Sudan update28th March 2006

1. Sudan hosts 2 day Arab League Summit on 28th March

The issue of converting the AU force in Darfur to a UN force is on the agenda.  A coalition of human rights groups, including Arab organisations, have called for the League to endorse the plans for a UN force.  HRW have criticised the League for remaining silent about the atrocities in Darfur.  For more information, please see - http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/28/sudan13067.htm

2. The Sudan APG & Alan Goulty

HM Ambassador Alan Goulty CMG, Ambassador to Tunisia and Special Representative to Darfur, will give a briefing on the situation in Darfur and Government policy. 28th March, 6pm in the Boothroyd Room.  Members and staff are welcome.

3. Escalating violence in South Sudan

There are reports of violence in South Sudan.  The UN's Sudan Envoy, Jan Pronk, has warned that growing frustration in the South and the lack of reconstruction is leading to violence.  The repatriation of refugees to the South was suspended following heavy fighting in the region.  For more information, please see - http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/4831994.stm

4. Tension between the SPLM and Khartoum government

Disagreement about whether Khartoum should be governed by Sharia law has caused friction between the government and former rebels from the South.  The South Sudan Democratic Forum Party has called for Khartoum to be a secular capital of all cultures.  There are fears that this division could hinder the bedding down of the North/South peace agreement.  For more information, please see:
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4838818.stm
and
http://www.sudantribune.com/article.php3?id_article=14747

The sharing of oil wealth between the North and South is also an issue.  The wealth sharing agreement stated that revenues should be divided equally.  However, there are concerned that the agreement is not being adhered to.  For more information, please see:
http://www.sudantribune.com/article.php3?id_article=14735

5.  UN votes to speed up preparations for a UN force in Darfur.

The AU Summit in March deferred the decision to transfer the AU mission in Darfur to UN control until September.  A copy of the communiqué is attached.  The decision was widely condemned and is thought to be largely a result of foot stamping by the Sudan Government which threatened to withdraw from the AU and made numerous hostile comments such as threatening 'holy war' against a UN force. 

The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to speed up preparations for a UN mission in Darfur.  It has called for Kofi Annan to come up with options within one month.  For more information, please see -

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4843802.stm
<<African Union Peace and Security Council Communique of March 10 2006.pdf>>

6.  New ICG Report

The ICG have published a new report on the situation in Darfur.  For a copy of the report, please see - http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=4027&l=1

7. Darfur suspect given visa to enter the UK

Salah Abdallah Gosh, head of Sudan's national security and intelligence service and a key suspect in the genocide in Darfur, was given a visa to enter the UK for medical treatment.  This decision has been widely condemned as it undermines British foreign policy in Darfur.  For more information, please see - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4791782.stm

8. Tension between Chad and Sudan continues

Chad's army has launched offensive attacks against rebels operating on the Sudan border.  Despite Chad and Sudan signing an accord to settle their differences over the border, tensions remain high.  For more information, please see - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4828584.stm