Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Boots in the sand

As my prior posts have indicated I am emotionally attached to Sudan. This is a country and the genocide (that is what it is!) in Darfur in which I cannot be impartial and unbiased.

A top-level UN team says it has so far been unable to convince Sudan to allow a UN peacekeeping force in the troubled region of Darfur. The main reason: Sudan objects to a UN force replacing 7,000 African Union (AU) peacekeepers. Some Sudanese officials see the hand of the US behind the UN effort. The UN, however, says it will not deploy peacekeepers without Sudan's approval, reiterating instead, that it must act to stop the killings. "It was underlying to the president that that can only happen with the consent of the government," delegation chief and UK ambassador to the UN Emyr Jones-Parry said after meeting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. "But it's our wish that we continue discussions to get that consent and that the transition takes place as soon as we can manage it."

Before meeting President Bashir, the UN delegation met a coordinator of government affairs, Mr. Deng Alor, officially known as the minister for the council of ministers and Foreign Minister Lam Akol. Before the meeting, Mr. Akol had suggested to the BBC's Network Africa program that Sudan could accept a UN force, as long as it had a mandate to monitor, rather than enforce peace. Does anyone remember the name Serbenica?

This all is rather like taking the sucker out of the child’s hand, telling the child that candy is bad for them, and then giving the sucker back!

Let us review:

At least 200,000 (conservative estimate) have died in the conflict in the past three years, and two million people have been displaced. This while the UN and the Sudanese government has “talked”.

The African Union (AU) troops currently in Darfur are under-funded and poorly equipped, and have struggled to contain the violence. Last month, the AU called upon the UN to officially take over as soon as possible.

I am a patient man and I prefer diplomacy to violence. However, when the leading world organization, created to prevent war, has been consistently stalled in action and the very definition of diplomacy undermined, I say enough is enough. Let the UN send in its troops. The very actions by Khartoum demand such a resolution and physical action. It is only then can we bring small comfort to the scores of innocent children and women in Darfur.

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