SUDAN CATHOLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
Sudan Monthly Report
December 15, 1999
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
For further information, please contact:
Fr. Kizito, SCIO, tel +254.2.577595 - fax +254.2.577327 -
SUDAN CATHOLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
Bethany House, P. O. Box 21102, Nairobi, Kenya
tel. +254.2.577595 or 577949, fax 577327
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20 December 1999