture of life on the streets of Tehran - never exactly easy - has become extremely fraught, which is just the way the regime wants it of course.

We shall endeavour to peek through the censors via the web and other means.

Iran's supreme leader appeals for calm: http://tinyurl.com/mjfjsj
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From Drima The Sudanese Thinker 17 June 2009:
Iran and Twitter on Fire

The drama continues unabated in Iran, and Twitter has now become an active battleground apparently getting infiltrated even by the Iranian security apparatus.

To get a sense of what’s happening, watch this video.

To understand how Twitter and new media are such a central part of the psychological warfare getting waged by both sides, read this and watch this video.

More on leveraging Twitter to help Iranian activists here.

Yay to cyberwar.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

AU Panel headed by President Mbeki met with 14 parties in a public hearing in Khartoum and visited Ain Siro, N. Darfur

From Alex de Waal, Making Sense of Darfur, 17 June 2009:
The national Sudanese political parties active inside the country rarely meet together in the same forum. I asked a number of Sudanese political leaders when it last happened: some said not for twenty years. Earlier today, fourteen parties met together in a public hearing in Khartoum convened by the African Union Panel headed by President Thabo Mbeki. It included every party in the National Assembly and several others too. Parties that had boycotted the Sudan People’s Initiative last year, such as the Popular Congress Party and the Sudan Communist Party, participated. The fact that so many parties turned out, discussed the whole day until nightfall is a testament to the sense of urgency shared across the political spectrum over the Darfur crisis. Full story .
AU Panel in Ain Siro, N. Darfur

Photo: Four members of the Panel visited Ain Siro. They included, former presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Abdesalam Abubaker of Nigeria [shown above], and two distinguished lawyers, Justice Florence Mumba of Zambia and Mohamed Kebir of Nigeria. Rakiya Omaar also visited last month. Former President Pierre Buyoya of Burundi sent his regrets, as he was attending the funeral of President Omar Bongo of Gabon today. The Panel asked the community to address four themes: peace, reconciliation, justice, and how Darfur relates to the Sudanese nation. Full story

AU Panel visit rebel held area of Ain Siro, N. Darfur

Photo: After the prepared presentations, lucid and comprehensive, the villagers had a free-flowing discussion with the panel members. Hundreds of people turned up, crowding round the discussion, which was held in the shade of mango trees. Many Darfurians were IDPs, refugees or lived in rebel-held areas such as Ain Siro, and had not been counted in the census, and expected to be excluded from voting and other citizenship rights. (Source: Alex de Waal, Making Sense of Darfur, 17 June 2009)

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Paul Moorcraft says ICC Bashir arrest warrant will undermine Sudan's CPA, peace must come before justice

Paul Moorcraft says the ICC Bashir arrest warrant will undermine Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Peace must come before justice. The Doha talks between JEM and NCP were about to succeed but were more or less sabotaged by the ICC's decision to issue an arrest warrant.

From Sudan Radio Service 17 June 2009 (Nairobi/London):
Arrest Warrant Will Undermine the CPA Says UK Analyst
As debate over the arrest warrant issued against President al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court continues, a foreign political analyst thinks that the warrant will undermine the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The Director of the UK-based Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis, Professor Paul Moorcraft, told Sudan Radio Service on Tuesday that peace must come before justice because arresting Bashir at this time will destroy the CPA as well as complicate the peace process in Darfur. He added that both parties have committed atrocities in the region.

[Professor Paul Moorcraft]:“I don’t particularly like President al-Bashir but my main argument is that the ICC arrest warrant is more likely to end up ensuring that al-Bashir stays in power for life. But it also puts pressure on the CPA. You could argue that the president says he is innocent, well, he should go to The Hague, but we know he is unlikely to do that. There is no doubt that a lot of atrocities were committed by the Sudanese Army in Darfur, just as today, the JEM and the rebel elements of the SLA are also committing awful atrocities, especially against workers in the NGOs who are trying to feed the Darfur people. So, yes there are crimes on both sides but at the moment what am saying is in short, peace must come before justice. It is great to have both and maybe they will come in time, but what matters is bringing peace to Darfur, end the suffering and not to undermine the north-south agreement and that’s what I fear the ICC will bring. Peace before justice.

Professor Moorcraft also doubts that an African Union court would resolve the Darfur conflict.

[Professor Paul Moorcraft]: “Africa doesn’t have a good record, the African Union is full of dictatorships, but there is no simple solution. As long as African states are badly governed there will be no easy solution to get rid of presidents-for-life”.

He said that the imposition of European standards in solving African issues can be disastrous, adding that only a political solution can end the Darfur conflict.

[Professor Paul Moorcraft]:“I think sometimes when there is western intervention it can cause negative consequences in Africa. So, political investment is good, political investment like in Naivasha, repeating itself in Darfur. But I have doubts about the intent to impose European standards. Remember, very few - only 27 percent - of the world has signed up to the ICC. it is not an International Court of Justice, many countries have not joined and at the moment virtually all those who have been indicted have been African leaders, it seems to me that that smacks a little of colonialism.”

Professor Moorcroft added that the Doha talks between the Justice and Equality Movement and the National Congress Party were about to succeed but that they were more or less sabotaged by the ICC decision to issue President al-Bashir with an arrest warrant.
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Analyst forecasts change in US Policy towards Sudan

June 17, 2009 report from Sudan Radio Service (Nairobi/Paris) - excerpt:
On Monday, the GONU Foreign Affairs Minister Deng Alor said he expects the United States government to ease economic sanctions and to remove Sudan from the list of states which sponsor terrorism. Roland Marchal, a Paris-based political analyst, suggests that the Obama administration could reverse its policies towards Sudan. He spoke to Sudan Radio Service on Wednesday.  Full story.

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy booed at Gabon funeral

Sarkozy booed at Gabon funeral

Photo: The coffin of Gabonese president Omar Bongo, leaves the president's palace. Photo Courtesy: AFP.

Sarkozy booed at Gabon funeral
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Libreville/Agence France-Presse
Onlookers jeered French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday at the state funeral for Gabon's President Omar Bongo Ondimba which was attended by more than a dozen other African leaders.

The issue of succession in the oil rich nation buzzed behind the scenes and Sarkozy insisted that France was not supporting anyone to takeover in its former colony.

Polite applause as Sarkozy arrived at the presidential palace in Libreville was quickly drowned out by the jeers and boos shouted by dozens of people among a few hundred onlookers who were allowed into the palace courtyard.

Many hurled insults such as "We don't want you! Leave!" at Sarkozy.

Security guards quickly formed a cordon around the French leader as he went into the presidential palace.

Bongo, 73, died in a Spanish clinic last week. He had been a symbol of France's privileged ties in the region, but those relations had soured as Bongo's controversial 41 year rule came to an end.

A French judge is investigating his purchase of luxury properties in France amid embezzlement allegations.

One man in the crowd told AFP: "You French, you come here to eat Gabon. All the presidents who have come to this palace have left again with their pockets full and then you criticise us."

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and former president Jacques Chirac were also present in a heavyweight French delegation that reflected the importance Paris still gives to its former colonies in Africa.

Sarkozy and Chirac were applauded when they laid a wreath together at Bongo's coffin.

Sarkozy denied there was any French interference in the selection of a successor. "France has no candidate ... it is not supporting anyone," he said on the sidelines of the service.

"The Gabonese must choose who they want and France will work with the president chosen by the Gabonese," he said, while highlighting that "institutions and deadlines" had to be respected to avoid chaos.

"You have to do everything to keep the unity of the country when you see what has happened in Ivory Coast," he said refering to the West African neighbour's civil war.

After a minute's silence, guests took turns to kneel briefly in front of Bongo's coffin draped with the national flag, before it was taken out for a two-hour military parade on the Atlantic seafront.

Defence Minister Ali Ben Bongo, 50, the late president's son who many consider the favourite to take over, spoke for the family and gave a speech preaching the "philosophy of forgiveness (and) dialogue" he attributed to his father.

"We, your children, your family, make a solemn commitment to keep alight with the aide of our fellow citizens the sacred flame of family harmony, republican concord and national unity," he said.

The defence minister has frequently appeared on television and at the side of interim president Rose Francine Rogombe, the Senate speaker.

Sources close to the presidency have reported a tussle between Ali Ben Bongo and Prime Minister John Eyeghe Ndong over the handling of the transition period scheduled to end with presidential elections.

Without speaking about the succession, Ndong urged Gabonese people "to reject dissent, petty squabbles, and bitter struggles, personal or otherwise."

Leaders from the African Union, Congo-Brazzaville, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Togo, Senegal, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Burundi, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso and Sao Tome among the mourners.

Bongo's coffin was taken to Franceville, capital of his native southeastern Haut-Ogouue region, where he will be buried on Thursday.

Sudan’s production of Dar blend crude to reach 300k bpd?

Note the 4 comments at Sudan Tribune's article copied here below.

Sudan’s production of Dar blend crude to reach 300k bpd
June 13, 2009 (SINGAPORE) - Sudan will manage to boost its output of the heavy sweet, acidic Dar Blend from 270,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 300,000 by the end of 2009, according to Platts website.

Sudan oil fields

Photo: Sudan oil fields (Petrodar website)

The average production of the Dar Blend crude was 200,000 bpd in 2007 and was expected to reach 275,000 bpd in 2008, but volumes have been well below that until recently.

Chinese refiners are the main buyers of Dar Blend.

This brand of crude is less generally popular among refiners due to its high acidic nature though it can be used fuel oil blending.

China, the largest economic partner of Sudan, is the main buyer of the Dar Blend crude.

A source in the Petrodar Operating Company in Sudan told Platts website that two new fields will be added to production including Gumry and Moleeta.

Furthermore the source said that the new fields produce less acidic crude but cautioned that it is too soon to say what the total acid number (TAN) would be.

Petrodar’s shareholders include China National Petroleum Corp. (41%), Malaysia’s Petronas Carigali (40%), China’s Sinopec (6%), the UAE Al-Thani (5%), Egypt Kuwait Holding (5%) and Sudapet (3%).

Sudan is heavily dependent on oil exports which have declined sharply in terms of proceeds and volume in the wake of a financial crisis that swept developed nation and caused demand to plunge.
Copy of 4 comments on this article...

14 June 2009 by szalan:
This report is opaque, missing some disclosure, and absolutely untransparent. No wonder corruption prevails in sudan’s wealth distribution.
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14 June 2009 by yazB:
The interestig thing is that 35 yrs ago Chevron owned 49% of the feilds it was developing and the goverment of Sudan a controlling 51% by contrast to nowadays the developing partners own 97% and the Goverments’ company owns only 3%! Having said that given the current forecast of a an average price of a barrell @ $75, then these fields have a potential revenue of almost $7 billions per annum. This is roughly the annual operating budget of the kingdom of Morocco which has roughly the same population as Sudan (40 millions) yet the Moroccan GDP is three times the Sudanese! Now we know where all the oil revenue goes!
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14 June 2009 by szalan:
hold on a second, is that $7B the 3% share the Sudapet is getting or is it the net oil revenue before all the parties involed cut their percentage share?

Here is my net annual oil revenue before any costs, interests, and taxes are considered under the two assumption that 250,000 barrels were produce a day and sold at the price of $75.

Annual Revenue=$75 x 250,000 bpd x 30days x 12 months =$6,750,000,000.

The 3% of the above revenues before all cost is taken out would entitle Sudapet the amount of $202,500,000 (0.03x$6,750,000,000).

Now if that 3% amount is split in half between south and north per CPA arrangement, then each side will get only $101,250,000 before costs are considered.

The bigger question then is whether the $6.75 B was derived from how many oil blocks or wells?????

Based on the above figures, and the budget report of Sudan government, it is nnot clear exactly how much income revenue is generated from both the oil and non-oil sectors in the Sudan.

The results are therefore opaque without any qualified independent auditor to verified so.

In other words, the Sudanese are cheated of the resources. lol Szalan.
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16 June 2009 by OYAT:
The production of oil in Sudan is increasing by an average of 82,000 bpd per years, which is good new for Northern Sudan government. Because they never and they will never give out the exact figure of revenue to government of southern Sudan. But I don’t totally blame the Northern, instead I will be blaming the southern Sudan government officials who are responsible to making sure that any revenue in Sudan has to shares equally amongst the two government.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Channel 4 News's Lindsey Hilsum is blogging direct from Tehran, Iran

UK's Channel 4 News's International Editor Lindsey Hilsum is reporting and blogging direct from the ground in Tehran, Iran 3-4 times a day.

Click here to see her important reports and updates.

Lindsey Hilsum in Beijing

“The world would have been a different place had the US accepted to work with Sudan.” -Paul Moorcraft

The following report, dated March 2008, is filed here for future reference.

From Sudan Media Centre, Khartoum
By Professor Paul Moorcraft
11 March 2008
Sudanese-European Political and Diplomatic Relations: Paul Moorcraft
Dr. Paul L. Moorcraft

Professor Paul Moorcraft, the director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis in London, presented a paper at the Sudanese European Relation Forum on Tuesday, March 11, 2008, titled “Out of step with Hyperpower? The European Union and Sudan.”
The paper addressed Sudan’s political and diplomatic relations with the European Union. In it, Dr. Moorcraft emphasized the difference in approaches between the EU and the US toward Sudan.

“We can describe the US as a ‘hard power’ while Europe is a ‘soft power’,” he said, emphasizing the tough approaches the US adopts against Sudan while the European approaches tend to be more diplomatic.

“European policy toward Sudan is less ideological than the US,” Moorcraft added.

One of the major differences according to Moorcraft was the evident impact of lobby groups.

“You don’t see the impact of lobby groups in Europe like in the US,” said Moorcraft, using the example of the Black Caucus and the Christian Right’s influences in the US in shaping US foreign policy toward Sudan.

“European foreign policy is not hijacked by lobby groups,” Moorcraft said comparing it to US foreign policy.

Moorcraft also pointed to the fact that while the US imposed economic sanctions and closed its embassy in Khartoum in 1996 after the attempt on Egyptian President Mubarak’s life in Addis Abba and accused Sudan of involvement; Britain kept its embassy fully opened.

“Europeans tend to take a more relaxed attitude towards these developments.”

On intelligence gathering, Moorcraft also compared how the US refused to co-operate with Sudanese intelligence on the Usama bin Ladin file, but the French on the other hand accepted Khartoum offer on Carlos the Jackal.

“The world would have been a different place had the US accepted to work with Sudan,” Moorcraft said.

Moorcraft went on to describe how Khartoum’s cooperation with the US after the attacks of September 11 against terrorism was well received in Europe.

“The British were impressed by Khartoum’s actions,” he said.

This led to Europe seeking gradual improvements in its relations with Sudan, explained Moorcraft, which became tied to Sudan reaching an end to the North-South civil war. When the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed, it resonated well in Europe.

“Nivasha altered Sudan’s image in Europe,” he said.

But the conflict in Darfur, and the influence of the anti-Sudan lobby, especially in the US, had delayed a full normalization of relations with Europe. Moorcraft, however, was critical of media coverage of Darfur and of those calling for UN and foreign intervention in Darfur without a political solution to the problem.

“I have publicly written that Darfur is not a genocide…the US has 130,000 troop in Iraq and can’t control the insurgency there. How than can a UN force with less numbers enforce peace in Darfur where there is no peace to keep?”

Moorcraft also called on Europe and the US to help with a peace process for Darfur similar to the CPA.

“Darfur is primarily a political crises that can be addressed in months…My view is the Western powers should replicate the time, energy patience and leverage displayed at Naivasha in persuading the rebels to accept the Darfur Peace Agreement, perhaps with some modifications.”

Moorcraft also praised the eventual handling of the Gillian Gibbons “teddy-bear affair,” the British school teacher who was accused of insulting Islam be allowing her class pupils to name a teddy-bear Muhammad. Lord Nazir Ahmad, a British Muslim MP, was able to intercede with the Sudanese government to ensure Gibbons’ release.

“If this had happened in Saudi Arabia, things would have been very different.”

Moorcraft ended on a positive note, stating that “Sudan has a lot to look forward to.”

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Friday, June 12, 2009

International community's main focus is on obtaining future Darfur peace agreement, not seeking justice for past crimes

ICC appeals for the arrest of Sudan's leader are falling on deaf ears at the UN, as the nation's relations with America improve.

Britain's Foreign Office has expressed broad support for the ICC and has urged Sudan to co-operate with it – but has offered no public endorsement of Ocampo. The US, not a party to the Rome treaty, is also lukewarm.

Source: The Guardian by Simon Tisdall, 11 June 2009 (via u.tv news):
Bashir slips out of court's grasp
Efforts by the International Criminal Court to secure the arrest of Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, for alleged war crimes in Darfur have stalled and are unlikely to move forward in the foreseeable future, European diplomats and Sudanese officials say. The stalemate threatens to undermine the credibility of the court and is raising questions about the future of its chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

Bashir was indicted in March on five counts of crimes against humanity, including rapes and killings, and on two counts of war crimes relating to events in Darfur since 2003. The UN claims up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have been displaced by continuing fighting between government forces and rebel groups. Khartoum, which puts the death toll at 10,000, does not recognise the court's jurisdiction.

Reporting to the UN security council last week, Moreno-Ocampo repeated previous assertions that the government of Sudan was presiding over the "ongoing extermination of civilians" in Darfur. He urged all state parties to the Rome treaty that created the ICC to support efforts to arrest Bashir and other war crimes indictees such as Ahmad Harun, a Sudanese minister. Non-signatories also had a duty to back the ICC under UN resolutions, he said.

But to the unconcealed delight of Khartoum, the prosecutor's appeals appear to have fallen on deaf ears, with the council agreeing only to "take note" of his report while eschewing concrete action. "Ocampo repeated a lot of lies. He talked about continuing genocide. But nothing is happening at the UN. This thing is being buried," a senior Sudanese official said. By targeting Bashir, the first serving head of state to be indicted by the ICC, Ocampo had fatally over-reached, the official claimed.

Western governments are also privately critical of Ocampo's tactics in charging Bashir rather than less senior figures with more evident, hands-on responsibility for Darfur. "He could have charged the minister of defence or the head of the army first and if they had implicated Bashir, he could have gone after him then. Instead he has gone over the top," said a European diplomat closely involved with Sudan.

Such scepticism is echoed in London, where the Foreign Office has expressed broad support for the ICC and has urged Sudan to co-operate with it – but has offered no public endorsement of Ocampo. The US, not a party to the Rome treaty, is also lukewarm. Speaking of Bashir's indictment during a fence-mending visit to Khartoum in April, John Kerry, chairman of the US Senate's foreign relations committee, said: "Of course, there is no question that it has complicated matters."

In a recent Foreign Affairs magazine article, Andrew Natsios, a former Bush administration Sudan envoy, sharply criticised Ocampo for exaggerating the scale of continuing violence in Darfur and mishandling the Bashir case. "In their zeal to burnish the fledgling court's credentials with such a high-profile case, the ICC's prosecutors have weakened the institution," he said.

The arrest warrant had produced the unintended effect of rallying Sudanese and the African Union and Arab League around Bashir and reducing the incentives for the rebels to make peace, Natsios added. "If the international community persists in imposing idealised standards of justice on Sudan, it will end up inciting violence in the future that would make past atrocities pale by comparison."

Natsios's diatribe and Kerry's visit, when he spoke positively of lifting US sanctions, forms part of the backdrop to a visible warming of relations between Washington and Khartoum since Barack Obama took office – another reason why the ICC case is floundering. Despite campaign pledges to take tough action on Darfur, Obama's new Sudan envoy, Scott Gration, described the country as a "friend" during recent visits to Khartoum.

Sudanese officials are hailing a "new beginning" in bilateral relations. "We can feel the winds of change blowing from the Obama administration. Gration is putting his full weight behind the Doha peace talks [between the government and Darfurian rebel factions]. There is a more positive attitude from the US," a diplomat said. In contrast, Darfur pressure groups have expressed dismay at recent developments, complaining in particular that Obama made only a fleeting reference to Darfur in his Cairo speech.

A recent meeting in Doha of representatives of the UN security council's five permanent members plus the EU made clear that the international community's main focus now was on obtaining a future Darfur peace agreement, not seeking justice for past crimes. And diplomats said even greater emphasis was being placed on how to revive the fragile 2005 north-south comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) ahead of national elections due next year, and a referendum on southern Sudan's mooted secession in 2011.The CPA ended more than 20 years of civil war but recent UN reports say violence in the south is now at a higher level than in Darfur, which the UN has reclassified as a "low intensity conflict". Hoping to resolves CPA-related disputes over oil, territory, and the electoral census, Sudanese national government officials will travel to Washington later this month for a major conference hosted by the Obama administration.

Although the UN security council continues to resist Sudanese and African Union calls for the ICC to suspend or drop the Bashir indictment, it shows no sign of taking any measures to secure his arrest, not least for fear of further destabilising the region and provoking a fatal rupture with the 30 African states that signed the ICC treaty.

Bashir, meanwhile, appears increasingly confident and continues to move freely at home and abroad, having visited Ethiopia, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Libya since the international arrest warrant was issued. "It [the ICC warrant] is an action aimed at isolating Sudan and eventually fragmenting and dividing our country," he said in Zimbabwe this week. "But through our own efforts and resources we are going to overcome such designs."

ICC's focus on Chad and use of child soldiers

On 05 June 2009, the ICC's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo informed the UN Security Council that he does not plan to open a new investigation during the next six months but will continue to review new information of ongoing crimes. Among other things, he will focus on the spill over of violence from Darfur into neighbouring Chad, as well as the use of child soldiers by different parties, including some rebel movements.

“The Judges’ decision of 4 March has clarified the type of crimes committed in Darfur against the displaced persons in the camps,” said Mr. Moreno-Ocampo.

“While the peacekeepers monitor fighting between the parties to the conflict, while the humanitarian workers monitor the physical plight of the civilians, the International Criminal Court monitors individual behaviour that can constitute crimes within our jurisdiction.

“The intentional infliction of conditions of life in the camps, where the Sudanese state apparatus controlled by President Al-Bashir does not provide assistance and is obstructing the provision of assistance, and the multiple rapes of women leading to physical or mental traumas, are both crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court,” he stated.

“The judges have issued decisions on those most responsible of the most serious crimes in Darfur,” he stated. “There will be no impunity in Darfur.

“We are at a crossroads. The next six months will be crucial,” he added. “There is a generation of victims faced with two options: they can leave the camps and die the same day; they can remain in the camps and die the day after.

“Violence will bring no victory. For the sake of the Darfur civilians, all parties to the conflict have to stop resorting to violence. This is the absolute priority.”


Source: UN News Centre, 05 June 2009 - Arrest of Sudanese fugitives priority for ICC, Prosecutor tells Security Council
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Copy of report from United Nations Security Council


SC/9672

Security Council
6135th Meeting (AM)

The Sudan had a responsibility under the United Nations Charter to arrest President Omer al-Bashir and other Sudanese citizens charged with crimes in the violence-wracked Darfur region, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, told the Security Council today.

The Court's warrant for the President's arrest had been sent to the Sudanese authorities, he said in a briefing to Council members prior to a private debate on the matter. The Government of the Sudan had the responsibility to arrest him in compliance with the United Nations Charter and Security Council resolutions. It also had a duty to arrest Ahmed Harun, whose appointment as Governor of South Kordofan contravened Council resolutions, and Ali Kushayb leader of the Government-allied Janjaweed militia.

All States parties to the Court's founding Rome Statute had a responsibility to arrest and surrender any indictee travelling in their territory, he emphasized, noting also that, while non-signatories to the Statute had no such legal obligation, Council resolution 1593 (2005) urged them to cooperate fully with the Court. While the implementation of a judicial decision against a Head of State could take months or years, as with former Presidents Slobodan Milošević of Serbia and Charles Taylor of Liberia, in the end they all faced justice. "There will be no impunity in Darfur. Justice proceedings are in motion," he stressed.

In compliance with Council resolution 1593 (2005), the International Criminal Court had been investigating crimes in Darfur and had identified six individuals for prosecution, he said. Three arrest warrants had been issued, including one for President Bashir, in addition to one summons. Having collected testimony from more than 130 witnesses in over 18 countries, the Court had also devoted much effort to ensuring protection for those witnesses.

The Prosecutor said that, in its first case, the Court had investigated the mass killings, rapes and torture of civilians from 2003 to 2005, which had forced the displacement of 4 million civilians. The evidence showed the role of Mr. Harun, then Minister of State for the Interior, in coordinating massive crimes against civilians and that of Mr. Kushayb in specific attacks.

He went on to say that in the Court's second case, covering the same crimes against villagers and displaced persons in camps, evidence indicated that President Bashir had played a role in ordering operations against civilians, appointing Mr. Harun as Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, organizing the strangulation of displaced communities, denying them meaningful assistance and preventing their return home.

On 4 March 2009, Pre-Trial Chamber I had issued an arrest warrant citing five counts of crimes against humanity, including extermination, rapes and killings, and two counts of war crimes against the President, he said. However, the judges had rejected three charges of genocide by a two-to-one vote. The Office of the Prosecutor had appealed that decision and the Pre-Trial Chamber had yet to decide whether to grant leave to appeal.

He said the judges' decision of 4 March had clarified the types of crimes committed in Darfur against the displaced persons in the camps. While peacekeepers monitored fighting between parties to the conflict and humanitarian workers monitored the physical plight of civilians, the International Criminal Court monitored individual behaviour that could constitute crimes within its jurisdiction. The intentional infliction of conditions in the camps - where the State apparatus controlled by President Bashir obstructed assistance rather than providing it, and where multiple rapes of women resulted in physical or mental trauma - was within the Court's jurisdiction.

The judges had retained the charge of extermination as a crime against humanity, he pointed out, noting that, under Article 7 (2) (b) of the Rome Statute, extermination included "the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population". That provision mirrored those of Article 6, which established that "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group" and "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part" could constitute genocide.

He said the Court had also investigated and prosecuted attacks against peacekeepers, the most serious of which had been the one at Haskanita in September 2007. It had caused the deaths of 12 African Union peacekeepers and left thousands of people without protection. In that context, Pre-Trial Chamber I had issued, on 7 May 2009, a first summons to Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, President of the United Resistance Front, to appear before the International Criminal Court in relation to the Haskanita crimes. He had appeared in The Hague on 18 May 2009, and the hearing for the confirmation of the case against him was scheduled for 12 October. It was up to the rebel groups to facilitate the appearance of two other commanders. "They have committed to do so. They must now act."

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo confirmed that there were no national proceedings in relation to the "massive crimes" investigated by the Court in the Sudan. The Office of the Prosecutor thanked the Gambia, Mali, Netherlands, Nigeria and Senegal, among other countries, for facilitating its investigative missions, helping protect victims and witnesses, and facilitating the initial appearance of the first individuals to have agreed to appear before the International Criminal Court.

He said that, in the coming six months, and in accordance with its mandate, the Office of the Prosecutor would continue monitoring ongoing crimes, galvanizing efforts to arrest fugitives and building cooperation with regional organizations. However, it would not be opening new investigations and would focus on any new decisions affecting displaced persons, the spill-over of violence from Darfur into Chad and the use of child soldiers by different parties, including some rebel movements. In those activities, the Prosecutor's Office was consulting with the African Union high-level panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, and Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Noting that the League of Arab States had been working for the adoption of a criminal code that would include crimes covered by the Rome Statute, he said that could help turn the tide against the climate of impunity prevailing in Darfur. "Should regional organizations succeed in promoting national accountability mechanisms for the victims of other crimes, and stop new abuses, we would not need to further intervene."

The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 10:45 a.m.

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