The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

September 7, 2023

New York Times: Sudan Agrees to Darfur Peace Talks. The United Nations and Sudan announced Thursday that the government and Darfur rebel leaders would hold peace negotiations next month to seek an end to a conflict that many in the world contend constitutes genocide. The talks, under the auspices of the United Nations and the African Union, will begin on Oct. 27 in Tripoli, the capital of Libya. In a statement, the government of Sudan pledged “to contribute positively to secure the environment for the negotiations.” Sudan also promised to “facilitate the timely deployment” of the new 26,000-member African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force, which it agreed this summer, under intense international pressure, to accept. “We have taken a big step toward our shared goal of bringing peace to Darfur and long-term development in Sudan,” Mr. Ban said. Mr. Ban said the talks would be supervised by Jan Eliasson, his special representative for Darfur, and Salim A. Salim, the Darfur envoy of the African Union. The two men have been traveling extensively in the region, trying to bring the fragmented Sudanese rebel movement together so that the groups can take advantage of a perceived willingness in Khartoum to talk.

Reuters: Darfur Rebels Disappointed By Ban's Visit. Darfur rebel leaders on Friday expressed disappointment with the U.N. Secretary General's visit to Sudan over the last three days and said they had low expectations for peace talks next month. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the Sudanese government on Thursday set a date and venue for talks between Khartoum and Darfur rebels to push for peace ahead of the deployment of 26,000 peacekeepers in Darfur. But some rebel leaders said Ban, who visited a Darfur refugee camp during his trip and later met Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, had failed to pressure Sudan to acknowledge key Darfur grievances, which they said would be necessary for the October 27 talks in Libya to succeed. "(Ban) has not met the expectation of the people of Darfur," a leader of the Sudan Liberation Army, Ahmed Abdel Shafie, told Reuters by telephone from Uganda. "The U.N. needs to put pressure on Sudan to stop the settlement that is taking place in Darfur. There are new Arab tribes that the government brought from Niger and Chad and the government is settling them in Darfur to change the demography of the region before elections," he said. "I was shocked the UN did not condemn the government for that behavior ... We expected Ban to take measures to put pressure on Sudan for this issue," he added. Shafie said he favored negotiations as a means to end the conflict, but said little could be accomplished without pressure from the United Nations on Sudan.

Washington Post: Envoy Lauds China's Role In Diplomacy With Sudan. Liu Guijin, China's special representative to Darfur, yesterday trumpeted his country's success in persuading the Sudanese government in Khartoum to approve a hybrid African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force for the troubled Darfur region. At the same time, Liu fervently rejected any tie between the atrocities in Darfur and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, saying that linking the Games and what is happening in Darfur is "ridiculous" and like comparing "cattle to horses." Liu spoke at a briefing at the Chinese Embassy here after the Sudanese government and rebel groups agreed to begin talks in Libya on Oct. 27. In preparation for the deployment of the hybrid force, China has completed a portable water supply facility in southern Darfur and is planning another one in the northern region of the western province, in addition to a hospital, Liu said. "Sometimes we have different perspectives than the United States, but we share the same fundamental purpose and goals," he said. China does not like to talk about what it does behind the scenes diplomatically, he said, but "it is very fair to say we played a very unique and positive role." The Chinese diplomat said he also had candid discussions with nongovernmental organizations such as the Save Darfur Coalition.

New York Times: Bush, After Talks With China’s Leader, Accepts Invitation to Beijing Olympics. President Bush has accepted an invitation from President Hu Jintao of China to attend the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, a move that drew condemnation from human rights advocates and a Republican member of Congress, who are calling for a boycott of the Games. “I’m looking forward to going,” he told business delegates at the meeting, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. “It’s going to be a great moment of pride for the Chinese people. It will also be a moment where China’s leaders can use the opportunity to show confidence by demonstrating a commitment to greater openness and tolerance.” The decision was announced while most Americans were still asleep. But by the time Mr. Bush delivered his speech, human rights advocates were accusing him of giving his imprimatur to a country that is jailing dissidents, denying religious freedom and, in their view, not exerting its influence as a major buyer of Sudanese oil to stop what Mr. Bush himself has termed genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region. Chinese officials said they were bewildered by the attempt to link Darfur to the Olympics. Ambassador Liu Guijin, the Chinese government’s special representative for Darfur, told reporters in Washington on Thursday that no foreign head of state had turned down an invitation to the Beijing Olympics because of Darfur.

The following editorial appeared in today's Boston Globe.

Unprotected Dafur

This is the fifth year of the Darfur genocide. The protracted failure of the international community to rescue the victims has made a mockery of the United Nations' 2005 resolution declaring a reponsibility to protect civilians who are not protected, or who are being killed, by their governments. Given the UN's sad record of allowing Sudan's National Islamic Front regime to thwart efforts to halt the ethnic cleansing, murdering, and raping of villagers in Darfur, it is hard not to be skeptical about the outcome of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's visit this week to Sudan.

Ban went there to prepare the way for deployment of a "hybrid" force of 26,000 African Union and UN peacekeepers, as mandated in a Security Council resolution that was approved in July (after being watered down at China's insistence). During his visit, Ban justifiably stressed that "it is crucially important that a political negotiation process start now."

If there is no peace to keep, the UN and AU soldiers and police will be hard-pressed to carry out their mission: to protect more than 2 million uprooted refugees so that they can eventually return to their villages; to protect humanitarian workers along with the food and medical supplies they deliver to the at-risk population; and to defend themselves.

Ban and Security Council members must be prepared to resist fresh attempts by Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir to constrain or obstruct the work of the peacekeepers. The regime in Khartoum can be expected to sabotage their mission. And there is also a growing danger that the peacekeepers will be further deflected by Arab militias called Janjaweed, who have served as proxies for the central government, and also by rebel African factions. All these groups are now fighting among one another.

The task of the hybrid peacekeeping force is much more daunting today than it would have been if the UN had acted in 2003, when the raids on Darfur's African villagers began. So there must be no more hesitation, no more yielding to the Bashir's stalling tactics and broken promises. As the record of the past years has shown, the longer his regime is permitted to rebuff any serious UN effort to enforce a cessation of the killing, the harder it becomes to establish a peace in Darfur that peacekeepers can preserve.

A striking lesson of the current push for a humanitarian intervention in Darfur is that it came more from human rights groups and popular movements than from governments. Those wishing to lend support to that grassroots campaign can join with like-minded people today at the new Institute of Contemporary Art, where 170 large-scale photos of Darfur will be projected. And from 7 to 8:30 this evening, human rights defenders will speak about the world's responsibility to rescue the people of Darfur. Ban and the leaders of Security Council members need to listen.


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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