Global Policy Forum

Sudan Angry at Leak of UN Report on Darfur Abuses


By Evelyn Leopald

April 19, 2007

Sudan lashed out on Thursday at a leak of a U.N. report that accused Khartoum of violating an arms embargo by flying military aircraft in Darfur and painting planes to make them them look like U.N. aircraft. Khartoum's U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem, in a letter to the head of the Security Council's sanctions committee on Sudan, said the "enemies of peace and stability in Sudan" leaked the report to overshadow recent positive peacekeeping developments for turbulent Darfur, where 2 million people have been made homeless. The report was compiled by outside experts for the council's committee, which includes all 15 member nations, and was published by The New York Times on its Web site on Tuesday.

Abdalhaleem asked Italy's ambassador, Marcello Spatafora, head of the council committee, to investigate those responsible for the leak to the Times. "It's all fake, everything is fake," Abdalhaleem told reporters of the report. "If we were hiding something we would not have allowed them to go to that airport to take any photos." The panel said it had seen a Sudanese government airplane in Darfur painted white like U.N. aircraft and with the letters "UN" painted on its wing. Abdalhaleem suggested the plane may have been a U.N. aircraft from southern Sudan. He also denied Sudan had used aircraft for offensive purposes in Darfur, forbidden by the Security Council, such as bombing villages indiscriminately as the report alleged. "The last thing they are concerned about is the security and stability of our people," he said, referring to Security Council members he did not name. "They are the last to give anyone a lesson."


The ambassador argued that the leak was timed to detract attention from a deal Sudan reached with the United Nations on Monday on an interim plan to bolster the more than 5,000 African Union troops in Darfur with more than 3,000 military personnel, civilians and equipment. This operation is not expected to be on the ground until September at the earliest. So far there have been few volunteers, outside of Bangladesh and possibly an engineering unit from Nordic nations, diplomats said. "With the best will in the world, we're not likely to be able to do that before September," British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said. "And so we have to cover all the different aspects, to sustain protection of civilians in Darfur up to September and through September." Sudan has not yet agreed to a so-called "hybrid" force of more than 20,000 African Union and U.N. peacekeepers, prompting calls of further Security Council sanctions by the United States and Britain. These include expanding a list of Sudanese officials found responsible for abuses in Darfur and subjecting them to financial and travel bans, imposing an arms embargo on all of Sudan rather than just Darfur and monitoring aircraft at Sudanese airports. But Russia, China and South Africa said it was not the right time to impose further penalties.

More Information on the Security Council
More Information on Sudan
More Information on Peacekeeping
More Information on UN Sanctions


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