Thursday, October 12, 2006

US Continues Interference in Sudanese Affairs

U.N. Official: Diplomacy Needed to Soften Sudan Toward Deployment of Peacekeepers

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A senior U.N. official said Thursday the Sudanese government has been able to reject proposed deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur because the U.S. and Britain have not sold the idea to other countries.

Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown credited President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for their lead roles in highlighting the suffering in Darfur. But he gave them low marks for their efforts to persuade countries to pressure President Omar al-Bashir to accept U.N. peacekeepers.

Speaking to a gathering at the Brookings Institution, Malloch Brown said pressure must be applied to African and Asian nations to convince al-Bashir to change course.

He said the world must act quickly lest Darfur's grave situation deteriorate further.

"We fear the worst because of the massive amount of Sudanese armament in the area," Malloch Brown said.

The U.N. wants to deploy 20,000 troops and police in Darfur but al-Bashir has been inflexibly opposed.

Malloch Brown said al-Bashir may be resisting out of concern that deployment of U.N. peacekeepers could lead to the arrest of Sudanese officials indicted by the International Criminal Court.

Continued rejection by Sudan of U.N. peacekeepers could produce escalating pressures on Western countries to intervene militarily, he said, adding that it is questionable that leaders of these nations would be able to resist these pressures.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack reacted sharply when informed of Malloch Brown's comment about alleged U.S. laxity in enlisting international support for dispatching peacekeepers.

"You know, it sounds like another in a series of speeches this guy is giving, being critical of others," McCormack said.

"He might allocate a little bit more of his time to doing the job at hand than going out giving speeches criticizing member states."

McCormack said such criticism should not be taken seriously, considering what President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and previous Secretary of State Colin Powell "have been doing to try to resolve this issue and to bring public attention to it."

In New York, Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. Mission at the United Nations, said Malloch Brown "rushes to blame America" instead of criticizing African and Asian countries that are not helping to ease the Darfur crisis.

McCormack said Rice, far from avoiding diplomatic discussions on Darfur, raised the issue repeatedly during her recent consultations with a number of Arab leaders during travels in the Middle East.

The Bush administration has had disagreements with Malloch Brown for some time. On the whole, his 40-minute speech Thursday contained scant criticism of the United States and included some words of praise.

On other subjects, Malloch Brown discussed possible expansion of the U.N. Security Council, recommending the addition of India, Brazil, Japan and Germany as permanent members. Only Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are now permanent members, with the accompanying veto power.

Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations.

News Article by ISNA posted on October 12, 2006 at 10:19:22: EST (-5 GMT)

Sudan condemns western media coverage of Darfur

TEHRAN, Oct 11 (ISNA)-Sudan's Charge d'affairs in Tehran while denouncing the news spread by western media regarding security in Darfur commented that the presence of the African Union forces in Sudan was due to the accusations made against Khartoum.

"After the peace treaty which was signed in Naivasha, the internal war among the northerners and southerners ceased; the country now is in complete serenity and has a stable political condition," Abdul Rahman Khalil Ahmad told ISNA.

"We believe that the west is no after peace and stability in Darfur, because exactly after the peace treaty was signed it tried to start another crisis in our country through interfering in our internal affairs," he added.

"Countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. are after their own economic benefits in Sudan, especially after they understood that our country possesses various unexploited oil and uranium resources," he continued.

"The U.S. and U.K. are after controlling our country. After the peace treaty was signed they suggested that foreign forces should be sent to Darfur so to secure the safety of this region's civilians, of course this is all a big lie; they are only after expanding their authority and interference in our country," Khalil Ahmad said.

This official went on to explain due to various pressures, the government was forced to accept this issue.

"So under this concept that the African Union forces would be more accustomed to our ways we agreed with their presence, but the U.S. and U.K. after understanding that peace was finding a firm definition in Sudan, cut the African Union forces supplies and asked for the presence of UN forces, which consequently would lead them to a firm place of authority in our country," he noted.

"The Presence of UN forces in Darfur with unlimited powers will cease all authority of the government, police, security forces and our county's judiciary and so the President, Umar al-Bashir in a historical speech announced that he preferred to be a resistance group leader than the President of a government which was under the influence of the UN forces," he added.

When asked if Sudan was capable of continuing its resistance in the case of sanction this official stated that Sudan from 1993 had been placed under various military, political, economical and diplomatic sanctions by the U.S., U.K. and the West.

"These threats are nothing new, and in addition to this issue, Sudan has no economic or commercial relations with the West, so how can they place us under sanction?" he asked.

Khalil Ahmad also emphasized that his government was after no guarantees regarding the UN Security Council's 1706 resolution and strongly denounced this issue.

This official regarding when the African Union forces would leave Darfur commented that placing an exact deadline for this issue was difficult, but the Sudan government was placing all its effort in the correct and swift execution of the peace treaty.

Sudan's Charge d'affairs at the end of this interview while recognizing relations between Tehran and Khartoum very satisfactory, requested further expansion of ties among the two sides in various commercial, economic, cultural, and political fields.

"Although the bilateral political ties between both sides are at a very satisfactory level, but our economic relations, although all conditions are prepared are not so satisfactory. Therefore I ask for strengthening of ties in these fields and the establishment of various connections such as direct flights and shipping between both countries," said Khalil Ahmad.

News Article by afrol posted on October 12, 2006 at 10:11:27: EST (-5 GMT)

Sudan now Africa's third largest oil producer

afrol News, 11 October - War-ridden Sudan, which only started exporting oil in 1999, during this year has become sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil producer, only surpassed by Nigeria and Angola. Peace between the North and South has enabled Sudan to produce around 400,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil by now, with government plans to increase this to 600,000 bbl/d by the end of the year. With large undeveloped fields, exports are set to boom.

New statistics presented by US state agencies today indicate that Sudan already has become a bigger oil producer than Equatorial Guinea (330,000 bbl/d), Congo Brazzaville (244,000 bbl/d) and Gabon (237,000 bbl/d) - countries that have shifted on holding sub-Saharan Africa's third place among oil producers during the last decade. Only Nigeria (2.2 million bbl/d) and Angola (1.4 million bbl/d) produce more oil in sub-Saharan Africa.

Also in a North African context, Sudan's oil production is becoming significant. Algeria is estimated to have an oil production of around 2.1 million bbl/d, including condensates and natural gas plant liquids, while Libya's oil production is around 1.8 million bbl/d - both countries experiencing rapid production growth. Meanwhile, the Egyptian oil production is currently estimated at 579,000 bbl/d, being on a downwards trend since the mid-1990s. Sudan will soon surpass its northern neighbour.

By conservative estimates, Sudan's current oil production is at 382,000 bbl/d, according to figures from the US agency Energy Information Administration (EIA). In 2005, Sudan's crude oil production had averaged 363,000 bbl/d, and rapid growth was registered. It is therefore possible that the Sudanese oil production already has hit the 400,000 bbl/d threshold, sources indicate.

Numbers on Sudanese oil production always are insecure as the Khartoum government and major oil companies operating in the country avoid publicity and do not hand out complete data. Oil production in Sudan is a sensitive issue due to US sanctions against the country and "genocide complicity" allegations against oil companies involved there made by US courts.

Sudan only started producing and exporting oil in July 1999, with the completion of an export pipeline that runs from central Sudan to the Red Sea port of Bashair. North American and European companies have been strongly discouraged from taking part in Sudan's oil adventure - especially by Washington - leaving Sudan open to Chinese, Indian and Malaysian investors. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Malaysia's Petronas are now the biggest players in Sudan's oil sector.

According to the 'Oil and Gas Journal', Sudan contained proven conventional reserves of 563 million barrels in January 2006, which is more than twice the proven estimates of 2001. The Sudanese Energy Ministry estimates total oil reserves at five billion barrels. Exploration efforts have so far covered only a few parts of the country.

Due to civil conflict, oil exploration has been mostly limited to the central and south-central regions of Sudan. Production is centred on the areas bordering the Khartoum-held north and the autonomous government of South Sudan, a region that finally has found peace and thus allows for stable oil production and investments at a larger level.

But the Chinese also operate larger oil fields between the regions of Kordofan and Darfur - both under Khartoum's control - which are close to the Darfur conflict area. Sudanese sources estimate that Darfur and Kordofan may be the areas richest in oil in the entire country. It is further estimated that vast potential reserves are held in the desert regions of north-western Sudan, the Blue Nile Basin, and the Red Sea area in eastern Sudan.

The expansion of the Sudanese oil production is going very quickly, with major investments flowing into the country from Hina's CNPCs. According to local sources, it is the large and controversial concession of Block 6 that is currently experiencing the largest Chinese investments. Block 6 is partly located in Darfur. During the last few months, CNPC has been able to increase the production on Block 6 from 10,000 to 40,000 bbl/d.

With the large increases on Block 6 - but also in South Sudan, where North American oil companies meanwhile are able to participate - Sudan's oil production by now probably already is at around 420,000 bbl/d. Khartoum is therefore on a steady road to reach the production target of 600,000 bbl/d it has set for the end of 2006.

Khartoum and the autonomous government of South Sudan - which have signed a revenue-sharing deal on oil production in the south - can make good use of the booming incomes. Since November 2005, oil revenues have streamed into the empty pockets of the South Sudan government, which is in the process of establishing entirely new state structures in a vast region plagued by warfare for over two decades. Revenues are to help finance rebuilding of health and education services.

Also the Khartoum government strongly needs these extra revenues, especially as Western countries increasingly have isolated Sudan. Despite sanctions against Khartoum, the country's GDP grew by 6.4 percent in 2005 and is expected to grow 5.7 percent in 2006, mainly driven by the oil industry. Currently, 70 percent of Sudan's total export revenues come from oil exports, according to EIA.

News Article by AP posted on October 12, 2006 at 15:11:44: EST (-5 GMT)

Think Tank Urges Oil Sanctions Vs Sudan Over UN Troops

CAIRO (AP)--The world should impose sanctions on Sudan, targeting its leaders and the oil sector, to force it to accept U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur and halt the killing of civilians there, a leading think tank said Thursday.

Unless the international community takes steps against the Sudanese government, it "will continue its military campaign with deadly consequences on civilians" in Darfur, the International Crisis Group said in an 18-page report.

The violence in Darfur, where Sudanese troops and pro-government militia are opposed by several rebel factions, has escalated in recent weeks. The report confirmed this, saying "the situation is again deteriorating dramatically."

At least 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million people have been displaced in three years of fighting. U.N. investigators and NGOs have blamed the bulk of the atrocities on the janjaweed, a pro-government militia that is widely accused of killing villagers and setting fire to their homes. The government denies supporting the janjaweed.

The U.N. Security Council voted in August to replace the under-powered African Union peacekeeping mission with a much bigger U.N. force. But President Omar al- Bashir and his ruling National Congress Party have refused to allow the U.N. peacekeepers to deploy, claiming they would breach Sudan's sovereignty.

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