Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bill Richardson gets commitment for 60-day cease-fire in Darfur?

Hope this is true. Via (CFD has link to longer PDF version)
Press release, Governor's Office - January 10, 2007 - The Governor's office released the following statement a few moments ago:

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson Gets Commitment for 60-Day Cease-Fire in Darfur Region of Sudan

KHARTOUM, SUDAN - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today announced that he has secured a commitment from Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al Bashir to agree to a 60-day cessation of hostilities in the Darfur region to allow for a new political process under the Darfur Peace Agreement and the auspices of the African Union and the United Nations. Governor Richardson also spoke this week with rebel leaders who said they would agree to a cease-fire. If all parties follow through with the cease-fire, the A.U. and the U.N. will convene a Peace Summit on March 15 under the framework of the peace agreement.

Governor Richardson also secured the following commitments from President Al Bashir:

- Agreed not to have the National military aircraft painted in white markings normally reserved for international organizations.
- Agreed that government forces would attempt to improve security conditions in all areas of Darfur with special emphasis on El Geneina, and would provide protection to food and other humanitarian convoys.
- Agreed to expedite procedures for entry visas for all humanitarian aid workers as well as goods. He also agreed to terminate the requirement of exit visas for humanitarian aid workers.
- Agreed to allow and facilitate travel by journalists from all over the world to Darfur.
- Governor Richardson and President Al Bashir reiterated that gender-based violence and such crimes must be condemned and prosecuted regardless of which party or organization was responsible. President Bashir said he would welcome a significant contribution of female members to the AU/UN hybrid operations. In addition the Justice Minister offered analyze and extend existing efforts to support Sudanese women against all gender-based violence.
A word of caution noted at Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log. Today's related reports at POTP Jan 10 2007 (sorry permalink still not working at the site).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A talented, bright, challenging, tireless, energetic and pacifist governor can take care of problems in New Mexico, as well as make profound efforts to achieve international peace in the world at large, without neglecting serious problems confronting New Mexico.

I commend Richardson for this extraordinary effort, which may bring success when all else has failed. Critics of such efforts should keep in mind the alternative, the way that George Bush exacerbated and continually expanded the conflict in Iran, so that he could achieve victory in his grudge match, and so that Halliburton and other corporate buddies of the Bushes could grow

This is not what Richardson is about. He is sincere and was willing to make this arduous trip to Sudan and to many other places, to achieve what may be a long lasting peace, WHEN ALMOST EVERY OTHER HEAD OF STATE, including Kofi Annan, and many of the hand-off armchair rulers and "experts" in Europe, at the United Nations, and the ostensibly civilized portions of the world, essentially gave up, turned their back, ignored the genocide, and let the destruction and killing continue, unabated.

This obliviousness to serious world problems may yet prove to be the downfall of western industrial society and the leading industrialized
nations. Fortunately, there is one exception to such calumny, recalcitrance, and indifference: William Blaine Richardson III!

Richardson will continue to do these kinds of trips in the name of diplomacy, an old fashioned concept which still actually works and works
quite well. Pundits, experts, professors, and international heads of state would do well to consider how one person like Richardson can jump into a huge and seemingly unsolvable international conflict, and bring a temporary
resolution and perhaps an eventual long lasting peace. This is commendable; this is rare in today's venues; this is exemplary.
Americans cognizant of what is really going on here, should take the time to further commend Governor Richardson in person, by email, by fax, and by telephone.


I must correct a serious error in my prior comment. Kofi Annan has done a lot to prevent genocide in Darfur, like asking for UN troops to go there, to which Al-Bashir has objected. Kofi is no arm chair ruler at all; although he
was silent on the genocide in Rwanda, he learned a powerful lesson after that from the critics that faulted his inaction. President Al Bashir will probably continue to resist UN troops in the Sudan, although Richardson may have partially succeeded in that regard.

Interesting that the ABQ Journal zeroed in on not getting UN troops accepted in Sudan: however, if you examine the joint press release between Richardson and Al Bashir, which is posted on the Governor's website, you can see what considerable progress he made.

To dismiss all of Richardson's efforts, as some "carpers" have done in Letters to The Santa Fe, New Mexican, as "insincere" or as somehow
indifferent to New Mexicans rather reminds me of the Lilluputians complaining about the size of the person they had tied down in Gulliver's Travels by Swift. That is not something I can see or find fault with at all vis a vis Bill Richardson. I mean every word above: he should be commended for an extraordinary effort IN AN ARENA WHEREIN ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE HAS FAILED.

Santa Fe is going to host an INternational Peace Conference in May, 2007: I want that Peace Conference to be a tremendous success, which it would most certainly be if the Governor were to participate and call in many of his friends and colleagues from the UN days, to invite them to come to Santa Fe.

So far, the guest speakers are going to include Arun Gandhi, MK Gandhi's Grandson; Jody Williams, Nobel Laureate for her work in preventing the use of landmines, and Rigoberto Menchu Tum, Nobel Laureate for her work in exposing and preventing indigenous genocide in Guatemala.

Those are great names, but we need a lot more political and amabassadorial and foreign service types as speakers, some UN Ambassadors, perhaps Peter Wirth's uncle Tim Wirth, President of the United Nations Association of the United States; perhaps Knut Hammarskjold, Dag's nephew, perhaps Kim Campbell, the first woman Prime Minister of Canada; many many more.

This New Mexico Peace Conference should be far more ambitious! With Governor Richardson's help, it would bring people from all over the world, and make Santa Fe even more important than it already is....perhaps we could have a branch of the United Nations Peace University in Costa Rica built in Santa Fe, an idea I have been working on since 1997.

If you agree, send a note to Governor Richardson and ask him to invite all of his friends to speak at the International Peace Conference in May.

Thank you for letting me share this with your readers!

Stephen Fox