SUDAN WATCH: January 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sudan would accept separation, says President Bashir - North and south will continue to be connected, says Kiir

Quote of the day
"The north and south will continue to be economically and politically connected whatever the choice of the people of Southern Sudan"
- Salva Kiir, Southern Sudan president.   
Source:  BBC News report - Sudan would accept separation, says President Bashir - Tuesday, January 19, 2010. Excerpts:
Sudan would accept the south's secession if southerners were to vote for independence in a referendum next year, President Omar al-Bashir said.

Speaking at a ceremony marking five years since the end of the north-south war, he said his Northern Congress Party did not want the south to secede.

But he said the party would be the first to welcome such a decision.

Analysts say Mr Bashir struck an unusually conciliatory tone in the speech, which has been well received.

In recent months tension has been rising between the two sides. [...]

In a televised address, Mr Bashir promised that the north would act as "good neighbours" to the south.

"The National Congress Party favours unity," he said.

"But if the result of the referendum is separation, then we in the NCP will be the first to take note of this decision and to support it."

The BBC's Peter Martell, in the south's capital Juba, says there is a generally positive feeling about Mr Bashir's comments - people in the crowd were cheering as he delivered his speech.

But he says plenty of people in the south remain sceptical and prefer to wait and see if he will honour his promises. [...]

The election in April will be the first multi-party national election in a generation.

Mr Bashir is standing for president, but the leader of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir, is not.

Mr Kiir's SPLM party confirmed last week that he would seek re-election to the post of Southern Sudan president rather than national leader.

The SPLM is instead fielding another candidate for the post of national president, which correspondents says shows that the party's priority is independence for the south.

During the celebrations to mark the end of the war, Mr Kiir made a plea for southerners to accept the result of the referendum whatever it may be.

"The north and south will continue to be economically and politically connected whatever the choice of the people of Southern Sudan," he said.

He stressed that oil, which makes up 90% of the south's wealth, would still be pumped through the north for processing until the south could construct its own facilities. [...]

North, south Sudan to stay friendly after break-up

eTaiwan News - ‎2 hours ago‎
AP Sudan's president has said he would be ready to recognize an independent southern Sudanif southerners vote in favor of secession in a 2011 referendum. ...

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Security situation in Darfur, 19 Jan 2010 - UNAMID project adds classrooms in West Darfur

Darfur / UNAMID Daily Media Brief
EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, January 20, 2010/via APO
UNAMID Daily Media Brief / 2010-01-19
Security situation in Darfur

The security situation in Darfur remains relatively calm but unpredictable.

UNAMID military forces conducted 80 patrols including routine, short range, long range, night, and Humanitarian escort patrols, covering 83 villages and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps during the reporting period.

UNAMID police advisors also conducted 94 patrols in villages and IDP camps.

UNAMID JSR a.i. visits peacekeepers, expresses appreciation

Today UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR) a.i., Henry K. Anyidoho, visited the villages of Saraf Umra and Shanghil Tobaya where he met with Rwandan contingent peacekeepers and UN Police.

The JSR a.i. expressed his appreciation to all the peacekeepers on the manner in which they have continued to discharge their duties despite the attack on their colleagues in December 2009. He also took note of the surge of new IDPs to Shanghil Tobaya in particular as a result of recent inter-tribal fighting in South Darfur.

Mr. Anyidoho assured the peacekeepers of the support from UNAMID headquarters in improving conditions at the team-site. On the IDPs situation, he indicated that their needs will be conveyed to the humanitarian community.

UNAMID project adds classrooms in West Darfur

Yesterday saw the completion of construction on a UNAMID Quick Impact Project (QIP) to build two classrooms and an office at Abubaker Alsidig Elementary School in El Geneina, West Darfur. The project was funded by the Mission’s Civil Affairs section and was implemented by the school’s Educational Council.

The new classrooms were built to ease overcrowding in the school, which has only six classrooms and nearly 600 students.

UNAMID’s QIPs in West Darfur regularly fund projects that improve the region’s health, education and community development. These QIPs also assist with the return of IDPs to their villages and support community reconciliation initiatives.

SOURCE: United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
Click on label here below to view previous and latest briefings from UNAMID on the security situation in Darfur, western Sudan.

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India's Jasbir Singh Lidder heads the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) - UN envoy Qazi to step down next month

The newly-appointed Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs for Sudan, Lidder of India, arrived in Khartoum Sunday to assume his responsibilities with UNMIS, a statement by the UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said Sunday.

The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, will step down from his post at the end of February 2010, a press release announced.

UN chief appoints Indian army commander top Sudan envoy
Report from Addis Ababa - Pana, Tuesday, January 19, 2010:
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed a high-ranking Indian military official, Jasbir Singh Lidder, to a top political position in Sudan, where he would head the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), PANA reported Monday.

UNMIS is overseeing the implementation of North-South peace accord in Sudan.

The top Indian military officer, who has brokered several agreements in Sudan's former trouble spots in the South, would become the UN Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative.

He would deputize another Asian diplomat, Ashraf Qazi, who is the current UN Special Envoy to Sudan.

Qazi is a Pakistani national.

The newly-appointed Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs for Sudan, Lidder of India, arrived in Khartoum Sunday to assume his responsibilities with UNMIS, a statement by the UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said Sunday.

"Lidder's appointment to head the mission's substantive sections was announced last December by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon," the UN statement said , adding that "Lidder brings to the position extensive experience on the ground in Sudan, in addition to a long and distinguished career with the Indian military, serving most recently as Commandant of an elite infantry school."

Prior to that, he served for more than two years as Force Commander of the United Nations Mission to the Sudan (UNMIS), where he facilitated the relationship between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

The two different armies fought each other for 21 years before a 5 January Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) was signed between the Southern Sudan and the Northern Sudan.

Lidder also assisted in conflict-resolution activities and the protection of civilians and played a major role in the transition from the African Union Mission to the Sudan (AMIS) to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), the force commanders said.

In the mid-1990s, he served as Chief of Staff in the military component of the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ).

During his military service, Lidder held a number of important operational, command and staff positions, including Additional Director General of Military Operations in the Indian Army, General Commanding Officer of a division and Brigade Commander.

Lidder attended the National Defence Academy, as well as the Army War College, in India.

He has a master degree in philosophy in defence studies and management and another in defence and strategic studies.

Born in India in 1949, he is married and has two children.
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The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, will step down from his post at the end of February 2010, a press release announced

Source: Sudan Tribune, Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - UN envoy to quit Sudan next February.

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Sudan's Haroun: There is no room for talking about marginalisation of South Kordofan

Haroun: There is no room for talking about marginalization of South Kordofan
From Sudan News Agency - SUNA, Al-Debeibat, January 06, 2010 (SUNA) - The Wali (governor) of Southern Kordofan State, Ahmed Mohamed Haroun, has said that as from now on there is no room for talking about marginalization of the state as it got two third of the Chinese loan extended to Sudan which amounted to 3 billion dollars

Haroun, addressing the celebration of launching Debeibat-Abuzabad Al-Foula road, expressed thanks to the People's Republic of China which extended the loan. IF/BT
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Watch out for old Google Web Alerts
Note to self.  Watch out for old Google Web Alerts.  Right now it is 11:27 am, Wed 20 Jan 2010. I subscribe to Google Web Alerts for news reports on keywords, i.e. Kordofan. Lately, I have noticed a steady stream of incoming Google Web Alerts pointing to old reports, many from last year. Here is a copy of an alert received this morning:
=== Google Web Alert for: kordofan ===

Ambassador to Sudan Li Chengwen attend Dibeibate - Fu La Highway ...
January 6, 2009, the Sudanese government, held in South Kordofan State
Dibeibate - Fu La Highway Project groundbreaking ceremony. ...
http://www.sourcejuice.com/1293717/2010/01/08/Ambassador-Sudan-Chengwen-attend-Dibeibate-Highway-Project/

Making Sense of Sudan » Self-determination
Last week President Omar al Bashir and the cabinet visited South Kordofan
State in the heart of the Nuba Mountains. While the residents welcomed this
long ...
http://blogs.ssrc.org/sudan/category/sudan/self-determination/>
Today, on visiting the link to blogs.ssrc.org, I noticed that the latest blog post at 'Making Sense of Sudan - Self-determination' was by Alex de Waal, posted on Wednesday, January 06, 2010, entitled The Forgotten Case of Hofrat an Nahas and filed under Making Sense of Sudan, Self-determination.  The last comment at the blog post was posted on January 11, 2010.

So, I scrolled down the page and found the blog post that Google Web Alert had picked up on earlier today.   The blog post by Noah Kodi, entitled The Road of Self-Determination: Where Does It Lead? was posted on Friday, May 29, 2009 and filed under Kordofan, Making Sense of Sudan, Self-determination.   The last comment at the blog post was posted on June 05, 2009.

Re-read Alex's blog post re Hofrat an Nahas, and my blog post at Sudan Watch, May 30, 2006 re Interview with Dr Douglas H Johnson, expert on the Abyei Boundary Commission - Hofre Nahas area; part of Bahr El Ghazal transferred to Darfur in 1960

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

UNAMID Sudan: Security situation in Darfur on 18 Jan 2010 - Japanese diplomats make familiarisation visit to Darfur

Media brief from the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Monday, January 18, 2010, El Fasher, Darfur, western Sudan /via APO:
Security situation in Darfur

The security situation in Darfur remains relatively calm but unpredictable.

UNAMID military forces conducted 84 patrols including routine, short range, long range, night, and Humanitarian escort patrols, covering 88 villages and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps during the reporting period.

UNAMID police advisors also conducted 155 patrols in villages and IDP camps.

Japanese diplomats make familiarisation visit to Darfur

The Deputy Head of Mission of the Japanese Embassy, Mr. Yoichi Nakashima, and Second Secretary, Ms. Mayuko Okabe, arrived yesterday in El Fasher, North Darfur, beginning a five-day tour of the region, facilitated by UNAMID.

The visit aims at familiarizing the diplomats with the general situation in Darfur and enhancing their government’s support of the peace process. They met with UNAMID officials, representatives of civil society organisations and various political party leaders in an effort to gain a clearer picture of the political and humanitarian state of affairs.

Ahmed Rufai Abubaker, officer in charge of UNAMID’s Political Affairs Division, noted that “Japan is an important stakeholder in the collective effort to help the people of Darfur to solve its issues, and has been providing aid to the troubled region for several years.”

In the coming days, the two diplomats will also visit UNAMID’s regional office in Nyala, South Darfur.

Source: United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
Click on Security Situation in Darfur label (here below) to see previous and latest briefings from UNAMID on the security situation in Darfur, western Sudan.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

UN Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton says to submit or request situation or survivor information, visit http://haiti.ushahidi.com

Here below is a copy of an e-mail received yesterday (13 Jan 2010) from President Bill Clinton, Clinton Foundation. Note that President Clinton is the UN Special Envoy for Haiti and the postscript says:
P.S. For missing family, please call the State Department hotline at 1-888-407-4747. To submit or request situation or survivor information, visit http://haiti.ushahidi.com/
Click on Haiti label (at the end of this report) for updates and reports on missing persons in Haiti and Haitian Earthquake Registry.
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From:  President Bill Clinton, Clinton Foundation
Subject: Your help is urgently needed in Haiti

Ingrid,

Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti who are recovering from a devastating earthquake. Buildings have collapsed, thousands of people are missing, and many are presumed homeless.

My UN office and the rest of the UN system are monitoring the situation. While we don't yet know the full impact of this 7.0-magnitude earthquake, we do know that the survivors need immediate help.

There's a way you can help Haiti recover and rebuild right now.

Click here to make a donation and find information on other organizations providing emergency relief efforts.

Approximately 2 million people live in the capital of Haiti and the surrounding areas where the disaster struck.

What we do in these first 48 hours determines how many lives we can save. Together, we can help communities get back on their feet.

I have long been committed to helping Haiti "build back better" from the 2008 hurricanes and prepare for future disasters. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, now needs our assistance more than ever.

Help provide immediate relief and long-term support to earthquake survivors by making a donation today:

www.clintonfoundation.org/haitirelief

Thank you for joining me in praying for the people of Haiti and bringing hope to the survivors. Working together, we can help them build back stronger and better.

Bill Clinton
UN Special Envoy for Haiti

P.S. For missing family, please call the State Department hotline at 1-888-407-4747. To submit or request situation or survivor information, visit http://haiti.ushahidi.com/.

[end of e-mail copy]

Click on Haiti label (here below) for updates and reports on missing persons in Haiti and Haitian Earthquake Registry.
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UPDATE - From The New York Times, 14 Jan 2010:
FROM AROUND THE WEB
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UPDATE - On Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 17:13 pm GMT UK:
UN says Haiti is the worst situation the organisation has ever faced
News just in via e-mail from UK Channel 4 News
Snowmail by Alex Thomson on Saturday, January 16, 2010 - excerpt:
Greetings to you - Alex T here (tweet @alextomo) with the way things stack up for tonight's Channel 4 News and note - we are at 6.05 this evening.

The United Nations spokesman said today that Haiti is the worst situation the organisation has ever faced.

So in the official opinion of the UN we are looking at the worst humanitarian disaster since 1945.

Aid is only beginning, very slowly of course, to filter out into the wrecked streets of Port-au-Prince.

The Haitian government has handed control of the national airport formally to the United States until further notice.

The fleets of helicopters aboard US naval vessels offshore will become critical to delivering aid into areas where approach roads are blocked and there are many of them.

Here the UK DEC appeal raced past the £10m mark in just 24 hours and as I write, it exceeds £12m.

And of course all the time people are being brought from the rubble. There are stories of small children emerging alive after several days - as in all quakes - and these will continue for some time no doubt, against all apparent odds.

The search for that other thing - a credible figure for the number of people killed, becomes increasingly futile in the sheer chaos and need to get bodies into mass burial pits as fast as possible in the tropical heat.

Suffice to say we are talking in tens of thousands, many tens of thousands. Haiti's interior minister says between 100 and 200,000 have been killed. But he has no real idea, and nor has anybody else.

Looting and sporadic gunfire has been reported around Port-au-Prince today and the UN is considering sending a makeshift police force of up to 5,000 should real security issues arise on the streets.

Our two teams on the ground will bring us up-to-date tonight along with interviews from aid organisations at work there and here, we speak to the Haitian community as they attempt to get news from their loved ones.

TV crew rescues toddler in Haiti: http://bit.ly/5GIrQh
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Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)  Haiti Earthquake Appeal
DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal online at www.dec.org.uk



Click here for latest at BBC News - Haiti Earthquake 2010.
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UPDATE - On Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 18:08 pm GMT UK:
JON SNOW WRITES FROM HAITI
News just in via e-mail from UK Channel 4 News
Snowmail by Jon Snow on Sunday, January 17, 2010 - excerpt:
Channel 4 News comes to you live tonight from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

They have buried 25,000 bodies so far.

It's estimated 100,000-200,000 people have now died and some are still dying.

Aid is beginning to come in by the planeload but distrbution is still very difficult.

As I write, a massive jumbo cargo plane is landing on the runway.

There are blackhawk helicopters in the sky above me.

American troops are on the ground but as yet in small numbers and there is a political row brewing.

Some aid agencies have complained their flights were redirected to enable Hillary Clinton to land

Sarah Smith will be handling that end of the Haiti crisis.

Being Sunday, I have been to the wreckage of the cathedral here in Port-au-Prince.

The face of Christ survives in the shattered rose window and almost the only thing intact otherwise is a white bone crucifix outside.

I have talked to beggars who were gathered outside the cathedral. I have talked to others who saw it come down.

We have also been to the burial pit where thousands of bodies are being bundled out of the city in dumper trucks.

They cascade out of the trucks, somehow neutered and inanimate until you see the body of a baby thrown clear and there he lies in the grass, a symbol of humanity's abject loss.

Tonight on Channel 4 News we will be talking to the United Nations here in Haiti and to a doctor from Medecins Sans Frontieres, which is struggling to save lives.

We will be on air at 7.30pm tonight.
Jon

TWEET ALL ABOUT IT
Join the Channel 4 News conversation:
www.twitter.com/channel4news

CHANNEL 4 NEWS SERVICES
Online: Watch our video reports at:
http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1529573111
READ THE LATEST BLOGS
From CHANNEL 4 NEWS teams of reporters making their way to Haiti: http://bit.ly/6Wp6df

HOW THE HAITI STORY IS BEING TOLD ONLINE
Tweets from CHANNEL 4 NEWS: How the #Haiti story is being told online: http://bit.ly/5TghGy & the search for survivors via Twitter: http://bit.ly/891kdi Help Haiti
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Secretary Clinton Announces Launch of State.Gov Person Finder Tool for Those Missing in Haiti - Press Release - From US Department of State, January 15, 2010 - excerpt:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced today the launch of a new tool on www.state.gov, the “Person Finder,” to allow people to find and share information on missing loved ones in Haiti. The tool can be found at http://www.state.gov/haitiquake.
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UPDATE - On Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 18:03 pm GMT UK:
News just in via e-mail from Channel 4 News, UK:
Haiti: water purification gets serious
Snowmail by Alex Thomson on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - excerpt:
Greetings all. Alex T here with the way it's all beginning to shake down for tonight's Channel 4 News (tweet @alextomo).

As the DEC appeal roars past the £25m mark, we still think Haiti is the strongest issue and story for us tonight. As I write, the US commander of the military effort on the ground is speaking. Water purification gets serious as from today - tomorrow sees the arrival of a hospital ship offshore from Port-au-Prince.

Things are certainly moving in all kinds of ways, but the logistical obstacles and the scale of it all remain daunting and are slowing things down.

Agencies on the ground, and the US commander, are growing doubtful now of finding anybody else alive. He says US forces have not found anybody alive for the past two days. But we know that earthquakes always surprise us with the endurance of the human spirit. We may yet be further surprised.

3,500 more UN peacekeepers are due into Haiti in the coming days to secure the aid distribution, though in truth the issue of security has not been the concern that some thought it might be.

Haiti receives US air drops: http://bit.ly/5JkmDx
Haiti – are the images too explicit?: http://bit.ly/6kolNF
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See my blog post at Congo Watch today, Tuesday, January 19, 2010: BBC News says DR Congo offers help to Haitians - Senegal offers free land to any Haitians who want to "return" to Africa.
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UPDATE - On Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 17:40 pm GMT UK:
News just in via e-mail from Channel 4 News, UK - excerpt:

HAITI QUAKE AFTERSHOCK
From Jon, Jon and Sarah and their teams in Haiti, another traumatic day, heightened by at least one powerful aftershock. This as US plans to get a hospital ship in place with appropriate helicopter uplift take shape.

Haiti hit by earthquake aftershock:http://bit.ly/6xGyAD

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Security situation in Darfur, W. Sudan, 13 Jan 2010 - UNAMID Statement re earthquake in Haiti

Media brief from the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) 13 Jan 2010, El Fasher, Darfur, Western Sudan - via APO 14 Jan 2010:
Security situation in Darfur

The security situation in Darfur remains relatively calm but unpredictable.

UNAMID military forces conducted 78 patrols including routine, short range, long range, night, and Humanitarian escort patrols, thereby covering 85 villages and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps during the reporting period.

UNAMID police advisors also conducted 106 patrols in villages and IDP camps.

UNAMID conducts Human Rights workshop for El-Geneina lawyers
The UNAMID Human Rights Unit concluded today a two-day workshop for lawyers in El-Geneina.

The event, entitled “Human Rights and Legal Aid for Lawyers,” brought together more than a dozen legal practitioners for training on human rights concepts, values and principles, trial rights, and international legal standards.

UNAMID Head of Office Mr. Abdullah Fadil opened the event, noting that the role of the international community is to assist the local practitioners in the implementation of principles which are global, regardless of faith and culture.

As part of its mandate, UNAMID is tasked with assisting in human rights issues through workshops and capacity building activities targeting government agencies, civil society, IDPs and other stakeholders.

Statement by Acting JSR Henry K. Anyidoho regarding earthquake in Haiti

It is with deep sadness that news of the tragedy of yesterday’s earthquake in Haiti reaches us. I especially wish to extend my deepest sympathy to our Haitian colleagues in UNAMID who are struggling in the aftermath of this tragedy to get information about the safety of their loved ones. Our thoughts are with you and your families. We also remember our colleagues in MINUSTAH during this difficult moment as we have learned of the collapse of the UN headquarters in Port-au-Prince and devastation throughout the country. As the news unfolds on the tragedy in Haiti, the victims of the earthquake are in our prayers and thoughts.
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FULL EXTENT OF THE HAITI DESTRUCTION EMERGES

News just in via email from UK Channel 4 News - Jon Snow's Snowmail 18:30 PM UK GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010:
Very brief Snowmail tonight I’m afraid. Haiti dominates everything. The Red Cross estimates 40,000-50,000 are dead but they have no certainty on that. There are many places that have not been reached yet. Up to 3 million people are estimated to be injured or displaced. The scale of it all remains unimaginable. Aid is being shipped in as fast as possible. Sarah Smith is on the ground in Port-au-Prince and we have a huge amount of material coming in from everywhere, from the US Navy as they proceed at sea, from the British teams flying in, from satellite imaging which begins to show the areas affected and much else. I've also blogged earlier about the impact on theUN which has long held the ring in Haiti.

Snowblog: http://bit.ly/5YKfTo
Coming to terms with disaster: http://bit.ly/64hCyC
Survivors confront the devastation: http://bit.ly/8DUyv3
Aid supplies arriving: http://bit.ly/77v8Ed
The rescue race: http://bit.ly/8nIWOt
No indications of UK casualties: http://bit.ly/7dqCCn
Tweeting from the disaster zone: http://bit.ly/4zikNS
Email from BBC TWO Newsnight by Emily Maitlis, late Thursday afternoon, 14 January 2010 - excerpt:
President Obama has called Haiti a tragedy 'that calls out for American leadership'. And in thus doing he has reported to have put two former presidents in charge of the operation. Clinton and Bush make unlikely bedfellows. (No one, it seems, is mentioning Katrina). But Haiti is a country that barely functions at the best of times. And these are the worst.

Haitians - suffering their most lethal earthquake for two centuries - are digging for survivors with their bare hands. And in such an inaccessible country, the death toll can only be guessed at. Obama has pledged a hundred million dollars - but warned it will take time to get the rescue effort through. Time is already running out.

We hope to be speaking to Bill Clinton on the programme tonight.
Further reading

Click on Haiti label (here below) for news of missing persons and Haitian Earthquake Registry.

Click on Security Situation in Darfur label for previous (and latest) briefings from UNAMID.

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Six Sudanese men executed for riot at Soba Aradi camp in Khartoum in 2005

Six Sudanese men have been executed for their part in a riot at a refugee camp in Khartoum in 2005.

The men were held responsible for killing 13 policemen during the riots in which five civilians also died.

The violence flared when police tried to clear the Soba Aradi camp, which housed refugees from the two-decade long north-south civil war.

Full story at BBC News at 16:10 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010: 

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Pass this on: Missing Persons Registry - Haitian Earthquake January 2010

Copy of message today on Twitter from Ushahidi's Erik Hersman:
Pass this on. Missing persons registry for #haiti is http://www.haitianquake.com
about 4 hours ago from twhirl
ushahidi
Further reading

Patrick Meier's report at Ushahidi's blog, 13 January 2010: Our Efforts in Response to Haiti’s Earthquake - We’ve launched Haiti.Ushahidi.com

Ethan Zuckerman's blog post at My Heart's in Accra, 13 January 2010: Following the Haitian earthquake online

UPDATE:  Click on Haiti label here below for latest news and updates.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Security situation in Darfur, Western Sudan, 12 Jan 2010 - UNAMID/UNMIS begins assistance with electoral nomination process

Media brief from the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) 12 Jan 2010, El Fasher, Darfur, Western Sudan - via APO 13 Jan 2010:
Security situation in Darfur

The security situation in Darfur remains relatively calm but unpredictable.

UNAMID military forces conducted 90 patrols including routine, short range, long range, night, and Humanitarian escort patrols, thereby covering 83 villages and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps during the reporting period.

UNAMID police advisors also conducted 92 patrols in villages and IDP camps.

UNAMID/UNMIS begins assistance with electoral nomination process

The UNAMID/UNMIS Electoral Assistance Division today announced the opening of the nomination period for the upcoming Sudanese elections. The announcement comes on the heels of yesterday’s publication of the final voters’ list, which contained more than 2.4 million voters out of an estimated 3.6 million eligible voters from Darfur.

The 10-day filing window allows for political parties and independent candidates to file qualification papers and is followed by a challenge period.

Voters go the polls in April 2010 to elect Presidents of the Republic of Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan, a National and State Assembly, and Governors within Sudan’s 25 states.

The joint team of 20 UN mission staff in Darfur is tasked with providing technical and logistical support to the National Electoral Commission of Sudan.
Click on Security Situation in Darfur label here below to view latest and previous reports.

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France contributed €1 million through the UNDP's fund aimed at ending Sudan crisis, to support the 2010 elections

Copy of report in full by French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs:
Violence in southern Sudan (January 8, 2010)

France expresses its grave concern given the increased violence in southern Sudan and reaffirms that peace and stability constitute essential conditions for the holding of general elections in April 2010 and the referendum on self-determination in 2011.

France contributes to international efforts to help restore stability in southern Sudan: we have provided funding to the Permanent Court of Arbitration for the Abyei dispute. France also provided funding of €1 million, through the United Nations Development Program’s fund aimed at ending the crisis, to support the 2010 elections.
Source: ISRIA

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Sudan: We'll pay U.S. back by stepping up security checks for U.S. citizens

Sudanese Foreign Minister undersecretary Mutrif Siddiq has told U.S. charge d'affaires Robert Whitehead that Sudan was retaining its right to step up its security checks of U.S. Citizens on its soil.

The statements came in response to the U.S. decision to intensify security scrutiny for Sudanese travellers.

Source: Al-Rai Al-'Aam, Sudan, 12 January 2010 - via The Memri Blog, 12 January 2010 - Sudan: We'll Pay U.S. Back By Stepping Up Security Checks For U.S. Citizens

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

UK's Kinnock: EU may send observers to help Sudan have a credible election

Baroness Kinnock in Sudan

Photo: British minister for Africa, Baroness Glenys Kinnock, seen here addressing reporters in Khartoum, warned that greater international efforts must be made to support Sudan's historic north-south peace deal. (AFP/File/Peter Martell)

Reuters report by Opheera McDoom, Tuesday, 12 Jan 2010 - excerpts:
Sudan's elections need credible monitors - Britain
(Khartoum) - Credible monitoring of Sudan's first multi-party elections in 24 years is essential and the EU may send observers to help ensure such scrutiny occurs, Britain, Sudan's second largest bilateral aid donor, said Tuesday. [...]

Britain's Africa minister, Glenys Kinnock, said there was an urgent need for an international effort to support the "fragile" north-south peace process ahead of the elections and a 2011 south Sudanese vote on secession.

"If we are to have a credible election there has to be freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom for the media," Kinnock, on a three-day visit, told reporters. [...]

Kinnock said she had held many talks with the EU about monitoring the elections.

"It's not announced yet so I can smile and say I'm fairly confident (EU monitors will come)."

Last week Britain announced a 54 million pounds aid package to Sudan.

At present the Carter Centre (of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter) are the only official observers, with about two dozen people to cover Africa's largest country of a million square miles. [...]

(Editing by Matthew Jones)
Click on Kinnock label here below to view related reports.

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US seeks EU's help in Sudan

Report by Europolitics, Tuesday, 12 January 2010:
US seeks EU's help in Sudan
The United States is urging the European Union to help Sudan organise its April 2010 presidential and parliamentary elections.

"We would encourage the EU to provide the election monitors that have been discussed, upwards of 300," US Special Envoy for Sudan, Scott Gration, told Europolitics, on 11 January, at a press briefing.

He said the EU should also "become involved" in financing the election and the 2011 referendum on whether South Sudan should become independent.

Gration, who met his EU counterpart, Torben Brylle, in December 2009 in Brussels, said the situation in Sudan remained fragile and that in the long term, the country's development of governance and infrastructure "cannot be done without the participation of the Europeans".

Can south Sudan be a viable state?

BBC News - ‎10 minutes ago‎
With just a year to go until a referendum on Southern Sudanese secession, we're asking whether the south could survive on its own? ...

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Sudan ex-intelligence chief Salah Gosh accused regional powers he did not name of trying to destabilise the country

Report by AFP, 12 January 2010:
Sudan ex-intelligence chief warns of election violence
KHARTOUM — The former head of the Khartoum regime's intelligence services warned on Monday that the threat of orchestrated violence hung over Sudan's first multi-party elections in nearly a quarter of a century.

Salah Gosh, who now holds the post of security adviser to President Omar al-Beshir, did not elaborate on where the threat came from to the presidential, parliamentary and state elections scheduled for April.

"The elections face the danger of orchestrated, not spontaneous violence," said Gosh, who was replaced as intelligence chief in August.

"It could happen that we are faced with violence aimed at sabotaging the electoral process and orchestrated by a group opposed to these polls," the official SUNA news agency quoted him as telling a Khartoum news conference.

April's elections will be Sudan's first multi-party poll since 1986. That election brought to power a government headed by Sadeq al-Mahdi, which was overthrown by Beshir in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

Gosh accused regional powers he did not name of trying to destabilise the country.
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Report from United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), 29 December 2009:
UNAMID, Government rally to increase security in Darfur
Today, representatives of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNAMID) and the Government of Sudan signed the framework for a plan of action aimed at ensuring the safety of UNAMID personnel and their assets.

This signing ceremony follows a working session held in Khartoum on Sunday 20 December in which the two parties discussed ways and means of reducing attacks on UNAMID. There has been a rapid increase in ambushes, kidnappings and carjackings against UNAMID in the recent months.

The framework to ensure the safety of UNAMID personnel was signed by UNAMID Force Commander, Lieutenant-General Patrick Nyamvumba, and the Sudanese Ministry of Defence’s Director of International Cooperation, Lieutenant-General Magzoub Rahma. The Force Commander has stated that this plan will enhance the existing Status-of-Forces (SOFA) agreement. He added that “it will provide additional measures to cap the growing trend of insecurity in Darfur.”

Today’s agreement is due to be endorsed in two weeks. According to SOFA, the primary responsibility for the security and protection of UNAMID peacekeeping personnel and their assets rests with the host government.
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Further reading


Sudan's Ghaze Salaheddin meets with Chad's FM Moussa Faki in Khartoum

Photo: Sudanese presidential adviser Ghaze Salaheddin (R) meets with Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki in Khartoum on December 25, 2009. The United States on Tuesday welcomed efforts by Sudan and Chad to normalize ties, underlining how such moves would also help bring peace to Sudan's conflict-torn western Darfur region. (AFP/Ibrahim Hamid)

US warns of attacks on Uganda-Sudan planes

BBC News - ‎Jan 9, 2010‎
The US embassy in the Sudanese capital Khartoum has warned of a possible attack on Air Uganda planes. The embassy said it had information that US travellers ...


Deby asks Sudan to disarm Chadian rebels before normalization

Sudan Tribune - ‎11 hours ago‎
Deby had said he is willing to normalize relations but demanded Sudan to implement its pledges first in order to reestablish its credibility. ...
all 15 news articles »

UPDATE - Wed 13 January 2010:

Sudan's Presidential Advisor for National Security, Salah Abdullah Gosh

Photo: Presidential Advisor for National Security, Salah Abdullah Gosh. (Source: Miraya FM, 12 January 2010 report: President’s Advisor for National Security warns of organized violence during elections)

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Sudan's al-Bashir presents nomination application to election commission

Report from China View (Xinhua) by Xiong Tong, 12 January 2010:
Sudan's al-Bashir presents nomination application to election commission
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday presented a nomination application to the Sudanese National Elections Commission (NEC) to run for the presidential elections scheduled for April this year, the official SUNA news agency reported.

The Sudanese president handed over the nomination application with the presence of Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and a large group of al-Bashir's supporters, according to the report.

Sudan President Bashir starts re-election bid

BBC News - James Copnall - ‎1 hour ago‎
Sudan leader Omar al-Bashir has been officially nominated to stand for president in April's election by his northern National Congress Party (NCP). ...
Terror in Sudan New York Times

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African Union hails 5th anniversary of Sudan peace agreement

From Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan, Washington DC
African Union hails 5th anniversary of Sudan peace agreement
January 11, 2010 (Agencies) - The African Union hailed the fifth anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in a statement Saturday, voicing confidence that the Sudanese people "have the capacity to seize this historic opportunity to triumph over the seemingly bitter divisions among them, and avail their country new opportunities to redefine their common identity on the basis of shared values, including unity amid diversity."

"On this auspicious occasion, the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Jean Ping, congratulates the people of Sudan and the Government of National Unity for this historic achievement," stated a communiqué dated January 9.

"Not only does the Agreement remain as a landmark event in bringing an end to the longest running civil war in Africa, but it is also a possible model successfully to manage the diversity characteristic of virtually all African states, based on respect for the principle and practice of unity in diversity," the statement read.

The main AU involvement in Sudan is its role in peacekeeping in Darfur, which is a joint mission with the United Nations. Additionally, a high-level panel of the continental body, headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, last year embarked on an initiative to make formal recommendations on peace and justice in Darfur.
UPDATE Wed 13 Jan 2010:
Note that Alex de Waal has changed the name of his blog Making Sense of Darfur. It is now called Making Sense of Sudan. Click here to view entries re African Union.

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World Bank: Chad & Sudan eligible to participate in initial $26.2m phase of CAB program to develop high-speed telecoms

$215 Million Central Africa Backbone Program (CAB Program) Will Bring Low Cost, High Speed Internet to the Region. Program is expected to bring significant development impact.

Source: World Bank Press Release No:2010/094.SDN
Contact
In Geneva: Ian Larsen
Phone: +41(0)79 477 96 17
E-mail: ilarsen@worldbank.org or ianlarsen71@yahoo.com
GENEVA, October 6, 2009 – Today the Executive Board of Directors of the World Bank Group has announced its endorsement of the $215 million, ten-year Central African Backbone Program (CAB Program). This program will support the countries of the Central African region in developing their high-speed telecommunications backbone infrastructure to increase the availability of high-speed Internet and reduce end-user prices. The CAB Program will also help countries harmonize the laws and regulations that govern the ICT sector to increase private sector investment and improve competition.

Three countries – Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic (CAR) – are participating in the initial $26.2 million phase of the Program. A further eight countries are also eligible to participate in the Program—Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé and Principe, and Sudan.

The CAB Program is being supported through a partnership between the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The program also aims to leverage an additional US$98 million from the private sector. In conjunction with the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), the African Union Commission (AUC) will play an important role in facilitating inter-governmental cooperation and policy harmonization. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will also assist governments in structuring Public Private Partnerships under the program.

Development Impact

The CAB Program brings much needed connectivity to Central Africa. Until now, people in Central Africa have the lowest quality and highest cost Internet and telephone services in Africa. The population pays up to two times more in monthly Internet rates than people living in other African countries, and up to three times more than those living in other parts of the world. “The CAB Program is very important for the countries involved and lies at the heart of their development strategies. It will assist countries to strengthen their enabling environment, create competition and, ultimately increase access and lower the costs for end users,” said Mary Barton-Dock, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic.

In its recent Information and Communications for Development 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact, the World Bank found that for every 10 percentage-point increase in high speed Internet connections there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points. The report also identifies the mobile platform as the single most powerful way to reach and deliver public and private services to hundreds of millions of people in remote and rural areas across the developing world.

“Ultimately, our goal is to develop regional and national broadband backbones and significantly reduce the cost of ICT services in Central Africa. Through better and affordable connectivity, the aim is to leverage the transformational powers of ICTs to support economic growth, SME development, employment creation, productivity gains and trade integration in the region,” says Mohsen Khalil, Director of Global Information and Communications Technologies at the World Bank Group.

Modernizing the ICT Sector

In addition to infrastructure development, the CAB Program will strengthen the capacity of public institutions such as the sectoral ministries and regulatory authorities and will promote a competition-friendly environment by liberalizing the sector and restructuring telecommunications operators.

The Program is also meant to be a model of regional integration and successful public-private partnerships. Its design and implementation require the cooperation of several countries and international and regional organizations. Design goals will be to: (i) maximize the use of private financing (or minimize the use of public financing); (ii) ensure feasibility and attractiveness of the transaction; and (iii) secure open access to regional connectivity infrastructure and ensure competitive, reasonable tariff of international, regional and national capacity.

“This program is a great example of the World Bank’s increasing emphasis on regional infrastructure as part of Africa’s development,” said Rick Scobey, Acting Director for Regional Integration in Africa at the World Bank.

Part of a Broader Regional Strategy

The World Bank Group and African Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership, are committing significant resources and are making progress on the ground in helping to achieve the goals outlined at the October 2007 Connect Africa Summit. The Summit was convened by the International Telecommunications Union, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the African Union, and the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development.

This partnership has already launched three major regional connectivity programs, among a range of other ICT activities, with a fourth in the pipeline.

Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP)

The World Bank is providing US$424 million in financing for the Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP) to support regional connectivity and transparency in government through the use of ICT. The Program is available to all countries in the East and Southern Africa region and can be tailored to each country’s specific needs and priorities. The first phase of RCIP included Kenya, Madagascar and Burundi and was approved by the Board of the World Bank in 2007. The second phase was for Rwanda and was approved in 2008. The third phase includes Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi and was approved by the Board of the World Bank in June 2009.

East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) – World Bank Group, AfDB and other Development Finance Institutions (DFIs)

EASSy is a 10,000 km submarine fiber-optic cable running along the East Coast of Africa from Sudan to South Africa. It will directly connect eight of the countries along the route and indirectly connect all of the others in the region to the international communications infrastructure. It will provide broadband connectivity to the global fiber-optic cable networks, supplying low-cost, high bandwidth capacity to the markets in the region.

The project was developed by a consortium of 26 telecommunications operators, mostly from Eastern and Southern Africa with the support of five DFIs: International Finance Corporation (IFC), the AfDB, European Investment Bank, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The total cost of the project is $235 million with around $70 million coming as debt-financing from the DFIs. Of this, IFC contributed $32.7 million and AfDB contributed U$14.5 million.

EASSy is one of three submarine fiber-optic cables that are due to become operational in the region between 2009 and 2010. Experience shows that competition between submarine cables is the best way to achieve efficient and affordable ICT services.

West African Power Pool – Joint World Bank-AfDB

Limited inter-country connectivity in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region results in inefficient, costly routing of calls between neighboring countries by satellite. Policy makers in the region have identified the emerging regional electricity transmission infrastructure as a way of improving high bandwidth regional communications capacity. These electricity networks have built in fiber-optic cables whose spare capacity can be utilized to provide backbone services to communications providers on a wholesale basis.

The World Bank and AfDB have been closely involved in developing the regional electricity transmission infrastructure through the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP). This transmission infrastructure will also be able to carry telecommunications traffic. In 2008, a stakeholder workshop in Benin endorsed the opportunity and committed to removing the bottlenecks associated with creating a regional backhaul network.

The World Bank and AfDB continue to provide support to the development of this network in FY09 through the preparation of the detailed technical, commercial and financial feasibility studies. Staff are also working with governments in the region to address the legal/regulatory and contractual arrangements for implementation, and continue to work with other donor agencies to ensure that efforts in this area are complementary.

“Regional communication infrastructure programs such as the CAB program illustrate what can be achieved through a strong partnership between the governments, private-sector and development partners,” said Yann Burtin, Project Manager for the CAB Program. The contributions of the AfDB and of the African Union Commission are essential to the process, added Burtin.

“The CAB program is an exciting development for Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Program. Regional connectivity projects like this one are increasingly important in the African Development Bank’s strategy for the region,” said Amadou Thierno Diallo, Manager for Energy and ICT at theAfDB.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.worldbank.org/gict
Cross-posted to Congo Watch and Niger Watch.

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The UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Sudan Ashraf Qazi Congratulates the Government and the People of Sudan on the Fifth Anniversary

Source: United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS)
Date: 10 Jan 2010
As the CPA completes its fifth year of implementation, I would like to compliment the CPA partners and all the other Sudanese political and civil society actors for their continuing efforts and firm commitment to achieving a stable and enduring peace. Their determination has withstood the several challenges they have encountered in implementing the CPA and in achieving a number of successes.

We must not forget the considerable progress that has been made since the signing of the CPA, above all, in bringing an end to Africa's longest running civil-war which destroyed the lives of millions of Sudanese and left a bitter legacy to overcome. The other fundamental achievement since the signing of the CPA has been the fact that the prospect of another civil war has become unacceptable to both the political leadership and the people in the North and South. While progress in resolving specific issues has at times been slow and difficult which has given rise to tensions and concerns about the potential for escalation and conflict, hopefully, a legislative and a political framework for the resolution of crucially important outstanding issues has begun to emerge. Full story at ReliefWeb.
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Further reading

US Department of State, 11 Jan 2010 - Sudan: Foreign Press Center Briefing With Special Envoy for Sudan Scott Gration - Press center briefing held by US Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration at the Washington Foreign Press Center in Washington, DC, to address the topic of Sudan on the fifth anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

US Department of State, 08 Jan 2010 - Remarks on the Five Year Anniversary of The Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan - Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State and Scott Gration, US Special Envoy to Sudan, Treaty Room, Washington, DC.

America.gov, 08 Jan 2010 - Sudan: Diplomats Call for Greater Effort to Implement Peace Accord: "High levels of violence and displacement in south Sudan in 2009 and continued violence against civilians, widespread insecurity and humanitarian concerns in Darfur show that much more work is needed to bring the peace and stability the Sudanese people deserve," said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, and British Foreign Minister David Miliband.

Reuters, 08 Jan 2010 - TIMELINE-Events in Sudan since start of civil war

Southern Sudanese living in the north fear intimidation

Photo: A Southern Sudanese girl carries her sibling in Soba Araadi village in the capital Khartoum, 07 January, 2010. Southern Sudanese living in the north fear intimidation or even war if a referendum next year results in secession from the rest of the country and many are calling for international monitoring to protect their rights. Picture taken 07 Jan, 2010. Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Sudan: Peace first, all shall follow

Independent Online - Peter Fabricius - ‎21 minutes ago‎
Justice for the victims of atrocities in Darfur will come but it will have to wait until peace has been restored to Sudan...

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