ME and Ophelia

Friday, July 30, 2004

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Sudan threatens BBC with legal action over Darfur

Over the past week or so, several reports have listed the number of deaths in Darfur as 50,000 - not 30,000.

Today, a top U.S. official was quoted as saying the number of deaths in Darfur is 80,000.

Also today, in a July 30 report the chief of Doctors Without Borders is quoted as saying that even with the new improved deliveries - only half of the basic needs for food will be met in July. He confirms the current aid effort is insufficient and that urgent action is still overdue - as it has been throughout Darfur’s man-made emergency.
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Sudan Tribune report says "Sudan threatens BBC with legal action over Darfur". Heh. Sounds like GoS are getting stressed and clutching at straws trying to do spin with the media. Bet they're scratching their heads as to how come Darfur got in the world's spotlight. They may be good at controlling what type of news goes in and out of Khartoum but, going by what they are quoted as saying in news reports, they don't sound very media or net savvy. They must think we're soft - and daft.

Like most other statements of theirs, the GoS is full of bluster and bluff and, as usual, is talking a load of rubbish. Remember the funny Minister for Information in Iraq? Well his twins are in Khartoum: Foreign Minister Ismail and Interior Minister (forgotten his name) are a hoot. They're so full of barmy statements, I've started to collect their quotes for posting here at a later date.

By comparison, Colin Powell and Kofi Annan are a lot more smart - and trustworthy - so I go by what they say. The international community's strategy looks like it is working. Khartoum are definitely feeling the heat. They've even released political prisoners (an issue in the demands by the rebels). But I am still appalled at the food and aid not reaching the refugees. Some reports give the impression things are getting better, but don't you believe it - they're not. The U.N. are paid well enough to do a great job. If they claim it is the best they can do - well their best is just not good enough.

Back in April and May, I complained here about the BBC's reporting on Sudan only because their reports were too far and few between. The only inaccuracies I've noticed in their reporting I've put down to them erring on the side of caution.

For example, not long ago, the BBC were continuously quoting the number of deaths as 10,000 when in fact it was 30,000 - and more recently 50,000. (I've noticed today BBC reports "up to 50,000" - there's a huge difference between 50,000 and 80,000 lives, how come the BBC don't say 80,000?

If I have any criticisms of the BBC in its reporting of the Sudan, it would be they did not report enough news or frequently enough. But they've done great over the past month. Sudan Tribune comes up with some useful reports (it has just published the text of U.N. security council resolution on Sudan), is pretty good too. But the best and most timely news on the Sudan I find, is Reuters.

Note, BBC is inviting people to join the BBC's Africa Live debate on Wednesday 4 August at 1630 & 1830 and discuss "What do you think is the way forward for Darfur? What role should the UN and the African Union play? Should the crisis be resolved through sanctions, through military intervention or through quiet diplomacy?
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July 30 Reuters: "UN sets Darfur deadline" - The U.N. Security Council has voted for a U.S.-drafted resolution that threatens to impose sanctions on Sudan in 30 days if it does not disarm and prosecute marauding militia in Darfur.

The 13-0 vote, with abstentions from China and Pakistan, came after the United States deleted the word 'sanctions' and substituted a reference to a section of the U.N. Charter permitting punitive measures to gain more support.

The Article 41 provision allows the 'interruption' of economic, transport, communications or diplomatic measures, which amounts to sanctions.

The measure, co-sponsored by Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Chile and Romania, demands that Khartoum disarm and prosecute within 30 days militia known as Janjaweed or the Security Council will consider punitive measures.

But China's deputy U.N. ambassador, Zhang Yishan, said on Friday this was still too harsh and was 'not helpful in resolving the situation in Darfur and may further complicate the situation.'"

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 7/30/2004
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