Saturday, April 16, 2005

UK renews mediation efforts to end east Sudan problems

The British government has renewed its initiative to end the crisis in east Sudan, the Sudanese Al Ray Al-Amm said.

Full Story at Sudan Tribune, April 12, 2005.

Rebels on Sudan's Eastern Front

Photo: Rebels from Sudan's Eastern Front parade during a conference held by the Front north of Kassala town, near the Eritrean border. (AFP)
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UK Shadow ministers sign parliamentary statement on Darfur

On April 12, UK campaigners "Protect Darfur" issued a Press Release calling for the UK to push for a UN Chapter VII peace enforcement mandate for operations in Darfur, to be led by the African Union with support from wealthy nations.

Note, it's all very well calling for an expanded mandate and more troops for Darfur but what the African Union and nearly all politicians and journalists fail to mention or explain is that nobody else wants to go. Perhaps this explains what's happened to the long overdue 1,000 soldiers:
"There have been these persistent reports that the logistics was not ready for the [AU] troops, but that hasn't been the case for several months. Nobody that wants to be on the ground is not on the ground," says Charles Snyder, the leading U.S. negotiator for Sudan, in an AllAfrica interview April 11, 2005.
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French Ambassador in Washington responds to Washington Post

Well done to the French Ambassador in Washington for his neat response to the quirky Washington Post whose reports are so misleading half the time with emotive inaccuracies, you have to wonder who is in charge of quality control over there. Sometimes though, despite being heavily US centric which leaves readers blinkered, their reports are quite good. But there's no consistency which gives one the impression they are out to manipulate readers for political purposes.

Here is a copy of the French Ambassador's response in the Washington Post, April 16, titled "France's Role in Darfur" [let's not forget that France was the first to respond last year with 200 troops who were instrumental in air-lifting life saving emergency aid into Darfur - they may still be stationed on the Chad-Sudan border]:

Regarding the April 11 editorial "Doing Better by Darfur"

The African Union has indicated that it wishes for the Darfur crisis to be resolved by Africans. In this context, France and the European Union, as well as the United States, have provided major assistance to the deployment of the African Union's mission in Darfur.

France, bilaterally and within the European Union, has supported the African Union mission financially and logistically through its troops stationed in Chad. France also has provided humanitarian aid to displaced people. France has contributed some $86 million to Darfur, and it and the European Union intend to pursue their efforts there.

The scope of the E.U. efforts -- in conjunction with those of other contributors, including the United States -- was such that to date, NATO has not been asked to provide assistance for Darfur. Allegations that France opposed NATO intervention are therefore unfounded.

Should the African Union's Peace and Security Council meeting next Friday decide to increase the African Union's troop strength, France and the E.U. will support an expanded African Union mission in Darfur.

The U.N. Security Council recently adopted two resolutions on Darfur: one imposing sanctions and the other making it possible to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court. This is a positive development in which France played a role. The horror of the Darfur situation should spur us to increased cooperation and joint initiatives, rather than engaging in blame games.



Embassy of France

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Josef Scarantino's Sudan trip to help set up Internet cafes

After hearing southern Sudanese Silvestro Akara Bakhiet speak on the southern Sudan peace agreement at University of California at Davis at the beginning of March, Josef Scarantino of SEPNet (Sudan Emancipation & Preservation Network) met Silvestro and agreed to become the web developer for their newly-named organization New Sudan Generation (formerly Pageri Organization). Josef says he knew little of the organization and their work in Sudan, but wanted to be a part of their work in any way that I could after hearing Silvestro's passionate plea for help.

Next month, Josef will be making a trip to Sudan on behalf of New Sudan Generation. He will visit Eastern Equatoria, Southern Sudan; Kampala, Uganda; and possibly Nairobi, Kenya. The trip will last 2 months, May through June, 2005.

NSG Executive Director and Silvestro will accompany him for three weeks in Uganda and southern Sudan working with refugees, internally displaced persons (IDP's), and the various schools that NSG helps fund. After three weeks, Silvestro will return home and Josef will remain in Sudan to work on a current NSG project.

Besides working with Silvestro on NSG's projects, he will help set up seven Internet cafes in southern Sudan and help train the people on using the Internet and the computers that NSG has donated. The Internet cafes will provide a basic income for those who operate them and will help in educating and connecting the Sudanese people to the rest of the world.

Josef is also arranging for partnerships with a few other organisations that will include well-drilling and training for water needs, a shipment of 25,000 books for educational needs in the few schools that exist in southern Sudan, and a possible Micro-Enterprise project founded on beekeeping and the export and sale of honey. Full Story

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