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October 9, 2010

Excerpts from Sudan Tribune article on UN Security Council visit to Darfur

October 8, 2010 (EL-FASHER) - UN Security Council delegation ended its technical visit to the restive region of Darfur by a hot meeting with the state authorities where the parties discussed insecurity and the ICC arrest warrant aganist President Omer Al-Bashir.

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Britain's Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant (C) and governor Kibir (c) co-chair the meeting between the North Darfur State government and the visiting UNSC delegation on Oct 8, 2010 (photo UNAMID-Olivier Chassot)

The 15 ambassadors and representatives were welcomed yesterday with banners denouncing the indictment of President Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The visiting UN delegation held a heated discussion with the governor of North Darfur state and his cabinet where the parties talked about the security situation and the ongoing efforts to end the conflict as well as the ICC arrest warrant against the Sudanese President.

The governor Osman Mohamed Yousef Kibir in his speech before the delegation condemned the ICC decision and demanded the immediate withdrawal of Darfur file from the war crimes court.

Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, commenting on the Kibir statements, reiterated the United States determination to reach peace and justice in Darfur. She expressed the support of its government to the ICC to hold accountable the responsible of Darfur crimes. Rice went to ask about the actions undertaken by the Sudanese government to end impunity in Darfur and prosecute responsible of war crimes.

Infuriated by the remarks, Kibir told Rice that USA is not a state member of the Rome Statute, the founding text of the ICC, adding he "does not understand the secret of its interest in this aspect" according to statement released by the government of North Darfur state.

Outside the building of North Darfur government where the meeting was held, pro-government demonstrators gathered with banners supporting president Bashir and shouted slogans hostile to the ICC.

The British Ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, also during the meeting raised the rampant insecurity in the region but the governor contested the figures mentioned by the ambassador terming it of "false information".


The delegation before to leave for Khartoum paid a visit to the internally displaced persons in Abu Shok camp located 4km north-west of El-Fasher. The residents of the camp described their difficult conditions and the deterioration of humanitarian situation in the region. Also,"We spoke with the UN Security Council delegation about the security situation and the failure of the UNAMID to defend themselves or to protect civilians," said a resident from the camp who attended the meeting.

The IDPs also expressed their anger about the failure of the hybrid operation to reach civilians affected by the recent attacks by the army on rebel held positions in Jebel Marra.


I would like to commend Amb Rice on her clear sighted and unwavering commitment to help the people of Darfur. I would ( again) remind folks that I have been told many times , by the refugees, that any and all demonstrations staged in Darfur which appear to be in support of Omer al Bashir or against the ICC are completely staged: people are forced to participate under threats of death and of the murder of family members. People are taken from camps and from their homes, told what to say or chant, and some are made to wave signs. I hope the UN SC knows this.
Also, I trust they know that the wali or governor of North Darfur is lying, just as the governors in North, South and West Darfur as well as all government officials I met with lied through their teeth. In fact, in Khartoum, the day before I went into Darfur they tried to give me the " happy campers picture", people are much better off now. They love the camps because they get free food and, the most imaginative if not the most egregious lie, was that movies are shown to them. That was 2004 while Government bombers were crossing the skies of Darfur bombing villages. Janjaweed attacks were on-going. Villages were on fire. People were fleeing. Aid workers were struggling to deliver food and provide sheeting for tents which people lashed to the desert floor. I saw NGO trucks hauling water bladders toward the hastily formed and already squalid camps. The roads weren't safe, two aid workers were killed just before I arrived. One of the largest camps, Kalma, was invaded by Janjaweed while I was there. Under UN security rules I carried a powerful walkie talkie and it was on day and night. We were immediately ordered to leave by security. The rule was that we had to be within 30 feet of our vehicles at all times. We jumped in the car and sped off at top speed to a waiting helicopter. I don't know what happened to the women who had gathered to speak to me. I think of them always.
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