Thursday, December 23, 2004

China would consider further U.N. action on Darfur if both sides are targeted

On reading a Guardian report Yesterday in parliament, I kept the following snippet aside as it sounded rather odd that British Foreign Office Minister Chris Mullin made such a pointed statement to the House:

"... Both sides in the Darfur conflict are behaving badly despite BBC reports that concentrate on government forces, Mr Mullin said. He told MPs: "I continually hear reports, often on the BBC, of the situation in Darfur as though there is only one party, the government of Sudan, involved; there are actually two parties, and according to UN special representative Jan Pronk, in the last two months at least the rebel forces have been responsible for a greater number of violations than the government side. ..."

Also this morning, a similar statement appears in a report from the Guardian titled Annan Calls for Sudan Reassessment which says:

"... China, which imports Sudanese oil, has been most reluctant, but China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said Wednesday his government would consider further action if both sides are targeted. "Whatever measure it is, we are going to study it, but it has to be targeted on both sides, not just on one side," Wang said. "Clearly the information from the ground is that both sides are making the troubles, not one side. So we need to take a balanced approach." ..."

Note, perhaps Mr Mullin's statement was "diplomatic speak" signalling a message to politicians and the media (in particular the BBC who have done some great reporting on Darfur) that both Khartoum and the rebels need to be targeted.

It is interesting to see the Scotsman ending a news report this morning, Annan calls for rethink on Darfur, admitting that UN stance is failing, with this line:

"China, which imports oil from Sudan, has been most reluctant but China's UN ambassador, Wang Guangya, said his government would consider action if both sides in the conflict were targeted."
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Annan advises UNSC to reassess and take further action

A report in the FT says Kofi Annan has said the Security Council should look at ways to increase the international presence in Darfur, as well as consider imposing targeted sanctions and taking other measures against the Sudanese government.

"We also see that the situation on the ground is deteriorating," Mr Annan said. "So there comes a time when you have to make a reassessment as to whether the approach you've taken is working or not. “And if it's not working, then what measures do you take?"

He added: "Those who are perpetrating these crimes must not be allowed to get away, and impunity must not be allowed to stand."
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UN Diplomats spar over Darfur

According to a Voice Of America report, the U.S. urged Kofi Annan to visit Darfur after Mr. Annan criticised the Security Council's approach to ending the violence there. 

The report says Mr. Annan's comments appeared to annoy several Security Council diplomats, who were meeting behind closed doors to hear what they called a "disturbing briefing" on conditions in Darfur.
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Annan rejects US suggestions he visit Darfur now

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday rejected an immediate trip to Sudan, as the U.S. suggested, saying the Security Council first had to take new decisions on stopping the conflict in Darfur.
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Neither side are really hurrying towards peace

See China Daily News report Parties optimistic about peace deal in Sudan, covered by several other new agencies, that says Sudan foreign ministry spokesman Mohamed Ahmed Abdel Gaffar told VOA a deal is near. "... and at most [an agreement will be signed] within the first week of January if not at the end of this month," said Mr. Gaffar.

A Reuters report says Darfur rebel group JEM refuses to return to talks: JEM will not return to African Union-sponsored peace talks in Abuja and is rejecting the pan-African body as mediator to end the 22-month-old conflict in Western Sudan.

The leader of JEM, told Reuters today it would only accept the U.N. as lead mediator in any peace talks and wanted U.N. troops stationed in Darfur. He said the AU had failed to hold the Sudanese government to account.
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UK offers £100m to start global aid fund

Britain has offered £100m to launch a new billion-dollar global emergency fund to ease the suffering of people caught up in humanitarian disasters on the scale of Darfur.
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Khartoum troops reportedly kill MSF aid worker in Darfur Sudan

A BBC news report says an aid worker was shot and killed. MSF said it happened at the front of a warehouse used by MSF in south Darfur last week during an attack by government troops. He was the second Sudanese MSF worker to be killed in three months.

Some 29 other Sudanese workers for the medical aid group are still missing following the Dec. 17 raid on Labado, a town in South Darfur, MSF said in a statement. Quoting eyewitnesses, MSF said Labado, formerly a town of 27,000 people, had been emptied and destroyed following several days of fighting. "Any Darfuri is at risk in Darfur," an MSF spokesman said.

"The deployment of the African Union troops and police needs to be speeded up," Mr Annan told reporters on Tuesday evening. [Note the word 'police']

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