The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

September 18, 2023

Washington Post: Bleak Advice for U.N. Darfur Commander. Retired Canadian army Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, a former U.N. commander whose warnings of Rwandan genocide in the early 1990s went unheeded by U.N. leaders, advised the newly appointed leader of U.N. forces in Darfur to expect little backing from his political masters as he struggles to halt mass violence. Dallaire, a Canadian senator who led U.N. forces in Rwanda in 1993-94, sent a letter congratulating Nigerian Gen. Martin L. Agwai on his appointment as commander of the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force for Darfur, a region in western Sudan where as many as 450,000 people have died from violence and disease and about 2.5 million have been displaced since an armed secessionist revolt began there in 2003. But he warned Agwai to prepare for the worst. "You can anticipate being let down by everyone on whom you depend for support, be that troops, funding, logistics or political engagement," Dallaire wrote. "Only by shining a spotlight on those failures in every possible way can you mobilise the attention necessary to get the action you need. Bear in mind that whoever fails you will, in the end, be the most active in blaming you for whatever goes wrong." U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, warned Monday that renewed fighting last week between government and rebel forces in Darfur could undermine U.N.-backed talks scheduled to take place in Tripoli, Libya, next month. "The timing of the violence is particularly troubling as it could create conditions that are not conducive to the success of the upcoming political negotiations," said Michele Montas, Ban's spokeswoman. "This is a daunting mandate, and you enter into this mission facing long odds," Dallaire wrote. He advised Agwai to press his bosses in New York and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the headquarters of the African Union, to ensure that he has the authority to use force and to end confusion over whether the United Nations or the African Union will assert military control over the force.

Associated Press: U.N. Chief Worries About Darfur Fighting. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Monday that a recent surge of fighting in Sudan's Darfur region could hurt next month's political negotiations on ending the four-year conflict. Ban said he was ''alarmed'' that attacks were reported after the Sudanese government said in a joint communique during his visit this month that it was committed ''to a full cessation of hostilities in Darfur'' in the run-up to talks set to begin Oct. 27 in Libya. ''The secretary-general strongly urges all parties to show restraint and cease all military action in order to create a positive atmosphere for the envisaged political negotiations,'' U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said. In a communique issued with Ban, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said he was committed to a cease-fire. He also pledged to ''participate constructively in renewed negotiations'' and to help bring about the ''timely deployment'' of the AU-U.N. force. ''The timing of the violence is particularly troubling as it could create conditions that are not conducive to the success of the upcoming political negotiations,'' Montas said.

Agence France Presse: Mandela's Elders head to Darfur. South African Nobel peace prize laureate Desmond Tutu said Tuesday he will lead a group of elder statesmen later this month to visit western Sudan's conflict-ridden Darfur region. This is to be the first mission of the group known as The Elders, launched by fellow Nobel laureate and former South African president Nelson Mandela in July to help reduce conflict and despair in the world. Tutu, a former Cape Town archbishop, said he would be accompanied on the six-day trip by former United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, ex-United States president Jimmy Carter and Mandela's wife, Graca Machel. During the visit, from September 30 to October 5, the group would meet with government, opposition, local community leaders, and people displaced from their homes, he said. "As Elders of the global village, they hope to help strengthen and deepen the framework for assuring a permanent peace in Sudan, by listening to, learning from and reporting on the views of the people in Darfur and others concerned with the crisis," Tutu said in a statement. The creation of The Elders, which Tutu chairs, sought to pool the wisdom, leadership and integrity of some of the world's most respected statesmen to tackle tough global problems.


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