ME and Ophelia

Friday, June 11, 2004

Calls for UN to intervene militarily in Darfur

June 11 Scotsman: "Hilary Benn, the UK International Development Secretary, has blamed the Sudanese government alone for the catastrophe which had, until this week, threatened to become the world’s forgotten genocide.

He confirmed Britain was to increase its aid package for Darfur by £15 million, and hinted that more money could be available for development work."
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In its role as "the world's policeman"

June 11 Scotsman: "John Bercow, the shadow international development secretary, repeated his call for the United Nations to intervene militarily in Darfur, where attacks by Arab militias known as the Janjaweed continue daily on the dispossessed black African population.

The shadow secretary added that it was time the United Nations proved itself in its role as "the world’s policeman".
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To lead the international effort

June 11 Scotsman: "A statement issued yesterday by the G8 urged the UN to lead the international effort to avert "a major disaster" in Darfur.

In yesterday’s edition of The Scotsman, a senior UN official warned that every Sudanese refugee under the age of five would be dead in six months unless there was immediate international intervention. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have struggled across the border between Sudan and Chad.

Aid experts have warned that there will also be many deaths in Chad before the end of the year, unless aid can be put in place before the rains begin in earnest."
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Yesterday, on the closing day of the G8 leaders' three-day summit in Georgia, USA, the leaders of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom issued a statement.

Following is the text of the G8 statement as released by the White House and posted to the web June 10, 2004:

"We, the Leaders of the G8, warmly welcome the May 26 signing by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) of protocols on Power Sharing, Abyei, and on the Two Areas (of Southern Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains). We urge the parties to reach a final and comprehensive agreement which includes a timetable and security arrangements as quickly as possible. We hope that this agreement and its faithful implementation will end one of the world's most painful conflicts and begin a new era of Sudanese peace and prosperity.

We also wish to express our grave concern over the humanitarian, human rights, and political crisis in Darfur. We welcome the N'djamena ceasefire agreement of April 8, and the announcement on May 20 by the Government of Sudan that restrictions on humanitarian access will be eased. However, there are continuing reports of gross violations of human rights, many with an ethnic dimension. We call on all parties to the conflict to immediately and fully respect the ceasefire, allow unimpeded humanitarian access to all those in need, and create the conditions for the displaced to return safely to their homes. We call especially on the Sudanese government to disarm immediately the "Janjaweed" and other armed groups which are responsible for massive human rights violations in Darfur. We call on the conflict parties to address the roots of the Darfur conflict and to seek a political solution.

We support the African Union as it assumes the leading role in the monitoring mission which is now being sent to the Darfur region to supervise the cease-fire agreement.

We pledge our countries' assistance in ending the conflicts in Sudan and in providing humanitarian aid to those in need. We call on all parties to the conflicts in Sudan to commit themselves to respecting the right of all Sudanese to live in peace and dignity.

We look to the United Nations to lead the international effort to avert a major disaster and will work together to achieve this end."

Copyright © 2004 The White House. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Further reading:

Sudan: Darfur: Humanitarian Emergency Fact Sheet #9 (FY 2004) updates the last fact sheet dated June 4, 2004.
The Center for International Disaster Information: CIDI
InterAction "How You Can Help"
Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at ReliefWeb
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Seek G8 Follow-Through

African Leaders Seek G8 Follow-Through.
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Sending emergency supplies to Chad

June 10 Reuters: "The UNs refugee agency UNHCR said on Thursday it was sending more than 1,700 tonnes of aid including blankets, jerry cans, plastic sheeting and tents to Chad. It said the emergency supplies are expected to last 150,000 refugees through the rainy season when aid delivery will become almost impossible because of poor roads and flooding."
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Emergency airlift of biscuits today for Sudan

June 11 (Rome) "TPG's TNT Airways has made available one of its largest aircraft - an Airbus 300 - to fly from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi, Italy, to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, carrying 33.6 metric tons high energy, vitamin and mineral fortified biscuits. The airlift is scheduled for Saturday, 12 June. The biscuits are a donation by the Danish Government to the UNHRD's strategic stocks.

"For many children, these biscuits could well mean the difference between life and death," said Ramiro Lopes de Silva, WFP's Country Director in Sudan. "These are crucial supplies. We are racing against time and circumstances to reach at least one million people in desperate need of help."

In the last few weeks, increased access to displaced populations in Darfur has revealed a grim reality. Recent nutrition surveys among the displaced population have indicated alarming levels of malnutrition, particularly among children under the age of five. When malnutrition levels reach 15 percent, a nutritional emergency is declared; current surveys show rates of between 21 and 33 percent.

"WFP greatly appreciates TPG's assistance in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Western Sudan," said "With malnutrition setting in amongst the displaced population, and the rainy season upon us, we must get more emergency food into the region now if we are to stave off starvation, especially among the very young," said da Silva.

With the rainy season expected to peak in July, WFP is racing to pre-position food stocks in key areas. High energy biscuits are easy to distribute and require no cooking preparation.

WFP currently has access to 94 of 124 camps in Darfur, and plans to assist over one million people each month until October, when the agency will increase its food assistance to reach a total of two million people until December.

During May, WFP distributed food rations to more than half a million people in Darfur, reaching nearly two-thirds of the beneficiary target. Limited access and insecurity have been major obstacles to providing humanitarian assistance to those displaced by the on-going conflict between the Sudanese Government and rebel forces over the last 15 months."
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In 4-5 weeks but does not include Darfur and eastern Sudan

June 10 Reuters: "Sudan expects to sign the final peace agreement to end more than two decades of civil war in the south of Africa's largest country in four to five weeks, First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha said on Thursday.

He told reporters during a visit to Cairo that all the major issues were resolved and only technicalities needed to be agreed before the signing ceremony due to take place in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. "We expect that these finishing touches will take about four to five weeks after which, God willing, there will be the final signing," he said.

The southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a number of protocols with the government last month, paving the way for a final peace accord.

The southern conflict pits the Islamist government in Khartoum against the mainly Christian, animist south, complicated by oil, ethnicity and ideology. It has claimed two million victims.

Taha said a donor conference to help rebuild the lawless south, devastated by wars that have raged for all but 11 years since Sudan gained independence from Britain in 1956, was expected to take place in Norway in November.

He added the peace agreement would provide an opportunity for oil-rich Sudan to improve its relations with the United States, which has played a key role in the peace talks and lists Sudan as a "state sponsor of terrorism".

"The state of war in the south was one of the main things that stopped relations between Sudan and the United States developing in the past," he said.

But the United States has voiced increasing concern over a separate conflict in Sudan's remote west, which the United Nations says has caused one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, with more than one million displaced.

Rebels in western Sudan took up arms against Khartoum last year accusing the government of arming Arab militias in Darfur to loot and burn African villages, a charge Khartoum denies.

Taha said a recent humanitarian ceasefire signed with the Darfur rebels was a step towards peace but added it would not be easy to achieve peace in the poor region bordering Chad."
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US National Security Adviser blames Khartoum

June 10 Reuters: Sudan envoy denies any link to Darfur militias.
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CAIRO - AFP (undated) Oman Observer: "Senior Sudanese officials yesterday accused the West of stirring the armed conflict in the Darfur region and exaggerating the crisis to pressure Khartoum amid final negotiations for peace in southern Sudan. Vice-President Ali Osman Taha and Foreign Minister Mostafa Osman Ismail made their remarks during a visit to Cairo while, at the G8 summit in Georgia, US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice largely blamed Khartoum for the trouble.

Taha told a gathering of Egyptian and Sudanese intellectuals and politicians in the Egyptian capital that the conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur was “fabricated” by the international community, and in particular, by the West. The same parties that were responsible for creating war in the southern Sudan decades ago, are the ones responsible for the conflict in Darfur, said the Sudanese vice-president. He did not provide any evidence to support his claims.

At a news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Maher, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ismail pointed an accusing finger at unnamed groups for instigating the conflict in Darfur. “There are pressure groups, some of them used to operate in the south and now they are becoming active in Darfur,” Ismail told reporters. “These groups want trouble,” he charged, adding that they wanted to create a similar situation in Darfur as in the south.

He appeared to be referring to western non-government organisations and evangelical groups which Sudan has in the past accused of siding with the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). “We are not saying that there is no problem in Darfur,” Ismail went on, insisting that the problem was not of the same magnitude presented by the international media. Taha called the media reports an “unjustified” campaign against his country, and his foreign minister denied that what was happening in Darfur amounted to “genocide or ethnic cleansing”, as some have described the crisis."
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A new central government needs to spend oil riches on the lives of its people

June 10 Reuters: "Impoverished South Sudanese may not want to stay part of Africa's biggest country unless a new central government spends oil riches on improving their lives, rebel leader John Garang said.

John Garang, leader of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) told Reuters on Wednesday it would be up to the central government to make sure southerners would want to remain in a united Sudan and not vote for secession after a six-year transition period.

The SPLA has been fighting the Islamist government in the north for more autonomy for the largely Christian and animist south for 21 years. The war, in which two million people have been killed mainly by hunger and disease, is complicated by factors such as ethnicity, religion, ideology and economics.

Under a series of peace accords signed over the past two years, the mainly African south of the oil-exporting nation of 32 million will have the right to independence from the Arab and Muslim north after a transition period of six years.

Mediators expect the two sides to nail down the remaining issues -- ceasefire arrangements and how to implement a final peace deal -- within two months of resuming talks on June 22."
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Currently go to the Islamist government in Khartoum

June 10 Reuters: "Many Sudanese in the south, where most of Sudan's oil is produced, believe the revenues from the petroleum produced from their soil should be theirs alone. At present revenues running at more than $3 billion annually go to the Islamist government in Khartoum, little of which is spent in the impoverished south.

A wealth-sharing agreement signed in January by Garang and Khartoum gives a new interim central government 50 percent of oil revenues and 50 percent to a new southern local authority.

The southern authority is expected to spend its share of the revenue on southern development, but Garang suggested that without big spending in the south by the new central government as well, the deal would be insufficiently attractive to southerners to persuade them to vote to stay in a united Sudan.

"When the central government is getting 50 percent of southern oil, and (also) getting 50 per cent of southern non-oil (revenues), this is going to be difficult for southern Sudanese to identify with unity, unless we do something so that southern Sudanese see tangible benefits in a united Sudan".

"So the responsibility of the central government is even increased as a result of wealth sharing agreements we have reached."
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There must be peace in Darfur and eastern Sudan

June 10 Reuters: "Garang said southerners wanted roads, development of navigable waterways and the installation of a telephone system. At present the south, twice the size of France, has few roads.

The peace accords will not cover a separate conflict in the western Darfur region, where the rights groups says Arab militias have been carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against black Africans, displacing more than one million.

Garang reiterated that for peace to be meaningful, it would have to prevail over all the country -- especially in Darfur, eastern Sudan, and in the Upper Nile's Shilluk kingdom, where rights groups says Arab militias have been carrying out attacks on black Africans in a manner very similar to Darfur.

"Shillukland is part of Southern Sudan and we will ensure that there is peace and stability in Shillukland as well as in all parts of southern Sudan," he said.

"With respect to principally Darfur and eastern Sudan it is absolutely vital that there is peace in these areas. You cannot make peace in the south, while you fight war in Darfur and eastern Sudan -- that does not make any sense.".

"Darfur is of vital importance and there must be peace there. We are willing and ready in bringing about a just settlement in Darfur and in eastern Sudan."
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Further reading: June 11 2004 IRIN news org (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs): SUDAN: Peace unsustainable without democratisation - think-tank.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 6/11/2004
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