The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

October 12, 2023

Los Angeles Times: Darfur peace talks encounter obstacles. U.N. negotiators are scrambling to preserve upcoming Darfur peace talks threatened by escalating violence in the troubled region and the unraveling of a separate political accord that ended two decades of civil war in Sudan's south. The U.N. envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, met Thursday with warring rebel groups that have launched recent attacks in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, asking them to end the bloodshed and agree to a cease-fire for Oct. 27 talks. He gave the same message to Sudan's government Wednesday, after claims that in the southern part of Darfur this week the country's army had killed 45 rebel fighters in Muhajeria. Government troops had earlier razed the town of Haskanita -- killing about 100 civilians -- in apparent retaliation for an attack on a nearby peacekeeping base, rebel leaders said. "It is a troubling development, but we must not be provoked," Eliasson said in a telephone interview from Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. "There are those who want to hurt the peace process, but we must keep cool and stay the course." An increase in violence had been expected as the factions jockey for last-minute gains before the peace talks, but the intensity of attacks in recent weeks has startled veteran diplomats and even Sudan's rebel leaders, who publicly disavowed violence attributed to their factions. "Sometimes before crucial negotiations start there's a positioning going on both politically and militarily," Eliasson said from Khartoum. "But I find this military escalation alarming. Using violence to make political gains is not a way to work in this situation when we're preparing for peace talks."

New York Times: Ex-Rebels Quit Unity Government in Sudan. South Sudan’s former rebel movement, which signed a historic peace agreement two years ago with Sudan’s ruling party to end one of Africa’s longest-running wars, abruptly pulled out of the national unity government on Thursday in the gravest blow yet to the peace accord. The former rebels said the move was intended to press Sudan’s ruling party to live up to the multifaceted agreement, which has been hobbled by disputes over borders, troop movements and sharing Sudan’s oil profits. While much of the recent international attention on Sudan has been focused on Darfur, in the west, tensions over the fragile peace deal in the south have been bubbling for months. American officials recently warned that South Sudan could plunge back into war. The biggest issues are how to draw the north-south border and how to divide Sudan’s oil wealth, intertwined issues because much of the oil lies along the border. In 2011, southerners will vote to remain in Sudan or create their own country. But critics of the men who run the country, a group led by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, say northern leaders have backed away from the greater political changes they committed to in the treaty — like power sharing and preparing Sudan for free elections. This may have gloomy implications for Darfur, where rebel leaders have pinned cooperation with the government on some of the same points. At the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said plans to start to deploy an African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur this month were being jeopardized by government delays in approving the necessary foreign troops, turning over land needed for the operation and granting landing rights to United Nations aircraft.

Wall Street Journal: Buffett's PetroChina Sale. Warren Buffett is selling off his most high-profile investment in China and investors and social activists are wondering why. The investors, who closely follow Mr. Buffett's market moves, say the sale of most of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s stake in PetroChina Co. is a sign that some Chinese stocks are overvalued after a huge run-up and that now could be the time to cash in by getting out. The social activists, who have been pushing investors to sell their shares in PetroChina, see a small victory. They say that PetroChina's government-controlled parent invests heavily in Sudan and buys a large part of Sudan's oil exports and that the money is being used by Khartoum to sponsor widespread killings in the Darfur region. While Berkshire reported selling more than 70% of its stake by this week, it is likely that it has sold out its entire position, which would be valued at $4.7 billion today, analysts say. Investor groups lobbying for divestment of PetroChina because of the situation in Sudan are declaring victory. "I think he finally gets it," Eric Cohen, chairman of Investors Against Genocide, says about Mr. Buffett. Even some longtime Berkshire watchers suspect that the controversy over Darfur, particularly in light of the coming Beijing Olympics, had some impact on Mr. Buffett's decision to sell. "I can't help but believe that some of the commentary didn't resonate," Thomas Russo, a partner at investment firm Gardner Russo & Gardner, says about the Darfur issue. "He certainly isn't cash-strapped," he adds. Berkshire has about $40 billion of cash on its balance sheet and its biggest problem is finding places to invest that cash hoard.

Burlington County Times (NJ): Darfur activist speaks to R.V. students. In Darfur, rape is a tactic of war, Niemat Ahmadi told an assembly of about 430 students at Rancocas Valley Regional High School yesterday. She said mutilations and murders of civilians are regular occurrences there. “We have a saying in my village, "The woman has no enemies,' ” she said. “This is no longer the case. Women have been targeted to bring down our society and strip away our dignity.” Ahmadi, a 37-year-old former resident of Darfur, was at the school along with The Save Darfur Coalition, a group of activists trying to raise awareness and push governments to end the genocide, to share her experiences and inspire the students to get involved. Ahmadi, who holds a master's degree in sustainable development, comes from a small village in northern Darfur called Kabkabiya where she was a vocal opponent of al-Bashir's dictatorship. She left in 2003 at her family's urging after two attempts on her life. She said the first attack came as she was walking through a market near her home. She said a masked man grabbed her scarf and began choking her as nearby soldiers watched but did nothing. She said her assailant moved to stab her, but fled after she began pulling off his mask. “He was probably a local recruit,” she said. “That's why he ran; he thought I might recognize him.” Ahmadi's cousin Ishag Ahmad, 54, also a native of Sudan, said talking to high school and college students is part of a “long-term vision of change.” “They are the generation of the future,” he said. “When they are grown, they can make the changes.”


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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