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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 15th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Security Council briefing on peace and security in Africa.
Thursday, December 12, 2013

The session dealt with Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Tchad – the countries visited by Mr. Ban Ki-moon. He did not go to Mauritania or Senegal.

The Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon said:

I came back from the visit with a clear sense that we need to do much more to fight poverty, empower women, provide employment opportunities for young people and ensure that all the people of the Sahel have what they need to build a better future.

The Sahel’s vast size and long, porous borders mean that such challenges can be addressed successfully only if the countries of the region work together.  The United Nations will continue its efforts to promote security, good governance and resilience.

We took an important first step in Mali at the regional meeting.  African ministers, as well as regional and international organizations and financial institutions, came together to improve coordination and address the Sahel’s fragility.  They welcomed the African Development Bank’s establishment of an Action Fund, which will help jump-start underfunded projects and contribute to longer-term development.
Going forward, the ministers will meet twice each year to calibrate responses to the Sahel’s challenges. Mr. M. Tete Antonio representing the African Union presented the organization’s views.

During the visit, the World Bank, and the EU, pledged $8.2 Billion for the SAHEL.

 The Secretary-General also had a very moving visit to Timbuktu, he said.  People there are struggling to recover from human rights abuses and upheaval.  I was given an opportunity to view the cultural treasures that had been damaged in attacks.  This was a terrible loss for Mali — and for our common global heritage — but with UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) help, we are moving to safeguard it.
I condemn all attacks against places of worship and call for reconciliation and accountability.

We must continue to strengthen MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali).   Mali has made progress toward re-establishing constitutional order.  The first round of legislative elections was conducted in an orderly manner.  But the political process between the Government and armed groups has been delayed.  I remain concerned about the security situation in the north.

 

Further – “Across the region, terrorist acts, the trafficking of arms, drugs and people, as well as other transnational forms of organized crime, are threatening security.  We must do more to address the food crises that plague the Sahel.  We also have to improve conditions in migrants’ communities of origin while also generating more legal opportunities for migrants to work abroad” – he said.

To put all this into context – we say the situation in this French-speaking belt of Sub-Saharan Africa – is  totally unacceptable.
The lack of positive outside involvement, and an extortive National Governments’ presence, the land is left to marauders and outside trouble-makers who take aim at the larger and richer  countries of the Arab belt of North Africa – Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt. It was through the Sahel that forces fighting the Arab Spring found their way to the North and illegal traffic by those that also control the Sahel made it impossible to do any positive work in the region.

We wait to hear of any projects that help the people there rather then the banks that manage those projects.

Nevertheless – the UNSG continued – “I look forward to the views of Council members on how we can achieve this.  And I count on all partners to live up to our promises so that this important region can break the cycle of poverty and insecurity and usher in an era of prosperity and stability for all.” This prompted statements from some delegations.

Now seeing what the Council said we would not express hopes that the Council intends to do anything about the Sahel.

it is indeed very cheap to say: “The Security Council reaffirms its continued commitment to address the complex security and political challenges in that region, which were interrelated with humanitarian and developmental issues, as well as the adverse effects of climate and ecological changes.”  We ask – indeed gentlemen – what does this mean to you and what do you intend to  do?

All right – there is a reference to a document – S/PRST/2013/20 and then what? So, yes, there is a call to the local governments – but who indeed expects them to act? What are we entitled to expect from this UN?

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 11th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Matthew Russell Lee reports from the UN that Amid Sahel Standstill, UN Committee Asks Why Prodi Is Based in Rome.

 

UNITED NATIONS, May 10, 2013 — When Romano Prodi, ostensibly the UN’s envoy on if not in the Sahel, became a candidate for the Italian presidency, the UN of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made excuses, telling Inner City Press the question of conflict of interest was “moot,” because Prodi lost.

 

  But the UN Advisory Committee of Administrative and Budgetary Questions is not so forgiving. Their report on Prodi’s office says that Prodi’s fundraising

 

 

“does not necessarily require the headquarters of the Office to be located in Rome, or a large share of the staffing of the Office to be located outside the Sahel region. The Advisory Committee …believes that closer proximity to or its placement in the region would allow the Office of the Special Envoy to fully engage and coordinate with the numerous United Nations offices/entities and international actors present in the countries of the Sahel dealing with similar issues.”

 

 

  And so, “the Advisory Committee recommends that the General Assembly invite the Secretary-General to review the current arrangements for the Office of the Special Envoy and to consider alternative locations of the Office in the Sahel region. In developing his proposals, the Secretary-General should be requested to take full advantage of the opportunities for realizing synergies with the other United Nations entities present in the countries of the region, and avoid all duplicative activity.”

 

   Why is Prodi allowed to be based in Rome? And what has he accomplished?

 

———————————

 

We post this because this is a point well taken when reviewing the wasteland called the UN – but we do not intend this as an attack on Mr. Romano Prodi whom we know from years past. He is an Italian politician who understood the issue of climate change and the problems of reliance on Middle East Petroleum. He surely can do a lot of good under UN employment, but then the UN must hire him in ways that do not allow for mistakes, or even reasons for criticism like the above.

 

The Sahel is the black Africa arc just south of the Muslim Arab Maghreb and Egypt – the region that includes Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Senegal. A  region that knows the effect of climate change causing drought and conditions that push the region to get involved in the Affairs of the North Africa Arab arc and its Arab awakening from one set of dictators and moving into the arms of Islamic extremists. This while European States like Spain, France, and Italy, with past colonial ties to the region, may thus be not the ideal moderators of the budding new debate of Arab Nationalism at the time of effects of drought caused by climate change. The whole issue needs much more serious UN review then the UN has shown up to now. Would Dakar be the right place to seat Mr. Prodi?

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 1st, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Back at the end of January 2013 we posted – based on an article in “Der Spiegel” – that reached us via the UN Wire – that there was in the making an Islamistan, much more dangerous to the West then the AfPak (Afghanistan & Pakistan) region. This will be a Sahelistan ranging from Mauritania to Somalia, right there as a second southern complete layer to the Mediterranean shore Arab States that stretch from Morocco to Egypt. We call this the SAHELISTAN. Its front line is in Mali, Niger, and Chad.

This layer of Islamism is a combination of conservative Islam used as mortar to bind together locally inspired aspirations to free themselves of the Arab century old imposed rulers and like in the Maghreb States and Libya and Egypt, is supported by the religious leaders out of pure opportunism.

Our old posting is:

Now, in Vienna, I realize further the influence of this newly evolving threat and the reality that Europe is happy to let France, the former Colonial power in that region, shoulder the problem by itself. Further, it is France that running its National energy network on nuclear power, is totally depended on the Uranium they get from those countries, while other Members of the EU have no such dependence.

Further, as we noted last month, at the time of the Vienna Conference of the “Alliance of Civilizations” – as shown by the regional division among the Workshops in that meeting, the Central European States have sort of distanced themselves from the Mediterranean States by showing their economic interest as an extension from Central Europe to Central Asia – that is the Black Sea – Caspian Sea and beyond to the other smaller Muslim States that were part of the former Soviet Union. This leaves the Southern EU States to worry about the Muslim MENA region (Middle East – North Africa) and Turkey – if it has to be.

We also suggested a third tier – the Northern tier – and that is the line that connects the Scandinavian countries – Germany – Poland – with Russia.
That will eventually be the route to bring Russia to the EU when it becomes clear that you must have one billion people at least in order to have a weight in the global economy in just a few years from now.

But that is not where Vienna left this part of the world.

In March I participated further at two wide scope events:

(1)  March 11, 2013, the Austrian Institute for International Politics (OIIP) where Editor Walter Haemmerle of the Wiener Zeitung, was the moderator between three Members of OIIP – all Professors at the University but coming from different areas of interest – Prof. Heinz Gaertner – a political Scientist, Prof. Jan Pospisil for the Arab Space – in particular North Africa, and Prof. Cengiz Guenay, for the Near East/ Middle East Space.

The topic was USA – Near East – Mali – in context of  Changes of International Applications of Power.

(2) March 21, 2013, the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC) - www.VIDC.org – using the space at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialog – dealt with a more limited topic – and therefore could go down to quite some depth – “Mali: Perspectives for the Political Come-Back.”
At this meeting, moderated by Marie-Roger Biloa of Cameroon, Producer and Editor of the Paris-based “Africa International” – and having published Development Magazines in Cameroon and Gabon,  held in place, with a strong will, three very different panelists – that included two different aspects of Mali, and the French Ambassador to Vienna – Mr. Stephane Gompertz.

The two Malians were – Ismaeel Sory Maiega, Director of the study Center of Languages and African Cultures, and the European Representative of the Tuareg-organized Insurgency MNLA – Mouvement National de Liberation de l’AzawadNational Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, Mr. Moussa Assarid.

Ms. Biloa is also the President “Club Millennium” in Paris – an African Think Tank and training place for leadership.

———————————

From the OIIP event:

The issue is the US – it is retrenching from the Reagan – G.W. Bush (the son) days of overextended global involvements – so issues like the insurgency in Mali and other Islamization aspects of North Africa, are to be from now on pure European problems. Even the Middle East will have to take care of itself – the most the US will do is to express encouragement for others to act. Professor Gaertner studied the US elections and his view of the Obama II Administration is very similar to what we wrote on our website. The US is readjusting to the Trans-Pacific Partnership – with China its main focus, so much of what goes on in the Muslim Space will have to be filled in by others. Europeans will have to look across the Mediterranean for their own sake.
This does not mean the US finds of a sudden France – but rather will not interfere if France wants to look for its own interests and put their money where they talk was for quite some time.

Dr. Jan Pospisil did his PhD thesis on US-German military cooperation and then looked at East Africa and Sri-Lanka. Like Prof. Gaertner he sees in Syria the biggest problem for the topic of human rights and both think that this is an area that Austria will pay attention as well. With this background it becomes interesting to note that the Austrian participation in Mali is with 9 people.

Dr. Cengiz Guenay wrote his PhD thesis on “Islam as a political factor in Turkey” and found Libya, Egypt, and now Syria as his main fields of interest and he is called in quite often to explain the situation to the media.

————————

The two main points I marked myself from this discussion were:

A. that Turkey is now a TRADING STATE and will do whatever Mr. Erdogan finds opportune for the literal moment.

B. The World – Instead of Multi-polarity – now it will be MULTI-PARTNERSHIPS.

———————-

 

Then at the VIDC/Bruno Kreisky Forum event we got to know Mr. Assarid a full blooded Tuareg, dressed to prove it,  who speaks about the Azawad State they want to carve out from the Northern half of Mali – the five towns – Timbuktu, Lere, Hombori, Gao, and Kidal. His bio says he is a writer, journalist and comedian – living in Paris since 1999. He has appeared on TV in several series as actor. He was saying that the Tuaregs have a National movement that is secular. They are not part of an Islamic uprising and their problem is rather that the other side – the present government in Bamako – that took over from an elected government by military coup – is the one that may help the North Africa Al-Qaeda – not the Tuaregs.

Listening to him, and to his opponent, Professor. Maiega, who is an intellectual – head of a Bamako Institute to promote indigenous languages and African Civilizations,  it seems that in effect both of them are more interested in traditional African culture then in Islam, and in effect it is France’s interest in holding on to its previous Colony that is the most problematic aspect of this entanglement. Is it all because of the Uranium, coal, and other natural resources found in Mali? Will this move on to Niger and Chad? What would happen if Mali is allowed to split amicably into two States? Could this be worse then seeing it unravel in fighting that allows other groups to mix the boiling pot?

The French say they want to bring down their fighting troops from 4,000 to 1,000 by the end of April, and have by that time trained the Mali government troops, and the West African troops, that offered to help. I say – Do not hold your breath – I say.
It is easy to get in – it is much more difficult to get out -  and the French Ambassador did not impress us that he really thinks France wants to get out from Mali. Though let me add immediately that Ambassador Gompertz is Professor for classic literature and has a degree in Germanistic – this while in the French Foreign Ministry he was head of the sections on Africa and the Indian Ocean (2009-2012) when he was appointed to Vienna. Before 2008 he was Ambassador to Ethiopia, and with the North Africa and Middle East sections in the ministry – so he is well into the Mediterranean region.

The problem with the desert people maybe much more complicated then what was presented. There is money to be made from those natural resources, and from kidnapping people for ransom. The desert is big and people rather unemployed – so the few can muster the rest, and bamboozle with religion cooked up with social, ethnic, tribal arguments to boot – this works in a world that thinks very little of terrorism, as an accepted tool for those that feel downtroden, and the passage to the world here-after as a move to step up an imagined personalized ladder.

———

Recent History as reported today – April 1, 2013: The fighting reflected the difficulty of securing Mali after a French intervention in January that pushed the rebels out of their northern strongholds.

“Things are quiet this morning. The markets are open, traffic is on the streets, and people are out of their houses,” Timbuktu resident Garba Maiga said by telephone.

Malian military sources said soldiers were sweeping parts of the town to ensure there were no remaining rebel fighters.

At least one Malian soldier was killed in the clashes, along with more than 20 insurgents, according to a government statement on Sunday night. Residents said at least five civilians were killed in the crossfire.

An army spokesman said that groups of rebels had entered the town after setting off a suicide car bomb at a checkpoint, diverting the military’s attention.

Paris is keen to reduce its current 4,000-strong troop presence to 1,000 by the end of the year as it hands over its mission to a regional African force.

========================================================================================================

 

By coincidence – the following arrived in our Inbox and I find this relevant as it stresses US-Senegal relations. Senegal is a Muslim State.

04/01/2013 03:58 PM EDT

 

Remarks at Luncheon in Honor of Four African Democratic Partners.

Remarks

William J. Burns
Deputy Secretary
Martin Van Buren Dining Room
Washington, DC
March 29, 2013

 


 

Good afternoon. It is truly an honor to be here today with all of you. I want to thank Assistant Secretary Carson for hosting this luncheon. As you know, despite our best efforts to change his mind, Johnnie is leaving the State Department after a nearly four decades of exemplary public service. We are all deeply indebted to Johnnie for his leadership and stewardship of the U.S.-Africa relationship.

I would like to welcome President Banda of Malawi, Prime Minister Neves of Cape Verde, Foreign Minister Ndiaye of Senegal, and Foreign Minister Kamara of Sierra Leone. It is a pleasure to host you here at the Department of State.

Like Johnnie, I am an Africa optimist. I am an optimist because the tide of wars and civil strife is receding. I am an optimist because the continent continues to make steady progress in political reform — more than half of the countries in Africa have embraced democratic, multiparty rule and elections and term limits are now widely accepted norms. And I am an optimist because Africa’s growth rate will soon surpass Asia’s and seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are African.

The credit for this transformation belongs to leaders like you and courageous citizens across the continent. Looking back over the past two decades, the United States is proud of its modest contribution and steady support.

President Clinton worked with Congress to pass the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region. President George W. Bush created the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, programs that saved millions of lives and brought hundreds of thousands of Africans out of poverty. Over the last four years, President Obama has built on this foundation by forming partnerships based on mutual respect and responsibility with governments, entrepreneurs, youth, women, and the private sector to strengthen democratic institutions, spur economic growth, promote opportunity and development, and advance peace and security.

Each of you illustrates the potential of these partnerships.

President Banda – in one year, you led Malawi out of a deep abyss, moving swiftly to stabilize the economy and elevate human rights. And as you did, the United States was pleased to restore its partnership with your government, including lifting the suspension of our $350 million MCC Compact. We look forward to continuing to work together further to strengthen Malawi democracy, address hunger and improve food security.

Prime Minister Neves – under your leadership, Cape Verde reached middle-income country status, joined the WTO, attracted significant foreign investment, and solidified its social safety net. We value our cooperation on maritime security and in countering narcotrafficking and are pleased to launch a second five-year MCC compact to accelerate economic growth.

Senegal is one of the United States’ strongest partners and a leading democracy in Africa. We applaud the Senegalese government’s commitment to improve governance, regional security, and bilateral cooperation. We deeply appreciate President Sall’s efforts for peace in the Casamance and his leadership on peacekeeping and regional security.

Last year, Sierra Leone held fair, free, and credible elections. We thank President Koroma and his government for their commitment to strengthening Sierra Leone’s democratic institutions. Predictably, the economy responded to your efforts, expanding by 30% in 2012. Let me also note our deep appreciation for your government’s troop contribution to the Somalia peacekeeping force.

There is no doubt that we face many challenges in the coming years – from the Horn to the Great Lakes, and the Sahel. This is why our partnership has never been more important. Fortunately, it has never been stronger.

Thank you very much.

 

====================================================================================================

File:Mali regions map.png

 

According to the Scottish explorer and scientist Robert Brown, Azawad is an Arabic corruption of the Berber word Azawagh, referring to a dry river basin that covers western Niger, northeastern Mali, and southern Algeria.[16] The name translates to “land of transhumance“.[17]

Flag of Azawad  the flag of AZAWAG

On 6 April 2012, in a statement posted to its website, the MNLA declared the independence of Azawad from Mali. In this Azawad Declaration of Independence, the name Independent State of Azawad was used[18] (French: État indépendant de l’Azawad,[18] ArabicDawlat Azaw?d al-Mustaqillah).

On 26 May, the MNLA and its former co-belligerent Ansar Dine – an Islamist group linked to Al-Qaeda – announced a pact in which they would merge to form an Islamist state; according to the media the new long name of Azawad was used in this pact. But this new name is not clear – sources list few variants of it: the Islamic Republic of Azawad[20] (French: République islamique de l’Azawad),[21] the Islamic State of Azawad (French: État islamique de l’Azawad[22]), the Republic of Azawad.[23] Azawad authorities did not officially confirm any change of name.

Later reports indicated the MNLA had decided to withdraw from the pact with Ansar Dine. In a new statement, dated on 9 June, MNLA uses the name State of Azawad (French: État de l’Azawad).[24]

The MNLA has unveiled the list of 28 members of the Transitional Council of the State of Azawad (Conseil de Transition de l’Etat de l’Azawad, CTEA) serving as a provisional government with President Bilal Ag Acherif to manage the new State of Azawad.

The Economic Community of West African States, which refused to recognise Azawad and called the declaration of its independence “null and void”, has said it may send troops into the disputed region in support of the Malian claim.[7][8]

Ansar Dine later declared that they rejected the idea of Azawad independence.[12] The MNLA and Ansar Dine continued to clash,[13] culminating in the Battle of Gao on 27 June, in which the Islamist groups Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and Ansar Dine took control of the city, driving out the MNLA. The following day, Ansar Dine announced that it was in control of all the cities of northern Mali.[14]

On 14 February 2013 the MNLA renounced their claim of independence for Azawad; it asked the Malian government to start negotiations on its future status.[15]

All of this points at a very confusing situation that in effect backs what we heard at the meeting of March 21, 2013 here in Vienna.

File:Azawad in context.JPG

Above map suggests that the presence of Tuaregs which were nomads, is not limited to the north of Mali alone, but they are found in neighboring States as well. The history of the region involved wars that extended to Algeria and to larger Morocco. The area was part of empires that existed in Timbuktu and Gao.

Under French rule

Portal icon Azawad portal

After European powers formalized the scramble for Africa in the Berlin Conference, the French assumed control of the land between the 14th meridian and Miltou, South-West Chad, bounded in the south by a line running from Say, Niger to Baroua. Although the Azawad region was French in name, the principle of effectivity required France to hold power in those areas assigned, e.g. by signing agreements with local chiefs, setting up a government, and making use of the area economically, before the claim would be definitive. On 15 December 1893, Timbuktu, by then long past its prime, was annexed by a small group of French soldiers, led by Lieutenant Gaston Boiteux.[41] The region became part of French Sudan (Soudan Français), a colony of France. The colony was reorganised and the name changed several times during the French colonial period. In 1899 the French Sudan was subdivided and the Azawad became part of Upper Senegal and Middle Niger (Haut-Sénégal et Moyen Niger). In 1902 it was renamed as Senegambia and Niger (Sénégambie et Niger), and in 1904 this was changed again to Upper Senegal and Niger (Haut-Sénégal et Niger). This name was used until 1920 when it became French Sudan again.[42]

French Sudan became the autonomous state of Mali within the French Community in 1958, and Mali became independent from France in 1960. Four major Tuareg rebellions took place against Malian rule: the First Tuareg Rebellion (1962–64), the rebellion of 1990–1995, the rebellion of 2007–2009, and a 2012 rebellion. This alone should tell the world that the situation is not stable and that it can be adjusted only if autonomy is granted the Tuareg region.

In the early twenty-first century, the region became notorious for banditry and drug smuggling.[43] The area has been reported to contain great potential mineral wealth, including petroleum and uranium.[44]

On 17 January 2012, the MNLA announced the start of an insurrection in Azawad against the government of Mali, declaring that it “will continue so long as Bamako does not recognise this territory as a separate entity”.[45]On 24 January, the MNLA won control of the town of Aguelhok, killing around 160 Malian soldiers and capturing dozens of heavy weapons and military vehicles. In March 2012, the MNLA and Ansar Dine took control of the regional capitals of Kidal[46] and Gao[47] along with their military bases. On 1 April, Timbuktu was captured.[48] After the seizure of Timbuktu on 1 April, the MNLA gained effective control of most of the territory they claim for an independent Azawad. In a statement released on the occasion, the MNLA invited all Azawadis abroad to return home and join in constructing institutions in the new state.[49]

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) declared Azawad an independent state on 6 April 2012 and pledged to draft a constitution establishing it as a democracy. Their statement acknowledged the United Nations charter and said the new state would uphold its principles.[5][50]

In an interview with France 24, an MNLA spokesman declared the independence of Azawad:

Mali is an anarchic state. Therefore we have gathered a national liberation movement to put in an army capable of securing our land and an executive office capable of forming democratic institutions. We declare the independence of Azawad from this day on.
Moussa Ag Assarid, MLNA spokesman, 6 April 2012[51]

In the same interview, Assarid promised that Azawad would respect the colonial frontiers that separate Azawad from its neighbours; he insisted that Azawad’s declaration of independence had international legality.[51]

No foreign entity recognised Azawad. The MNLA’s declaration was immediately rejected by the African Union, who declared it “null and no value whatsoever”. The French Foreign Ministry said it would not recognise the unilateral partition of Mali, but it called for negotiations between the two entities to address “the demands of the northern Tuareg population [which] are old and for too long had not received adequate and necessary responses”. The United States also rejected the declaration of independence.[52]

The MNLA is estimated to have up to 3,000 soldiers. ECOWAS declared Azawad “null and void”, and said that Mali is “one and [an] indivisible entity”. ECOWAS has said that it would use force, if necessary, to put down the rebellion.[53] The French government indicated it could provide logistical support.[52]

On 26 May, the MNLA and its former co-belligerent Ansar Dine announced a pact to merge to form an Islamist state.[9] Later reports indicated the MNLA withdrew from the pact, distancing itself from Ansar Dine.[10][11] MNLA and Ansar Dine continued to clash,[54] culminating in the Battle of Gao and Timbuktu on 27 June, in which the Islamist groups Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and Ansar Dine took control of Gao, driving out the MNLA. The following day, Ansar Dine announced that it was in control of Timbuktu and Kidal, the three biggest cities of northern Mali.[55] Ansar Dine continued its offensive against MNLA positions and overran all remaining MNLA held towns by 12 July with the fall of Ansogo.[56]

In December 2012, the MNLA agreed on Mali’s national unity and territorial integrity in talks with both the central government and Ansar Dine.[57]

Religion

Most are Muslims, of the Sunni or Sufi orientations.[citation needed] Most popular in the Tuareg movement and northern Mali as a whole is the Maliki branch of Sunnism, in which traditional opinions and analogical reasoning by later Muslim scholars are often used instead of a strict reliance on ?adith (coming directly from the Mohammed’s life and utterances) as a basis for legal judgment.[79]

Ansar Dine follows the Salafi branch of Sunni Islam, which rejects the existence of Islamic holy men (other than Mohammed) and their teachings. They strongly object to praying around the graves of Malikite ‘holymen’, and burned down an ancient Sufi shrine in Timbuktu, which had been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[80]

Most of the 300 Christians who formerly lived in Timbuktu have fled to the South since the rebels captured the town on 2 April 2012.[81][dead link]

Humanitarian situation

The people living in the central and northern Sahelian and Sahelo-Saharan areas of Mali are the country’s poorest, according to an International Fund for Agricultural Development report. Most are pastoralists and farmers practicing subsistence agriculture on dry land with poor and increasingly degraded soils.[82] The northern part of Mali suffers from a critical shortage of food and lack of health care. Starvation has prompted about 200,000 inhabitants to leave the region.[83]

Refugees in the 92,000-person refugee camp at Mbera, Mauritania, describe the Islamists as “intent on imposing an Islam of lash and gun on Malian Muslims.” The Islamists in Timbuktu have destroyed about a half-dozen historic above-ground tombs of revered holy men, proclaiming the tombs contrary to Shariah. One refugee in the camp spoke of encountering Afghans, Pakistanis and Nigerians among the invading forces.[84]

History of Azawad
MNLA flag.svg
Gao Empire
Songhai Empire
Pashalik of Timbuktu
French Sudan
Tuareg rebellion (1962–1964)
Tuareg rebellion (1990–1995)
Tuareg rebellion (2007–2009)
Tuareg rebellion (2012)
Independent State of Azawad

 

National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad

from the MNLA point of view:

Mouvement National pour la Libération de l’Azawad
Participant in Tuareg rebellions
MNLA emblem.png
Active October 2011 – present
Ideology Secular nationalism[1]
Autonomy
Leaders Bilal Ag Acherif[2] (General Secretary)
Mahmoud Ag Aghaly (President of the political bureau)
Ag Mohamed Najem (head of military operations)
Moussa Ag Acharatoumane
Ibrahim Ag Bahanga
Area of
operations
Azawad/northern Mali
Strength 9000-10000 (MNLA sources)[3]
Part of  Azawad
Allies  Libya (under Jamahiriya)
 Libya (under NTC)
Opponents  Mali (2012)
 Algeria
Ansar Dine (since June 2012)
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa
Battles/wars 2012–present Northern Mali conflict

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 3rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

What does the following mean when viewing what we got to call the Arab Spring and the dichotomy between twigs of democracy hope and trunks of solid Middle Ages religious zeal?

  • End of the 'uncatchable': A screengrab shows Mokhtar Belmokhtar speaking at an undisclosed location. Chad said its troops killed the one-eyed Islamist leader in northern Mali on March 1.
  • End of the ‘uncatchable’: A screengrab shows Mokhtar Belmokhtar speaking at an undisclosed location. Chad said its troops killed the one-eyed Islamist leader in northern Mali on March 1. | AFP-JIJI

Al-Qaida loses key leader in Africa

Mastermind of Algeria attack ‘killed in Mali.’

AP, Kyodo, The Japan Times on-line, March 4, 2o13

N’DJAMENA – Chad’s military chief announced late Saturday that his troops deployed in northern Mali had killed Moktar Belmoktar, the terrorist who orchestrated the attack on a natural gas plant in Algeria that left 36 foreigners dead.

Local officials in Kidal, the northern town that is being used as the base for the military operation, cast doubt on the assertion, saying Chadian officials are attempting to score a PR victory to make up for the significant losses they have suffered in recent days.

Belmoktar’s profile soared after the mid-January attack and mass hostage-taking on a huge Algerian gas plant, during which 10 Japanese employees of engineering firm JGC Corp. were killed. His purported death comes a day after Chad’s president said his troops had killed Abou Zeid, the other main al-Qaida commander operating in northern Mali.

If both deaths are confirmed, it would mean that the international intervention in Mali had succeeded in decapitating two of the pillars of al-Qaida in the Sahara.

“Chad’s armed forces in Mali have completely destroyed a base used by jihadists and narcotraffickers in the Adrar and Ifoghas mountains” of northern Mali, Chief of Staff Gen. Zakaria Ngobongue said. “The provisional toll is as follows: Several terrorists killed, including Moktar Belmoktar.”

The French military moved into Mali on Jan. 11 to push back militants linked to Belmoktar and Abou Zeid and other extremist groups who had imposed harsh Islamic rule in the north of the vast country and who were seen as an international terrorist threat.

France is trying to rally other African troops to help in the military campaign, since Mali’s military is weak and poor. Chadian troops have offered the most robust reinforcement.

In Paris, French military spokesman Col. Thierry Burkhard said he had “no information” on the possibility that Belmoktar was dead. The Foreign Ministry refused to confirm the report.

Belmoktar, an Algerian, is believed to be in his 40s, and like his intermittent partner, Abou Zeid, he began on the path to terrorism after Algeria’s secular government voided the 1991 election won by an Islamic party. Both men joined the Armed Islamic Group, or GIA, and later its offshoot, the GSPC, a group that carried out suicide bombings on Algerian government targets.

Around 2003, both men crossed into Mali, where they began a lucrative kidnapping business, snatching European tourists, aid workers, government employees and even diplomats and holding them for ransom.

The Algerian terrorist cell amassed a significant war chest, and joined the al-Qaida fold in 2006, renaming itself al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. Belmoktar claims he trained in Afghanistan in the 1990s, including in one of Osama bin Laden’s camps. It was there that he reportedly lost an eye, earning him the nickname “Laaouar,” Arabic for “one-eyed.”

Until last December, Belmoktar and Abou Zeid headed separate brigades under the flag of al-Qaida’s chapter in the Sahara. But after reports of infighting between the two, Belmoktar peeled off, announcing the creation of his own terrorist unit, still loyal to the al-Qaida ideology but separate from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 13th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The article was posted October 12th, the UPDATE id from October 13th and is posted at the end.

——-

Actor and Sudan activist George Clooney visited President Obama in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his recent trip to south Sudan in advance of a referendum in January on partition.

Clooney hopes to call attention to the increasingly unstable relationships between the northern and southern regions.

Sudan President Omar Al Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in the country’s Darfur region, is expected to fight to keep South Sudan from seceding because it has more than 75 percent of the country’s oil.

Clooney visited Darfur refugee camps in Chad, just across the Sudan border, and came to the White House early in 2009 to press for the appointment of a high-level envoy to the region.

Afterward, Obama, in March, 2009, tapped retired Major Gen. Scott Gration to the special envoy spot. When the president was an Illinois senator, Gration accompanied him to Chad in 2006 to visit a refugee camp populated with people from Darfur who had fled widespread killing and raids there.

In recent weeks the Obama administration has taken a much more active stance on Sudan. At the U.N. General Assembly last month, Obama spoke at a ministerial meeting where he called for governments of both North and South Sudan to ensure a peaceful, fair and transparent referendum in January.

Clooney and Obama started working on Sudan issues in 2006 — before Obama’s trip to Africa. In April of that year, Clooney, then-Sen. Obama and former Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) spoke at the National Press Club about the ongoing violence in Darfur and drew attention to an upcoming “Save Darfur” rally on the National Mall to urge the world to move faster to stop the slaughter, rape, and forced displacement in the region.

Now George Clooney covered by CNN’s Ann Curry  upstaged the 4 day trip to Sudan by US Ambassador Susan Rice and most of the Ambassadors on the UN Security Council who went on their own fact finding mission. Best report from the UN trip can be found at www.innercitypress.com/unsc1sudan… from Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press who surprisingly was allowed by the UN to participate with the officials. He continues his coverage back at the UN - www.innercitypress.com/ban2sudan1…

Also along were Ambassadors Lyall Grant of the UK, Vitaly Churkin of Russia, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, Ertugrul Apakan of Turkey, Claude Heller of Mexico, Tsuneo Nishida of Japan …. in total there were 11 countries out of the 15 UNSC members represented there by their main UN representative, including from Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Uganda who are leaving the UNSC at the end of 2010.    Countries  not sending their Permanent Representatives, or Number 1 Ambassadors, were Austria, France, Gabon and Nigeria. France sent #2 and Austria is leaving the UNSC at the end of this year – but the only continuing African members of the UNSC are Gabon and Nigeria – both did not make their top hats available for this fact-finding mission to Africa – in this context it is inexcusable in our opinion for them not to have gone on the trip.

As expected, this trip has seemingly achieved nothing and the courage to deal with the humanitarian problem of Sudan is missing – but as Matthew Lee points out – some may believe that dividing the oil revenue may be making progress in practice.

=-=-=-=-=-=-

With Sudan in Crisis, UN Dodges Questions, UNMIS Ignores Them, DC Follies.

From Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press, who was on the Sudan trip:

UNITED NATIONS, October 13 — While the UN speaks about how important Sudan is to it, it refuses to answer basic questions, both in its New York headquarters and in Sudan.

On October 11, having returned from the Security Council trip to Sudan during which, among other things, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Georg Charpentier neglected to tell the Council about the village of Sora in Darfur being entirely destroyed the previously week, and the internally displaced people who spoke with the Council were subsequently interrogated and intimidated by Sudanese authorities, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky about both of these issues.

On both issues on October 11, Nesirky said “let’s find out.” When asked again about Sora at the UN noon briefing on October 12, Nesirky said “I can assure you that something is in the works. I don’t have anything for you right now. Something is in the works.

Thirty hours after that, 54 hours after the Sora question was asked, nothing, no response at all.

And so early on October 13, Inner City Press directed three questions to the Spokesperson for the UN Mission in Sudan, including these two:

Please provide the response of UNMIS / the UN to the “The Southern Sudanese Drivers and Mechanics Association… cit[ing] UNDP, UNMIS and Kenya Commercial Bank among the organisations that continue to employ foreigners in positions that many unemployed indigenousould hold, rendering local drivers redundant.    www.borglobe.com/25.html?m7:post=…

Please provide by email asap what UNMIS put out about the incident with the Sudanese journalist(s) on the tarmac in Juba in the Security Council delegation’s plane.

Eleven hours later (and counting) there had been no response, not even an acknowledgment of receipt to questions directed to the spokesperson’s email address listed on the UNMIS website.

The Q&A with the UN Spokesman is transcribed below.

But in Washington DC George Clooney, with whom the UN Security Council met with for longer than they met with IDPs, was reported to be asking for Congressional action. What action?

One media outlet said he was raising issues of Darfur, which he didn’t visit. How seriously is South Sudan, much less Darfur, being taken?

From the UN’s October 11 then October 12 noon briefings:

Inner City Press: On Sudan, following the Council’s visit to the Abu Shouk internally displaced persons camp, I guess that was on Friday, there have been reports that the people they spoke with had been interrogated by Sudanese authorities, and in some cases, arrested. I am wondering if UNAMID is aware of that or the UN, I mean the UN system more broadly, and what they intend to do about it?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Let’s find out.


Protest in Khartoum, UN and Clooney not shown (c) MRLee

Inner City Press: The other, as we left there, some, Mr. [Georg] Charpentier had provided a document that seems to indicate that, in the week before the Council’s visit, a village called Sora in eastern Jebel Marra was “entirely, completely burned down”. I know that Mr. Charpentier briefed the Council members, but none of them on the way back seemed to… this wasn’t mentioned to them. I am wondering… what does UNAMID and Mr. Charpentier do when a village is entirely destroyed? Is it an important thing? Is it the kind of thing that they should brief the Council about?

Spokesperson: Can you roll back and tell me again, because it is sort of confusing.

Inner City Press: Okay. Among documents that Mr. Charpentier provided at the end of the trip…

Spokesperson: To whom?

Inner City Press: He gave it into the press bus, saying that this would just verify things that he’d said about things not being a problem in Jebel Marra. But deep in the document, it says that a village named Sora was completely burned down. It doesn’t say whether it was by ground fighting or an aerial attack. But if it’s aerial, it seems it would be the Government. None of the Security Council ambassadors on the way back had been aware of this or had been briefed on this. So, I guess my question, it’s a twofold one, factually it would be is it possible to discover from Mr. Charpentier, whose document this is, whether the village of Sora was destroyed from the air or by ground? And maybe some statement on why, in the briefing that he gave to the Council, this destruction was not raised?

Spokesperson: I am assuming you didn’t raise it with him yourself, because it was passed into the bus, and then you read it after the bus pulled away?

Inner City Press: I read it actually on the way back, yes, yes.

Spokesperson: Right. Okay, well let’s relay that back whence you just came.

A full 24 hours later, noon briefing of October 12:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask a couple of questions about Sudan. One is, there has been, I guess in the last 24 hours, there have been a couple of developments. One is a quote by President [Omer Hassan] al-Bashir that he will not accept any alternative to unity, which many people say is basically a threat not to accept the “yes” vote if the vote is in fact held 9 January. So I am wondering, there was a statement made on 24 September, but this statement by al-Bashir seems to be totally contradictory to it. So, I am just wondering, what’s the process for either UNMIS [United Nations Mission in Sudan] or the Secretariat to… What did they think of that statement? And also there was an arrest made on Saturday, as it turns out, of these pro-secession people in Khartoum as part of the demonstration. They were not only beaten, but it turns out they were arrested. So the SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] has said that’s a bad move and violates the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] that they are not allowed to campaign for secession. Does the UN have any response to that?

Spokesperson Nesirky: On that second question, I’ll see what we can get you on that. I don’t have anything right now. On the first question, I would indeed refer back to the statement, the communiqué, that was issued. I don’t think we will be commenting on every twist and turn. The basic principles of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement are well-known, and the communiqué speaks very clearly about the need to stay on track.

Inner City Press: Did you get anything back on this issue of this village of Sora that was listed as being…?

Spokesperson: I can assure you that something is in the works. I don’t have anything for you right now. Something is in the works.

But 30 hours later, nothing. Watch this site.

Footnote: while Nesirky held a noon briefing on October 13, he had only just begun to take questions when he stopped, to present guests who had spent three hours working toward a future report. When they were done, so was Nesirky: he didn’t ask if there were many more questions. But there were…

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

RECEIVED FROM: Editeur : RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables
www.riaed.net/portail

from RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables
reply-to dufail@gret.org
date Mon, Jul 19, 2010
subject: La lettre d’information du RIAED, n°41

THIS IS THE INFORMATION No. 41 from RIAED WHICH IS THE INTERNATIONAL NETWORK FOR ACCESS TO SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR THE FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES OF WEST AFRICA, BUT THEY HAVE ALSO A LINK TO THE ENGLISH FORM OF THIS LETTER. THE POSTING IS INTERESTING AS IT SHOWS LOTS OF ACTIVITIES THAT GO ON IN THE REGION SINCE 2006 AND CONTINUE TO DATE.

Voici la lettre d’information du site RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables.

A la Une

Un inventaire des opportunités de réduction d’émissions de GES en Afrique subsaharienne

Un rapport de la Banque mondiale détaille, sur 44 pays d’Afrique subsaharienne, les opportunités de réduction d’émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans 22 domaines. Au travers de l’approche MDP, cette étude a pour objectif d’explorer le potentiel offert par les projets énergétiques à faible contenu en carbone qui peuvent contribuer au développement de l’Afrique subsaharienne. Dans ce but, l’équipe de réalisation de l’étude a identifié les technologies pour lesquelles il existe déjà des méthodologies MDP et qui ont déjà donné lieu à projets MDP dans d’autres régions en voie de développement.

Actualités

Liberia : deux firmes américaines financent la construction d’une centrale hydroélectrique Les firmes Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE) et Overseas Private Investment Company (OPIC) basées aux États-Unis, ont déboursé 150 millions de dollars pour la construction d’une centrale hydro-électrique à Kakata, dans la région de Margibi (environ 45 kilomètres de la capitale Monrovia).

Maroc : lancement du plus grand parc éolien en Afrique Le Maroc a lancé le 28 juin 2010, au nord du pays, le plus grand parc éolien en Afrique, pour une enveloppe de 2,75 milliards de dirhams (400 millions de dollars) soit une des étapes – clés du Programme marocain intégré de l’énergie éolienne, qui table sur un investissement d’environ 31,5 milliards de dirhams (4 milliards de dollars).

Cap Vert : la CEDEAO ouvre un centre des énergies renouvelables La Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique d l’Ouest (CEDEAO) a ouvert un nouveau centre pour les énergies renouvelable (ECREEE) aux Iles du Cap Vert pour développer le potentiel de la région en énergies renouvelables.

Côte d’Ivoire : l’état relance le barrage de Soubré Dans le cadre des mesures annoncées pour palier aux difficultés dans le secteur de l’énergie électrique, l’état ivoirien va relancer le projet de construction du barrage hydroélectrique de Soubré.

Malawi : un projet de biogaz mène à d’autres services Une unité de production de biogaz de petite échelle au Malawi, récemment créée dans le but d’atténuer le changement climatique, peut également, si elle est bien exploitée, améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et les moyens de subsistance dans les régions rurales du Malawi.

Afrique sub-saharienne : les meilleurs produits d’éclairage hors réseau gagnent le soutien de Lighting AfricaCinq produits innovants ont été sélectionnés lors de la conférence de Lighting Africa et du commerce équitable à Nairobi en mai dernier.

Bénin : projet d’amélioration de l’acccès à l’énergie moderne Le Gouvernement de la République du Bénin a obtenu un crédit auprès de l’Association Internationale de Développement (IDA) d’un montant équivalant à quarante sept millions cinq cent mille Droits de Tirages Spéciaux (47 500 000 DTS) soit soixante dix millions de dollars US (70 000 000 USD) pour financer le Projet de Développement de l’Accès à l’énergie Moderne (DAEM).

Afrique de l’Est : Les micro-entrepreneurs font leurs entrées dans le marché de l’énergie, à temps pour la coupe du monde Un groupe de 20 micro-entrepreneurs originaires de Ranen, un marché local de l’ouest de Kenya, sont les premiers entrepreneurs DEEP formés et mis en relation avec les institutions financières pour obtenir des facilités de crédits et développer leurs affaires dans le secteur énergétique.

L’Égypte compte ouvrir sa première centrale à énergie solaire fin 2010 L’Égypte compte mettre en service sa première centrale électrique à énergie solaire d’ici la fin de l’année 2010, a indiqué lundi 14 juin 2010 le ministère égyptien de l’Énergie.

Accord entre le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain et la BEI Le président de la BEI (Banque Européenne d’Investissement) se félicite de la seconde révision de l’Accord de Cotonou et signe avec le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain un accord d’assistance technique en faveur d’un projet dans le secteur libérien de l’énergie.

Colloques, conférences, rencontres, forum…

France : Forum EURAFRIC 2010 La 10ème édition du Forum EURAFRIC « Eau et Énergie en Afrique » se tiendra du 18 au 21 octobre 2010 au Centre des Congrès de Lyon (France).(29/06/2010)

Sénégal : salon ENERBATIM 2011 La deuxième édition du Salon International des Energies Renouvelables et du Bâtiment ENERBATIM en Afrique se tiendra du 6 au 9 avril 2011 au CICES (Dakar).

Tunisie : Congrès international sur les Énergies Renouvelables et l’Environnement Ce congrès aura lieu du 4 au 6 novembre 2010 à Sousse (Tunisie).

Algérie : salon international des énergies renouvelables ERA 2010 Le Salon international des énergies renouvelables, des énergies propres et du développement durable, se tiendra les 19, 20 et 21 octobre 2010 à Tamanrasset (Algérie).

Afrique du Sud : forum Hydropower Africa 2010 Ce forum sur l’hydroélectricité en Afrique aura lieu du 16 au 20 août 2010 à Johannesburg (Afrique du Sud)

Ressources

Derniers documents (études, applications…) proposés en libre téléchargement :

La revue de Proparco – n°6 – mai 2010 Cette revue bimestrielle n°6 de Proparco (groupe AFD) a pour thème : « Capital-investissement et énergies propres : catalyser les financements dans les pays émergents »

Les petits systèmes PV font la différence dans les pays en développement La coopération technique allemande (GTZ), a publié une étude qui fait le point sur l’impact des petites installations photovoltaïques sur le processus d’électrification rurale hors réseau, dans les pays en développement.

L’électricité au cœur des défis africains Manuel sur l’électrification en Afrique – Auteur Christine Heuraux

Interactions bioénergie et sécurité alimentaire Ce document de la FAO fournit un cadre quantitatif et qualitatif pour analyser l’interaction entre la bioénergie et la sécurité alimentaire.

Blogues du Riaed

Petit site dédié à un projet, une rencontre, une institution… Vous pouvez présenter vos connaissances et proposer des ressources en libre téléchargement.

Accès aux blogues hébergés par le Riaed : www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique41

Annuaire du Riaed

Inscrivez vous en qualité d’expert, ou inscrivez votre entreprise / institution / projet, etc. dans l’annuaire du Riaed pour être facilement identifiable et joignable. Vous le ferez en ligne, en quelques minutes, à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?breve6. Vous pouvez aussi le faire en adhérant au réseau du Riaed, en qualité de membre, à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?breve11 et en précisant à la fin votre souhait d’être aussi présenté publiquement dans l’annuaire (cocher la case ad hoc).

ASAPE ASAPE ou Association de solidarité et d’appui pour l’environnement

Burkina énergies et technologies appropriées (BETA) BETA est une entreprise solidaire qui a fait le choix de s’investir dans la promotion de l’accès à l’énergie en milieu rural.

Opportunités de financement de projets

EuropeAid – Facilité Énergie n°39 – Newsletter de juin 2010 Ce numéro de la lettre de la Facilité Énergie de la Commission Européenne nous fournit les statistiques sur l’évaluation des notes succinctes.

Formation, stages, partenariat, bourse d’échanges

Maroc : formation continue « La pérennisation des systèmes énergétiques décentralisés » L’objectif de cette session est la formation d’un groupe de techniciens impliqués dans les aspects techniques et socio-économiques de l’introduction de l’énergie solaire photovoltaïque dans l’électrification des zones rurales et isolées.

Burkina Faso : formation continue « Développer son expertise pour économiser l’énergie dans les bâtiments climatisés » L’IEPF et 2iE ont développé une formule qui comprend non seulement la formation proprement dite, mais également le suivi des bénéficiaires de cette formation (en particulier les entreprises industrielles), avec un engagement de leur part à mettre en oeuvre les recommandations des audits, en finançant tout ou partie des coûts.

Sites francophones sur l’énergie

Une liste de sites francophones et de réseaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique=34

======================================================

(Autres liens et réseaux)

THAT IS – THE SIMILAR TEXT IN ENGLISH FROM THE FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES OF AFRICA SEEMS TO BE AVAILABLE AT:

Une liste de sites anglophones et de réseaux internationaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique=35

=====================================================

THE BLOGGS LINK IS THE FOLLOWING BUT IT SEEMS  OLD: www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique41

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 21st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

We posted this first February 10, 2010, but felt compelled to pick up the subject of the meeting when we saw This Friday and this Saturday/Sunday Financial Times having in both issues a full spread by OIC on “The International Donors’ Conference For The Development & construction of Darfur” (The small “c” for construction is the way they said it.)

It says that the conference aims at mobilizing donations for and investments in the following sectors:

- Water

-Health & Education

- Agriculture, Livestock & Forests

- Rural & Women’s Development & Capacity Building

- Housing and Physical Planning

- The Cement Industry & Agricultural Process

a conference website - www.OIC-OCI.org


The page is adorned with the flags of SUDAN, SAUDI ARABIA, TURKEY, EGYPT.

Though we were very positive about our first posting, this addition is rather approached by us as skeptics.

WHY DID THEY HAVE TO WASTE MONEY FOR THESE ADDS IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES?

I thought that finally the Arab world has seen that they must intervene in Sudan as a matter of Arab or even better – Islamic – pride. It was obvious to us that the funding and work will have to be sort in the family. After all, does OIC believe that anyone outside the Arab world will channel through them donations for the poor people of Darfur via Sudanese the Government? Will anyone invest except in drilling for oil and that you do not get via an add in the FT.

Further, 30% of the page is a self advertisement of the OIC – “About OIC” – which is good PR but nothing for the Darfurians.

On the other hand – weekend The Financial Times (Saturday/Sunday March 20-21. 2010 had in the Life & Arts Section pages 1-2, a large article by Barney Jopson – “The road to independence” that was about South Darfur – “Sudan’s ‘Wild South’ is a country-in-waiting and could become a sovereign state next year, But is this shattered region ready to stand alone?”

The truth seems to us that Sudan has so badly mishandled Darfur that in effect it could become next State-in-waiting and the Sudan empire may fall apart. OIC could help sort this out in nice, quiet, discreet diplomacy and by backing the economy first using the oil income of Sudan and investment from other oil funds.

=======================================

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Turkish OIC Secretary General : The Donors Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur on 21 March.

But the OIC Calendar posted in the same posting says: “March 23: OIC Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur – Cairo, Egypt.” (??)

OIC Secretary General  Ihsanoglu also expressed his great satisfaction on the visit of H.E. Idriss Deby, the President of Chad, to Sudan and the agreement reached between the two countries to normalize their bilateral relations.

Also – OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu expressed his deep disappointment over the announced decision of the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to direct the pre-trial chamber to decide anew on the charge of genocide against the President of Sudan Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir.

All the above seems to show that the Islamic countries are ready to step into a problem solving mode in Sudan – but will the UN keep its Darfur and South Sudan watchdog positions? White washing Al-Bashir should not be allowed. What was done in Sudan was a series of Government sanctioned crimes. We also said that some of the motivation to those crimes had to do with impacts of climate change – will the oil rich Islamic countries – those countries that got financial advantage by selling the oil to the rest of the world, will they indeed pay their dues in the form of real help to the black people of Darfur – be they Islamic or not?

———–

The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu discussed with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Ahmad Aboul Gheit the current arrangements for the organization of the ‘International Donors Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur’, due to be held in the Egyptian Capital, Cairo, in March 21, 2010. The meeting was at Aboul Gheit’s office in Cairo on 6 February 2010. During the meeting, the two sides discussed the facets of joint cooperation between the OIC and Cairo, and their bilateral relations.

The meeting also addressed the ongoing arrangements for the next Islamic Summit Conference, which will be held in Egypt in March 2011, as well as various other issues of mutual interest.

The Secretary General had arrived in Cairo on 5 February. During his visit he also met with the Egyptian Minister of Islamic Affairs Mahmoud Himdi Zaqzouq and discussed the existing cooperation between the two parties in many fields.
In statements made to journalists, the Secretary General said that the Donors’ Conference for the Development and Reconstruction of Darfur will be held in Cairo on 21 March 2010, commending at the same time the concrete Egyptian role towards making the conference a success and its provision of all facilitations for organizing the conference. He also highlighted the significant support the OIC receives from both the leadership and the people of Egypt.

Ihsanoglu said that the Conference, which will be held at the ministerial level, will submit to the donors a number of vital projects in Darfur with the aim of completing the development process, which will strengthen stability in the province.

On another level, the Secretary General delivered on February 7, 2010 a lecture on ‘The Future of the Muslim World’ at the International Book Exhibition in Cairo.

————–

Turkish Minister of Trade and Industry visits the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah.

A ninety-member Turkish delegation led by the Minister of Trade and Industry of Turkey Dr. Nihat Ergun visited the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Jeddah on 8 February 2010. The Minister, whose delegation comprised industrialists and businessmen from the private and public sectors in Turkey, was received by the Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs Ambassador Hameed A. Opeloyeru, and the Director General of the Cabinet and Chief Advisor to the Secretary General Ambassador Sukru Tufan, on behalf of the OIC Secretary General Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. They exchanged views on how to expand cooperation between the OIC and Turkey in economic sector.

The Minister and his accompanying delegation attended a briefing session on expanding intra-OIC cooperation in the fields of trade and industry delivered by Ambassador Opeloyeru. The presentation covered a range of vital issues which included Intra-OIC Trade, Trade Preferential System of OIC, Cotton Rehabilitation Program, Agro-Food Development, Development of OIC Halal Food Standards, Cooperation in Tourism, Banking and Financial Sectors, Transportation and Private Sector initiatives.

Minister Ergun for his part stressed that his country will continue to take an active role in the OIC initiatives. He also noted that Turkey will soon finalize the ratification process of the Statute of the Standards and Meteorology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) which will function under the umbrella of the OIC.

——————–

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which has membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and protect the nterests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world. The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (25 September 1969). The Headquarters of OIC are in Jeddah - www.oosterhuis.nl/quickstart/inde…

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 22nd, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

War in Congo has caused by now 5 million death and there is no end to it,   war in Sudan has cost by now 2.5 million lives. Further many millions of people were driven from their homes – both these very large countries, rich in natural resources, have been driven to abject poverty with a very thin crust on top – rich people that made their fortune from the misery of the many,

China has now invested $9 billion in Sudan in oil deals, and $5 billion in Congo in minerals – someone from the locals gets some of this money. Americans and Europeans spend money on aid campaigns and would really want to see an end to the Killings. They clearly feel this is a bottomless pit. Three prominent leaders in the NGO effort to do something about this upheaval in Africa are:

George Clooney – famous actor and director,   David Presman – human-rights lawyer, and John Prendergast – co-chair of “the Enough Project” wrote the following article as an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal.

Not on Our Watch, and the Enough Project cry out to President-Elect Barack Obama in hope that, despite the other enormous tasks that he will have starting January 20, 2009, he should also take on the problems of Africa – specifically Congo and Sudan. We are with them but we do not see how he could spread out in his first days in office beyond the clear focus on the US economy as we reported today based on Obama’s media presentation of today – November 22, 2008.

By coincidence, today I also met Safiyya Sarkin, President and Founder, Women Beyond Survival. She told me about East Chad, which has become an extension of the war in Darfur, a war caused by Sudan. Chad is not alone, The Central African Republic is in similar condition as extension of wars in South Sudan and Congo. The whole region is in flames and why cannot Africa get its act together and show that they are ready to speak up for their people?

The point is that a government should be responsible for the protection of its own citizens, and if they do not act according to the UN principle “The Responsibility To Protect” their neighbors should be helped to move in and establish order. And if the neighbors do not want to do it – or cannot – the UN should be able to take over. But did you ever look at what goes on at the UN Security Council? If there is no oil to protect, seemingly nobody acts, and if it is just one large power that works on that oil – what then? Will President Obama be ready to stand up and be counted as a defender of the people of Darfur even without a US interest in the oil of Sudan? We hope he will, but we are not convinced that this will be right at start. Further, we actually think that incoming Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who visited Darfur, and knows the atrocities, and being a woman, would be ready, after confirmation by the US Senate, to look at least on the women’s side of the East and Central African problems in line of www.womenbeyondsurvival.org

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 26th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

EYE ON THE UN: For Immediate Release – May 26, 2008 – The US Memorial Day.

Contact: Anne Bayefsky
(917) 488-1558
 anne at hudsonny.org

UN Racism Conference to be held in Geneva April 20-24, 2009 – Ironically over Holocaust Remembrance Day.

May 26, 2008

The next UN racism conference – known as Durban II or the Durban Review Conference – will be held on UN premises in Geneva from April 20-24, 2009, a UN preparatory committee decided today.

Anne Bayefsky, editor of EYEontheUN.org, said “holding the meeting at a UN venue on European soil will essentially guarantee funding from the UN regular budget for the conference, and that the European Union will fully participate and not follow boycott plans of Canada, the United States and Israel.”

The European Union had been insisting on a shorter session in New York, but the African Group refused to agree on the New York venue and wanted a 5-day conference. The idea floated by some states of again holding the conference in Durban, South Africa fell through when South Africa withdrew its offer to host the event. Throughout negotiations the African group was tightly controlled by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, with Egypt acting as their spokesperson.

Bayefsky noted “Ironically, the Durban Review Conference will take place over Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah on April 21, 2009.

Jews all over the world will be remembering the 6 million murdered in the worst instance of racism and xenophobia in human history.

At the same time, the United Nations will be discussing whether the Jewish state, created in the wake of the Holocaust and standing as a bulwark to ensure it is never repeated, should be demonized as the worst practitioner of racism and xenophobia among nations today.”

Durban II is intended to promote the implementation of the 2001 Durban Declaration, which singled out only Israel and labeled Palestinians as victims of Israeli racism.

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For once South Africa showed the courage to stand up and be counted among the Nations – the rest of Africa – we must note – is nothing but a rug at the feet of the Islamic world – Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibuti, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Marocco … all countries were black Africans suffer from the Egyptian led OIC intrusions on their continent. The UN is just a conduit for making the world pay the bill.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 3rd, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

CHAD, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, DARFUR MUST BE TACKLED TOGETHER – BAN KI-MOON SAYS.

The Observation Seems Right – but it just does not cover the UN nakedness.

The flare-up of civil strife, cross-border tension and displacement involving Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan should be addressed in a unified manner that is outside the mandate of the mission currently being deployed by the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a report released today.

In his report on the Mission in CAR and Chad, known as MINURCAT, Mr. Ban writes: “The internal crisis in Chad, the situation facing refugees and internally displaced persons [IDPs] in eastern Chad and the Central African Republic, the tensions between Chad and the Sudan and the situation in Darfur should be addressed simultaneously.”

This should be done, he adds, in a coordinated effort that takes into account the root causes of the internal conflicts and the regional dimensions of those problems.

“To date, however, neither MINURCAT nor EUFOR is ideally mandated to address these issues,” he says, with the latter acronym referring to the European support force.

The innovative, multi-dimensional MINURCAT was set up by the Security Council last September to help protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to thousands of people uprooted due to insecurity in the northeast of the CAR and eastern Chad and in the neighbouring Darfur region of Sudan.

It was mandated to comprise 300 police and 50 military liaison officers, as well as civilian staff, focusing on the areas of civil affairs, human rights and the rule of law. The strength as of 1 April stood at 163 national and 64 national staff.

Deployment was delayed when Chadian rebels advanced from the area of the border with Sudan in a bid to take Chad’s capital, N’Djamena in early February. Though the rebels were eventually driven out of the city, street fighting left many dead and UN staff were evacuated.

Also in early February, about 10,000 people from West Darfur sought refuge in eastern Chad following a series of deadly air and land attacks by the Sudanese Government and its allied militia.

In addition, the Prime Minister of the CAR resigned in January and in the subsequent period many thousands fled their villages due to raids by armed groups, with many making their way to Chad.

These problems are complex and all require comprehensive solutions worked out between the many parties involved, Mr. Ban notes in the report.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 21st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Modern Purim thoughts include the UN.

Purim is the day when Jews remember the plans made by Haman to eradicate all the Jews of the old Persian empire. He did not succeed and paid with his life – as we say – the rest is history.

Jews were ordered to remember what happened then – so they read that story – the Megillah (the parchment of Esther) – year after year – on the evening before Purim. This year it happened on Thursday, March, 20th – so last night we participated at the “Megillah Madness” – at The New York Synagogue in Manhattan – led by Rabbi Marc Schneier.
The celebration was at very high tone and at serious decibels – this to the sound and projections of the Beatles Music and the noise of the traditional “grogger” rattles. Each time the name Haman is read – and this happens 54 times during the readings – mayhem brakes lose and the costumed servers came forth to bring us delicious Haman’s Ears (“Oznei Haman” in Hebrew – staffed with marmalade or poppy seeds), or glasses of sweet whisky spiked drinks. Purim is in effect an annual of catharsis, healthy for the mind and the soul. Quite nice when all you are supposed is to remember evil, so you are better prepared when it strikes again. You see, Purim does in effect obligate today the State of Israel to the UN mandate of: “The Principle to Protect.”

On Purim, the Jewish Jockers are used to run a competition for the coveted “Haman of the Year Award” and this year’s two top candidates were two heads of UN Member States who appear daily on the UN menu: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir of the Sudan. The former attacks Jews verbally every day, and has also sponsored militants that fight Jews and Israel daily, while the latter was reportedly actually engaged in genocide against less Arabized Africans of Darfur. www.SustainabiliTank.info has posted many times articles on above deeds. We even tried to understand the background of the genocide in Darfur by considering climate change aspects as an influence on what started the warfare. But whatever the reasons, it is the government of Khartoom that backed its favorites. We see here fights between intruding, more Arabized, pastoralists against lesser Arabized, and blacker, agriculturalists. Our claim was that this is genocide that was started by increased desertification in the region. The UN as an institution did not want to hear such arguments, and eventually it took Sir Nicholas Stern, and the intervention of the UK government at the UN Security Council, to vindicate last year what we were saying three years ago. Whatever the issue, it was al-Bashir’s responsibility “TO PROTECT” his citizens. Instead he puts hurdles before those from the outside that came to help.
The UN Security Council has had Darfur on its agenda for five years, and the genocide continues. But the Council spends disproportionately more time considering Israel’s actions with various UN diplomats berating Israel for defending itself vigorously.
Our “Haman of the Year Award” goes to President al-Bashir. If his enemies don’t get him, the UN has established an International Criminal Court and we wonder why was it not invoked yet in the matter of Sudan’s actions in Darfur. Our website described last week how Dr. al-Bashir let UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wait for him in Dakar, and never showed up for the meeting claiming a headache.

Happy Purim – and I would like to note further that this year Purim falls on the same day as Good Friday – or Easter Friday. This has happened only the second time since 1910.

Easter occurs on the Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, and that full moon usually coincides with the first day of Passover. That is how both religions – Judaism and Christianity have the renewal holidays aligned. This year this is not the case, and the reason is that it is leap year in the Jewish calendar, and an added month (a 13-th month) has been introduced. That brings instead the strange alignment between Easter and Purim. We would like to see in this an opportunity for healing – in the sense that we could say changes could be introduced so that Haman-type of hatred is removed from our lives – our society gets renewed like at Passover time, though this is Purim time. Would it be so terrible to ask the UN to consider this proposition of making sure that evil is remembered and actually acted against?

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 20th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

UN: Attacks on Darfur villages a ‘deliberate’ strategy.

from Geneva, Switzerland, by AF, and picked up on Mail&Guardian of South Africa.
 www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?art…

20 March 2008 12:11

Attacks on four villages in West Darfur in January and February by the Sudanese armed forces amounted to a “deliberate” military strategy, the United Nations said in a report on Thursday.

The attacks resulted in at least 115 deaths, according to a report issued jointly by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN African Union Mission in Darfur.

“The scale of destruction of civilian property, including objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population, suggests that the damage was a deliberate and integral part of a military strategy,” said the report.

The UN further condemned the attacks as “violations of international humanitarian and human rights law”, saying that they failed to “distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives”.

Sudan has been locked in a serious humanitarian crisis since ethnic minority rebels in Darfur took up arms against Khartoum in 2003.



Arab militias aligned to the Sudanese government have been accused of horrendous violence against civilians in quelling the rebellion.

The United States has described the violence in Darfur as genocide.

In its latest report, the UN detailed attacks in four villages which it described as part of “a major military campaign” launched by the Sudanese government.

It describes the campaign as an attempt to regain control of the northern corridor of West Darfur, and to drive out the Justice and Equality Movement rebel group.

It said that attacks by armed Arab militia on a village called Saraf Jidad took place on three occasions in January and resulted in the displacement of almost the entire population there.

Attackers opened fire at people and torched houses. Food reserves were also deliberately burnt.

At the other three villages of Sirba, Silea and Abu Suruj, aerial bombardments on February 8 were accompanied by ground offensives by armed militia as well as the Sudanese armed forces, it said.

Extensive looting was carried out and “consistent and credible accounts of rape committed by armed uniformed men during and after the attack in Sirba” were also highlighted in the report.

The UN said it was unable to report on similar attacks in Jebel Moon and other areas which also resulted in civilian deaths, as access to Jebel Moon was denied by the Sudan government until March 1.

This is a breach of the government’s obligation to allow UN officials access under an agreement signed in February, said the UN.

The report urged the Sudanese government to cease hostilities in the area, and to refrain from “launching deliberate and indiscriminate aerial attacks against civilians”.

It also asked all parties in the Darfur conflict to respect their obligations, and to refrain from the use of civilians as “human shields”.

The international community should also strongly condemn the attacks and urge all parties to end hostilities and abide by existing ceasefire agreements, the UN said.

The UN says at least 200 000 people have died in Darfur in the past five years and more than two million people have fled their homes. – AFP

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Today we watched African Delegates celebrate another step in the 17 year long battle in Somalia – there the UN also hides behind the AU, and the AU does not have even a force there. The South African Ambassador said that today was a great day for Somalia because the UN even spent time in looking at the problem – asked about an intervention – he said that is still a long way off. So, what was he happy about? Shame on all of this so called UN Security Council, and on the UNSG as well – even though it was today his report to the UNSC that caused the Ambassadors to spend their time on this failed UN Member State. Simply said – the UN does not have the guts to stand up when Islamic States are involved in misdeeds. Is this the power of the oil exporters? What else?

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 13th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/c…

From www.policyinnovations.org of the Carnegie Council, New York – Oil and Turmoil.
By Saleem H. Ali. On the web – March 12, 2008

As rebel troops rolled into the Chadian capital N’Djamena last month, commentators were once again ready to blame it all on the country’s oil. Many saw the resource curse in action: An oil-rich country driven to civil strife by avarice and a sudden influx of wealth.

The headline on CNN immediately read: “Oil fuels ethnic violence in Chad.” Environmental groups and human rights activists felt vindicated that their campaigns against the Chad-Cameroon pipeline would now be taken more seriously. Given that many view Iraq as an “oil war,” there was a general presumption that the loathsome liquid was also the ultimate cause of this African conflict.

The connection between oil and conflict has been made since the earliest industrial uses of the fuel. Soon after the end of World War I, the French oil executive Henry Bérenger in a historic dinner speech alongside the distinguished British diplomat George Curzon said, “As oil had been the blood of war, so it would be the blood of the peace.” If oil was part of the problem it would perhaps be part of the solution as well.

Nevertheless, we need to consider the complexity of conflicts in regions like Chad far more carefully before assuming linear causality. Civil war in Chad predates the discovery of oil by at least two decades, thus the underlying ethnic rifts may be a more profound determinant of conflict.

As the recent violence in Kenya shows, such visceral tensions can even escalate into violence in nascent democracies with not a drop of oil to fuel the rage. Yet, we must recognize that a sudden influx of cash without appropriate planning and with national asymmetries can be a recipe for disaster.

Extractive industries are a kind of windfall development similar to the establishment of a casino in an impoverished neighborhood. In order for an oil windfall to be successful in the long run, it must be coupled with development strategies that utilize the revenues and minimize its environmental impact. With the growing influence of globalization on national policies, some of the fears of resource dependency in Africa and its connection to corruption may be assuaged.

Take the example of Equatorial Guinea, which has been a languishing dictatorship since its independence from Spain in 1968 (although it nominally formed a constitutional democracy in 1991). Following the discovery of oil in the mid-1990s, the international community became more engaged with this tiny country. The United States reopened its embassy in Malabo in 2003, and the State department asserts that U.S. “intervention has resulted in positive developments,” such as an office to monitor human rights in the country.

The viability of such a mechanism as a means of initiating change in Equatorial Guinea was tested by a recent scandal involving the alleged siphoning of oil revenues to an account held by President Teodoro Obiang’s family at Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C. The account was linked to acquisition of property in the Washington suburbs, and this led to a U.S. Senate hearing on the issue and an investigation by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of Currency in 2004.

None of this would have happened if Equatorial Guinea had not been brought to the world’s attention by oil. Yet the onus for exerting such influence still lies with the international community. At the same time, the regulatory capacity of some African governments over oil activities has grown.



Some governments have gained expertise in the technical matters of the oil business, improving their capacity to negotiate concession contracts and regulate social and environmental issues. For example, Angolan authorities fined ChevronTexaco $2 million because of an oil spill in 2002. Despite a history of oil spills and pollution in the region, this was the first time an oil company was fined due to environmental degradation in Africa. ChevronTexaco also compensated local fishermen for losses in their incomes.

As peace returns to the streets of Chad, the eye of the international community should remain on how the oil revenues are managed and how the country ultimately plans for a post-oil economy. The elaborate system for revenue transparency that the World Bank set up for Chad’s oil must be enforced.

Despite oil’s tortured history and eventual demise as a fuel, it must not be summarily dismissed as a cause of turmoil in Africa. Rather it should be considered as a resource that needs to be managed with effective development planning.

Saleem H. Ali

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources

Saleem H. Ali is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, and on the adjunct faculty of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. For the 2007–2008 academic year, he is also serving as the Associate Dean for Graduate Education in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts and how ecological factors can promote peace.

Prof. Ali is also on the visiting faculty for the United Nations–mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica), where he teaches a course on Indigenous Environment and Development Conflicts. Much of his empirical research has focused on environmental conflicts in the mineral sector and he is the author of Mining, the Environment and Indigenous Development Conflicts (University of Arizona Press, 2003). His most recent edited volume is Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution (MIT Press, September, 2007), with cover endorsements from E. O. Wilson, George Schaller, and Achim Steiner and a foreword by Julia Marton-Lefevre.

Dr. Ali is also a member of the expert advisory group on environmental conflicts for the United Nations Environment Programme with a specific interest in transboundary conservation zones. As part of this effort, he is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Taskforce on Transboundary Conservation.

Previously, Dr. Ali was an environmental health and safety professional at General Electric and a consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Health Canada as an Associate at the Boston-based consulting firm Industrial Economics Inc. Dr. Ali’s research appointments include a Public Policy Fellowship at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, a Baker Foundation Research Fellowship at Harvard Business School, and a parliamentary internship at the U.K. House of Commons.

Articles by this Author:

Oil and Turmoil (Commentary)
Salvaging Peace with Syria (Commentary)

Link: www.uvm.edu/~shali/

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 1st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Based on the UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE, 29 February, 2008 =========================================================================

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his first visit to the state of Texas today, told President George Bush. the father, that the UN and the UNITED STATES were CRITICAL PARTNERS ON A RANGE OF GLOBAL ISSUES.

In finding solutions for the Darfur conflict, global warming, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and a host of other issues, the United Nations and the United States were essential partners, he said.


“The United Nations has no better friend than America,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to the William Waldo Cameron Forum on Public Affairs at the Bush Presidential Library.

He also told the father of President George W. Bush that “According to opinion polls, three quarters of Americans believe the United Nations should play a larger role in the world – Why? Because working together is in the best interest of the United States – It’s in the best interest of the UN and the best interest of the world.”

Turning to Darfur, Mr. Ban said the US and UN were working together because Americans, including current US President George W. Bush, want action to end a conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives and forced 2.2 million from their homes.

Darfur, he said, was also about climate change, since drought and other climate effects had boosted tensions there and in many parts of the world.

He said the UN must work on climate change because it is a global problem, and the engagement of the US is crucial because markets, technology and entrepreneurship are a big part of the solution.

“Visiting Silicon Valley last summer, I saw how venture capital is pouring into new technologies for renewable energy and fuel efficiency,” he said, noting that a recent report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that investments in clean energy technology could reach $1.9 trillion by 2020.

Beside his theme of partnership on global issues, Mr. Ban’s remarks today were peppered with personal reminiscences concerning the idea of the US, and the statesmanship of former president Bush.

“As a boy growing up in South Korea, I was inspired by America and its noble ideals,” he said. “American soldiers saved my country from communist aggression. They were so friendly to me and so generous. I’m still grateful for the sacrifice the American people made for my nation,” he affirmed.

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But while Ban Ki-moon was lecturing in Texas – Darfur was boiling over from Sudan to Chad and the UN was studying the problem. Can the UN get out of its Darfur/Sudan hole without a solid US push?
UN SAYS REFUGEES FLEEING NEW ATTACKS IN DARFUR, MANY TO DANGEROUS AREA OF CHAD

As West Darfur continues to be scourged by a new wave of air and ground attacks, the United Nations refugee agency estimated today that more than 13,000 Sudanese have fled to a remote area of Chad that is beset by its own inter-ethnic strife.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), just this week an additional 3,000 refugees arrived in eastern Chad’s volatile Birak area, where an assistance mission was cancelled yesterday after armed men on horseback were spotted, along with black smoke rising from a burning village.

“The insecurity and close proximity to the Sudanese border mean UNHCR cannot establish a camp in the Birak area, but we are trying to provide emergency assistance when our teams can get there,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva.

The agency is still awaiting approval from the Government of Chad to move the refugees to existing camps that already house 240,000 people uprooted by the five-year conflict in Darfur, in which the Sudanese Government and militias are fighting rebel factions and in which over 200,000 people, mainly non-combatants, have died.

A UNHCR team which reached the Birak area earlier in the week reported that the new arrivals had come there because of repeated militia assaults on the Jebel Moun region of West Darfur.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Special Representative for Sudan, Ameerah Haq, visited Sileah in West Darfur yesterday as part of an inter-agency assessment mission and found the town – which normally has a population of 20,000 – almost empty.

Only around 300 people remained, mostly elderly citizens who could not flee. The town was attacked on 8 February, in the beginning of the current onslaught.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 27th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Subject: Women In Great Numbers Descend On The UN for CSW 52 – that is the yearly take-over of the UN by the Commission on the Status of Women. EXXONMOBIL Takes A Ride.

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The Commission on the Status of Women is Having its meeting at the UN – and the UN wants to have us believe that it is all about “Violence Against Women.” The reality is that for the week, a yearly event, women’s organizations take over the UN; the UN will be used for many other purposes, besides the one expressed by the UNSG, as well.

This article picked up first the official statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the very good reporting by Edith Lederer from the Associated Press – based on that UN official position. But then we wish to single out one “Parallel Event” held on February 25, 2008, at the Church Center across the UN. We went to that event because we were sent a flyer that mentioned as a panelist: “EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION – Speaker to be announced.” This was enough to trigger our curiosity and the appetite to devour that unnamed speaker for a named company – this while all other members of the panel were right there named in the open.

The title of that event was – “CORPORATE FEMINISM: ENHANCING CORPORATE INFLUENCE THROUGH WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT.” The Conveners of the event were The International Council of Jewish Women and cosponsored by: Soroptimist International. The first body is represented in the US by the National Council of Women, the second body came to CSW 52 with the theme – “Financing for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women.” We will have much more about all of this, but as said, we will first introduce the two postings we mentioned in the previous paragraph.

UN Urges End to Violence Against Women

By EDITH M. LEDERER | Associated Press Writer
11:41 PM CST, February 25, 2008

UNITED NATIONS – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has launched a global campaign to intensify efforts to end violence against women, specifically calling on men to combat the problem.

“At least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime,” he told the opening session of the Commission on the Status of Women on Monday. “Through the practice of prenatal sex selection, countless others are denied the right even to exist.”

Ban said he will form a global network of male leaders to assist him in mobilizing men in government, the arts, sports, business and religion, as well as boys, to speak out against the scourge.

“I call on men around the world to lead by example: to make clear that violence against women is an act perpetrated by a coward, and that speaking up against it is a badge of honor,” he said.

According to the U.N., the most common form of violence experienced by women globally is physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner. World Bank data show women aged 15-44 “are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, motor accidents, war and malaria.”

In every war zone, violence against women has been reported during or after armed conflict. As examples, the U.N. said, between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 Rwanda genocide and between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped during the Bosnian conflict in the early 1990s.

Ban said the campaign will continue until 2015 to coincide with the target date to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals aimed at combatting poverty.

He said he will personally approach world leaders “to spur action through national campaigns,” and will urge all countries to ensure that violence against women is always a crime. He said he will also urge the media, the U.N. system, non-governmental organizations and women’s groups worldwide to set priorities and targets to end violence against women.

“We know that violence against women compounds the enormous social and economic toll on families, communities, even whole nations,” Ban said.

The secretary-general said he will propose that the U.N. hold an event in 2010 to review the campaign’s accomplishments and to map out steps to make further progress by 2015.

World leaders at a U.N. summit in 2005, the U.N. Security Council, and the General Assembly have pledged to combat violence against women, but the secretary-general said much more needs to be done.

The U.N. said the campaign — Unite to End Violence Against Women — will try to mobilize public opinion to pressure policy makers to prevent and eradicate violence against women.

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CSW 52 had nothing to do with the will of the UNSG. As said this is an event organized by the Commission on the Status of Women – though, clearly, it is highly possible and we would say probable, that the UNSG has suggested a topic for this years meeting of the CSW. This is clearly a very welcome move on his part and it comes after we saw so many cases when even UN Peacekeeping forces are accused of rape – not just combatant forces that had to be kept apart by these UN forces. So, besides the global humanitarian problem, there is here also a UN problem – and it could not be soon enough for the UNSG to step into this breach of confidence in the UN.

Further – the UNSG in the words of his Spokesperson:

We ‘cannot wait’ to end violence against women – Secretary-General Ban.

170449-ki-moon.jpg
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launches campaign to End Violence Against Women.

25 February 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today kicked off a multi-year global campaign bringing together the United Nations, governments and civil society to try to end violence against women, calling it an issue that “cannot wait.”

“At least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Through the practice of prenatal sex selection, countless others are denied the right even to exist,” Mr. Ban said in his address at the opening in New York of the latest session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Violence against women impedes economic and social growth, and thus the new campaign will run until 2015, the same target year as the internationally agreed aims known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Noting that weapons of armed conflict today include rape, sexual violence and abduction of children to be conscripted as soldiers or sex slaves, the Secretary-General recounted his visits to war-torn areas and his conversations with survivors of violence.

“This is a campaign for them. It is a campaign for the women and girls who have the right to live free of violence, today and in the future,” he said. “It is a campaign to stop the untold cost that violence against women inflicts on all humankind.”

Mr. Ban called on the cooperation of the world’s youth, women’s groups, men around the world, the private sector and Member States to help the new initiative succeed.
He acknowledged that there is no “blanket approach” to tackling the scourge, noting that each country must formulate its own measures to address violence against women.
“But there is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable,” the Secretary-General stated, adding that he hopes to hold a high-level event in 2010 to review progress.

But there is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.

As part of today’s campaign launch, Rachel N. Mayanja, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, held a press conference together with a number of other activists, both male and female, working to end violence against women and are slated to participate in other discussions on the subject at UN Headquarters.

“While everybody professes that women hold up the sky and women’s contributions are critical to development – to everything – it hasn’t been demonstrated concretely.” Ms Mayanja said. “And here we are, halfway through the Millennium Development Goals projected period, and we are still lagging behind.”

Many women have been left out of development efforts because of the violence that is continually being inflicted on them, she said. The Secretary-General’s campaign, she added, would bring a new sense of urgency to bear on this tragic issue.

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News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Saudi Arabian women need support to help advance society – UN expert

Video | Audio

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Further, the press conference, as well as the main meeting itself, included male witnesses talking freely about their own experience of having attacked women. Specially was impressive in his presentation one male from the US that after 20 years of counseling came to the conclusion that the three cases of him attacking women were based on the male culture in his neighborhood. A man is supposed to be aggressive he said, and this translated in the way he dealt with women. Men go to war – successful – they become heroes. He finally recognized that this was his personal problem and now he counsels other delinquent males so they recognize the wrong motivation them act the way they do.

But then the UN has not reached yet the level of self criticism reached by above man who by now is rather a gentleman. The question of rape in the field, and exploitation of women and girls in the field, by UN personnel, was never raised at this event – not even the fact that the UN building itself harbors soft porno and smut. So, the only remaining good investigative journalist at the UN – the man called by all – Matthew – did bring this up. Please his post:

Soft Porn Sold in UN Lobby, Despite Gender Advisor’s Complaints to UN Management.

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, February 25 — As the UN on Monday launched its Campaign to End Violence Against Women, in the lobby of UN Headquarters, soft porn remained for sale. At the newsstand next to the elevator to the Secretary-General’s offices on the building’s 38th floor, titles such as Curve and Smooth and King, along with Dirty South, were on display, with oiled-up women vamping for the camera.

Following a press conference at noon at which time apparently did not permit Inner City Press to ask this question despite a hand raised high throughout the question and answer period, the question was put to the UN’s Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, Assistant Secretary-General Rachel N. Mayanja. “I am glad you are raising it,” she told Inner City Press. “I am very appalled. I had already raised it to the Department of Management and had been assured they were going to ask them to take it down.”

Inner City Press asked how long ago the request had been made to the Department of Management, headed by Under Secretary General Alicia Barcena. “At least six months ago,” Ms. Mayanja said. “I am going to go back to them. It should be removed.”

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Ban Ki-moon launches Campaign to End Violence Against Women, soft porn not shown

While the sale of soft porn on the newsstand in the United Nations lobby may raise First Amendment issues, it appears to be the UN’s position that while the UN is in the United States, it is international territory to which the U.S. Constitution does not apply. Perhaps then it is Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that has constrained the UN from removing the pornography from the newsstand it licenses in its lobby. Recently, the Department of Management and Ms. Barcena have had no problem condemning journalistic coverage of a death at the UN as causing “complete shock and outrage,” as being “insensitive” and “clearly transgress[ing] accepted boundaries of professional journalism.” Soft porn which the UN’s own Special Adviser on Gender Issues six months ago asked the Department of Management to have removed, however, has generated no such shock or outrage within the Department of Management, nor apparently even a letter to the newsstand.

Footnote: to the UN’s credit, even when time or a moderator deny a journalist a question, most (but not all) UN officials are willing to slow down and provide at least some answer to a question, if a reporter is persistent enough. The matter of soft porn in the lobby is one that Inner City Press has wanted to ask ASG Mayanga about for some time. And despite obstacles on Monday, the question was asked, and now we’ll see what happens. Watch, if not the UN lobby, this site.

Having reported the above, let us see now the CSW 52 Parallel event on Corporate Feminism // Women’s Empowerment, and let us say right front that we do not begrudge women that pushed for equal rights to advance on the corporate ladder. We were friends with such power houses like Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan. Years ago, we hosted them at events of “The Theatre for Ideas” – in Manhattan and in East Hampton, Long Island, New York.
Sure, this is a different level of women’s rights from what the UNSG had in mind in his dealing with the physical protection of women – but then the right of women according to the UN Declaration on Human Rights extends also to equal rights for women’s advancement on corporate ladders. So, naturally, I thought that the panel will be dealing with what was achieved and where we go from here. But what about ExxonMobil? It did not let me bypass the event.

Going to www.soroptimistinternational.org I found that Soroptimist International is a worldwide organization for women in management and professions, working through service projects to advance human rights and the status of women. Even better – Soroptimist International is a launch partner for this vital UNIFEM internet global advocacy campaign which will run until 8 March, International Women’s Day. One in 3 women and girls may be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetime.

Greater resources are urgently needed to halt these shameful statistics. The UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, managed by UNIFEM, supports local initiatives, such as work to prevent human trafficking, assisting survivors of domestic violence, or helping to implement laws against rape.
On 22 January, the United Nations Foundation announced a Challenge Grant. It will donate $1 to the UN Trust Fund for each of the first 100,000 signatures to UNIFEM’s “say NO to violence” campaign.
UNIFEM needs YOUR help now! (obviously I signed the petition the day of the meeting) I also met Margaret Lobo, the Australian 2007-2009 International President of the Soroptimists.

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Margaret Lobo

A message from the Soroptimist International President:
“As International President, I am privileged to represent an organization that has been committed to advancing the status of women and human rights for all for over 85 years. With its 90,000 members in 125 countries and territories serves its local, national and international communities through Awareness, Advocacy and Action.
I hope that you will share the passion and enthusiasm of our members as you read about our projects and will want to join us in building a better world for girls and women. We look forward to hearing from you.”

A flyer describes their projects – I will just mention a very small sample: a project “Independence” to help rebuild lives of women in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda, through education, job training and micro-credit loans for small businesses; “Limbs for Life” that provides prostheses for victims of landmines in Angola, Georgia, Afghanistan; “SIAM” in Northern Thailand villages to develop income-generating activities and AIDS education in order to decrease the number of women entering the sex trade; SI/SIGHT clinics in Bangladesh to prevent blindness in children under 5; anti-malaria bed-nets for children under 5 in Ze, Benin; care, nutrition, education for abandoned children in Vietnam; help for women AIDS victims in Uganda and Ukraine….

Margaret Lobo was not involved in setting up the program of that panel. She told me that this was done by the local organizations in New York. She gave me a second flyer explaining what the organization does -

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The other sponsoring organization was The International Council Of Jewish Women with about 50 member organizations is represented in the US by The National Council of Jewish Women ( www.ncjw.org ). A faith-based volunteer organization that works to improve the quality of life for women, children, and families and to ensure individual rights It is a politically savvy organization. For over a century, NCJW has been at the forefront of social change. NCJW members are outspoken champions for progressive policies at the federal, state, and local levels. Over the years, NCJW’s collective voice has changed the world for the better – improving the lives of women, children, and families in the US and Israel.

The Moderator of the panel was Meryle Kaplan, Vice President of Advisory Services at Catalyst. www.catalyst.org “CATALIST was founded in 1962 as a nonprofit corporate membership research and advisory organization working globally with businesses and professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women and business.” This according to their flyer. They are “connected to business and its changing needs.” Offices in New York, San Jose, Toronto, and Zug, Switzerland. They work with 340 leading corporations, firms, business schools, and associations – they honor exemplary business initiatives that promote women’s leadership with an annual Catalyst Award. The New York office is on Wall Street and I was not impressed.

Meryle Kaplan told me that she asked her speakers to talk about in-house corporation advancement of women, and as well, about involvement of the corporations in their environments – the interaction with the communities where they do their business.

Elizabeth Cottam, Managing Director, Global Leadership and Diversity at Goldman, Sachs &Co., and Carolyn Buck Luce, Senior Partner, Global Accounts Group, at Ernst & Young, LLP were excellent examples of female leaders in their corporations. Their presentations were indeed examples of what women have achieved in that old fight for advancement within their corporations. They spoke about how funds were created in their companies to help promote the female employees, and how now they are finding new targets for their fights inside the company. Having achieved an increasing percentage of top jobs, though still a minority – they want now also part of the say in the philanthropic funds that these companies have established. This because women may have different interests in the way those funds are distributed. There was a lot of interesting material in their short presentations and much more further information was provided at Q&A time. Their presentations were indeed good examples of how women executives evolved and are now an important factor in the economy as wellas in the social fabric of developed countries that can also help women in developing countries.

Carolyn Buck Luce also teaches at Columbia University a course on “Women in Power” at the School of International and Public Affairs. Corporations want now to put their women into leadership positions in the community – dealing with economics, safety, health – in the community. One point she made is that it still happens that when women succeed they may yet get laid off. this because people are afraid of power. She started out at the US Department of State in the Soviet Union. She wrote about the promotion of minority women. She is a mother of four. She said that by looking at her success she inspired also her sons in their own career development – a comment that was very appropriate to her presentation.

Elizabeth Cottam, working with an Investment Bank, a financial institution that deals only with high net-wealth individuals, governments, corporations, financial institutions, is in an organization were there is an internal competition for who gets to work with the best clients. These competitive women want more career development in house programs. They know that there must be a business rationale for helping the women employees. 2004-2007 she was the company head of Human Capital Management Asia. Now she heads the Global efforts.

Amy Hall, Director of Social Consciousness, Eileen Fisher, Inc., a company that manufactures clothes overseas – in places like China, Korea or Thailand. In those factories 80% of the workers are women. She helps the company carry out the company’s commitment to practicing business responsibly in its relations to these women employees. It is her job to develop community partnerships and oversee the commitment to ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY. She came to Eileen Fisher, Inc. after a fundraising career with Asian-American cultural, educational and social service organizations in New York City. (today we posted also an article about women in Bangladesh that grew with the garment trade – this is clearly a subject with high importance to developing countries’ women empowerment.)

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The ExxonMobil leaf says correctly that an EWGI   (Educating Women and Girls Initiative) yields higher rate of return for society than any other investment available in the developing world – so it says “ExxonMobil is doing this in order to accelerate progress toward international objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals. “

Exxon EWGI programs fund activities in Angola, Chad, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Qatar – and when Ms. Luxbacher spoke – she also included Washington DC among places they operate.   Now this makes sense – in the countries she mentioned, a very real hodge-podge of dissimilar places in the world, that are all affected by Exxon drilling   for oil and gas – and Washington DC where the drilling is for government favors – all this to the sound of   $11 million grants through 2007 in areas including a long list of activities that most probably had very little application in a country like Qatar, where the paper says that they provided vocational and life-skill training for what amounts there to middle age – to older women (ages 18-45).   Also, remember please that Qatar has little oil but has a long term large reserve of gas. After the US had to abandon its air force bases in Saudi Arabia, the bases were moved to Qatar and located right on top of those gas fields. Qatar is a safe place for a US Oil and Gas company, and doing some limited favors to the government does not hurt. There is no work here with girls – there maybe some work with grown up women, under good supervision, and no chance of causing those women to start demanding rights. That surely would not have been allowed in an Arab country – even Qatar.

In Indonesia, they work in the oil rich semi-independent Aceh region, where the interest by the US oil company was a cause to a rebellious movement. In Colombia they helped fund seemingly a UNICEF   improved Water and Sanitation effort for schools (that is a US Administration affiliated Ms. Veneman effort with good US business savvy activity). Good for Colombian schools in the Cartagena and Santa Maria areas where Exxon is active. Similarly UNICEF related activities go on in Chad (you remember that infamous pipeline that brought about an attempt to divide the country and a war?) and Equatorial Guinea – another trouble spot. To get into activities in Angola and Nigeria would sink us into sand-holes. ExxonMobil does not do any philanthropic work in Venezuela – actually they may nearing the point that they lose all work in Venezuela. Seemingly Venezuela might yet do philanthropic work in Washington DC as they already do in South Bronx, New York City.

This leaves us only with Kazakhstan, where strong local government will simply not let ExxonMobil do as it pleases – so, in order to obtain some favors, under conditions that they must compete for business with European companies,   they may actually do something that is important to the local people, and to US government initiatives. There they work with USAID on a micro-finance program that helped also 1,760 women with their first business training. We hope that with the supervision of the local Enterprise Development Center (EDC) that they actually helped establish, they are now a positive force in the effort, of interest to the Kazaks, to move their past-Soviet style economy, now on a   path more close to private enterprise.

Except for Kazakhstan and Qatar, the other 5 countries mentioned are all hot spots of ExxonMobil caused dissensions, where local people oppose the environmental damage that the oil company has caused and is causing. Who is interested there in their philanthropy outstretch?   This is great business for public relation firms – you see we do some good there with the few peanuts we are throwing in the direction of the local poor, while we feast with the local government that will be happy to exchange the future of their people, for the present pay-outs to the ruling few. Now – that is oil business at its best and it needs really very little planning – it needs good technical expertize to get the oil and gas out of the ground, and deliver it to pipelines and shipping terminals. We must have a good PR firm to bring us to the UN, and put us on a panel with others that do good.

 

Now, with above things in mind, I decided to ask an outright killer question at this meeting of well-to-do women.

My question went something like this:   As the only man in this room ( I was immediately told that I was wrong – there were three more men in the room and close to one hundred women) I want to express my male point of view.

I know that men are supposed to be those that are propelled to advance on corporate ladders, and that they do wars, and everything that is bad, but the old concept was that women do good by bringing up the children, worry about the environment, and are inclined to do all the good things in general. So my question to the woman from ExxonMobil is what does ExxonMobil do for the environment, for the health and quality of life of the local people on whom their activities have an impact, for the children, for next generation? For their own children’s future? What does Exxon Mobil do about climate change? Is it fair to say that a company that had profits pushing $50 billion   last year, $11 billion last quarter, throwing a miserable sum of 11 million dollars at the problems they leave behind, is it not a very meager feat of PR?

All what Ms. Luxbacher, the General Manager of ExxonMobil Corporate Planning was able to say was that they spent more then $11 million. She said she was ready to talk to me later. The moderator said she wanted to go back to women’s questions, and I insisted that my question was a women’s question because it dealt with children and the future.   For the rest of the session the lady from ExxonMobil did not say a word. To my discredit, I confess here, that I did not speak with this lady when the session was over, but had rather much more fruitful discussions with other ladies in the room – some that said to me that I did ask the right question that had to be asked indeed. I think that I made some friends – though I am not naive to think that I did not also make some new enemies for life.

I hope that some of the true Soroptimists will send me now material about efforts they wish to be posted, and I really do not feel any obligations to those that just used the UN for the ride.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 31st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

GEORGE CLOONEY’S STATEMENT
PRESS CONFERENCE 31 JANUARY 2008

Thank you, I’ll try to be brief. As you probably know by now, I was invited to be a Messenger of Peace with a special focus on peacekeeping for the United Nations. I’ve very proud to accept that role.

My first piece of business was to get acquainted with peacekeepers in action. Which meant front lines of conflict zones. I was invited to travel with assistant secretary general, loot and her staff to Darfur, Chad, and eastern Congo. It was planned in secret for obvious security reasons and worse yet they might have seen some of my films.

As you probably now know, I was supposed to come back and report what I saw to the members of the troop contributing countries. However, in a new development, that wont’ be happening, which in effect means that a few minutes ago I was officially awarded the messenger of peace and then immediately directed not to give the message. So instead I’ll give it to you… and you can give it to the members.

I’m the son of a newsman, so the job of Messenger comes with the responsibility to deal with facts. Not to tell people what they want to hear… but to tell them the truth… unfiltered.

Each conflict zone has difficulties that are unique… but there is always one unifying thread… the worst atrocities are saved for its poorest and most vulnerable.

In the Congo, we were there the day the peace agreement was signed in Goma. We were in out-posts that were shelled days before… and for now, that fighting has stopped. It’s a very tenuous agreement… It’s flawed and messy but it is also… hope. Real tangible progress and change for peace.

It’s only because of the determination of the UN peacekeepers that this hope is possible.

In Chad, the peacekeeping role is in its infancy. The fighting is spilling back and forth from Darfur. The situation has deteriorated since I was there nearly two years ago.

The border of Chad and Darfur is the front line of the conflict. It’s a dangerous place to be, and the refugee and IDP camps are right there… at most risk.

We met with President Deby who assured us that the UN and humanitarians are not only welcome but needed in this country… That doesn’t mean it will be easy to succeed there.
It means that the host country recognizes that the UN peacekeepers are coming there with no agenda, no intent on occupying or overtaking their country… simply to provide enough space for talks to begin safely… even with the support of the government this is a nearly impossible task. But it’s the belief of everyone concerned that it is also the only chance for peace.

… And then there’s Darfur. Our party was eventually allowed to come in. The Sudanese government hoped to show that they’ve been unfairly treated by the international community. That the calls of atrocities by the government are exaggerated… that it’s simply a civil war.

Let us be clear. As we traveled to north, south and west Darfur, el fashir, nyala, zalengi… there is not one man, woman or child in any camp… at any locations that doesn’t hold the government of Sudan or it’s Janjaweed supported militia, responsible for them being displaced. Not one. Millions are homeless, not from famine or disease or acts of God. But from a well armed militia intent on ridding the land of its people. That’s fact not speculation. You can have an opinion on why… you can have an opinion on what it should be called, but you can’t debate fact.

There is however another fact. The attacks have increasingly grown more complicated. A vacuum was created. A vacuum of justice, civility, local government, land rights… humanity… as in any apocalypse the ones left standing begin to fight for survival.

The rebel groups can, and have engaged in horrific acts of violence. Rebel leaders like Minnie Minawi and Abdul Wahid have followers capable of unspeakable cruelty.

There can be NO peace until all the parties sit down at a table and begin the long process of talks. Some two and a half million people want to go back to their homes, and NOT live their lives in misery.

… In order to deploy peacekeepers you need three things. Support by the host nation, support by the member states and resources.

To the host nation… specifically President Bashir… these peacekeepers are not an occupying force, there’re not there to spread democracy or infringe on religious beliefs… the Congo is proof of that. The government has accepted Resolution 1769, that means that you can’t obstruct the peacekeepers. You’ve asked for more humanitarian aid… humanitarians cannot work if they’re not protected from rebel attacks. If they’re not your rebels then you should welcome the peacekeepers efforts to suppress the violence.

The resource issue is far less complicated… most members aren’t fulfilling their duty. The United States to take an example is a billion short of its peacekeeping funding resources means helicopters, trucks, radios any number of elements to support these forces.

To the member states… all your participation and skill is needed. China was eventually instrumental in pushing 1769 through the Security Council… so it’s China that can hold the Sudanese government to the commitments it made to the UN and to China specifically. The international community looks more and more to China for leadership and with that comes great responsibility. You can be the difference to millions of people’s lives.

This body has a habit of referring to itself as a collective of individual states. But you’re much more than that. You’re the United Nations. An entity all to yourselves. When I stood in a hospital next to women who’d been raped and set on fire two days earlier, they look up to me and said “Please send the UN” not the US or China or Russia… just the UN. You’re their only hope.

It’s important to note that you have a peacekeeping force already there. Most of them were formerly the African Union troops. Some nine thousand. Most haven’t been paid since September. They’re waiting for their pay, waiting for their 17-thousand extra troops, they’re waiting for equipment.

There are some groups protecting 250-square kilometers of desert with no helicopters and no radios that work… there are your troops now… the men and women risking their lives for peace… your responsibility. So either give them the basic tools for protecting the population (and themselves) or have the decency to just bring them all home. You can’t do it half way… bring them home… and then shut off your TV… and your radio… your phones… and the internet. And go back into your offices and wait until it’s all over… It shouldn’t take too long before they’ll stop hoping for the UN to come.

But right now they’re hoping. They see these bright blue hats and they feel a new energy in the air… they feel for the first time that this is the moment that the rest of the world… all the nations… united… are stepping in to help them.

There’s only one change to get this right. They believe you when you tell them that hope is coming… they know that only the United Nations can help on this scale. They know it… and you know it.

I’m proud to be here as a messenger of peace… and the message is… the world is watching and you can’t afford to fail.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 12th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The European Union is expected to deploy troops to Chad and the Central African Republic in February after France said it would provide extra troops and equipment. Eufor Chad/CAR, is expected to be a 3,700-strong force.

The EU troops will protect refugees from Sudan’s conflict-ridden Darfur region. The conflict has given rise to some 234,000 refugees from the Darfur region, as well as around 178,000 from eastern Chad and 43,000 from Central Africa.

Ireland is to send 450 troops, and the EU force will be commanded by an Irish general, Lieutenant Pat Nash. Lt. Nash is to make a decision on Friday as to whether the contribution from other EU member states could make the mission viable.

Eufor Chad/CAR, has a UN Security Council mandate and is to be deployed across four areas, three in Chad and one in the Central African Republic, in order to protect hundreds of thousands of war refugees and those displaced by internal fighting.

Contributions are also expected from other EU member states Austria, Belgium, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 8th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

SECRETARY-GENERAL’S PRESS CONFERENCE – Monday, January 7, 2008

UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK.

First let us give the “boiler plate statement, then the verbatim Q&A, and at the end a little further insight.

The Secretary-General: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to send my best wishes for a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I hope that 2008 will bring to all of you and your families best wishes, happiness and prosperity. It has been a great privilege for me to work with you during last year, my first year, and I count on continuing such a good relationship and friendship and exchange of ideas, including constructive criticism, even. Thank you very much.

By tradition, this is the season for taking stock—and for looking ahead.

We mourn the loss of 42 UN colleagues during the year 2007, including 17 killed in the Algiers terrorist bombing. Yet we enter 2008 with new determination—and new opportunities—to strengthen the UN’s role in the world.

You know that I am not one to speak easily of successes. The past year was one of immense challenges. But I think we have made certain progress. We opened a new chapter on climate change. We took on new and daunting challenges in peacekeeping, most specifically in Darfur.

We must build on this foundation. Protecting our planet and its people—our global commons—requires all our best efforts. So does the task of securing economic wellbeing, social justice, security and other global public goods. This requires sustained and coherent international action beyond what nations or markets can provide by themselves.

That is why I believe so strongly in the United Nations. Only the United Nations can take on the issues that affect us all, that shape the fate of the earth and its peoples.

These are powerful concepts: the “global commons” and “global public goods.” They are the basic building blocks of modern globalized society. If they are to have meaning, we must be mindful of the responsibilities they impose upon us.

We must address ourselves to the needs of the weak, the disadvantaged, those who have been excluded from the mainstream international community. I speak here of those who are most vulnerable to climate change. Those who suffer the most grinding poverty. Those who do not enjoy basic human rights.

And so I say, let 2008 be the year of the “bottom billion.”

That’s the phrase some economists use to describe the poorest of the world’s poor. They are the forgotten ones, the nearly one billion left behind by global economic growth. Most live in Africa or the small developing islands of Asia, eking out lives of hardship on incomes of less than $1 a day.

We must pay careful attention to these nations with special needs. We must heed the voices of the world’s poorest people, who too often go unheard.

For this reason, I shall work over the coming year to strengthen the UN’s role in development. We are at the mid-point of a great campaign to end world poverty, set forth in the Millennium Development Goals. Too many nations have fallen behind. We need fresh ideas and fresh approaches.

That is why, last year, I established the MDG Africa Steering Group. In April, world leaders will gather in Accra, Ghana, for the UNCTAD summit on trade and development. In September, we will host a high-level meeting at the beginning of the General Debate. The goal: to re-energize the world’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, with special attention to the poorest of the poor.

Last year, we used a similar forum to galvanize world action on climate change. This year, we will do the same for the bottom billion.

In the pursuit of the global good, human rights must be a core principle. It is fitting, then, that 2008 should also mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As I have said before, I say again. Economic and social advancement is an implicit human right. I will use this milestone year, therefore, to call for the universal ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

I am determined to press ahead with the special tribunal in Lebanon and to work with the international courts to promote justice and oppose impunity. We will launch a new global awareness campaign on human rights, push more aggressively to better protect women and children against violence, and strengthen the office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights.

The demands on the UN grow ever greater. If anything, the coming year promises to be even tougher than the last. Look how it has begun, with turmoil in Kenya and renewed violence in Sri Lanka. We must nurture a fragile peace process in the Middle East. We must do more to help the people of Iraq emerge from conflict and rebuild shattered lives. We must stay the course in Afghanistan, so that it does not again fall into lawless anarchy.

In Darfur, we must do our utmost to push the peace talks to a successful conclusion. We must manage the very complex deployment of UN-African Union forces. To succeed, we need the full cooperation of the government of Sudan. We also need the Member States—including the Security Council—to live up to their commitments.

The road from Bali will be difficult as well. Two years is not a long time to win a climate change deal that all nations can embrace. I intend to keep up the momentum. We need a global grassroots public awareness campaign to focus political pressure and keep global warming at the forefront of public consciousness.

We therefore move into the new year with renewed commitment to our ultimate mission—building a stronger UN for a better world. As ever, I seek results, not easy rhetoric. Our watchword must be effectiveness. I will continue my push to modernize, revitalize and streamline the UN system, upholding the highest standards of ethics, performance and accountability.

I want to stress this word. Accountability is not a technicality. It must be the fundamental operational principle of the UN—for the Secretariat, the agencies and Member States alike.

We will continue our work to stiffen procurement and management procedures. I will shortly ask all senior executives to sign management compacts with me, laying out specific and measurable benchmarks for performance. Last year we re-organized our Department of Peacekeeping Operations. This year, we will do the same with our development-related bodies and the Department of Political Affairs. I want it to become more proactive in tackling global crises, especially in the realm of preventive diplomacy.

Member States, too, must hold themselves accountable. They must put up the resources to deliver on their mandates. We must deliver on our promises—openly, effectively and promptly.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Since my first day in office, I have sought an open and active dialogue with you in the UN press corps. You were the first people I met last year on my first day, and you are the first – after my Town Hall meeting with the staff this year – that I am meeting in this new year.

I look forward to our healthy, frank exchanges. They are valuable and, often, fun. Let me start by taking your questions. And again, my best wishes to you all for a very successful, rewarding 2008.

Q & A :

Question 1 – by tradition – from the UN Correspondents Association President (UNCA): Thank you very much for your kind wishes to the United Nations Correspondents Association.

On behalf of all my colleagues here, I would like to wish you and Madame Yoo Soon-taek all the best — and, of course, a very successful second year, despite the slow activities and results of the last year. You have set a lot of high expectations for this year.

So I wonder if you can tell us: First, there is a new crisis in Africa, in Kenya, where accusations of genocide and ethnic cleansing have become more and more visible now and heard all over the world. I wonder what the United Nations is doing to prevent another case of Rwanda in 1994, where the United Nations is limited to providing relief services while the killing went on?

The Secretary-General: I have been in close contact with Kenyan leaders, including President [Mwai] Kibaki and opposition leader [Raila] Odinga, and President [John] Kufuor of Ghana, in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union, and many other international leaders to, first of all, calm down and stabilize the situation. I urged them strongly to avoid further killings of civilians. That was unacceptable, as I have stated in my two previous statements. I will continue to do that.

The United Nations has been doing our best efforts to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to many people there who have been unfortunately displaced because of this situation in Kenya. Protecting human rights is very important and paramount for us. We are taking all necessary measures to prevent the further deterioration of the situation.

As for the specific question you raised, that will always be a high priority in my mind. We will try our best to ensure that no further casualties will happen there. And as the leaders of Africa – including President Kufuor, who is expected to have consultations with the Kenyan leadership — as well as some former presidents are also expected to visit there — I hope, through those international interventions, the Kenyan leaders will sit down together and resolve this issue in a peaceful manner.

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Question 2 from the UN Correspondent for The New York Times, Warren Hoge, a paper favored by the UN: Mr. Secretary-General, both you and the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping last month said that the force going in to Darfur would be at risk unless the Sudanese Government agreed to some of the troop assignments that you were requesting, and unless other countries gave you the transportation and logistics you needed. Neither of those two things has happened. You have had a formal change of command in Darfur, which basically is just changing the colour of the helmets. My question is: If this force is, as you say, at risk, how can you deploy them when they don’t have the capacity to protect civilians and don’t have the capacity to protect themselves?

The Secretary-General: That is exactly why I, as Secretary-General, and the United Nations as a whole, and the international community – Member States – must ensure a rapid deployment of the Hybrid Operation as agreed, to the level of 26,000, as soon as possible. We now have 9,000 re-hatted soldiers in Darfur. That is not sufficient. That is why we are very much concerned about this ongoing deteriorating situation in Darfur.

I had a long telephone discussion with President [Omar al-] Bashir last Saturday, and we agreed to meet again in Addis Ababa. Before that, before we meet again at Addis Ababa on the occasion of the African Union summit meeting, we will have a high-level consultation to resolve all these pending issues. There are, as you rightly said, two areas of pending issues, one to be done by the Sudanese Government. There are still many technical or administrative issues, to which the Sudanese Government must commit themselves as agreed, including a status of forces agreement and also composition of forces and other technical issues.

Then there are resources to be provided by the Member States in general, including critical assets like helicopters and heavy transport equipment. These are to be done by both sides: by the international community as a whole and the Sudanese Government. I will do my best to expedite this process. In fact, we have made a good framework to resolve these Darfur as well as Sudanese issues as a whole, including a peace process and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

All those three tracks will move hand in hand. And we are also looking at the possibility of resuming the second peace process. But that may take a little bit of time. My Special Envoy Mr. Jan Eliasson and African Union Envoy Mr. [Salim Ahmed] Salim, they are working very hard. Jan Eliasson is also going to visit Khartoum next week.

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Question 3 from a correspondent from Morocco: Mr. Secretary-General, there have been statements threatening war in the African continent lately. The POLISARIO has been saying that this is the last chance that they give the Moroccans in the Western Sahara; otherwise the preparation for war is afoot. Also, we have the worrying aspect of Chadian aeroplanes bombing areas of Sudan, Darfur, in chase of Chadian rebels, so they allege. And there are obvious and frank threats from the President of Chad to enter Darfur to chase the Chadian rebels. Your thoughts on both subjects, please.

The Secretary-General: On the Western Sahara issue: As you may know already, I am going to issue a statement this morning that there is going to be another consultation in Manhasset, in Greentree, between the parties concerned. I appreciate all the parties concerned to have accepted my invitation. Mr. [Peter van] Walsum is going to organize as well as facilitate this dialogue. This is a painstaking and very complex issue, and I hope that this time they will be able to make good progress on these issues.

On the situation in Darfur and, again, the Sudanese relationship, I am going to discuss with African leaders, including President [Idris] Deby of Chad. I have spoken with President Bashir. But I would really urge the leaders and countries concerned to refrain from all these exercises – refrain from using military forces. This will only aggravate the situations in Africa. I am very much concerned about all these ongoing deteriorating situations – not only here but elsewhere, including Kenya, Sudan, Chad and other areas.

I really hope that this new year, 2008, will see bright hope. We have started with gloomy prospects: the situation in Kenya and elsewhere. I really hope that, with active cooperation and dialogue among the leaders of the world, we will see some better world this year. This is my firm commitment as Secretary-General.

Question – a follow up: But the POLISARIO is saying frankly, and their statements are very clear, that this is the last chance they are giving the Moroccans. Your thoughts on that; are you having any contacts with the POLISARIO? I understand that you hope that they will reach an agreement, but it seems the obstacles are too high and, in the face of these threats, it sounds like dire straits to me.

The Secretary-General: I would not make any comment on such kinds of very definitive declaration by any one of the parties. All the issues, they have their background and very complex nature of the issues. And it needs the parties concerned to be, first of all, patient and persistent and consistent and faithful in resolving this issue through dialogue.

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Question 4 from Japan: We know that you are a very humble person, but if you were to rate your first year’s performance on a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you give yourself, and why?

The Secretary-General: I am the sort of person – as you said, modest. I am the sort of person who is very strict to myself, officially and personally. Even in my home and my private life, I really want to be very strict to myself. When you set a guideline or rule, I want to be bound by that. I stick to that.

The assessment of my performance as Secretary-General during the last one year will be the role and duty of you and Member States and other public and private organizations, including many NGOs. I think that I have made certain progress. As I said, I am not a person who easily speaks about success, because one year may be too long or may be too short for anyone to assess my performance. All the issues which you may have seen last year, they are all ongoing projects, including reform of the United Nations, Darfur, climate change or all these Lebanese situations. All are ongoing and very complex, so we need to continue and step up our efforts. I think I have established good tracks on the basis of which I can move ahead on these projects.

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Question 5 from Frank Ucciardo of CBS: Mr. Secretary-General, in your opening statement you talked about pressing on with the investigation in the Hariri assassination and the Lebanon tribunal. As you know, the family of Benazir Bhutto has asked for United Nations participation in the investigation of her murder. I would like to get your thoughts about that. And do you feel that the United Nations should be the one organization or agency in the world that is the place to go for such political assassination investigations?

The Secretary-General: In other places, you mean?

Question: Yes. In other words, Benazir Bhutto’s family has asked for the participation of the United Nations to investigate her murder and her assassination, and as you know, Scotland Yard has been invited in by the Government. But do you feel that the United Nations should be the place where the buck stops and where investigations start in such political assassinations?

The Secretary-General: First of all, the United Nations has not received any formal request from the Government of Pakistan, and as you may very well be aware, Scotland Yard are now providing technical assistance in the investigation process of this very tragic assassination case. Therefore, I am not in a position to comment on any request on a private, personal level. All this kind of establishing Special Tribunals should be, first of all, based upon the formal request of the Government concerned. And then that should be decided by the Security Council. That means that all Member States should decide. The assassination of Hariri case, which has been establishing this Special Tribunal, was a very special one, where the whole Security Council has made a consensus agreement on this.

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Question 6 from Ms. Raghida Dergham from Al-Hayat, London: Mr. Secretary-General, Happy New Year to you and your family, and thanks for welcoming constructive criticism. Actually, this is praise of what you have done in Paris, when you chaired the meeting in Paris on Lebanon. I am wondering if you are satisfied with the follow-up to that meeting you have chaired. And since you said you are pressing ahead with this tribunal on Lebanon, are you going to name the judges? You said you will accept the recommendations, but are you going to be naming the judges, and is the tribunal pretty much ready to be operational in February, as we have heard from the American ambassador? And is this tribunal now unstoppable?

The Secretary-General: We have made good progress on the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The United Nations remains committed to the search for truth and justice in this case. On 21 December, after three months of negotiations, we signed a headquarters agreement with the Dutch Government on the Special Tribunal, to be headquartered at The Hague. I have also received and adopted the recommendations of the selection panel created to help me recruit judges for the tribunal. It is a panel of international judicial experts, which includes my Legal Counsel, Mr. Nicolas Michel. I will announce the names of those selected at an appropriate time in the future. The judges will assume their functions on the date I will also determine soon.

In this regard, I would like to speak more broadly on the situation in Lebanon, if you will allow me to say a few words. I continue to be in close contact with Lebanese leaders and, more broadly, with international and regional leaders to try to find a solution to the prolonged political crisis. I am deeply disappointed by the current situation, in which the Lebanese people have not been able to elect their own President for such a long time. There has been a prolonged constitutional vacuum by not having a President yet.

Failure to reach an early agreement would represent a betrayal of the expectations of both the Lebanese people and the international community. You have seen the international donors conference, which was held in January last year in Paris, which committed almost $8 billion, and you have seen this meeting which I convened last December in Paris on the occasion of the other international meeting. I am, at the same time, encouraged by the efforts of the League of Arab States, announced yesterday.

I once again call on Lebanese leaders to think about the future of their country, transcending sectarian and individual interests. And, on the neighbouring countries, I urge them to help the Lebanese people, so that they will be able to overcome this crisis on their own will, without outside interference.

Question: A follow-up for you, Mr. Secretary-General: Have you been in touch with a particular neighbour who is thought to be interfering in Lebanon, and there is a Syrian presidency or Syrian Government: have you had any recent contacts with them? And what do you mean when you say that in due time you will announce the names of the judges? Do you mean when the tribunal becomes operational? And will that be in February, like the American ambassador said?

Secretary-General: The tribunal is making good progress, including the funding. We have been receiving necessary funding from many, many countries. Therefore, first of all, the headquarters agreement should be ratified by the Dutch parliament. We need to have sufficient funding. We are talking about $120 million for the period of three years, out of which we may need at least $40 million or $45 million, I am not aware of the exact amount, for the first year. I think necessary preparations are going on well. As soon as all these administrative and legal measures are finalized, then I will be in a position to announce the names of the judges.

Question: And Syria?

The Secretary-General: As you know very well, I have been in close contact with many leaders in the region, including President [Bashar al-]Assad of Syria. I think I have spoken with him last month, and I will continue to discuss this issue with whoever is known to have influence or interest in the future of Lebanon.

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Question 7 – from Nigeria or Cameroon: Thank you, Secretary-General, and happy New Year. I wanted you to give me your perspective – or the perspective of the United Nations Secretariat – regarding the Greentree accord between Nigeria and Cameroon. The Nigerian Senate keeps saying that the treaty has not been ratified, but the treaty is already being implemented. Now, did that decision, or did the information that the treaty was not ratified, did it come to the United Nations, as a surprise? Is the United Nations supposed to implement a treaty that has not been ratified by the competent authority in one of the countries that signed the treaty?

The Secretary-General: I will continue to discuss this matter and urge the leaders of Nigeria and Cameroon to abide by this Greentree agreement, which has provided a good framework for resolving all these pending issues.

Question: Let me follow up with you. Are you surprised that the Nigerian Government did not ratify the treaty before it was implemented?

The Secretary-General: That was a source of concern last year, which I have been discussing with the countries concerned.

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Question 8 – ?: Mr. Secretary-General, are you watching any of the US presidential debates, and who do you think is going to win, and will it make any difference to the United Nations?

The Secretary-General: I hope you will be able to tell me what are your own views. I am watching and closely following all these debates, but I have to wait until the final choice of the American people, who will be elected as the President of the United States. I will be very happy to work with anybody chosen by the American people.

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Question 9 – From a Francofone from Africa: If you allow me, I will ask my question in French, and you can answer in either English or French.

The Secretary-General: In French? Yes.

Question (spoke in French): You referred, in your introductory remarks, to the attack that took the lives of 18 United Nations employees, and you mentioned other recent attacks in the region, which received less media attention. There was an attack carried out against French tourists, another against Mauritanian soldiers and a further attack against Italian soldiers, and also a recent attack targeting police officers in Algiers. Do you share the view that is held by numerous individuals in the region who believe that the Sahel region is an area of arms trafficking, and therefore constitutes a base for the various terrorist groups that are threatening the region, and, beyond that, threatening neighbouring countries?

The Spokesperson: The question, for those of you who were not following in French, is about Algeria: the recent bombing in Algeria, and the prospect of –

Question: I am actually talking about the Sahel region as a zone of lawlessness and the smuggling of arms. And a lot of countries and people in the region are worried that those attacks mean that the region may be considered as ground for terrorist groups that may threaten the region. Given the recent attacks in Algiers and also the attacks in Mauritania that led to the cancellation of a major sporting event, the Dakar rally, do you share the views of those who think that this Sahel region is becoming ground for terrorist groups that may threaten the stability in the region?

The Secretary-General: Let me practice my French.

(spoke in French)

Thank you very much for putting that question to me in French. I think you are well aware of my passion for the French language. Now, if you will allow me, I am not fully prepared – but if you will allow me to continue in English. I discussed matters with President [Abdelaziz] Bouteflika when I was in Algiers last month, last year.

(spoke in English)

These are serious issues for any country in the world, including those in the Sahel area. It is not only Algeria. I told President Bouteflika that, while it was a very tragic – and I was so sad and so shocked, and they were also embarrassed very much by not having been able to protect the United Nations staff and United Nations premises – this should be a global issue, not Algeria or any countries in the Sahel area. Therefore, this needs a global, concerted effort to address, fight against international terrorism. I think the international community must do more. Regardless of what their belief may be, there cannot be any justification whatsoever when it comes to terrorism. Terrorism is terrorism, and therefore that bombing in Algiers really strengthened my resolve to work more. I again express my strong commitment to work for that.

Question: I think the talks start today on the Sahara issue. Don’t you think that this issue is also contributing to this instability, since there is no prospect for a solution? Do you expect a breakthrough in this round, or whether those talks will …

The Secretary-General: All sorts of grievances coming from these conflict issues may be the source of some elements of terrorism. That is why we must resolve all the conflict issues through peaceful means, through dialogue. I cannot but be general on your questions.

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Question 10 – Benny Avni from the New York Sun: This is also about Algiers, Sir. In the wake of the bombing, the Algerian interior minister said that there were warnings against bombing of international institutions, including the United Nations. There are also all kinds of reports about internal warnings that came around. The question is, why doesn’t the United Nations, as it did with the Ahtisaari case in the aftermath of the Baghdad bombing, why doesn’t the United Nations create its own independent investigation, as opposed to just investigate by [David] Veness?

The Secretary-General: First of all, the United Nations has never received any advance warnings from whatsoever sources on this issue. Then, I have instructed the Under-Secretary-General for the DSS [Department of Safety and Security] to report to me by 11 January, this week, about his own investigation and findings of this terrorist bombing incident. On the basis of that, we are going to strengthen the measures for the safety and security of our staff and premises, and I’m going to discuss with Member States in general about how to strengthen the safety and security of staff. This is a very paramount issue, as we have seen four years ago in Baghdad. This was the second such terrorist bombing attack against the United Nations.

At the same time, the United Nations also needs to do more in communicating with the international community in general: why the United Nations is there and what the United Nations is doing. We need to make the international community appreciate more what the United Nations stands for. The United Nations is not working for any group of nations over another. The United Nations is working for the benefit and well-being of many developing countries; we are working for the promotion of human rights and peace and security. So this must be correctly understood and communicated to the world. And in that regard, I have been doing, on my own, efforts to communicate with the international community in general.

Question: Don’t you think it’s imperative for the credibility of the United Nations that there will be an independent investigation that is not being done by the person who was in charge of security, to see whether security procedures were actually followed?

The Secretary-General: I will see; I will reserve my judgement until I have a full report from DSS.

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Question 11 by a correspondent from the Middle East also following up on algiers: Happy New Year, Mr. Secretary-General. Just to follow up on that, on the Algiers issue, were you ever made aware during 2007, or the time since you became Secretary-General, that the head of United Nations security in Algiers, Babacar Ndiaye, had made repeated requests to his superior in Algiers – that also reached New York – that there were, in his view, likely to be attacks on Algiers, not maybe making a specific date or a specific warning, but saying that they were a target of Al-Qaida and asking for specific precautions to be taken, such as the erection of concrete barriers or the raising of the phase level? Were you ever aware of that, that it had ever reached your office? And if that’s the case, that he did make these warnings, why wouldn’t that, combined with the Ahtisaari report after the Baghdad bombing and the threat that the United Nations is under, really compel an independent investigation?

The Secretary-General: That’s a good point. That is why we are now working very hard. I have talked at length with President Bouteflika. First of all, as host Government, the Algerian Government is responsible for taking all measures to strengthen United Nations safety and security, and he assured me that he will find accommodations for UNDP and UNHCR. And this is not only to the Algerian Government; this is what I am going to discuss with Member States in general. I will keep in mind what you suggested.

Question: Well, can I get an answer to my question? Did warnings and requests for greater protection from Babacar Ndiaye, who was the head of the United Nations security in Algiers and who died in the bombing, ever reach your office, ever come to your attention?

The Secretary-General: I’m not going to tell you anything on these internal procedures. But I’m very closely looking at this matter, and I have instructed Mr. Veness to look into this issue very seriously and carefully to make an overall report for me.

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Question 12 – someone with a Latin accent: It’s about Darfur. Last 21 December, the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly approved the budget about the hybrid force, and they were very concerned about the Lockheed-Martin contract, because it was without bids, and they asked for an investigation. And I don’t know now in what point is the process of this investigation. What are you going to do, and what do you think about this statement, this resolution of the General Assembly?

The Secretary-General: On what?

Question: On the Lockheed-Martin contract. You know, at the General Assembly, the members of the Fifth Committee said that they didn’t agree with the process used for doing this contract. And I only am wondering: what do you think about that?

The Secretary-General: I have answered this question, I think, at least two or three times already before. The situation in Darfur and all these preparations and constructions or procurement: the situation is a very difficult one there. You don’t have many vendors who are readily available to provide such service at a limited time. And that is why, in accordance with the necessary rules and regulations bestowed upon me as the Secretary-General, I have taken an exceptional decision. I am allowed to do that. And at the same time, I made it quite clear, when it comes to transparency and accountability, I will make sure that there should be a very transparent process of executing this procurement.

Question: When do you think you are going to inform the General Assembly about the process of the contract? I don’t know, because they asked, they made a request.

The Secretary-General: When they ask that question, as you do – Member States – this may happen in many national Governments too. You cannot always have all these open biddings, 100 per cent open biddings, as required. But this should not make any precedents, of course. But all the regulations – even in national Governments or other organizations, they have certain exceptional cases when you have to make such a decision. So I hope you will understand. But I’m not making to generalize this one.

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Question 13 from someone with a Slavic accent: Talking about strengthening the United Nations role in the world and the Security Council members to live up to their commitments, I was wondering, Sir, why it took you 10 days or a couple of weeks, to express your position towards the final status of Kosovo. And also, Sir, I remember last time, while you were in Portugal, as far as I remember, you advised them not to take any premature step by declaring their independence. I was wondering, what can you tell them this time?

The Secretary-General: I was mentioning in general, when there is a resolution, a mandate, for me to implement, there should be accountability, both for Member States and the countries concerned – and the party concerned. The Security Council has a particular responsibility: when they take necessary resolutions and decisions to deploy peacekeeping operations or any other security measures, then, in addition to my own work as Secretary-General, they should also help mobilize the necessary resources and funding. That is what I tried to mean.

Question: Would you tell us clearly, Sir, what is your position towards the issue of Kosovo? Do you still support Mr. [Martti] Ahtisaari’s plan? Do you call for new negotiations, and if so, on what basis? And is there a time schedule for these negotiations?

The Secretary-General: I will have to see and assess the situation as the situation unfolds on the Kosovo issue.

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Question 14 – from Matthew Lee, of Inner City Press: There seems to be a difference of opinion between yourself and the Security Council on the issue of Somalia, where they’ve called repeatedly for an advance team to go in for, really, for exploring, dealing with this issue that [Ahmedou] Ould Abdallah has called more serious than Darfur, very serious. So can you tell us where things stand in terms of the Secretariat’s following up on what the Council has asked it to do in terms of Somalia?

And one follow-up on my colleague’s question about that contract: PAE. The General Assembly itself put into its resolution that it noted with concern and asked for an investigation of the process. So I know you’ve said transparency, and I believe you, but since you’ve said transparency, we haven’t had any briefing by the people that pushed for the contract, by Jane Holl Lute. We haven’t had the contract disclosed. So I think the reason that you have been asked the question three or four times is that it doesn’t seem there’s been any transparency, and the General Assembly in its resolution on UNAMID seems to agree with that. So I just wanted to make sure you understand what the question is, and that it is not an attempt to ask the same thing again and again, but to say “where is the transparency?”

The Secretary-General: On Somalia, I don’t think there is any difference between me and the Security Council. I have been continuously consulting with the members of the Security Council on these very important issues. I have suggested to Security Council members that there should be a two-track approach. One is, first of all, the Somalis themselves: they should engage in a broader political dialogue at the leaders’ level for national reconciliation. And secondly, on the security track, the international community should help AMISOM so that they can have a better capacity to address the security situation there.

As for this advance team, I have made it quite clear, even, I think, to you some time last year, that we are considering dispatching a technical assessment team some time early this year. On the basis of the report of this technical assessment team, we will discuss again with the Security Council what measures should be taken to help the situation in Somalia.

On this transparency and contract fraud: transparency is one of my top mottoes to make this Organization work as a trusted organization by the Member States. You should not have any question about my commitment, personally and officially and organizationally.

As for some reports about procurement fraud which have appeared in some of the media, I would like to make it quite clear that I do not agree with all that has been reported. It is true that there was some fraud, which was found, investigated by our own OIOS teams. The amount which has been the subject of procurement fraud was sort of an aggregate sum, not the fraud itself, so there were some exaggerations and incorrect reporting. I feel it unfortunate that the United Nations has been perceived in that way. It was not in the amount of several hundred million dollars. That several hundred million dollars was the total aggregate sum of the project fund. So I hope there should be no misunderstanding. But this issue was also discovered and investigated by our own.

At this time I think the United Nations needs some strengthened investigative capacity. We have many different mandates, different organizations and different agencies, starting from the ombudsman, OIOS, the Ethics Office; and there are all the specialized agencies and funds and programmes. In November of last year, with my consistent efforts, we were able to have a standardized ethics rule which will be applied to all the agencies, funds and programmes. That was very good progress in terms of ensuring and strengthening transparency and accountability. That effort will continue this year and in coming years.

But I hope that Member States one day will consider how we can strengthen the investigative capacity. We don’t have such investigative capacity in the United Nations. We have been relying upon this Procurement Task Force. Fortunately, that mandate has been extended for another year.

Thank you very much. Again, I wish you all the best: happy New Year to you.

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So what we see here is that the Secretary General, in his presentation, says that 2007 was the Year of Climate Change, “I say, let 2008 be the year of the “bottom billion.” This because it is all about the “global commons” and “global public goods.” The intent is to make 2008 about development and to remember human rights also, because this year we celebrate 60 years to the Declaration on Human Rights. The other key word is “Accountability.” Otherwise the world is a work in progress.

In 2007 there was something talked about Darfur, Lebanon, the tribunal on the killing of Rafik Hariri, Kosovo, Somalia, Western Sahara and a few other places but the results are yet to show.

But a press conference is not really about what is presented before the journalists but what questions the journalists put before the presenter. So it is the Q & A that really counts and here we saw an interesting gradation in the questions put and the mood that the answers created.

The first question, by the president of UNCA, in our opinion was actually the worst question as it compared the killings in Kenya with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. We argued in one of our previous postings that what goes on in Kenya is a political issue, it did not start out as the African endemic post-colonial tribal conflict. Actually it was created by Kibaki’s transgressions and his isolating himself from the country with the members of his own tribe the Kikuyus. The Kenya problem can be settled in the same way as the Iraq problem could have been settled five years ago – just tell the minority that usurped the government what is their right place on the national totem-pole. If you continue backing the usurper because you think this is better for you – you neither help ending the conflict, nor stop the killings. From here to genocide the distance is like from the understanding of a situation to the creation of a false image.

Two more questions were a bit of   line: One funny question asked the UNSG to rate himself, and he nicely avoided doing so, a second question asked him what he thinks of the contest in the US presidential primaries, and he very cleverly gave the only answer that he could give – that he will work with any US President that will be elected eventually.

There were a total of 14 questions including the above three. Some of the journalists had two follow ups, some asked a double question.

There was no question whatsoever on climate change and there was no question on development. The Journalists had pinpointed questions on what their outlets tend to publish.

We counted and found that among the remaining 11 questions – four questions contained elements of the Darfur problem, two about Lebanon, two about the Algeria/Sahel/arms traffic/terrorism issues, two about Western Sahara/Polisario, two about the Nigeria/Cameroon area, and one each about Chad, Pakistan, Kosovo, and Somalia.

The first questions passed by smoothly, but as time progressed, and questions came from a vaster net of journalists, follow up questions insisted on an answer, and the UNSG is a master at evading giving an answer, and it cannot be attributed to a conflict of language, but it might rather look like good diplomatic maneuvers when indeed there is no answer – this not because the SG does not want to answer – but rather because there is no answer that will cover on the intrinsic paucity of action at the UN. But then some subjects cannot be pushed under the UN red carpets easily.

17 people were killed in Algiers and the UN had warning that something is bound to happen. yes there was probably not a specific warning with a date attached – but there was a warning nevertheless – a head of security in algiers asked for reinforced walls and it was denied from headquarters – the man was among the dead.   A sequence of two journalists tried to extricate an answer – what will the UNSG do to investigate the security of the UN personnel that is being sent in the harms way without protection. This happened clearly in Baghdad, and the journalists want to know if this was the case also in Algiers.

In above process we also saw the following exchange:

“The Spokesperson: The question, for those of you who were not following in French, is about Algeria: the recent bombing in Algeria, and the prospect of –

Question: I am actually talking about the Sahel region as a zone of lawlessness and the smuggling of arms.”

We do not intend simply to pound on Spokesperson Michelle Montes, but this shows what happens quite often in Room 226 at the UN. The Spokesperson jumps at saying what she wants to say, and does not try to answer clear questions. In effect this is a rather common trend within the UN Information system, and it works counter-productive to Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s own stand, as we pointed out many times in regard to the topic of climate change.

Darfur has produced a lot of wind at the UN, but were are the helicopters to ferry the non-existent troops? And why was there a contract given to Lockheed without others having access to compete? There is a lot of money in this, and the fame of oil-for- food was not forgotten. It took four journalists in Sequence to hammer on this point and to make the UNSG quite uncomfortable. It showed eventually on his face.

Why can he not intervene in Pakistan to find a way to investigate the Bhutto killing, is the UN so restrictive that for even such events they have to wait for the invitation of the transgressing government in order to tell the truth to the world, and to the country that was hit – this might indeed be the only way to stop internal riots and killings. What will it take to turn the UN into an element of truth?

So, what will bring 2008? You can bet on it – more States will start to unravel – this because of climate change induced environmental disasters, and a decline in the world economy. The moment people suffer they tend to act and they may tend to take the wrong actions, kill and justify later. Will the UN be allowed to reorganize so that it can intervene even without invitation?

And What Did The Morning Papers Write About the Press Conference? What I can say for now – I did not see an article on Darfur in the New York Times, neither an article on any other item from the above.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 27th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 This posting is not intended to answer above question – we will returnto this as our attention was caught again by Darfur and its neighbors in a Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs debate last night, in which we came out convinced that at its best the UN does just plain observing, and at its worst it just plainly caves in to the Arab States.  www.SustainabiliTank.info comment) All what we intend here is only to post an Independent of London article that presents the latest AP reporting from the ground.

Chad rebels fight army near Sudan.
AP, Published: 27 November 2007

Soldiers killed several hundred rebels in fighting Monday in eastern Chad, the country’s army said in a statement — a deadly reminder of the difficulties a proposed European force for the region might face.

The battles at Abougouleigne, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) east of the town of Abeche, left “several hundred (rebels) dead, several injured and several prisoners of war” taken into military custody, according to the statement from the general staff.

“The fighting lasted four hours and ended in the total and definite annihilation of this column” of rebels, said the statement, read by an unidentified officer on state radio and television.

The officer said soldiers also destroyed 50 vehicles and seized another 40 belonging to the rebel group — the Union of Forces for Development and Democracy. The group could not immediately be reached for comment about the clashes.

The army statement did not say if any Chadian soldiers were killed or injured.

Chad has struggled in the face of several rebellions in the east, with some insurgents saying President Idriss Deby has not provided enough support to their kinsmen in the neighboring Darfur region of Sudan.

Last month, four Chadian rebel groups signed a peace deal in Libya with Deby’s government. But the Union of Forces for Development and Democracy said last week it was unsatisfied with the pace of implementing the agreements, and then clashed with government forces over the weekend. No information was immediately available about casualties from the weekend clashes.

UN officials estimate that around 3 million people have been uprooted by conflicts in the region, also including the fighting in western Sudan’s Darfur region and unrelated rebellions in Chad and Central African Republic.

Aid workers say both rebels and the government have visited refugee camps to recruit children into their forces.

The European Union has offered to send a 3,700-strong force to Chad and Central Africa Republic to help protect refugees displaced from the four-year conflict in neighboring Darfur. Deployment of the EU troops has been held up, however, over a lack of air transportation, as well as medical and logistical units.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 19th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

OCTOBER 19, 2007, A report by the International Action Network on Small Arms, Saferworld, and Oxfam International, states that Armed Conflict Costs Africa $18 Billion Each Year.
Between 1990 and 2005, 23 African nations have been involved in armed conflict. The list includes Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda.
During the past 15 years, almost $300 billion has been squandered on armed conflict in Africa, capital that could have been used to lift the continent out of extreme poverty and to prevent continued disease epidemics, a new study revealed.

The estimated $18 billion per year “is a massive waste of resources—roughly equivalent to total international aid to Africa from major donors during the same period. It is also roughly equivalent to the additional funds estimated to be necessary to address the problems of HIV and AIDS in Africa, or to address Africa’s needs in education, clean water and sanitation,” the report stated.

In effect, 38% of the world’s armed confrontations take place on African soil.

In addition, the report highlighted that “the average annual loss of 15 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) represents an enormous economic burden—this is one and a half times average African spending on health and education combined.” “This is money Africa can ill afford to lose,” Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf stated in the introduction of the report.

“The sums are appalling; the price that Africa is paying could cover the cost of solving the HIV and AIDS crisis in Africa, or provide education, water and prevention and treatment for TB and malaria. Literally thousands of hospitals, schools, and roads could have been built, positively affecting millions of people. Not only do the people of Africa suffer the physical horrors of violence, armed conflict undermines their efforts to escape poverty.”

President Johnson-Sirleaf understands the huge loss it represents for the continent, including her own country. Since 1991, Liberia has been one of the African nations that has been the target of armed combat and widespread civil strife. Although conditions for peace in the country were established in 2003 after President Charles Taylor left office, Liberia continues to experience political and economic perils, including the challenge of accommodating thousands of Liberian refugees who have returned to their homeland since the war ended.

However, it is not only robbed human lives and financial resources stolen in conflict that continue to cause the most damage to the continent, but the intangible daily mental and physical effects felt by the people themselves—and in some cases, other nations around them not directly involved in the conflict itself.

According to the report, African countries involved in conflict have, on average, “50 per cent more infant deaths, 15 percent more undernourished people, life expectancy reduced by five years, 20 percent more adult illiteracy, 2.5 times fewer doctors per patient, and 12.4 per cent less food per person.”

In the report, experts conclude that the majority of the problem lies in poor regulation of arms movement across borders—approximately “95 per cent of Africa’s most commonly used conflict weapons come from outside the continent.” These include the Kalashnikov assault rifle, more commonly known as the AK-47.

Also of primary concern is the tendency for regionalized conflicts to be magnified into international ones. According to the report, the situation in Darfur has already “drawn in neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic,” and other clashes in the area have caused similar situations.

Additionally, the economies of countries in armed skirmishes become intertwined. “In 2002, when fighting in Cote d’Ivoire made access to the key Ivorian seaport of Abidjan virtually impossible, foreign trade was disrupted in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger,” the report stated. And in Somaliland and Mozambique, “informal economies that provided a basic means of survival in wartime have been partly responsible for the collapse of formal rural market networks and have been an obstacle to post-conflict resolution,” the report said.

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Source: MCT

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