The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

September 10, 2023

New York Times: For United Nations Chief, a Business Trip Is Personal. Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi swatted flies with a long-handled whisk as he and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations talked this weekend about their joint interest in bringing peace to the Darfur region of Sudan. Distraction was clearly setting in as the meeting reached the one-hour mark Saturday in a tent outside the Libyan leader’s desert retreat in Sirte, and it was time for Mr. Ban’s favorite move — the tête-à-tête. Aides were excused, Mr. Ban drew his armchair closer to the colonel’s, and they continued on alone for another half hour. He came away with a pledge from President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, who has a record of showing disdain for the United Nations, to enter peace talks with Sudanese rebels here in Tripoli next month under the auspices of the United Nations and the African Union. And he gained promises from Colonel Qaddafi and Idriss Déby, the president of Chad, to try to persuade Sudanese rebel groups over whom they have influence to participate in the talks. “It has been my firm belief, sort of my lifestyle and personal philosophy, that sincerity and honesty is the key to everything in diplomacy,” he said Sunday in an interview in his seafront Tripoli hotel. Mr. Bashir’s agreement to new talks followed a one-on-one meeting Monday night, with no aides present, in Khartoum. It was the third time this year that Mr. Ban had subjected Mr. Bashir to his brand of friendly arm twisting. While Mr. Ban was greeted during the trip at palaces and airports with red carpets, sharp-cadenced military displays and African dancers of the kind that welcome heads of state, he has none of the authority that they do. “Unlike national governments, the United Nations does not enjoy much power in terms of resources,” he said. “We only work on the basis of a higher moral ground and a very sincere, genuine commitment to engage in dialogue.” Many people have looked to the United Nations to stop the bloodletting in Darfur, and say the organization has been slow to act. Mr. Ban declared on taking office that he would make Darfur his top international priority, a bold move given the outside hopes and Sudan’s resistance to international involvement.

New York Times: Libyan Leader Says He Will Bring Rebels to Meeting on Darfur. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met here Saturday with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and said the Libyan leader had pledged to use his influence to get Sudanese rebel leaders to attend a peace conference next month on Darfur. “He said he would bring all the leaders of all movements he can to participate in the meetings,” Mr. Ban said, standing under the spacious green and yellow tent behind Colonel Qaddafi’s house in this desert town where their 90-minute meeting took place. In the high point of a weeklong African trip devoted to Darfur, Mr. Ban secured a commitment from the Sudanese government in Khartoum on Thursday to enter the talks. The task facing the planners now is to obtain the broadest possible participation from leaders of the fragmented Sudanese rebel movements, and Mr. Ban said he was confident that Colonel Qaddafi would play “an important and constructive role.” Several of the groups have their base in Tripoli, and Colonel Qaddafi last year helped broker an accord that ended a volatile conflict between Sudan and Chad. Ali Triki, a former Libyan ambassador to the United Nations who is now Libya’s minister for African affairs, will be Libya’s chief contact with the two men running the Darfur talks in October: Jan Eliasson, Mr. Ban’s special representative for Darfur, and Salim A. Salim, the African Union envoy. Mr. Triki said the problems in Darfur had struck home with Libyans. “We have three-quarters of a million Darfuris working in Libya, and our security is united with Sudan and Darfur,” he said.

Reuters: Darfur Peace Move Encouraging, But Still Early: Ban. The U.N. Secretary-General said on Sunday he was encouraged by the "credible progress" he felt had been made towards peace in Darfur during an Africa tour, but it was too early to talk of tangible results. Ban Ki-moon said the challenge now was to persuade all Darfur's rebel groups to attend talks with the Sudanese government next month, he told international news agencies in an interview at the end of his trip to Sudan, Chad and Libya. He called upon key regional countries to help produce a "road map" on the way ahead in the seven-week run-up to peace talks, to which Khartoum agreed in a statement issued during Ban's visit on Thursday. The talks are scheduled to start on October 27 at a venue in Libya, yet to be decided. "I think we have made a lot of credible progress at this time towards the path to peace and security in Darfur," Ban said. "I am encouraged by this progress." "But we must build upon this progress," Ban said. "It is too early to say that we have made some good achievement."

Reuters: Sudan Says Investigating Darfur Rebels Over Attack. Sudan is investigating six Darfur rebel leaders it suspects masterminded a bloody attack on a government base, the Justice Ministry said on Monday. Sudanese state media reported the officials were preparing arrest warrants for the six members of rebel of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). But Justice Minister Mohammed Ali al-Mardi told Reuters officials were still investigating the scene of the attack and no decisions on warrants had been made. Khartoum said 41 people were killed when JEM rebels attacked a police base in the town of Wad Banda in Kordofan region, 200 km (125 miles) from the border with Darfur late last month. "Prosecutors are in the area and there are legal actions to be taken," said the Justice Minister. "If it turns out that these people have left the country then it would be appropriate to consider arrest warrants through Interpol. The question of arrest warrants inside Sudan is for the security council in the area." JEM claimed responsibility for the August 29 attack, but insisted it was on a military base, manned by 1,700 troops and used for launching government-backed raids against southern Darfur. The government denies the charges. The United Nations on Monday reported crowds of displaced Sudanese had killed four men who had tried to hijack a U.N. vehicle in south Darfur's Kalma camp on Thursday. A day earlier, gunmen killed one resident of the nearby Bilal camp and kidnapped another.

The following column appeared in Sunday's New York Daily News.

Stop China from enabling mass murder in Darfur

If everyone reading this column takes one action to end the genocide going on in Darfur, the world will be many steps closer to stopping the slaughter. Right now, there's a window of opportunity in which small acts of protest can have a huge impact.

The window has opened because China - which provides weapons, financing and diplomatic support to the murderous military dictator of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir - is unusually vulnerable to international pressure these days.

China, desperate to improve its image in advance of next year's summer Olympics in Beijing, has been working overtime in recent weeks to shine up its image, which has been hammered by reports of the country's mass export of tainted drugs, poisoned pet food and defective products - including children's toys contaminated with lead paint currently being recalled by American companies like Mattel.

The Communist bosses in Beijing have reacted with a round of deadly scapegoating: In July, the regime announced the execution of Zheng Xiaoyu, who once ran the country's food and drug safety agency.

But that hasn't quieted global outrage. Now China has another headache on its hands: Beijing is drawing condemnation all over the world for supporting Sudan, where Bashir's regime has killed an estimated 400,000 Darfuris and chased more than 2 million off their land.

The government continues to support aerial bombing of villages and other atrocities that led the U.S. State Department to classify the carnage as genocide three years ago.

Most chilling of all, the Sudan government continues to close off access to the killing grounds. The director of CARE, the international relief agency, was recently expelled from the country.

Despite these horrors, China supplies Bashir's regime with extensive financial aid - it recently agreed to forgive $80 million in debt - and supplies weapons to the Sudanese government. At the United Nations, China has repeatedly voted against sending a UN-led peacekeeping force into the region.

Now is the time to put pressure on China to help end the genocide in Sudan. Anybody can get involved - and it sure beats wringing your hands.

Today at 2 p.m., human rights advocates and ordinary citizens will hold a rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (47th St. between First and Second Aves.) to protest China's support of Sudan's genocide.

The ceremony, sponsored by the 170 nonprofit and religious organizations of the Save Darfur Coalition, will feature the lighting of an Olympic torch that will be passed from hand to hand by survivors of genocides in Darfur, Rwanda, Cambodia, the Jewish Holocaust and Armenia.

The torch will move all around the U.S. and eventually travel to China in December to dramatize Beijing's complicity in the horror of Darfur.

If you can't attend today's rally, please log on to, click on the button that says "bring the Olympic dream to Darfur," and sign an electronic petition that will be sent to the Chinese government.

It may not seem like much, but it will make a big difference. Attention from the outside world might have stopped the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when 800,000 people were slaughtered in 100 days.

I recently spoke to one survivor of that horror, 22-year-old Jacqueline Murekatete, who will take part in today's torch-lighting ceremony. She gets the last word on the subject:

"For as long as we as human beings continue to be indifferent - as long as we continue to see people murdered because of their race or ethnic group - what happened in Rwanda, what's happening in Darfur, will continue to happen."


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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