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|October 6, 2008|
A no-fly zone over DarfurBoth presidential candidates have mentioned imposing a no-fly zone over Darfur. The challenges presented by a militarily enforced no-fly zone are immense, and resources could more usefully be directed to UNAMID , which offers by far the most cost-efficient way of implementing a no-fly zone: destroy aircraft involved in civilian attacks on the ground- afterwards.
US Special Envoy Rich Williamson hangs toughSUDAN TRIBUNE
Sudan revokes visa of US special envoy before reversing course
October 4, 2008 (WASHINGTON) The Sudanese government revoked the visa of US special envoy Richard Williamson, a pro- Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) newspaper reported today
The daily Ajra Al-Hurriya, quoting an unidentified senior US State Department official, said that Williamson applied for a visa which was granted to visit Khartoum and Juba next week to discuss the Darfur crisis with Sudanese officials, as well as other issues.
However, Khartoum sent a letter to Williamson saying that he "is not welcome to visit at the present time".
The letter did not specify reasons for the decision, however the US state department official said that it was Williamson's stance on deferring the indictment of Sudan president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In a meeting between Sudan 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Williamson last week, Sudan demanded Washington's help to invoke Article 16, which allows the UN Security Council (UNSC) to suspend the ICC prosecutions in any case for a period of 12 months that can be renewed indefinitely. But Taha was told that US will not allow the deferral and warned Khartoum not to interfere with international justice, the State Department official said.
After pressure from Washington, Khartoum reversed its decision on Williamson's visa the next day. The UK and French governments appeared to be willing to support the suspension but the US took an unusually tough stance saying that it will veto any such resolution. Last month Williamson made the position public at a hearing of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
"If asked-if forced to vote today-the United States, even if it was 191 countries against one, would veto an Article 16 [resolution]," Ambassador Richard Williamson said.