The Darfur Consortium

An African and International
Civil Society Action for Darfur


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June 28, 2023

Reuters: Darfur Haunts AU as It Aspires to Union Government. African leaders meet this weekend to debate a grand plan for a continental government, but they face pleas for urgent action now to halt conflicts in Darfur and Somalia and tackle enduring poverty. A summit of the 53-nation African Union starting in Ghana on Sunday has at the top of its agenda a "Grand Debate" on creating a United States of Africa and a federal government to rule it -- a long-held dream of supporters of Pan-African integration. While most Africans embrace the vision of a united, resource-rich continent of 800 million people able to speak with one voice to the world, campaigners say AU leaders must tackle more pressing problems at their doorstep. "Darfur should be on the agenda, because it's really, really urgent," said Oury Traore, regional programs manager for the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), a non-governmental organization that promotes conflict resolution. "We shouldn't allow room for this kind of insanity any more, in any state," she said.

Agence France Presse: Security Council mulling draft authorizing joint Darfur force. Britain has drafted a Security Council resolution authorizing the joint African Union-UN peacekeeping force for Darfur approved by Khartoum and warning of possible sanctions if the Sudanese parties failed to cooperate, diplomats said Wednesday. The text, which Britain co-drafted with Ghana "decides, in order to support the early and effective implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), to establish for an initial period of 12 months" the so-called AU-UN hybrid operation in the strife-torn Sudanese western region. The draft, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, said the proposed force shall "consist of up to 19,555 military personnel and an appropriate civilian component including up to 3,772 police personnel and 19 formed police units." It warns that "in the event the (Sudanese) parties fail to fulfil their commitments and the requirements of this resolution ..., the Council will take, 90 days after the adoption of this resolution, (unspecified) further measures." Britain's UN Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry told reporters that he expected a vote on the text some time early next month and expressed hope that the UN General Assembly would then quickly approve funding for the joint force, known as UNAMIS. One paragraph of the draft invokes Chapter Seven of the UN Charter to state that UNAMIS "is authorized to use all necessary means, in the areas of deployment of its forces ... prevent attacks and threats against civilians." Chapter Seven is used in cases of threats to international peace and security.

Agence France Presse: African countries urge Sudan to resolve Darfur conflict. The 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries on Thursday urged Sudan to work with the international community to end the four-year-old conflict in Darfur. MPs from the group passed a resolution on Darfur at a meeting in Wiesbaden in western Germany in which they also called on Sudan to stop all air raids on Darfur and to disarm Arab militia in the region. They welcomed a decision by the Sudanese government to allow United Nations troops into Darfur to reinforce 7,000 African soldiers who have failed to halt the bloodshed and called for their rapid deployment. Khartoum long resisted the move, but bowed under intense international pressure in mid-June and agreed to allow a joint United Nations-African Union force into Darfur.

Reuters: Senate Panel OKs Boost In U.N. Peacekeeping Funds. The United States would increase the amount it pays for U.N. peacekeeping operations and pay some back dues under a bill approved on Wednesday by a Senate panel. "At a time when we are seeking a robust U.N. force in Darfur, and are relying on U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, we should pay our dues in full," said Sen. Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, which passed the bill. The United Nations assesses U.S. dues at about 27 percent of the U.N. budget, but the United States has been paying only 25 percent. The legislation the Senate panel approved and sent to the floor for a vote would lift that self-imposed cap on payments to the U.N. peacekeeping budget to about 27 percent for calendar years 2006 to 2008. It was sponsored by Biden, a presidential hopeful.

Reuters: Desertification Threat to Global Stability: U.N. Study. Desertification could drive tens of millions of people from their homes, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and central Asia, a U.N. study warned on Thursday. People displaced by desertification put new strains on natural resources and on other societies nearby and threaten international instability, the 46-page study by the U.N. University showed. "There is a chain reaction. It leads to social turmoil," Zafaar Adeel, the study's lead author and head of the U.N. University's International Network on Water, Environment and Health, said. Sudan's Darfur region was an example, he said. International experts reckon 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes in four years of strife. Sudan says 9,000 have died.

The following is an excerpt from a column by Richard Holbrooke that appeared in today's Washington Post.

China Lends A Hand

Three seemingly unrelated events may not constitute a trend. But they certainly deserve attention when they shed light on the relationship between the United States and China, which is fast becoming the most important bilateral connection in the world. [...]

A second recent change in Chinese foreign policy is in Darfur. While still falling far short of what is needed to stop the killing, in some ways this is more remarkable, since Darfur is 7,000 miles away, in Africa, where China has been accused of protecting some of the worst regimes in the world in return for advantageous access to oil and mineral resources. China certainly has leverage -- it is Sudan's leading trading partner and the largest market for Sudanese oil. But Beijing had long resisted Western pressure to force Sudan to admit a United Nations peacekeeping force into Darfur, despite a 14-0 Security Council vote (China abstaining) authorizing such a force.

Finally, when a growing international furor threatened to rebrand the 2008 Beijing Games as "the genocide Olympics," China did something quite unusual -- it appointed a special envoy and began to apply pressure on Sudan, although, as always, in its unique style. "In our own way and through various means and various channels," said China's envoy, Liu Guijin, "we used very direct language to persuade them to understand they have to be more flexible." In Chinaspeak, "very direct language" is about as tough as it gets.

Last week there were some faint signs of movement: Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, told U.N. officials he would agree to U.N. peacekeepers. It is too early to tell if this will actually happen or if it will stop the slaughter in Darfur. But it is clear that the change in China's position also changed the equation for the Sudanese thugs. [...]

Does this signal a change in Chinese foreign policy? Is there a possibility of greater Sino-American cooperation on other issues of mutual concern? The United States and China have vast differences in many areas and profoundly different views on some fundamental issues such as human rights, Tibet and trade. But there are many areas in which common interests can create opportunities. This was the concept in 1971 when Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger opened the modern-era relationship over a shared concern about the Soviet Union, and in 1978 when Jimmy Carter established full diplomatic relations with China. Today we have a different set of issues, but they are no less pressing. [...]

The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].


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