Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 22 September 2005

Sudan and UN Security Council



Sept 21, 2005 — The situation was so bad three non-governmental organizations have withdrawn their aid workers, the mission said. There were only the barest of details on the most recent developments.

The U.N. Security Council took up Sudan Thursday, when U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Jan Pronk briefed the session. He put the most recent troubles in perspective with the other problems besetting Sudan from the peace accord covering the south, delay in forming a Government of National Unity, recent trouble in the East of and, of course, Darfur.

The meeting also came a day after the east Africa country established a national unity government.

After briefing the closed-door council session Pronk told reporters that while there had been delays in implementing the mandate laid down by the panel March 24 much had been achieved.

This backed up Annan’s report last week on Sudan to the council in which the Secretary General said support to the Sudanese and implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement that ended hostilities in the south of Sudan, were "largely on track. So far, the process has been moving slowly but steadily forward."

He blamed delays on "a combination of daunting administrative and logistical problems, both on the ground in the Sudan and for the troop-contributing countries as they make preparations to deploy."

One of the problems in deployment was the lack of a status of forces agreement with the government in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum.

Among the requests Pronk presented to the council was that it should call for renewing the U.N. mandate on Darfur, for a well-planned and speeded up deployment of peacekeeping forces, and issue a strong statement demanding a peace agreement for the region.

Pronk said progress on a comprehensive peace agreement concerning Sudan was going slowly but was "on track."

As far as he was concerned, Pronk said, "We can come to the conclusion that the process is going a bit slow." He attributed the lack of movement partially to the death of Sudanese Vice President John Garang in a July 30 helicopter crash in southern Sudan. Although it was believed a fatal accident, it spawned rumors of foul play and a formal inquiry was launched and a final determination has not been issued.

He also expressed to the council "a number of risks for the coming period."

Among them was the institution-building process under the peace accord and the issuing of laws and decrees under the new government’s constitution.

Pronk was also concerned about violence outside the Darfur region, including rioting that ensued after Garang’s death in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, and insecurity increased by the presence of the Uganda-based Lord’s Resistance Army in the south of Sudan.

After Garang’s death, "There was anger and disappointment" in Khartoum, he said, referring to the riots that broke out in the capital city after Garang’s helicopter crashed. "They (members of the black African population) were expecting an end to war and they thought peace was over.

"They killed quite a number of Arabs, and the Arabs took revenge, organizing gangs," Pronk added. "That was the first time war came to Khartoum (Since 1956). Sudan is a country plagued by war, but it was never in Khartoum" during the current conflict.

He said the unrest left "people looking at each other in fear."

The riots had "political and ethnic connotations."

Another problem around the capital city was housing, exacerbated by rapid growth and one million internally displaced persons living in camps, many of whom face the "risk of being bulldozed away ... even though living there (at a site) 15 years," he said.

"The increasing threat in the south can be solved militarily, but also politically," Pronk said, in sharp contrast to the usual assertion that the conflicts can not by solved militarily.

He said the war situation in Sudan was "everybody’s failure" and could have been avoided if the international community had acted quickly.

How could the present day situation have been avoided?

"I think there should have been intervention in 2003," Pronk said, adding that while the occurrence of genocide in the country was debatable, "There was mass slaughter of people.It needed humanitarian intervention."

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