Monday, April 04, 2005

"It's over now, they have to talk," says UN envoy for Sudan: Egypt calls Darfur summit April 20

Stalled Darfur peace talks could restart in April because a UN resolution referring war crimes in Darfur to the ICC has removed rebel reasons not to negotiate, the top UN envoy in Sudan said on Sunday.
"It's over now, they have to talk," Jan Pronk told reporters in Khartoum. "There's no reason anymore to fight, you don't have any reason anymore not to negotiate.'
He added the government was willing to resume African Union-sponsored talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja. "It's really possible now that such talks really could start in April," Pronk said, adding rebel demands that the UN Security Council take human rights abuses in Darfur seriously had been met with the resolution passed late on Thursday night.
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Egypt calls summit - of African states - April 20 to contain Darfur crisis

This sounds interesting but Darfur rebel group SLM/A are rejecting it [they weren't invited anyway - you have to wonder if they really appreciate what it takes, and the politics involved, to get access and food aid to millions of people in Sudan and Chad who have been displaced because of the fighting]:

Egypt is calling a five-way summit of African leaders to give the African Union the chance to deal with Darfur, says a report by AFP April 4, 2003.

The meeting would be the follow-up to a gathering of Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Chad and Libya, held in Tripoli in October. It would aim "to give the African Union, strengthened by the efforts of the international community, the chance to contain the crisis in a pure African framework," Egypt's presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad said. It will also aim to avoid the "internationalisation" of the crisis, he added.

The date announced for the Summit is April 20. African leaders are set to visit Egypt on April 18 and 19 for a meeting of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) - one week after the international donors meeting in Oslo, Norway. Khartoum says it needs something like 8 billion US dollars for development of infrastructure. Most of this could come from oil revenues but a large chunk will need to come from the international community. There has been talk by the World Bank of cancelling Sudan's debt which would help get it on a better financial footing.

[Note, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has called the latest Security Council resolution involving the ICC a blatant violation of Sudanese independence. For several months now, Colonel Gaddafi has worked hard behind the scenes to help mediate the warring parties of Darfur. Last year he offered to open up a route from Libya leading to Darfur for international aid trucks to get through but recent statements in the press by US Defence Secretary Rice indicate that there has been a hold-up over the past 2-3 months with the arrangement. Dr Rice mentioned something about continuing to put pressure on Khartoum in this regard]
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Darfur rebels call on SPLM/A to initiate steps

One of the main rebel groups in Darfur, SLM/A issued a press release from Eritrea, April 2, 2005. The last paragraph states:

With regard to the wider national front and in the view of the on folding circumstances, the SLM/A would like to call on the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) to initiate in taking steps and in consultation with all the political forces in the country to form all inclusive transitional government of national unity to deal with the unfolding situation address all the outstanding issues including sincere and effective implementation of the Naivasha agreement.
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Germany welcomes UN resolution on Darfur war crimes

The German government on Friday welcomed the adoption of a UN resolution to try war criminals from the conflict in Sudan's violence-wracked western region of Darfur at the International Criminal Court. - AFP Berlin April 1, 2005.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (L) with his Sudanese counterpart Mustafa Ismail in Khartoum
Photo: German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (L) with his Sudanese counterpart Mustafa Ismail in Khartoum, July 12, 2004. (AFP)
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Denmark welcomes UN resolution on Darfur

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller welcomed on Friday the UN agreement to try Darfur war criminals at the International Criminal Court. "It is a very significant step on the road to installing the international criminal court as a permanent criminal court," he said in a statement.

Moeller also said that Denmark, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, would send 45 soldiers to Sudan to help set up headquarters for a 10,000 strong UN multinational force in Sudan. - via AFP Copenhagen April 1, 2005.
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Netherlands commits 65 million US dollars on condition of Darfur peace

Speaking in Khartoum to reporters on Sunday, visiting Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation Agnes Van Ardenne voiced her country's concern about stability and security in Darfur.

The minister said the Netherlands was committed to offering 50 million euros (65 million US dollars) after the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel groups signed a peace agreement

She said that of the total, 30 million euros (39 million dollars) will be allocated to affected states, while calling on the international community to help the African Union's mission to Darfur restore peace there.

Agnes arrived in Khartoum Friday on a four-day visit to Sudan for discussions on the Oslo donors conference due on April 11-12. - via China View Khartoum April 3, 2005.
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Taha, Garang to participate in donors conference in Oslo

First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and SPLM/A chairman John Garang will participate in the donors conference, the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) said today.
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Sudanese foreign minister postpones European tour

The minister of foreign affairs, Mustafa Osman Ismail, has postponed an European tour, which he was due to begin Monday to Poland and Italy, for a later date. In a statement to SUNA, the minister attributed the delay of his European tour to the recent developments in Sudan following the resolutions of the Security Council against Sudan. - via (SUNA) Khartoum, April 3, 2005.
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Sudan animated cartoon by Mark Fiore

Mark Fiore is a political cartoonist currently living in San Francisco. His animated political cartoons appear on various media websites and are seen by millions. Formerly the staff political cartoonist for the San Jose Mercury News, Fiore now focuses exclusively on political animation.

The Online News Association and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism recently presented Mark with the Online Journalism Award for commentary. He has also received an award from the National Cartoonists Society for his work in animated political cartoons.

See why by clicking into a cartoon by Mark Fiore at Waging Peace Darfur.
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UK Protect Darfur Campaign film clips

View Protect Darfur's 4 minute film.

Plus short video clip "Not on my watch" from UK Aegis Trust with soundtrack by Annie Lennox.
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An African and International Civil Society Action for Darfur

The Darfur Consortium Press Release April 2, 2005 - and more about the Consortium:

In September 2004, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights held its third extraordinary session in Pretoria, South Africa. The session was dedicated to examining the situation in Darfur and, in particular, to considering the findings of a mission by Commission members to the region. On the fringes of that meeting, a group of over twenty representatives of Africa-focused and Africa-based NGOs came together with members of Darfur civil society to identify ways of finding a solution to the deepening human rights crisis in Darfur.

The meeting ended with a strong commitment on the part of those assembled to work together and help shift the contours of the policy debate. This was reflected formally in the creation of the Darfur Consortium. The Consortium hopes to reflect the unique perspective of African civil society and provide a forum for unified action, particularly through sustained engagement with the institutions of the African Union. Since Pretoria, additional NGOs have joined the Consortium. The Consortium continues to advocate for a solution to the ongoing crisis.

The Darfur Consortium can be contacted at: Box 7785, Kampala, Uganda . E-mail:
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Worldwide Zande Community Network

Azande tribe Press Statement April 1st 2005 - excerpt:

How can we again marginalise the second largest tribe in Southern Sudan and then tell the world the CPA belongs to the Sudanese people? The Azande had been at the heart of SPLM/A, sustaining the movement over difficult years and contributing thousands of troops and they want their equal share and not marginalisation.

The Azande within the SPLM/A are now asking one of their leaders and NLC representative, Hon. Charles Kisanga, to put together a delegation and a petition to appeal to the SPLM chairman so that every Southern Sudanese can receive inclusiveness, fairness and equality during the implementation of the CPA and this have to start right now. The petition is being prepared and a delegation will soon approach the SPLM/A Chairman and Commander in Chief, to seek an audience with him to hand in the petition and seek some explanation of continued Azande marginalisation in SPLM/A.

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