ME and Ophelia

Sunday, June 20, 2004

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Oppose intervention in Sudan

Canada's U.N. ambassador, Allan Rock, singled out one of the UN Security Council's five permanent members, China, along with non-permanent members Pakistan and Algeria, as countries that oppose intervention in Sudan because it would violate national sovereignty.

One expert argues that the United States, one of four other permanent council members, could increase pressure to pass a resolution condemning Sudan, but, "I think we're saving most of our diplomatic equity at this point for Iraq ... it's understandable but unacceptable," says John Prendergast of the non-profit International Crisis Group (ICG).

More than two months ago, on Apr. 7, Annan suggested he would push for an armed intervention by international forces if humanitarian workers and human rights observers were not "given full access to the region, and to the victims, without further delay."
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Expects permanent peace in Sudan

June 20 Xinhua report via the People's Daily Online:

"Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing talked over phone with Sudan Minister of External Relations Mustafa Ismail on June 19, hoping an early realization of permanent peace in Sudan. During the phone talk, Ismail briefed Li on the latest progress of the peaceful process in Sudan. Li said that he was glad that major progress has been made in Sudan in realizing a reunited, peaceful and stable country.

The two ministers both hoped that the two countries could expand their cooperation in various areas, strengthen communications in international affairs, and maintain close cooperation."
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75% of the planet's 12 million refugees are in the developing world

Today is United Nations World Refugee Day. About 75 percent of the planet's roughly 12 million refugees and asylum-seekers are in the developing world. Sudan has the largest number of refugees within its own borders, according to Amnesty International. And no refugees are at greater risk than Darfur's dispossessed, who have fled to other parts of the country or crossed the country's border into neighbouring Chad.

"Nowhere else in the world are so many lives at stake as in Darfur at the moment," said U.N. Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland this week, adding that as many as two million people displaced by the repression may need food aid and other supplies in coming months.

Canada's U.N. ambassador, Allan Rock, who said in a meeting Monday that the world body's top decision-making organ, the Security Council, must "demonstrate greater resolve in addressing even sensitive and politically challenging situations." In an interview Friday, Rock said that Egeland told him Thursday that the situation on the ground had improved.
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Further reading from Why War? Analysis. Note echoes of today in March 15, 2002. Also note July 21, 2003 report and IRC statement "five years of civil war in the Congo have taken the lives of a mind-boggling 3.3 million people". Excerpts and links to reports:

April 7, 2004 US President Condemns Atrocities in Sudan: "The Sudanese Government must immediately stop local militias from committing atrocities against the local population and must provide unrestricted access to humanitarian aid agencies. I condemn these atrocities, which are displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians, and I have expressed my views directly to President Bashir of Sudan."

April 4, 2004 UN Urges Global Action on Darfur: "Fighting in Darfur broke out more than a year ago, when rebels attacked government targets, saying black Africans were being oppressed in favour of Arabs. Mr Egeland described it as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises."

February 26, 2004 Sudan's Darfur War Still Ongoing: "The scale of the humanitarian crisis continues to escalate, with internally displaced persons estimated to be in excess of 700,000 requiring urgent humanitarian assistance, according to EU reports."

July 21, 2003 No Answer: "If the greatest injustice in the world is U.S. imperialism, the world's greatest injustices must be found where U.S. imperialism is strongest. And, here, Africa poses a problem. Africa, after all, has less contact with the United States than any other part of the world ... the United States has avoided acting like an empire in post-cold-war Africa, and, thus, the hard left has found little cause for moral concern.

In Congo alone, according to the International Rescue Committee, five years of civil war have taken the lives of a mind-boggling 3.3 million people. How can the leaders of the global left—men and women ostensibly dedicated to solidarity with the world's oppressed, impoverished masses—not care? The answer, I think, is that the left isn't galvanized by victims; it's galvanized by victimizers. The theme of answer's upcoming protest, after all, is "Occupation and Empire." In a recent essay, Roy explained that "the real and pressing danger, the greatest threat of all, is the locomotive force that drives the political and economic engine of the U.S. government." In other words, imperialism, what she elsewhere calls "a super-power's self-destructive impulse toward supremacy, stranglehold, global hegemony." 

September 3, 2002 Al Qaeda, Taliban Shipping Gold to Sudan: "European, Pakistani and US agents told The Washington Post that most of the valuable cargo passed through Iran and the UAE."

June 18, 2002 'Rogue' No More – US Eyes Oil in Libya, Sudan: "With both oil-rich Central Asia and the Middle East riddled by conflict and U.S. voters' continued distaste for new domestic oil exploitation, Washington is getting serious about changing policy toward Africa." Note: PNS Editor Franz Schurmann (, emeritus professor at UC Berkeley, has written on the politics of oil since the late 1970s.

March 15, 2002 US Expanding Involvement In Sudan: "Since Sept. 11, Washington has tried to re-establish a working relationship with Khartoum in order to gather intelligence on Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network, which once operated out of Sudan. U.S. special envoy and former senator John Danforth has traveled to the country to mediate peace talks, and the Nuba cease-fire is a direct result of these efforts."

March 8, 2002 US Expands Its Presence Across the Globe: "U.S. forces are active in the biggest array of countries since the second world war. Troops, sailors and airmen are now established in countries where they have never before had a presence. The aim is to provide platforms from which to launch attacks on any group perceived by George Bush to be a danger to the U.S."
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June 19, 2004 BBC report: More than 1,000 refugees a day are arriving in Burundi from the Democratic Republic of Congo. So far, 30,000 refugees have crossed from Congo into Burundi.
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To unlock oil wealth in the balance

June 20 report via Scotsman in full:

In the peaceful setting of Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, home to one of the world’s largest flocks of pink flamingos, one of the world’s long running civil wars is being brought to an end. Oil-rich Sudan stands to make a gigantic leap forward if final negotiations between its government and southern rebels this week can produce a comprehensive settlement.

The two sides meet on Tuesday, and have said they will stay at the talks until they agree on a deal to end the devastating 21-year civil war in the south in which more than two million people have perished. They are already a long way down the road, having signed six protocols in which they have agreed how to share power and wealth in Africa’s largest country and what to do with their armed forces during a six-year transition period.

The conflict broke out in 1983 when the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army from the mainly animist and Christian south took up arms against the predominantly Arab and Muslim north. The insurgents say they are fighting for better treatment and for southerners to have the right to choose whether to remain part of Sudan.

Under the proposed peace deal at the end of the six-year transition period, the South will vote in a referendum on whether to secede. Meanwhile, Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir is to remain head of state while rebel leader John Garang will become first vice-president.

Among the issues still not settled are a final, internationally-monitored ceasefire agreement and a timetable for implementing it. This week’s negotiations will focus on power-sharing arrangements, setting up a joint military observation of the ceasefire, and the number and location of observers, according to senior officials in Kenya. The ceasefire calls for the deployment of up to 120 observers in Darfur to be led by the African Union. The European Union has allocated 12 million euros to the mission.

Despite optimism that a comprehensive agreement to end the war will be reached soon, it could be months before it is clear whether the diplomatic solution is being honoured on the ground. Rogue government and rebel militias who prowl rural areas are hardly accountable to higher authorities.

If the deal does come off it will be a triumph for international pressure, especially from the United States. Rebuilding devastated southern Sudan will cost billions of dollars that Sudan cannot afford to pay for itself. But Sudan hopes for substantial debt relief once a southern deal is signed, as well as an ending of US sanctions. Both moves would boost foreign investment in a country which is potentially oil-rich.

Despite the war, the Sudanese economy has grown solidly, helped by rising oil exports which last year were about 300,000 barrels a day, and should reach 600,000 barrels per day next year. However, potential Western donors are expressing mounting concern about the fighting in Darfur in western Sudan, warning that it could derail the southern peace agreement if it is not stopped. The governor of the central bank of Sudan, Sabir Mohammed al-Hassan, said last week that a negotiated peace in the civil war in southern Sudan would not endure if donors used the fighting in the west as a reason to withhold much-needed aid.

"If Darfur is used as an excuse not to support Sudan, then the peace will not be sustainable," he said in Cairo. "You need the support of the international community."

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 6/20/2004
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