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Sudan: Diplomatic Denialism?

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Sep 6, 2006 (060906)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

"This is no way to run a peacekeeping operation. Morale is low, we cannot pay our troops and the [Sudanese] government makes sure we are unable to do our job." - Senior African Union official

As the Sudanese governments launches a intensified military campaign in north Darfur and civilian casualties rise, the United Nations Security Council has finally passed a resolution mandating a large UN peacekeeping force that can incorporate and take over responsibilities from the current African Union force. But with Sudan adamantly refusing the UN "invitation" to give consent to the force, this small step towards international action may turn out to be no more than a face-saving diplomatic maneuver.

Technically, the resolution only "invites" rather than "requires" Sudanese government consent. And the option remains of "re-hatting" the AU force under the UN label without adding new troops, putting the burden of action on Sudan to alienate African countries by expelling them. U.S. diplomats have stated they are confident Khartoum will eventually agree, but neither Sudanese government statements nor its actions give any indication that it is feeling serious pressure to do so. On September 5, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack limited himself to saying the U.S. found the situation "troubling."

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains reports and excerpts from recent statements and actions by the African Union and the United Nations on Darfur. An additional consultation is scheduled for New York on September 18, and groups in several countries have called for mobilization for a "Day for Darfur" (http://www.dayfordarfur.org).

For current news and commentary on Sudan, visit
http://www.sudantribune.com

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Sudan, see http://www.africafocus.org/country/sudan.php

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++

Khartoum Issues Deadline to African Union

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
http://www.irinnews.org

September 5, 2006

El Fasher

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

The Sudanese government has asked the African Union (AU) to decide within a week, whether it will keep its troops in Sudan's Darfur region, or leave the country.

The mandate of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) is due to expire on 30 September. The Sudanese government has refused to accept an extension of the mandate if the AU force then becomes part of a United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur.

In a meeting in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Monday, the AU Peace and Security Council decided not to extend its mission in Darfur beyond 30 September, unless consultations between the UN and the government of Sudan resulted in a new agreement about a transfer from the AU to a UN force.

"If the Sudanese government and the UN decide on a transition, the AU will review its mandate in Darfur," AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni told IRIN on Tuesday.

Sudanese Presidential Adviser, Mustafa Osman Ismail, told reporters in Khartoum that his government was not against the African troops in Darfur as such, but that it objected to the African troops becoming an advance party for other international forces.

"The African Peace and Security Council pressed ahead with its demand of ending the role of the African Union's troops in Darfur and hand over their mission to the UN without consultation with the government of Sudan," is how the State Minister at Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ali Ahmed Karti, explained Sudan's position on Tuesday.

Despite this one-week deadline set by the Sudanese government, the AU peace council decided to convene at ministerial level in New York on 18 September on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, to review the situation in Darfur and consider its mandate.

"In the meantime, there will be a lot of consultations with all the stakeholders," AU spokesman Mezni said. "Let us see and wait - and hope we can reach an agreement."

Last week, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a gradual transition from the under-funded and under-equipped AU mission, to a stronger UN protection force.

The UN is not expected to be able to deploy a complete peacekeeping operation before the end of the year, one political analyst said, so an extension of the AU's mandate now is crucial to bridge the three-month gap that would allow the UN to prepare its deployment.

The three year conflict in Darfur has left over 200,000 people dead, and displaced more than 2 million. Since the signing of a 5 May Darfur Peace Agreement between the Sudanese government and one of three main rebel groups, fighting has escalated between signatories and rebel groups that refused to sign the peace deal.


African Union

Peace and Security Council

http://www.africa-union.org

Press Statement on Developments in Darfur

Addis Ababa, 4 September 2006

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), meeting on 4 September 2006, was briefed by the Commission on the most recent developments regarding the situation in Darfur. Council also received a briefing from the representative of the Sudan.

Council reiterated its earlier decisions on the situation in Darfur, including decisions PSC/MIN/Comm(XLVI) of 10 March 2006, PSC/MIN/Comm/1(LI) of 15 May 2006 and PSC/MIN/Comm(LVIII) of 27 June 2006 on the issue of transition. In the decision of 27 June 2006, Council reaffirmed its earlier decisions on ending the mandate of AMIS by 30 September 2006 and on the transition from AMIS to a UN peacekeeping operation, and expressed its readiness to review the mandate of the Mission in the event that the consultations between the Government of the Sudan and the United Nations conclude on an agreement for a transition to a UN peacekeeping operation.

Council agreed to convene at ministerial level, in New York, on 18 September 2006, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, to review the situation in Darfur and consider the mandate of AMIS, in light of its decision of 27 June 2006. In the meantime, consultations on the matter will continue among all stakeholders.

Council expressed concern at the prevailing security situation on the ground, particularly attacks against AMIS personnel and assets. Council demanded that all the parties scrupulously abide by the ceasefire and ensure the safety and security of AMIS.

Council further demanded that the parties refrain from any action likely to undermine the peace process and the efforts being made to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement.

Finally, Council reiterated its profound appreciation to AMIS personnel and leadership for the commendable work done in Darfur, in spite of the many challenges confronting the Mission on the ground. Council encouraged AMIS to vigorously pursue its efforts in support of lasting peace and reconciliation in Darfur.


Security Council votes to set up UN peacekeeping force in Darfur

United Nations
http://www.un.org/News

31 August 2006 - The Security Council agreed today to deploy a United Nations peacekeeping force of more than 17,000 troops in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region by the end of the year to try to end the spiralling violence and displacement there that has led senior UN officials to warn of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe.

Twelve Council members voted in favour of a resolution to expand the mandate of the existing UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) from southern Sudan to cover Darfur as well. China, Russia and Qatar abstained in the vote.

Resolution 1706 "invites the consent" of the Sudanese Government to the deployment, although Khartoum has said on several occasions that it is opposed to any kind of UN force taking over the role of the African Union's (AU) current operation - known by the acronym AMIS - in Darfur.

Under the resolution, UNMIS will have up to 17,300 additional troops and as many as 3,300 civilian police officers, and must take over AMIS' duties by no later than 31 December.

Before AMIS hands over to the expanded UNMIS, the UN has been authorized to provide air, engineering, logistics, communications and other support to AMIS.

After the vote in the Council, Ambassador John Bolton of the United States, one of the sponsors of the resolution, said it was imperative to act now to stop the violence, where scores of thousands of people have been killed and 2 million others forced to flee their homes since 2003.


United Nations Security Council
SC/8821 31 August 2006

http://www.un.org/News

Security Council expands mandate of UN mission in Sudan to include Darfur, adopting resolution 1706 by vote of 12 in favour, with 3 abstaining

Invites Consent of Sudanese Government; Authorizes Use of 'All Necessary Means' To Protect United Nations Personnel, Civilians under Threat of Physical Violence

The Security Council decided this morning to expand the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) to include its deployment to Darfur, without prejudice to its existing mandate and operations, in order to support the early and effective implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

As it adopted resolution 1706 (2006) by a vote of 12 in favour with 3 abstentions (China, Qatar, Russian Federation), the Council invited the consent of the Sudanese Government of National Unity for that deployment, and called on Member States to ensure an expeditious deployment. It requested the Secretary-General to arrange the rapid deployment of additional capabilities to enable UNMIS to deploy in Darfur.

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council authorized UNMIS to use all necessary means as it deemed within its capabilities: to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment; to ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers, assessment and evaluation commission personnel; to prevent disruption of the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement by armed groups, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of the Sudan; to protect civilians under threat of physical violence; and to seize or collect arms or related material whose presence in Darfur was in violation of the Agreements and the measures imposed by resolution 1556, and to dispose of such arms and related material as appropriate. ... ...

The Council decided also that UNMIS would be strengthened by up to 17,300 military personnel and by an appropriate civilian component including up to 3,300 civilian police personnel and up to 16 Formed Police Units. It expressed its determination to keep the Mission's strength and structure under regular review, taking into account the evolution of the situation on the ground.

By further terms of the text, the Council requested the Secretary-General to consult jointly with the African Union, in close and continuing consultation with the parties to the Darfur Peace Agreement, including the Government of National Unity, on a plan and timetable for a transition from the African Mission in the Sudan to a United Nations operation in Darfur.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Argentina, Denmark, France, Ghana, Greece, Slovakia, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania and the United States.

In a statement after the vote, the representative of the United Kingdom said the tragedy in Darfur had gone on far too long and the transition to a United Nations operation was the only viable solution to the crisis. Based on conversations with Council members, even those countries that had abstained did not fundamentally disagree with the issues of the text -- it was more about the timing. The United Nations force remained the only vehicle to bring peace and stability to Darfur.

She said the Sudanese plan would be a military solution imposed by one of the parties to the conflict, in violation of the Peace Agreement itself. The resolution adopted today sent a clear message from the Council regarding the need for a well-equipped third party to ensure the protection of civilians. Not that the text did not attach importance to the consent of the Government of the Sudan, which bore the primary responsibility to protect its own citizens. The Council was appealing to the Government in the strongest possible terms to allow the United Nations to provide assistance. The Council wished to help the Sudan, not to threaten it; to assist, and not undermine the country.

Also speaking after the vote, the representative of the United States stressed the imperative need to stop the violence in Darfur, noting that every day of delay only extended the genocide. The strong Council resolution offered the best hope to end the tragedy in Darfur, and it was important to secure its immediate and full implementation. The United States expected the full cooperation and support of the Government of the Sudan for the new United Nations force.

Council President Nana Effah-Apenteng (Ghana), speaking in his national capacity, said that as many as 16 countries were already taking part in the African Union mission, and his country was proud to be one of them. Although the text adopted today was not a magic wand, its adoption was timely and gave the Sudan an opportunity be part of the solution to the Darfur crisis. On the other hand, however, the Government bore the responsibility to protect the victims of war in the Sudan, and for that reason, Ghana had reservations about explicit language in the text regarding the Government's agreement to the deployment of an international force.

Excerpts from text of Resolution 1706...

Determining that the situation in the Sudan continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,

1. Decides, without prejudice to its existing mandate and operations as provided for in resolution 1590 (2005) and in order to support the early and effective implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, that UNMIS' mandate shall be expanded as specified in paragraphs 8, 9 and 12 below, that it shall deploy to Darfur, and therefore invites the consent of the Government of National Unity for this deployment, and urges Member States to provide the capability for an expeditious deployment;

2. Requests the Secretary-General to arrange the rapid deployment of additional capabilities for UNMIS, in order that it may deploy in Darfur, in accordance with the recommendation contained in his report dated 28 July 2006;

...

5. Requests the Secretary-General to consult jointly with the African Union, in close and continuing consultation with the parties to the Darfur Peace Agreement, including the Government of National Unity, on a plan and timetable for transition from AMIS to a United Nations operation in Darfur; ... upon the expiration of AMIS' mandate but in any event no later than 31 December 2006;

...

12. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations:

(a) Decides that UNMIS is authorized to use all necessary means, in the areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities:

  • to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, to ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers, assessment and evaluation commission personnel, to prevent disruption of the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement by armed groups, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of the Sudan, to protect civilians under threat of physical violence,
  • in order to support early and effective implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, to prevent attacks and threats against civilians,
  • to seize or collect, as appropriate, arms or related material whose presence in Darfur is in violation of the Agreements and the measures imposed by paragraphs 7 and 8 of resolution 1556, and to dispose of such arms and related material as appropriate;

...

Background

Meeting to consider the deteriorating situation in Darfur, the Security Council was expected to vote on a draft resolution authorizing a United Nations force in the impoverished and strife-torn region, despite the fact that President Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan had presented his own plan (document S/2006/665) by which his Government would pacify Darfur with its own troops working in tandem with the African Union.

...

For their discussions, Council members have before them the Secretary-General's report on Darfur (document S/2006/591), in which he says a United Nations peacekeeping force of as many as 18,600 troops may be needed in Darfur to ensure that all sides in the war-ravaged region comply with the recently signed peace agreement. ...

As a result of the ongoing violence throughout Darfur, in particular the recent clashes in Northern Darfur, access to populations in need is decreasing, the report says. At the same time, violence against humanitarians is at an all-time high, and the number of security incidents directed towards relief workers has been steadily rising since March. ...

Alternatively, there may be an attempt to implement the Agreement through force, including the forced return of internally displaced persons. If this should be allowed to happen, Darfur could descend into an even bloodier round of conflict that would be catastrophic for the people of the region. "No party should use the Darfur Peace Agreement as a pretext for more violence", he warns.

With all this in mind, the Secretary-General explains that any military force would have to be "large, agile and robust" as it seeks to bring peace and stability to the region. ...

The mission's main focus would be on protecting civilians, especially the vast population of internally displaced persons living in camps across Darfur's three states, and he warns that the region's harsh terrain and lack of usable roads, especially during the annual wet season, poses particular problems. A peacekeeping mission would also need a significant component of police, he says, especially in helping to manage internally displaced persons' camps. Up to 3,300 police officers would be necessary in the start-up phase, with more probably required later.

The Secretary-General urges Khartoum to accept a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur, arguing that peace in southern Sudan, where a separate, decades-long conflict ended only recently and UNMIS is now in place, will otherwise be placed in jeopardy. "Peace in the Sudan is indivisible. Peace cannot take root in one part of the country while another part remains chronically unstable and prone to extreme violence",

...

Wang Guangya (China) said that the African Union, at the request of the Sudanese Government, had put in enormous efforts to help stabilize the situation in Darfur. China had all along highly commended and supported its endeavour. According to the African Union decision, after consulting and upon agreement by the Government of National Unity, the United Nations would take over AMIS function of carrying out the mission in the region. China was in favour of replacing AMIS with a United Nations operation. That was a good idea and a realistic option, and it would help to improve the situation on the ground, serving the interests of all parties. He, therefore, supported, with the consent of the Government of National Unity, the deployment of United Nations troops in Darfur as soon as feasible. He also agreed that the Security Council needed to make the necessary decision at an early date, so as to effectively fulfil the responsibilities set forth in the Charter and assist the Government of National Unity in achieving comprehensive and lasting peace and stability in Darfur. ...

A transition to a United Nations mission was a good and pragmatic option, but the mission could only be deployed when the consent of the Government was obtained. ...

He said that China accepted almost all the contents of the resolution, but it had consistently urged the co-sponsors to clearly put in - with the consent of the Government of National Unity - a fixed and standardized term on deploying United Nations missions. It had also urged the co-sponsors to carefully reconsider the timing of the vote. Regrettably, the co-sponsors had failed to earnestly heed China's sincere efforts. Under those circumstances, China had abstained in the vote.

...

Vitaly I. Churkin (Russian Federation) said that, during the negotiations on the text, his delegation had done everything possible to reach a peaceful and diplomatic settlement of the crisis. It was important for the resolution to clearly state an imperative need for the Sudanese Government's agreement to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur in accordance with decisions of the Security Council and the African Union.... Until that agreement was received, his delegation had decided to abstain in the voting, although it did not object to the content of the resolution. He supported a mission on the basis of the Abuja accord.

Augustine P. Mahiga (United Republic of Tanzania) said that his country welcomed and supported the resolution, as it had always believed that, because of its ramifications for international peace and security, the crisis in the Sudan was not only a concern of the Sudan and Africa, but of the international community as a whole. The Security Council should be actively seized with a search for a peaceful solution to that crisis. The African Union had taken more than its fair share of the responsibility in the search for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. It had discharged its obligations superbly, but by its own admission, it was overwhelmed by the magnitude and complexity of the task. ...

Speaking in his national capacity, the President of the Council, Nana Effah-Apenteng ( Ghana), said he took pride in the adoption of the resolution. ...

Although the text adopted today was not a magic wand, its passage was timely and gave the Sudan an opportunity to take part in the resolution of the crisis, he continued. It still left open the door for effective cooperation between the Government, the United Nations, the African Union and other actors. On the other hand, if the Government of the Sudan failed to cooperate, it would be in clear breach of the Darfur Peace Agreement and relevant resolutions of the Security Council. Today's vote also reaffirmed one of the principles of the African Union, which recognized the Union's right to intervene in the affairs of a member State if it failed to protect its own citizens. The Government had the responsibility to protect the victims of war in the Sudan, and for that reason, his delegation had had reservations about the inclusion of explicit language in the text for the Government to give its agreement to the deployment of an international force.

In conclusion, he once again called on the Government to heed the voices of the international community.


AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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