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SUDAN CATHOLIC INFORMATION OFFICE

Sudan Monthly Report

December 15, 1999

Chronology

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

November 17: The UN has officially transmitted a report on the

findings of its humanitarian mission in the Nuba Mountains to the

Government of Sudan and the leadership of the Sudanese People's

Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). Following this mission, for the

first time ever, the UN humanitarian programme for Sudan will next

year include multi-sectoral assistance for populations in the Nuba

Mountains, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

17: The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan, Leonardo

Franco, has reported some progress on the country's rights record, but

said "the population was still being devastated by the low-level civil

war in which neither side respected human rights or humanitarian law".

At a UN meeting on human rights issues, Franco welcomed the 1998

constitution and Sudan's stated commitment to democracy and

humanitarian law.

18: Children in Southern Sudan have been subjected to abuses during

the 16-year war, they told a conference in Nairobi. The children were

speaking during an Unicef-sponsored conference.

18: The European Community has proposed renewing a dialogue with the

Sudanese government, cut off in 1996 amid alleged human rights abuses,

in order to promote peace, democracy and human rights. The Finnish

foreign ministry's Africa and Middle East director Tuunanen Heikki,

leading a four-day mission to Khartoum, noted "some encouraging

actions" by the government and said that, through dialogue, the EC

could get to know how the government would implement measures it had

taken to meet its declared objectives. Washington pushes for

"humanitarian access" in Upper Nile

18: Khartoum has agreed with a visiting South African delegation that

peace in Southern Sudan depends on the IGAD (Inter-Governmental

Authority on Development) process and a complementary Egyptian/Libyan

initiative, and that "there was no military solution to the problem."

The South Africans, led by deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad, met

foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail and speaker of the Sudanese

Assembly Hassan al-Turabi among other senior officials during a

four-day visit to discuss the economic and political situations in

South Africa and Sudan, and to consolidate relations between the two,

according to a joint statement reported by the South African Press

Agency.

18: Sudan has said it is prepared to accept an offer by Canada to hold

peace talks in Ottawa with Southern Sudanese rebels in an effort to

end the 16-year civil war, Radio Canada International reported.

Canadian foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy, who proposed the talks last

month, has also invited SPLA leader John Garang but it is not known

whether he will accept the invitation, the radio added.

19: Over 400 Sudanese refugees have arrived in Uganda over the past

few days, a UNHCR spokesman said. The refugees reported fleeing

clashes between the Dinka and Didinga ethnic groups in southern Sudan,

he said. Another 210 refugees had arrived from Sudan to the Kakuma

area of Kenya between November 7-13, the spokesman added.

19: Sudanese parliament has backed a motion to debate proposals

amending the constitution to reduce the powers of President Omar

El-Bashir by creating a prime ministerial post answerable to

parliament and allowing direct elections of the governors of Sudan's

26 states. The decision of parliament, which voted that the debate

should go ahead despite Bashir's request that it be postponed, is seen

as a victory for Turabi in his power struggle with the president.

19: Police in Khartoum arrested 17 people, including two journalists,

on public order charges as they gathered for a telephone press

conference with Garang, news agencies reported. The opposition

Democratic Forces Front (DFF) leader Ghazi Suleiman had arranged the

conference with Garang, who was in the Eritrean capital Asmara for a

meeting with partners in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on the

future of Sudan.

19: UNICEF and OLS are to mark the 10th anniversary of the UN

Convention on the Rights of the Child November 20, by hosting a

non-political conference by stakeholders from various parts of south

Sudan to "sculpt the future for Sudanese children". At a conference

earlier, children themselves mapped out their own vision of their

future.

19: Sudan's external relations minister Mustafa Osman Ismail has told

the national assembly that the government was following up the

movements and activities of US Special Envoy to Sudan Harry Johnston

"without taking any hasty position of rejecting or accepting him". He

would still be allowed to visit Sudan "to get first-hand information

about the country from the real sources" if he made an official

request to do.

19: Ismail told reporters in Khartoum that the US had influenced

Canadian policy towards Sudan, particularly in relation to Ottawa's

concern that the 25 per cent stake of Calgary-based Talisman Energy

Inc. in a south Sudan oil consortium may be prolonging the Sudanese

war. "The statement about Talisman didn't start from the Canadian

government, it started from (US Secretary of State) Mrs. Albright, and

then the Canadian government made its statement," Reuters news agency

quoted Ismail as saying.

19: Talisman chief executive Jim Buckee has disputed parts of a recent

report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan, Franco,

who said the government had been forcing people out of southern

oil-producing areas in order to help clear them of suspected

saboteurs. "At least two of the facts are wrong," Buckee told the

Canadian National Post newspaper.

30: The Sudanese government charged that an attack on an oil pipeline

was launched from a neighbouring state and aimed at undermining a new

government agreement with an opposition party. Information minister

Ghazi Sala Eddin Atabani, quoted in As-Sahafa daily, did not name the

state but he was understood to mean the attack was mounted from

Eritrea, where the opposition is based.

30: Sudan has urged all opposition leaders to follow in the footsteps

of the opposition Umma Party and make peace with the Khartoum.

Representatives of the government and Umma Party, the biggest

opposition group intialled a "declaration of principles" after a

meeting between president El-Bashir and Umma leader Sadeq al Mahdi in

Djibouti.22: 30: Ethiopia and Sudan have agreed to improve relations

after a period of strain dating from 1995, when Sudan was accused of

complicity in an attempt to assassinate Egyptian president Hosni

Mubarak inside Ethiopisa. The Ethiopian government said that two days

of talks in Addis Ababa between El-Bashir and Ethiopian prime minister

Meles Zenawi had been held in a spirit "that characterise the

historical bond of friendship'' between the two nations.

30: WFP has warned of a "looming humanitarian crisis" in Southern

Sudan because humanitarian agencies were being denied access to

vulnerable populations by government restrictions on humanitarian

flights and inter-factional fighting. Humanitarian agencies could not

get access to many areas of Western Upper Nile in October and

November, "and 140,000 targeted and vulnerable people could not get

their emergency food assistance", the WFP representative in Sudan,

Mohamed Saliheen, said..

30: One of the IGAD members, Eritrea, will not be attending the

organisation's next summit meeting because it claims the host country,

Djibouti, "has been making all sorts of accusations against it", its

Nairobi embassy spokesman Kidane Woldeyesus told IRIN. Djibouti

President Ismail Omar Guelleh warned of deteriorating relations

between his country and Eritrea, and said there was "almost a state of

war" between the two.

31: The UN General Assembly has expressed concern at the impact of the

conflict on human rights and the situation of the civilian population,

especially women and children. It passed a resolution urging all

parties to the conflict in Sudan "to grant safe and unhindered access

to international agencies and humanitarian organisations" so that they

could deliver assistance to civilians.

December 1: Many of the people who fled Bentiu when fighting erupted

in July have returned, and CARE has resumed emergency programmes in

the town, including supplementary feeding. However, about 10,000

people are still living along the route between Bentiu and Rubkona,

OLS reported.

1: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has

launched its Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the year 2000,

appealing to donors for US $125.6 million - with US $67 million of

that sum earmarked for food security. The appeal is divided into six

main sectoral programmes, aiming to assist human rights protection and

peace-building, while supporting food security and ensuring that

vulnerable populations have access to basic services in health, water

and sanitation, and education.

2: The humanitarian situation in Sudan improved during 1999,

particularly in the areas affected last year by famine in Bahr el

Ghazal, the appeal said. A good harvest and relative stability had

enabled humanitarian organisations to carry out both "life-saving

operations and activities aimed at reinforcing local coping mechanisms

and self-reliance". 3: The national department of malaria director

Omar Zayid Baraka said an acute increase in malignant malaria in the

Kordofan state capital of Obayid was due to exceptionally heavy

rainfall of 650 mm, not seen in Kordofan in 50 years. He said the

strain of malaria was particularly virulent - bringing spasms, coma,

fracturing of red corpuscles and jaundice, among other complications,

news organisations reported.

4: President El-Bashir has had a meeting in Djibouti with the Umma

Al-Mahdi, Sudanese television reported. El-Bashir and other heads of

state in the regional IGAD were in Djibouti for a summit meeting,

during which the conflicts in Sudan and Somalia were expected to

dominate the agenda.

4: The third round meeting of the Technical Committee on Humanitarian

Assistance (TCHA) is scheduled to be held on December 14-15, 1999 in

Geneva. Among the meeting's concerns will be policy and programme

issues for agencies working in Sudan, including access to vulnerable

populations, security and the continuation of humanitarian

cease-fires, humanitarian sources told IRIN.

8: Sudanese opposition groups met in Kampala to review the progress of

the various groups in Sudan, in the fight against Khartoum government.

Mr. John Andruga Duku, the representative of the SPLA in Nordic

countries said they were reviewing progress of the opposition groups

in their fight against the Khartoum regime and charter new strategies

of "advancing the struggle''.

8: President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya will chair talks between

presidents El-Bashir and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni in Nairobi. The

talks, which are brokered by Carter Centre headed by former USA

president Jimmy Carter, are designed to find a lasting solution to the

friction between the two countries.

9: Uganda and Sudan have signed a historic 10-point peace treaty in

Nairobi. It seeks to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two

countries. Museveni and El-Bashir signed the treaty after negotiations

organised by the Conflict Resolution programme by the Carter Centre

chaired by Moi and mediated by Carter.

9: Uganda and Sudan are to resume full diplomatic relations at the end

of February next year following the signing of a peace agreement in

Nairobi. The agreement compliments the IGAD peace process.

9: A surprise deal between El-Bashir and the man he ousted as prime

ministerin a 1989 military coup has split the opposition ranks, but

seems unlikely to bring an early end to a 16-yearl-old civil war.

Diplomats said the "declaration of principles'' agreed by El-Bashir

and Al-Mahdi in Djibouti last month had blown apart the fragile unity

of the NDA.

14: President El-Bashir has dissolved parliament and declared a state

of emergency in preparation for a national legislative election. The

general election authority, according to a presidential decree

broadcast will set voting day for a new national assembly by the state

television after an announcement by the president.

14: Sudan's president, appearing in full military uniform in his first

news conference since declaring a state of emergency, said he acted to

control a power struggle with the country's influential parliament

speaker. The capital was quiet; a day after the president declared a

three-month state of emergency. Extra troops guarded key government

posts.

15: The streets of Sudan's capital were largely deserted during a

tense political showdown between El-Bashir and Turabi, witnesses said.

President El-Bashir, who installed a Turabi-guided Islamist government

after a military coup in 1989, tossed a political bombshell at the

nation by declaring a three-month state of emergency and dissolving

the parliament.

15: President El-Bashir appeared to be consolidating his grip on power

after striking out against his former ally, Turabi. Bashir dissolved

parliament and declared a three-month state of emergency to pre-empt

moves by Turabi, who dominates the ruling National Congress Party, to

pass a constitutional amendment slashing presidential powers.

15: President Mubarak of Egypt flew unexpectedly to Libya for talks

with Muammar Gaddafi that are expected to focus on the political

turmoil in Sudan, officials said.

Charles Omondi

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

For further information, please contact:

Fr. Kizito, SCIO, tel +254.2.577595 - fax +254.2.577327 -

e-mail: SCIO@MAF.Org

+---------------------------------------------------------------+

SUDAN CATHOLIC INFORMATION OFFICE

Bethany House, P. O. Box 21102, Nairobi, Kenya

tel. +254.2.577595 or 577949, fax 577327

e-mail:scio@maf.org

____________________

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20 December 1999

   

 

Copyright 2000 Sudan Infonet
Last modified: March 12, 2001