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BBC NEWS | Africa | Sudan 'to accept some Darfur aid' - 0 views

  • Sudan's government has agreed to allow some aid back into Darfur following its expulsion of humanitarian groups, US Senator John Kerry has said.
  • Sudan expelled the aid groups after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's president.
  • A Sudanese official indicated that the expelled groups would not be allowed to return to Darfur.
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  • Sudan expelled 13 foreign aid groups in March after the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
  • Mr Bashir is accused of orchestrating atrocities against civilians in Darfur, where his government has been fighting rebels since 2003.

    The UN says that up to 300,000 people have died during the conflict and 2.7 million driven from their homes.

Argos Media

U.S. Officials Say Israel Struck in Sudan - - 0 views

  • Israeli warplanes bombed a convoy of trucks in Sudan in January that was believed to be carrying arms to be smuggled into Gaza, according to American officials.
  • Israeli officials refused to confirm or deny the attack, but intelligence analysts noted that the strike was consistent with other measures Israel had taken to secure its borders.
  • Two American officials who are privy to classified intelligence assessments said that Iran had been involved in the effort to smuggle weapons to Gaza. They also noted that there had been intelligence reports that an operative with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps had gone to Sudan to coordinate the effort.

    But one former official said that the exact provenance of the arms that were being smuggled via Sudan was unclear.

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  • Shlomo Brom, a retired general at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said it would be “very logical” to assume that Israel would have wanted to bomb a weapons convoy in Sudan. “It fits exactly with the pattern of how Israel operates,” he said.
  • Israeli military analysts said that eastern Sudan could have been a little-watched backdoor for Iranian weapons to reach Gaza.
Argos Media

U.N. Official, D'Escoto, Faults U.S. and West on Iran and Sudan - - 0 views

  • Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, the president of the General Assembly, lashed out at the West in general and the United States in particular on Tuesday, saying that Iran’s president had been maligned and that the indictment of Sudan’s president was racist.
  • His comments drew a rebuke from several Security Council ambassadors and even from the 33-member Latin American bloc that had nominated him. “He confuses his personal opinions sometimes with those of the General Assembly,” said Heraldo Muñoz, the ambassador from Chile.
  • Mr. d’Escoto was speaking at a news conference to mark the end of a world tour. He said that he had been struck by the “great respect” shown to Iran by its neighbors and that its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had been unfairly “demonized” in the West.
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  • He said the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, on war crimes charges was lamentable because it would undermine Darfur peace talks. A request by the African Union and the Arab League for the Security Council to suspend the indictment for a year should be respected, he said. The indictment “helps to deepen a perception that international justice is racist” because the case is the third to be brought against Africans, Mr. d’Escoto said.
  • Ruhakana Rugunda, the Ugandan ambassador and a Security Council member, said, “I do not consider that decision racist.”
  • Mr. d’Escoto supported Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s criticism of the United States for falling about $1 billion behind in its United Nations dues. Describing the United States’ attitude toward the Council, Mr. d’Escoto said, “ ‘You either give me the green light to commit the aggression that I want to commit, or I shall declare you irrelevant.’ ”

    Mark Kornblau, the spokesman for the United States Mission, said, “It’s hard to make sense of Mr. d’Escoto’s increasingly bizarre statements.”

  • Mr. d’Escoto tends to draw support from countries at odds with Washington, while Western nations accuse him of being stuck in a leftist, Sandinista mind-set. Mr. d’Escoto, a Roman Catholic priest, was Nicaragua’s foreign minister from 1979 to 1990.
Argos Media

Think Twice on Bashir | Print Article | - 0 views

  • policymakers ought to think twice before following through on the ICC's decision. While the warrant sends a clear signal to Bashir and others with blood on their hands that justice will be served, it has already halted further progress at the Darfur peace talks that have been underway in Qatar between Khartoum and the most powerful rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement. While these talks have to date yielded little more than a good-will agreement to end the conflict, it appears that thearrest warrant for Bashir has shattered even these fragile gains, as the rebel group announced in the wake of the ICC warrant that it is pulling back from further negotiations. Bashir too may now see little to gain from them.
  • The warrant could also endanger the United Nations peacekeepers and humanitarian workers who have done so much to reduce the suffering in the region. Although the horrors continue in Darfur, they are nowhere near the level that existed before these workers were allowed to operate. Soon after the ICC ruling, Sudan announced that it was expelling many aid groups, which will clearly jeapordize the delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance. The UN could be next.
  • Finally, and most ominously, the warrant could undermine the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between northern and southern Sudan, which brought to an end a civil war that lasted 20 years and cost more than 2 million lives. This landmark deal is fraying badly already. Elections scheduled for 2009 are behind schedule, and implementation of wealth and power-sharing provisions have stalled. Bashir fought many in his party to sign the CPA, and leaders in the south now worry that the indictment will jeopardize the 2011 referendum giving it the right to secede from Sudan. Collapse of the CPA would almost certainly lead to renewed conflict between north and south, with fragmentation and bloodshed that could rival the violence of Darfur at its worst.
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  • So what to do? Africa's regional leaders may provide the answer. The African Union has for some time been pushing to have the indictment deferred by the U.N. Security Council, which it has the authority to do under Article 16 of the ICC charter.
  • Support for deferral is widespread among African leaders
  • The Arab League, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the semiautonomous government of Southern Sudan have also voiced support for a deferral.
  • deferring the warrant would be contingent upon concessions from Bashir and his party—namely, agreements to work to hasten the implementation of the CPA, hold elections this year and work with the UN and international mediators toward peace in Darfur, starting immediately with a ceasefire.
  • the United States could always push to reinstate the indictment and use the warrant as leverage to compel Khartoum to act and honor its commitments.
  • A conditional suspension of the ICC's warrant for Bashir is the best way to prevent a collapse of the CPA, protect those still in need and force Khartoum to act toward ending the conflict in Darfur.
Argos Media

BBC NEWS | Africa | Sudan Islamist leader 'released' - 0 views

  • Sudanese Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi has been released from prison, his family say.
  • Mr Turabi was imprisoned two months ago after calling on Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to surrender to the International Criminal Court.
  • As leader of the National Islamic Front and speaker of the Sudanese parliament, Hassan al-Turabi was a key ally of President Bashir until they split in a power struggle 10 years ago.
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  • He is the leader of the Islamist Popular Congress Party and has been frequently arrested in the past.
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