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UNAMIS Int. News Round-sup On Sudan/Darfur

UNAMIS Media Monitoring – Tuesday 28 Sept. 2004

(by the Public Information Unit)

[Please note: This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations Advance Mission to Sudan]

Main Topics:

• SPLM/A denies link to Darfur situation

• Living conditions, continuing conflict in Darfur

• International aid for Dafur, Sudan/Darfur autonomy

• More observers for Darfur AU force

Sudan News – International News Media:

Southern rebel chief Garang rejects links to Darfur

LONDON (Reuters) - Southern Sudanese rebel chief John Garang denied accusations by the Sudanese government that he backed the uprising in Darfur in the west. Garang, head of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and its political wing the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), said his parties had had no involvement in the rebellion in Darfur.

"The SPLM is absolutely not involved in Darfur," he said. "It is the Sudan government that is solely responsible for the crisis in Darfur." The Khartoum government this month accused Garang of backing the uprising, and said his support for western rebels could undermine talks to end 21 years of civil war in southern Sudan.

Peace talks to end the civil war in the south are expected to resume in Kenya in October. Garang said that success at the talks was crucial to achieving peace in the south and in Darfur. He said a coalition of troops from the SPLA, the government and the African Union could be sent to Darfur if a coalition government was formed between the SPLM and the ruling National Congress Party as agreed in accords signed in May.

Darfur's displaced live in 'prisons without walls': UN right

UNITED NATIONS (UN News Centre) -- Most of the vast population of displaced people in Sudan's Darfur region "are living in prisons without walls," and yet the Sudanese Government continues to deny the scale and gravity of what is happening there, said the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said after returning from a visit there.

Louise Arbour, who spent a week in Darfur, said they heard graphic stories from internally displaced persons (IDPs) about attacks by armed militias known as the Janjaweed. Mrs. Arbour said the IDPs cannot imagine returning to their homes because they do not trust that the Government will protect them from further attacks by the Janjaweed. "At best they feel the authorities respond inadequately to their concerns, and at worst that they are in collusion with their abusers," she said on Saturday. Mr. Méndez said the presence of monitors from the African Union (AU) has improved security in the region and called for an expansion of the AU force to prevent "further massive and widespread violations."

Malnutrition, mortality above emergency levels in parts of Darfur: MSF

NAIROBI (AFP) -- The rates of malnutrition and mortality in parts of western Sudan's conflict-torn Darfur region are above emergency levels, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said Monday. Epidemiological surveys conducted by MSF earlier this month in South Darfur found "malnutrition and mortality rates well above emergency levels" in Kalma, near Nyala.

"It is a disgrace that just minutes from Nyala International Airport, up to 66,000 displaced people continue to live without adequate food or sanitation," Vince Hoedt, MSF's programmes co-ordinator in South Darfur, said in the statement. "The people in Kalma camp are completely dependent on food distributions that are irregular and insufficientFood distributions have managed to stave off the worst for now, but the situation remains precarious and unless aid is increased and mantained over a long term, preventable deaths from diseases and malnutrition will continue," he said.

Refugees returning to Sudan's Darfur find region still in turmoil

SULIEAH, Sudan (AP) -- Sudanese officials drove up to the creek near the Chad border where Alama Abdullah Hassan was hiding with her family three months ago: "It's safe now in Darfur. You can go home," Hassan recalls their saying. On Monday, Hassan was tending two young girls, a daughter and a cousin, curled up in pain from gunshot wounds, and mourning two female cousins -- all victims of an armed raid that the African village family blames on the pro-government Arab Janjaweed militia on Sept. 22.

Sudan, under threat of U.N. sanctions over Darfur's crisis, insists it is now doing all it can to calm the situation and says it is ready to welcome home the region's 1.4 million uprooted non-Arab African villagers. But the few who do trickle back are finding a countryside in violent flux -- with steady raids blamed on both Arab Janjaweed militia, non-Arab African rebels and simple banditry, and whole villages and tribes on the move in search of safety -- and finding it nowhere.

Janjaweed obscures tribal conflict in Darfur

SULEIAH, Sudan (Reuters) - Halima Abdallah Hassan was awakened in the dead of the night when bandits began shooting into her home in the remote Darfur region of Sudan. Two members of her family were killed and three others were injured. Hassan said she could not see her attackers because she hid under the bed as soon as she heard gunfire. "But it was of course the Janjaweed -- only the Arabs would kill us," she said.

Hassan's cousin, Yehya Abakr Ali, was one of the three injured family members who walked four hours to the nearest hospital in Suleiah town in West Darfur state, about 60 km (37 miles) from the border with Chad. Like Hassan he said he could not see his attackers' faces but he was certain of their identities. "It was the Arabs, the Janjaweed," he said, also accusing a mixed Arab-African tribe from the north of Darfur.

Jo Mason, of the Irish non-governmental organisation Concern, said the term Janjaweed has become ubiquitous. "The problem is Janjaweed has become a generalised term they use for everything. They know we recognise it," she said.

After years of low-level tribal conflict between Arab nomads and mostly non-Arab farmers, rebels took up arms last year accusing Khartoum of neglect and of supporting marauding Arab militias to loot and burn non-Arabs villages and drive them off their land. "This is traditional tribal conflict here," Mason said. "There have been historical differences between the different African tribes here," she added.

HRW wants donors to address reported atrocities in Darfur

DAKAR, Senegal (PANA) -- Donor governments gathering Monday in Oslo, Norway to discuss humanitarian needs in Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur should also take steps to end the serious human rights abuses responsible for the crisis, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. The New York-based rights group said in a statement the donors should also pledge support for civilian protection under an expanded African Union (AU) mission in Darfur.

"If donor governments are serious about putting an end to the violence in Darfur, they have to address the atrocities fuelling the crisis as well as the humanitarian consequences," said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Africa Division. "Without greater international support for the African Union intervention, the violence in Darfur will continue."

The AU has offered, and the UN Secretary General has recommended, that the mandate of the AU be expanded to include civilian protection, and that the numbers of forces be increased. The AU suggests 3,000 military forces and 1,200 civilian police and the Secretary General has called on UN members to support the AU mission with technical and financial contributions. The Sudanese government, however, has not agreed to an expansion of the African Union's mandate or its forces.

"Donors should press Khartoum to allow international humanitarian organisations greater access to provide assistance and protection to the displaced population in all areas, whether under government or rebel control," HRW said.

US diverts Iraq reconstruction money to Darfur

NAIROBI (PANA) -- The US government has diverted 150 million dollars initially meant for Iraq's reconstruction to Sudan's western region of Darfur, the US embassy here said. The embassy said the US Senate on Monday approved 300 million dollars in humanitarian aid to disaster and famine relief in Darfur. It said the humanitarian aid package for Darfur was part of the 19.5-billion dollar foreign aid bill approved for the next fiscal year beginning 1 October.

"Of the $300 million for the region, $200 million could be made available immediately for Darfur refugees and the remainder upon the signing of a peace agreement that has been in the works for months," said the statement.

International aid meeting for Sudan kicks off in Oslo

OSLO (AFP) -- Representatives of about 30 countries and international organisations met in Oslo to assess Sudan's financial and humanitarian needs arising from two civil wars which have killed more than 1.5 million people. "The intention is mobilisation in terms of humanitarian assistance for Darfur (and) preparation for the post-conflict phase for Sudan as a whole," said Norwegian Aid Minister Hilde Frafjord Johnson.

On the agenda for the representatives of Sudan's main donor countries, rebel groups and the Sudanese government is the humanitarian crisis in the western province of Darfur and reconstruction efforts. The meeting of senior officials will not result in donor pledges. That is expected to come later once a comprehensive peace agreement for Sudan has been signed.

"There are no humanitarian solutions to humanitarian problems. Solutions will require dramatically improved political efforts," Norwegian Undersecretary of State Vidar Helgesen said. He said pressure must be maintained on Khartoum, noting that the government had "not much breathing space now".

On Tuesday, delegates are scheduled to discuss reconstruction aid after a peace agreement has been reached to put an end to a 21-year-old civil war between the Arab-Muslim north of the country and the mainly Christian and animist south. Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army have already signed a number of peace agreements but they are now expected to sign an overall peace deal. Their talks resume in Nairobi on October 7.

Sudan, rebels call for international push for aid

OSLO (Reuters) - Sudan's government and rebels from the country's west and south urged the international community on Monday to pressure all sides toward peace so aid can begin to flow to civilians caught in the fighting. Co-hosts Norway and Italy opened a two-day international conference on aid for Sudan that Oslo said brings together for the first time representatives from the Sudanese government and three rebels groups engaged in conflicts that have created refugee crises and, combined, killed more than 2 million people.

"We need action and great efforts up to the level of the crisis and the problems in Darfur," said Ahmed Hussein, of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). "People are dying. We are asking the international community to put pressure on Sudan (to reach a peace deal)."

The leader of the Sudan government delegation, Yahia Hussien Babiker Mohamed, told reporters: "We want the international community to mount pressure on the rebel groups to reach a political settlement." He believed a peace deal could be signed soon but added: "It takes two to tango. Hopefully we will get it shortly."

Overall peace deal on Sudan crucial for Darfur aid

Oslo (dpa) - The Sudanese government and rival rebel movements met Monday in Norway with international donors to discuss how to channel aid to victims of the ongoing Darfur crisis. The meeting was held "at a critical time," International Development Minister Hilde Frafjord Johanson said in opening remarks.

The minister noted that aid would hinge on a successful outcome of the African Union-led talks on Darfur, as well as a comprehensive peace settlement between the Sudanese government and rebel movements in the south. "The road to peace in Darfur goes through Naivasha," Frafjord Johanson said about talks in Kenya on an overall peace deal, aimed at

ending the 20-year civil war in southern Sudan, due to resume in October.

"The humanitarian situation in Darfur is still critical," Norwegian secretary of state Vidar Helgesen said. Helgensen, who recently visited Darfur, said concerns remained about security for refugees although there have been improvements on aid shipments. Norway has conducted a nationwide fundraising drive in support of victims of the 18-month conflict in Darfur. "The main responsibility lies with the parties, in particular the government of Sudan."

Sudan's foreign minister backs Darfur autonomy

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A top Sudanese official on Monday praised the idea of transforming war-torn Sudan's government into a federal system with considerable autonomy granted to its states, including troubled Darfur.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said a federal system along the lines of Germany, Nigeria, the United States or Canada would help the northeast African nation better cope with its vast size and ethnic and religious diversity. "I personally believe that we need a sort of federal system, which we have already started," Ismail told Reuters.

"We need to give it a strengthening. The people from Darfur state should have the right to have a parliament, to have a governor, to have a government to be elected by the people of Darfur," he said. The question of autonomy should be addressed when talks begin between the various warring parties on the country's political future, after the fighting has ended and Sudan's humanitarian woes have been addressed, he said.

Sudan agrees to more African observers for Darfur

KHARTOUM (AFP) -- Sudan has told the African Union (AU) and United Nations it would welcome a proposed increase in the African military force protecting AU observers monitoring a ceasefire agreement in Darfur, west Sudan, a newspaper reported Monday.

Agriculture Minister Majzoub al-Khalia Ahmed was quoted by Al-Rai Al-Aam daily as saying the government had sent official messages to the two organisations giving its consent to more African troops. Details would be discussed with the African Union, said Ahmed, who is Sudan's chief delegate to stalled negotiations with Darfur rebels.

Sudanese National Press – Arabic:

Sudan summit in Oslo (Al Ayaam, Al Ray AlAm, Akhbar Alyoum)

Representatives from the government in Sudan, several rebellion groups, and representatives from more than 30 countries met for a conference about Sudan and Darfur in Oslo Monday. A total of 100 participants from 30 countries are meeting in Oslo Monday and Tuesday.

The meeting is a part of a Norwegian organized international conference for donor nations which will take place when a peace agreement is signed in Sudan. Norway and Italy are leading the international support group for Sudan, IGAD Partner Forum, and are hosts for the meeting. It is also a part of the development in an international conference for donor countries which Norway has offered to invite to when a peace agreement for Sudan is signed.

Sudan, rebels call for international push for aid (Al Sahafa)

"We need action and great efforts up to the level of the crisis and the problems in Darfur," said Ahmed Hussein, head of delegation from the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). "People are dying. We are asking the international community to put pressure on Sudan (to reach a peace deal)." The leader of the Sudan government delegation, Yahia Hussien Babiker Mohamed, told reporters: "We want the international community to mount pressure on the rebel groups to reach a political settlement."

Besides the JEM, representatives of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), Norway and 18 other countries, the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank attended the Oslo meeting.

UN refugee chief pledges more aid after seeing Darfur suffering first-hand. (Al Ayaam)

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) chief Ruud Lubbers pledged more international assistance for the hundreds of thousands of displaced in Sudan's troubled Darfur region after touring one of the tent cities that have sprung up to accommodate them Monday. The UNHCR head said he would seek more food, better health facilities "and I hope some education for your children", but had little to say about security.

Lubbers already toured some of the refugee camps in Chad on the first leg of his tour last week. He has been pressing Sudanese officials to grant Darfur greater autonomy to address the grievances of the minorities who complain they have been systematically marginalised by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum. After talks in Geneina Sunday, state governor Suleiman Abdullah Adam, lent his support. "We hope there will be more autonomy to the states. We believe this would be a solution to the problems," he said.

Sudanese National Press -- English:

Khartoum Monitor

Government denies granting self Rule to Darfur

The Minister of state at the Foreign Relations, Negib al-Khair Abdel Wahab, denied that the government has issued any communiqué on granting autonomy to the people of Darfur. He said when he meets with the UNHCR high commissioner he will enquire about this communiqué and added that the rebels had not surpassed security and humanitarian arrangements.

Juba condemns coup attempts

Equatorians in Juba staged a grand process to condemn the recent coup attempts by some members of the opposition The Popular National Congress Party in Khartoum (PNC) party. Deputy Chairman of the Coordination Council for Southern States (CCSS) Major General Clement Wani Konga cited the leader of the PNC, Dr. Hassain Abdullah Al Turabi, as the cause of the problems in the country since 1956, particularly with regard to South Sudan.

Governor of Western Kordofan rejects AU forces

Governor of Western Kordofan State, Salman Suleiman Al- Safi, rejected any African Union forces, adding that the rebel attack at the Ghibaish area was intended to widen the circle dispute and move to Kordofan. He said priorities should be security, education and water. He mentions the readiness and solidarity of the Western Kordofan people.

Sudan Vision

Government- Democratic Alliance Talks adjourned

The Egyptian government notified the Sudanese government and the National Democratic alliance of the adjournment of the reconciliation talks between the two parties scheduled for today in Cairo. According to Abdul Basit Sabderat, Minister of National Assembly Affairs, he has no knowledge of the reasons for the adjournment nor the date of recommencing the talks. Leader of the NDA Mohammed Osman Al Mirghani ascribed the reason of adjournment as the lack of readiness on the part of the Egyptian government to convene the talks.

More than 35 thousand displaced to return to their villages in South Darfur (SUNA) The State Minister of Sudan’s Humanitarian Affairs Ministry, Mohammad Osman Abdallah, indicated in a press statement that more than 35 thousand displaced persons have returned to their villages in South Darfur. Abdallah also indicated that his ministry is continuing to move displaced persons into more secure camps such as Abu Shouk in North Darfur.

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