Saturday, March 25, 2006

UN Security Council authorises planning for UN troops in Darfur and asks Annan to liaise with AU, Khartoum and rebels

UN special envoy Jan Pronk, in his blog entry March 13, 2006, writes about the Sudanese government's nasty vicious political campaign against UN personnel (including threats to his own life) and explains, quote:
"The attacks on the United Nations cannot be attributed to the Government only. The Government is under pressure by powerful groups. Sudan is not a democratic society, far from it. The regime is a conglomerate of power groups, dependent on each other, checking each other and wheeling and dealing behind the scenes. Political pressure is not exerted in a democratic fashion, in a free and independent parliament, a free press and public meetings."
Mr Pronk goes on to say:
"Initially the position of the Government towards a UN force in Darfur was not so negative. Ministers had told me that they understood that such a transition would be inevitable if the African Union itself would decide in favor. For them the mandate of a UN force and its composition were crucial. A UN peace keeping force with a Chapter 6 mandate and without NATO troops would be acceptable. However, when some powerful groups in Sudan demanded the Government never to accept any new foreign peace keeping force, the President changed his position. It is like always in Sudan: policies are determined by one overriding motivation only: how to stay in power."
Note, last May I blogged a news report that gives a rare insight into Sudan's inner circle. It makes fascinating reading. See excerpt at Sudan Watch March 25, 2006: Sudan's ruling elite and "security cabal" - the National Islamic Front: the men who control Africa's largest country.
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UN Security Council authorises planning for UN troops in Darfur and asks Annan to liaise with AU, Khartoum and rebels

The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to speed up preparations for UN peacekeepers to be deployed to Darfur, the BBC reported March 25, 2006.

The council is calling on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to come up with a range of options within one month and to liaise with the African Union, Khartoum and the rebels to come up with a plan.
"It's a real step forward in building peace across the entire country," Britain's UN Ambassador Sir Emyr Jones Parry said in a statement.
The resolution also extended the mandate of a separate UN peacekeeping mission in southern Sudan, which was due to expire on Friday.
The head of UN peacekeeping operations, Jean-Marie Guehenno said: "There is a sense of urgency, I think from everybody, that there are people who are dying, that there is still violence in Darfur. That needs to be stopped."
Edith Lederer's report for Associated Press May 25, 2006 says the resolution approved by the council also urged the UN force "to make full use of its current mandate and capabilities" against rebels from Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army and other armed groups who have been attacking civilians and committing human rights abuses in Sudan - excerpt:
"Jones Parry told reporters the request to the UN force for help in apprehending the Ugandan rebel group is "very important" and "acknowledges the regional dimension of the conflict," which includes eastern Congo as well as Uganda and Sudan."

A year ago, the council voted to send 10,700 U.N. peacekeepers to monitor a January 2005 peace agreement between Sudan's mostly Muslim north and the Christian and animist south. Some 2 million people died in the conflict. Over 7,000 peacekeepers are now deployed.

Friday's resolution extends the U.N. force's mandate until Sept. 24, "with the intention to renew it for further periods."

It called on Annan to present to the council by April 24 "a range of options" on a U.N. operation in Darfur. It also asked Annan to make recommendations by that date on how U.N. peacekeepers and U.N. agencies "could more effectively address the problem of the LRA."
UN Security Council meeting

In this photo released by the United Nations, The UN Security Council votes unanimously Friday, March 24, 2006 at UN HQ, to keep UN peacekeepers in southern Sudan to monitor a peace deal ending a 21-year civil war and authorised planning for the expected extension of the UN force's operations to Darfur in western Sudan. (AP Photo/The United Nations, Evan Schneider)

Note, after reading varying and conflicting news reports, it seems clear (to me anyway) UN officials have said they will not send in troops to Darfur without the approval of the Sudanese government - and the Sudanese goverment says it may be possible to consider the possibility of UN peacekeepers in Darfur when a peace agreement is reached at the AU mediated Darfur peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria.

Further reading:

Mar 25 2006 (AP/ST) Sudan FM reiterates rejection of UN force to Darfur - Sudan Saturday repeated its rejection of UN peace keeping forces to Darfur, reacting to the Security Council's decision to expand the monitoring operations. "We reject sending any further troops to Darfur," Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol Ajawin told at a preparatory meeting of his Arab counterparts in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, ahead of the Arab summit next week. Sudan had said before the Security Council's Friday vote that it opposed a UN takeover of the African peacekeeping mission.

Mar 25 2006 (Prensa Latina) Arab League Rejects UN Troops to Sudan - In a press conference in Jartum Friday, Arab League chief Amro Musa pointed out that most of the Sudanese people, local institutions, and the Executive oppose arrival of UN Blue Helmets to Darfur. He said there is a fear that the south of Sudan would become like occupied Iraq (by US troops).

Mar 24 2006 (UN News Centre) Extending Sudan mission, Security Council lays groundwork for UN Darfur force - - via CfD

Mar 24 2006 (Reuters Irwin Arieff) UN speeds planning for sending UN troops to Darfur

Mar 25 2006 Op-Ed News opinon piece - If the Bush administration is serious about its concern for the people in Darfur he should provide weaponry and logistical support for the AU. That would be the least controversial remedy to the violence and it would allay the government's fears of re-colonization by Europe and America. Instead, Bush has called for doubling the size of a UN "peacekeeping" force and expanding the role of NATO in the region. This has only intensified suspicions that the intervention is not driven by selfless concern for the welfare of others.

1 comment:

JMac said...

I am trying to understand why the sudanese government would agree to deployment of UN troops since they were behind arming the janjaweed militia to begin with. Do you have any thoughts on this?
ps...thanks for this blog and the wealth of info on Darfur