QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JERRY FOWLER: Thank you very much. We do have a microphone down here at the bottom of this aisle if you have comments or would like to ask questions to Ambassador Ranneberger. While people are working their way to the microphone, I actually have a few questions.
I wanted to start with the issue of mobilizing the international community. Last week, as you said, the Security Council did make a Presidential statement which was a little bit stronger than what they had done before, although in expressing grave concern about what is happening in Darfur, it didn’t actually say who was doing what, which I found a little disappointing. But I am wondering what is in the offing in the Security Council. Do you anticipate that there is going to be more formal action? What are the prospects of getting a resolution the at addresses Darfur?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: That’s an important question, and I think it’s all tied up with what I was talking about in terms of the mobilization of the international community. While I said that they are more mobilized than they were, this is a work in progress, and quite frankly, a Security Council resolution would be difficult to obtain even if one wanted to do so right now. There are a number of countries on the Security Council that would simply block it and a number of friends of the government of Sudan on the Security Council.
Our strategy for the Security Council has basically been a gradual process. And let me just say that this is the norm when you are dealing with the Security Council. You work up toward the resolution. It’s sort of a tiered process. You have briefings in the Security Council. That puts it before the Security Council. You go to a press statement, which we have done. You go to a Presidential statement, which we have done. And the next step would be a resolution on Darfur. That is something that we consider a real option, but again, it is not feasible now because there simply wouldn’t be support for it no matter what level this was addressed at.
It is something that should the government of Sudan not take the actions necessary to turn around the situation, it is something that we will work toward. Of course, we are hoping that this international monitoring coupled with this limited opening on the humanitarian access will in effect start to turn around the situation in Darfur. But we by no means exclude the idea of having a resolution.
You were referring to the Presidential statement that was issued. That was far from perfect, because you do have to negotiate these things within the Security Council, which is always an issue, and I was actually pleasantly surprised that it was as strong as it was given the fact that you have to negotiate these things in the Council.
The other thing I would say on the UN aspect is that there will be a resolution welcoming the North-South accords that have been signed. I don’t know if that’s going to be this week or next week, but it will be in the near future. It is certainly our position at the United States that any resolution welcoming the North-South accords should address the Darfur issue. For our part, we are working for inclusion of Darfur in that, and that will be a formal resolution. And I don’t know how it is going to come out because that is still in discussion.
JERRY FOWLER: And if I could just push on that for just a little bit, would the U.S.--this might be too strong a statement--but would the U.S. not allow a resolution to go forward, veto a resolution, if it didn’t deal with Darfur or at least address Darfur?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: No, I don’t think so, because it’s one of these things where there are those you want and then there are those you have to have, and the must haves, you have got to endorse. You have got to take what you’ve got, which is you’ve got a North-South peace accord in hand. That’s a major breakthrough, a major achievement. So you’ve got to take that. But having said that, we are going to be pushing very hard for inclusion of Darfur but not inclusion would be a basis for us to actually block the resolution.
JERRY FOWLER: Tied to this international response, it’s one thing for the other countries not to respond politically, and there are a lot of reasons why that may be, but why do you think that the response just on the humanitarian side, the donors, has been so low?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Well, part of it is that the donor assistance--even for us, there’s usually a pretty lengthy pipeline of some months if not longer, and what generally happens is that the donors commit, and then it’s very hard to sort of re-jigger priorities in short order.
What has happened, of course, is that all of the humanitarian assistance that has been in the pipeline for the South, and for the East and the other affected areas--[inaudible] and [inaudible] islands--and when the dimensions of this became clear in Darfur, which was only relatively recently, as I indicated, in the past few months, it has been hard. We actually have more flexibility in U.S. aid than a lot of these country programs do, so we have been able to sort of tack and change course in order to get this assistance flowing toward Darfur where it is harder for other countries to do that.
That’s one part of it. The other part of it is that there is, frankly, I think, a posturing that countries do where they say they want to help, and then things don’t come through for various reasons. I must say that the UK and there are a few countries that have come through in a pretty substantial way for Darfur, and again, I mention that the EU has--I don’t know exactly where they are on the humanitarian side--but they have come through quite strongly on the support for the international monitoring in Darfur, which is very significant.
JERRY FOWLER: Natalie?
QUESTION: Thank you very much. [Inaudible] from [inaudible] Services. I have a question. I just traveled to [inaudible] in the region, and when I was in Chad along the border, I heard from a number of different people that there was a linkage between the SPLM and some of the rebel groups, and that this linkage was even in the form of arms and military help and some other different forms. But now you have just said that the SPLM and the Government of Sudan are committed to work together. So how do we see the linkages between the SPLM and the rebel groups?
Another question is the rebel groups need a bit to upgrade their negotiation skills--I think they are known for a certain life of sophistication, and that’s what happened at the [inaudible] accords. Do you see maybe the SPLM helping them a bit? How do you see--that’s what I would like to know, the linkage.
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Yes, a good question. On the SPLM relationship with the rebels, what I would say is there has clearly been a relationship for quite some time--it’s not a revelation that the names are quite similar, Sudan Liberation Movement, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. But the linkages may not be as deep as some people expect, because keep in mind that the dimension of the conflict in Darfur, this is a conflict between Muslims. It is also between Arabs and Africans to a large extent, but it is also within a Muslim population. And one of these rebel movements, of course, the Justice and Equality Movement, was originally led and supported by sort of a radical Islamic break-off wing of the PNC, which now, of course, the [inaudible] would be the first one to tell you that we are not pushing any sort of ideology, we are secularist, and all that. But nonetheless the origins are there.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that the connections are profound between the SPLM and these groups. But having said that, it is a fact that there are connections, of course, certainly at the political level. The SLM was admitted into the National Democratic Alliance earlier this year. As you know, that could not have happened without the blessing of the SPLM. There are certainly extensive contacts that take place. I don’t think that the SPLM was guiding or leading these rebel groups. I don’t think they are providing significant material support, if any. Most of the rebel material support comes from in fact captured weapons and captured material that they have taken.
Now, in terms of the negotiations, I do think the fact that the SPLM has contacts with the rebels potentially helps to facilitate negotiation of a political solution in Darfur, and I think that the SPLM realizes its responsibility in that regard, and the SPLM also realizes that, again, if there is going to be any implementation of the North-South peace agreement, one will have to have a resolution of the Darfur issue at the same time.
So it is complex, but I think that’s what I would say on it. There is probably more that can be said, but in a nutshell, I think that’s the relationship.
JERRY FOWLER: I’m not sure I understand what you laid out as the way that there is going to be a political solution to this. The talks that have occurred so far have been in N’Djamena under the mediation of the Chadian Government, and the rebels at least have expressed some dissatisfaction with that, and then this monitoring agreement was signed in Addis. I don’t know enough of the ins and outs to know is the whole process moving to Addis, and how do you envision the political resolution coming about?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: The process started in Chad, of course, with the ceasefire that was signed on April 8. In that ceasefire agreement, there was a provision for follow-up political talks. In fact, there were political talks that took place a couple of weeks ago, but these, frankly, were token talks. I mean, they were not significant. In fact, the main rebel wings did not participate in those talks, so I don’t consider those very significant.
Exactly when and where the political talks will take place is not clear at this point. The rebels have obvious concerns about using Chad. Our point of view is that whatever the parties can work out is fine with us--if they want to use Addis or another location, that’s fine--and it obviously should be a location where both sides feel comfortable whether it is in Sudan or in a third country. We certainly are prepared to help to try to facilitate those political talks. We think they probably should be brokered inside the country or under an African process of some sort.
How we will get from here to there, I think, is that clearly, I don’t think the rebels are going to be prepared or the armed opposition is going to be prepared to sit down to serious political talks until there is at least some stability on the ground in terms of or meaning respect for the ceasefire, which means cessation of this Janjaweed activity and what other military activity may be taking place. They have not set that as a formal precondition, but I don’t think any talks, including the North-South talks, went anywhere until there was relative peace on the ground.
Once that happens and the venue is worked out, then I think you deal with it in a logical way. The armed opposition comes with its presentation on its grievances, which they have already laid out in different documents, and there is an effort to resolve those. All I’m saying in terms of how those are resolved is that they will have to take into account the agreements that have already been reached, because remember that the power-sharing protocol is a protocol for national power-sharing. It includes Darfur, it includes every part of the country. It has federalism provisions that are applicable to every part of the country. So that cannot be ignored. Now, there will have to be specific provisions for Darfur--how will they help to administer Darfur, what will be the specific role of the armed opposition in a national government. Presumably, that would be factored into the percentage of representation that Darfur will have in the national legislature.
But again, it’s a little early to speculate on that. I’m just saying that now that these political accords are in place between the SPLM and the government, they have to be taken into account; it’s the natural thing. Then, of course, there is also a provision in the power-sharing agreement for the drafting of an interim Constitution--a Constitution revision process, rather--during the pre-interim period, so that would of course have to include the situation in Darfur as well, because again, it is a national constitution.
So some of this is not as clear-cut as one might like, but the point is you’ve got to take into account the agreements that have already been reached.
JERRY FOWLER: I guess that leads me to ask--one of the criticisms that has been leveled at the Naivasha process or IGAD process is that the only people at the table were the SPLM and a government that is pretty narrowly based, when in fact people would say that one of the causes of the formation of the SLA and the rebellion in Darfur was the feeling that basically, national resources were going to be divided up between the small group that controls the government in Khartoum and the SPLM, and Darfur would be condemned to permanent second class status. How would you respond to those criticisms?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Well, there is a legitimate concern there on the part of the other groups in the North and the South of Sudan that they were not included in the actual negotiations between the SPLM and the government. We, as you know, took the position from the outset, along with IGAD, that the parties who were actually fighting on the ground at that point, the rebellion in Darfur certainly wasn’t evident--there was some activity there, but it didn’t come into its own until later--that the parties fighting on the ground had to resolve the issue, meaning the SPLM and the government. So that was the way to process that structure.
I think it’s easy to criticize that approach, but one has to take into account that there has been an enormous amount of consultation with the National Democratic Alliance and the different members of the National Democratic Alliance. I have met with them almost every time I have been to the region; they come through Washington. So there has been an extensive discussion along the way with them. And of course, they are integrated into the process by the fact that Fagan Amom, who is the senior negotiator for the SPLM, is the secretary-general of the NDA, so there is a relationship there. I think the NDA piece of it is covered, although there are certainly unhappy campers in the NDA who feel like they haven’t been fully brought into the process.
In terms of Darfur, as I say, that conflict really only became prominent after that process was started. It wasn’t practical to include or lump that into this agreement. I think that what is going to have to happen now, as I say, is the reality is simply going to have to be taken into account, and we are going to strongly insist upon that--“we” meaning we, the troika, the UN, the whole international process is going to insist that in effect, the national framework has been fixed here.
In the conversations that I have had with the Darfur opposition, including the most recent meetings, I explained that to them, and they seemed to accept that. They seem to be looking at a process that will truly address the grievances in Darfur, which I think are pretty evident--the traditional confrontation between the herders and the agriculturalists, the issue of wealth-sharing and the fact that they have suffered disproportionately from underdevelopment, and all the rest of the issues. If oil is found in Darfur, how will that be shared? All the rest of it. But they are essentially local issues.
I don’t think this is going to pose that enormous a problem folding the resolution of those into these overall accords that have been reached between the SPLM and the government. I really don’t think that’s going to be a huge problem. It’s going to be a little bit tricky.
JERRY FOWLER: And I guess one overarching aspect of it is just the timing and the amount of death that can result and that probably is going to result in the coming months. You talk about positive steps of the government, doing something that, actually, it seemed like they did in the South a lot, especially before the last 18 months or so, where they would give a little bit of a sign of process, and then, someplace else, they would backslide. It was devastating enough in the South for a number of years that it happened. But here, where you have people who have basically been driven off their land in the desert, and you’ve got the rain getting ready to start, which is going to make international access problematic, regardless of the obstacles that Khartoum puts in the way--is it a case where eight months from now we’re going to say that basically, they engaged in ethnic cleansing, they achieved their goal, a large portion of the Africans in Darfur are dead, and there is not much politically to resolve?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: You raise a profound point, and on the urgency again, I can only say there is a sense of urgency here. We are aware of this dimension, and we can’t have here a gradual process where you are taking half-steps for the next six months. I mean, there has to be a dramatic turnaround of the situation.
And again, I think that with the signing of the Naivasha accord, there is now an opportunity to press flat out on Darfur, and I think we have a reasonable chance of getting success on that given the fact that both the SPLM and the government have an interest in making that happen.
My sense in talking to the rebels, the armed opposition in Darfur, certainly is that they want a settlement. They really don’t want to continue fighting. So they are ready to seek a political solution.
I think the government has a number of complicated issues in Darfur that they have got to grapple with, so I am not convinced that they are ready for real peace or real settlement in Darfur. But the point is you push them in that direction. I’m not sure they were ready for a real political settlement with the SPLM when they started. So the idea is to push it.
Time is not on our side here. We don’t want to be waking up to the fact that 40,000 people have died from starvation later this summer, that’s for sure, and that’s why you can’t cut slack, and we have said this all along. And I think there was the perception that because we were going after the North-South accord that somehow we were being soft on Darfur. That was not the case. I mean, if you had been aware of the diplomatic exchanges we were having--for example, the fact that we linked normalization of relations with the Darfur situation--that was a major shift in U.S. policy. That happened already two months ago. So even given the potential impact of that on the government’s willingness to negotiate the North-South, we didn’t hesitate to do that. We pushed these briefings in the Security Council despite the fact that some of our best allies in the Security Council were very reluctant, saying, “Oh, if you do that, the government may back off and may go slow on the North-South thing.” We said no--you have to move Darfur on its own track. And that’s what we’re going to continue to do, even with greater fervor now that the North-South thing is resolved.
QUESTION: Hi. I’m Christa Woodley [ph] from Oxfam. Thank you so much for your presentation. I just wanted to make a comment on the issue of humanitarian aid. I think one thing we have to note is that when there is political will, money comes. And with Iraq, $2 billion showed up in a flash. And with Sudan, they have gotten like a third of the UN’s request. So I think that is something that you need to keep reiterating, that there needs to be international equity in humanitarian aid, and not only the hot spots like Iraq should be getting funding.
I had a question and a follow-up on the humanitarian aid issue. I’m wondering if you think that the funding streams for North-South will be competing with the funding needs for Darfur.
My second question is with regard to the AU mission. You seem to be putting a lot of hope in the AU mission, the monitoring mission, and I am wondering in terms of what the role will be in protection or at least monitoring a tax on civilians and what role it will have in ensuring access for humanitarian workers and the system. Thank you.
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: On the funding, that’s a very important point from a couple points of view. I don’t see it so much as a competition. What has happened, it has created a little bit of a competition on the humanitarian side. Fortunately, the South and some of these other areas are in relatively better shape than they were, so we have been able to divert, but we really haven’t diverted that much. What we have done is really found additional resources on top of what we already had organized. AID has been able to use some creative mechanisms to come up with additional money quickly, and I applaud them for that.
Where you have the biggest funding problem down the road--well, we have this need to meet the humanitarian, and I think ways will be found, certainly, within the U.S. Government to meet our commitment on that. But a huge problem looming out there is going to be the funding for reconstruction and development and the funding to support implementation of the North-South peace accord--and also, of course, ditto for Darfur--support reconstruction and development in Darfur, support implementation of whatever peace agreement is reached there.
That is going to be a huge challenge because the money is not currently available for that. There is a considerable sum of money that is in the pipeline for Sudan, but the kinds of funds that you need to have a real peace dividend are certainly not available, so the question is how does one find that money, and that is a looming question--and it is a question that not only we are going to face but other countries, but particularly the United States since we will be certainly expected to take a leading role given the role that we have played in helping to broker the North-South accord. And that is an area where I think that really the nongovernmental community in the United States can be very active in urging the need for not only the humanitarian funding, which again is obviously critical now, but also the longer-term money for reconstruction and development. And that’s where you could see a bit of a competition where commitments have already been made more or less to helping the South with reconstruction and development, what are you going to do in Darfur to show the equities that the international community also cares about Darfur. Those are real issues out there.
In terms of the African Union, they don’t have a protection role per se. Their role is quite simply monitoring. Much, again, it is modeled in a way on the CPMTs, the Civilian Protection Monitoring Teams, that we have active in the South. Their role is to shine a spotlight on any attacks that are carried out against civilian, which are almost all of them by the Janjawed, and in shining that spotlight on these attacks to therefore act as a deterrent. That’s exactly what in fact has happened in the South, through the CPMT.
My hope is that as the African Union teams deploy--and again, there is going to be U.S. and EU participation in every one of those teams, so it’s truly international--there is a plan for deployment where they will essentially cover the whole of Darfur, which is a big area, and as those teams deploy and again shine the spotlight on this, I think it will help act as a deterrent. They don’t have a role in protecting humanitarian workers or anyone else except themselves, so the role is limited--again, just as the CPMT was and, for that matter, as the BMT or the JMC is. They are all more or less modeled on the same kind of principle.
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Well, the goal is to have, say, 60 or 70 African Union monitors deployed by the end of this. The paper goal, of course, is to have all this done in--I don’t have it in front of me, but something like 30 days or so. But practically speaking, it’s not going to be that quick. And again, it’s hard for me to say that given the sense of urgency that we all feel, but what you’re going to run into is the practical problem on the ground.
For example, you go to Al Fashir, which is one of the biggest towns in Darfur, or Nyala, there simply are no places to stay. You can’t even find a townhouse to stay in, so you end up having to bring in tents and create base camps and that sort of thing.
We are going to keep the logistics to a bare-bones, minimum operation. It’s not going to be a grandiose operation like the JMC [Joint Military Commission] in Nuba or even the CPMT. So we’re doing this on a shoestring in order to do it quickly. But having said that, you have still got to have the minimal logistics. You’ve got to have the ability to get people food and water; they’ve got to have the aircraft stations somewhere with fuel, and that sort of thing.
Realistically, it’s going to take longer--I know this for sure--it’s going to take longer than we hoped. What I would envision is that within two to three weeks, we would hopefully have a couple of dozen people on the ground, but again, I certainly wouldn’t want to absolutely commit to that, because this is going to be a difficult process. And I don’t [inaudible] the local people and how this is going to unfold, and there will be I’m sure any number of hitches that will pop up.
The only thing I’d say about the African Union is they really are deeply committed to this. I am enormously impressed with how quickly and how effectively they have moved, with very little experience in doing this sort of thing. The new Secretary-General of the African Union, a former president that I worked with in Mali, is an incredibly dynamic individual who is very operationally oriented. He has basically told his people “make it happen yesterday,” and they really are moving with great speed, and they handled this meeting in Addis with great, great effectiveness. I am actually more optimistic than I was before I was at Addis for this African Union meeting that really reached this agreement on the monitoring.
QUESTION: I am Shakina Harone [ph], and I am from Darfur, from the four tribes that are being devastated by the [inaudible]. We are really going through a lot. So I really am grateful that you guys care about what is going on in Darfur.
My question is when dealing with the Sudan government, which is a very evil government, where do you take the facts from--from the government, or do you also talk to other parties--because really, they can hide everything. And they are working on this because there is no security right now, there is nothing being taken, like any action or power to control the area. They are changing demographically. They are changing everything. By the time that we’re talking about peace, everything will be changed in Darfur. The real people will be thrown out, and the Arab militants or whatever are taking their place. I really want you to be very deep in dealing with this government.
Also, on the humanitarian part, what action will be taken in terms of security, besides the African Union?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Well, thank you for that. It is really sobering to hear from somebody who is actually from the Darfur region. If you haven’t been there, of course, if you haven’t actually lived there, you can’t begin to imagine the suffering that has happened, and I can only--we can read about it in reports, that’s one thing--I have to say that when I flew over it and saw the flames shooting out of villages, it was pretty sobering. It’s one of the worst things I’ve seen.
We have a lot of sympathy for the groups in Darfur that are being, as you say, devastated by these atrocities. But let me just say that we know, I think, more or less what the facts are on the ground. The government initially tried to deny involvement with the Janjaweed, said it was an independent group and all this kind of thing. We said that’s nonsense. We know exactly--they are supported by the government, they are coordinated by the government, all of that. So I wouldn’t worry too much. I think we know where our facts are.
In terms of the humanitarian issues, too, the government has said we have removed travel restrictions, we are issuing all these visas--you know that’s not the case completely. They have issued some, they are cooperating some, but they are posing other obstacles at the local level.
I think we know what we’re dealing with here, but the idea is--it’s just like with the North-South process--you try to move the government into a framework where they have to cooperate on this. And they do have some interest in doing that because they want a better relationship with the United States, and they don’t want to face sanctions by the world community. In terms of what we’re doing, I think we are acting on a very factually-based situation.
JERRY FOWLER: The other question was what other protection is there going to be other than the African Union monitors.
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Right. In terms of what is going to happen--and this is a very important point--when you get the North-South deal implemented, and you’re going to have a political solution in Darfur at that point, the UN-mandated observation mission--there’s going to be a UN mission to monitor the North-South peace agreement. That will also go into Darfur. It is not going to be what we would call a Chapter 7 peace enforcement mechanism where they are actually there to fight with the local groups. It’s going to be an observation mission, which is different. But still, there will be a very heavy UN presence on the ground, which should give the people there, I think, a certain degree of security.
I think there was one other point I didn’t address. Did I answer everything?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Yes, and that’s where I think the UN comes in. This African Union monitoring that we are talking about is only an initial step. In other words, they’re going to be there just like the CPMT is in the South and the Nuba monitoring mission is there. But when the UN comes in, all of those groups will be replaced--the African Union, the CPMT, and the Nuba Mountains monitoring--and then the UN will take over all of that. So there will be a very strong presence.
But the other point--I know what the other point was I wanted to make--you were talking about how when this is all over, the people will effectively have been devastated and removed from the land. I’m sure you haven’t seen what we have said, but we have been very clear on this. We said the effects of ethnic cleansing must be reversed. And we have said this publicly, so we are committed to the voluntary return of the people who have been cleansed off the land, the voluntary return of those people to their native villages, the rebuilding of those villages, so that they can resume their normal lives. You can’t let this sort of thing stand, absolutely. The conditions aren’t there right now for those people to return. It has to be voluntary. But the conditions will be there eventually for that to happen.
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Precisely.
JERRY FOWLER: Jemera?
QUESTION: Jemera Rone, Human Rights Watch. Thank you very much. I am following up on the points that the prior speaker made, particularly about the safety of the civilian population and their ability to return. The Sudan government has committed itself in the ceasefire agreement to neutralize the Janjaweed. They also say things in the ceasefire agreement about no violent acts or abuses against the civilian population, but that has been breached.
Do you have an idea of how the Janjaweed is going to be neutralized, because what we have been hearing is that they have been getting jobs with the police and the army and so forth; they aren’t going anywhere, they are going to be allowed to stay there. And as long as they are occupying the areas that they have pushed other people off, nobody is really going to return, and farming will not be resumed. What do you see as the necessary minimum steps for the Sudan Government to take to really remove this terrible presence?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Thanks, Jemera. Look, I think the obvious first step is they have got to stop these people from killing and committing atrocities. That’s the basic point, that they have to. We have said to the Sudanese government you have to do it any way you can. If you have to kill them, you have to kill them. If you can stop them through command and control, stop them that way, but you have got to stop them.
We have rejected the argument that these groups are somehow out of control or were initially supported by the government and then started to get out of control. We have said no--they are under your control, and therefore, you are responsible, and by not doing it, you are in violation of the ceasefire. Okay, fine.
We don’t have the ability independently to stop that Janjaweed activity, and quite frankly, it’s not likely given the circumstances in the Security Council and elsewhere if there is going to be some kind of force put in there to do that unilaterally. So it needs to be done through a combination of international pressure, but the government is going to have to take those steps.
So first of all, stop the atrocities and the violence. Beyond that, I don’t think anybody has worked out a game plan for how to handle this. What I think will have to happen is once you get the violence and the atrocities stopped, then you do get into a political discussion, a political negotiation, and that’s where you start talking about things like how are the police going to be structured and who gets what roles in civilian positions and all that. And I’m sure that is going to be an issue--how are these people occupying roles, and do the people feel secure, and all the rest of it. I wouldn’t want to set down any markers on that in advance of those kinds of discussions, but again, I think the first step is simply it’s got to be stopped. Then, of course, you do get into issues related to that of accountability and that sort of thing, but again, I think that’s all going to be part of a political discussion.
On the protection, Jemera, again, I go back to the fact that once a political agreement has been reached, hopefully in the near term, then you move toward implementation of the North-South agreement which then covers the whole country. So that you have this UN observation mission in Darfur as well as in the other parts of the country, and that becomes the mechanism to sort of ensure that the implementation goes well of both the North-South and the Darfur. And you’ll have the world community standing behind that, but it is not going to be--and I know certain people have argued for a Chapter 7-type mandate--it’s not going to be a Chapter 7 mandate. It’s going to be a Chapter 6 mandate in Sudan. I actually think that’s better for a number of reasons, because I do think the parties themselves have to take responsibility for working out this agreement.
But the issues in Darfur are pretty profound. When you talk about the political resolution of what the government is going to do with these Janjaweed militia, it is a pretty profound issue, because I think that what happened in Darfur threatens the government far more than what happened in the South, because in the South, if you look at the history of that conflict, the SPLM never really threatened the central government in the sense that they couldn’t even get into the oil fields very effectively. But in Darfur, here, you have a Muslim-based insurgency in an area where [inaudible] constitute 40 or 50 or 60 percent, whatever the figures are, of the national military; they are in prominent positions in Khartoum; they are a major proportion of the population. I think that that actually was more threatening, so the government has I think as a result of that unleashed something in Darfur and actively abetted it in a way that does make it hard to now bring under control, but it is their responsibility to do so. They have the capability of doing it through political steps, through whatever steps they need to take directly with the Janjaweed and also militarily as necessary.
QUESTION: I am interested in how we go about ensuring that there is the will in the government in Khartoum to stop the atrocities and really come to the table and work on peace and then reversing the ethnic cleansing. And I think last week, somebody on Jemera’s panel mentioned the idea of targeted freezing assets of assets of individuals, and you mentioned the threat of international sanctions and such.
One thing that I am interested in is the war crimes and crimes against humanity, and I am interested to know whether the U.S. administration has really any standing in the international community or with the government in Khartoum because of our position on the International Court, and if there are other ways that the U.S. would support showing that we stand behind enforcement of crimes against humanity.
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: The Sudan Peace Act Report included, as you know, a report on war crimes in Sudan, and it was very strong, I thought--we helped to write it--I think it was very strong on what is happening in Darfur. We indicated that actions which are occurring in Darfur could well constitute war crimes, although that was not a legal document, as you know, the War Crimes Report in the Sudan Peace Act--it is a narrative description of what is happening. We would stand by the idea that there does need to be accountability, frankly in terms of North-South as well as Darfur. How that accountability is to be worked out I think is something that the parties themselves need to address.
Now, because the Darfur thing has been particularly egregious, and there have been these horrible atrocities, some of which surpass even what is happening in the South, the international community has focused on the issue of accountability, and as you know, the UN Human Rights Commission Report that was issued actually called for--one of the recommendations was the creation of an international commission of inquiry.
It is my understanding that Kofi Annan has been pursuing that. Unfortunately, it is hard to set up something like that if it is going to be effective without the cooperation of the Sudanese government. So that was something that was being pursued, and it hasn’t come to fruition yet, but it was certainly something that was a live issue out there. So that is one way to do that. Then, of course, you have whatever provisions there may be in the accord that is reached between the parties in Darfur as well.
I don’t think our position on the International Criminal Court would affect our view about accountability in Darfur in any particular way. I am not a lawyer, but I don’t see that that would necessarily affect it in any particular way.
In terms of freeing of assets and such, again, as I said, we haven’t ruled anything out in terms of actions that we might take on Darfur. Again, we have the potential to have a UN Security Council resolution if support could be found for that and if the government does not take the steps that are necessary. We have launched a number of things, and I think we need to see what the response is on that. We have had the Presidential statement, we have had the briefings, we have had this modest opening in humanitarian access, and we have had the African Union monitoring start up. So those are very recent, very current developments in the past week, and we need to see what impact they are going to have.
But as I say, our view is that are on a straight line to increase pressure unless there is a turnaround of the situation in Darfur. And in terms of that pressure, we are not excluding any of these steps. Freezing of assets would be something that the U.S. could do unilaterally. On the other hand--I don’t mean to be humorous about such a serious situation--but of course, Janjaweed leaders are not going to have assets to freeze. There are probably certain people within the Sudanese government that might have assets that could be frozen, but again, we are not at that point yet in terms of the steps that we are talking, but we have been for some time actually looking at the full range of those kinds of options.
JERRY FOWLER: Yes, sir?
QUESTION: I am from Sudan and from Darfur. I am from the tribe which is targeted now for ethnic cleansing. Thank you for your presentation, and I am so glad to see with my own eyes the people who are taking care of my home. And I wish that it was being done before when it was peace.
The magnitude of the civil war in Southern Sudan and the consequences of human deaths and social disruption--all this has managed to conceal the serious problem in Darfur which started long ago. It started not just in 2003, but it started in 1996, when the militia being formed and organized by the government was being used against the war in the South, and again, they are involved in it in Darfur.
The Sudan government, or the [inaudible], is ruled by Islamic rules or Islamic fundamentalists, and their strategy or their objective is to create an Islamic country in the whole of Sudan when it is Muslim and non-Muslim and Christian and all this. They are ignoring all this diversity. Out of that, they want to build the Islamic social [inaudible]. For all these reasons, they create what they call the militia. The Janjaweed was not just created in 2003, as I said; they were created before, and they named it “Murahilin.” After that, they formed another thing that they called [inaudible]. I understand that very well, because I am in the opposition party. I got into Sudan, and I have been almost 15 years in the Sudan, but I am following that day by day.
Now the government is implementing strategies there to ethnic cleansing, for murder and rape and killing, and the [inaudible] campaign. The people already, as you know, crossed the borders into Chad and neighboring countries, but the majority of them are inside their homes, but unfortunately, they are not secure because the government, whenever there seems a fair agreement, they ignore that, but they are deceiving the international community. They are saying yes, we are doing this and this, and never attack the others--they are attacking the civilians. The difference is now because it is complicated--even the people around the town, when there is a government representative there, they do not feel safe. It happened in Khartoum, in the town itself, there have been [inaudible], three or four of them, they have been killed, and all this.
JERRY FOWLER: I’m going to have to ask you to get to the end and ask your question.
QUESTION: Okay. We appreciate all this international involvement and [inaudible] involvement in this, but the question is that it takes too long. Now the rainfall is coming, and all of these people are farmers, and when they go back to their farms, they have no security, and even if they go there, they can do nothing because they are automatically attacked by the Janjaweed and the government forces.
The government is deceiving the international community, and at the same time, the people there are day-by-day eliminated in number, and it may be when the decision is [inaudible], we cannot find anybody. I just want to know when is the earliest decision is going to be to save the people.
JERRY FOWLER: Thank you.
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Well, I have sort of answered that, I think. I said we are acting with a great sense of urgency. And I don’t say that loosely, because we really do realize what is happening in Darfur. We have lots of sources of information, and believe me, we do understand, so we are acting with a great sense of urgency. I can’t give you a timetable, but the idea is to make this happen very, very soon in the coming days. But in the real world, sometimes things take longer.
We are pushing. All I can say is the United States, whatever has happened--and I say this with real humility because it is not me; I am talking about the United States government, and there have been a lot of people involved in this--but these things that have happened on Darfur are the direct result of the leadership that we have taken on it. And frankly, it has been somewhat disconcerting not to see that recognized.
And again, this has nothing to do with me; I’m talking about the United States government from the President on down, who have been enormously active on this, the President getting daily updates on this, the Secretary making it the first issue he raises every morning. A lot of attention on this, these briefings in the UN Security Council, the expansion of humanitarian aid, the African Union monitoring--none of that would have happened without us playing the leading role. So we will continue to do that. That’s all I can tell you. We will continue to play that role, and we’ll do it with an enormous sense of urgency.
JERRY FOWLER: Yes?
QUESTION: I am Ala Ajavo [ph] from the Sudan and also from Darfur, which I have never seen, but still it is the part I belong to, and I take great pleasure in standing up for it. We greatly appreciate and are extremely grateful for you taking the time and the effort to bring the international community’s attention to what has been going on in the Western part of Sudan.
I have just two major questions. You mentioned about accountability, and [inaudible] brought up to me by one of the people here that the militia, some of them have already been integrated into the police and the army, and that is known for the Sudan--anybody in the army or the police, it is really hard to get an accounting for what they have done.
What will be the actions of the United Nations or the international community to hold those people accountable for what they have done, similar to the other African leaders who have been brought to the ICC, and what will be the criteria [inaudible]?
And second, what will be your plan, after the return of the people to those places, for the peacekeeping, [inaudible] development, the [inaudible] of the peacekeeping and also the assurance that such things will not happen in the future? Thank you.
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Again, I don’t have too much to say on the accountability. I think that that has to be worked out in the political discussions, and I think the international community doesn’t intend to let this pass, because you did have the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recommending formally to the Secretary-General that there be this International Commission of Inquiry, and that is being worked on as I understand it. So that’s one mechanism right there.
I think what you’ll also see is that the UN Human Rights Commission, which failed miserably on Darfur when the resolution came up--I think what you’ll see is that they will play an increasingly prominent role in this. That’s a way of putting attention on this issue and also focusing on the accountability issue, because again, I think that a lot of the countries that voted the way they did, both European and African countries in the UN Human Rights Commission, now realize that they made a major mistake and are quite ashamed of it, frankly. I think there will be opportunities to energize the UN Human Rights Commission.
The other thing I would say about that is that Secretary-General Kofi Annan is personally very concerned about the Sudan, particularly what’s happening in Darfur. You have seen some of the statements, which have been very, very strong indeed. I think one can probably count on him to continue to push these issues, both the international monitoring and the solution but also the accountability questions.
JERRY FOWLER: Let me ask you this real quick about the Human Rights Commission. At the end of the regular annual session, the United States said that it was going to call for an emergency session. Is that going to happen, and is that likely to result in a stronger resolution?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: We had said in fact that we would call for one, and then we had this report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights which included very strong recommendations, as strong as we thought we were likely to get in a resolution, which included this call for an International Commission of Inquiry. Based on that report, we held off calling for the special session to see how those recommendations would be implemented. At a given point, that’s one of the elements of pressure that we could call for that special session. Before we do that, frankly, though, we want to make sure that we have the support mobilized. As I was saying earlier, I think the international community has moved quite a bit on Darfur and is now much more active and conscientious on the issue, but they are still not totally there in terms of being mobilized for action either in the Security Council or, frankly, at the UN Human Rights Commission in a formal way.
JERRY FOWLER: And very quickly, and then we’ll get to the next question--would this Commission of Inquiry have to be set up by the Security Council, or can the Secretary-General set it up on his own accord? Just technically, how does that happen?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: My understanding is that the Secretary-General can set that up on his own authority. He might want at some point a Security Council endorsement of that, but that hasn’t been discussed.
JERRY FOWLER: Yes--and we’ll make this the last question.
QUESTION: Hi, my name is Sean Colbury [ph], and I have a question regarding the UN mission. You said that it would be Chapter 6 peacekeeping, not Chapter 7 peace enforcement. Would the U.S. Government necessarily be opposed to Chapter 6-1/2, basically, a peacekeeping mission with updated rules of engagement, allowing the UN soldiers to use deadly force to protect civilians who are under attack?
MICHAEL RANNEBERGER: Well, we would want to look at that. The idea had been--and there was this report issued which called for the Chapter 7 mandate and that sort of thing--we had talked about and there had been, frankly, a consensus that had emerged some months ago within the Security Council members that it should be Chapter 6, the people who are going to be critical to supporting this. Part of the calculation is what the traffic will bear within the Security Council, which seems to be at this point Chapter 6.
Part of it, too, at least in our assessment here, is that this peace process in Sudan has been almost unique in terms of the depth of the discussions. I mean, the depth of the war has been profound, but at the same time, this peace process over the past two years has really delved into all the issues in enormous detail. In our view, that has given the parties themselves a tremendous stake in making this thing work. I think there has also been a sense of partnership that has been created in these discussions.
In our view, the primary responsibility for implementing and enforcing this peace accord should be placed on the parties themselves. They have even created their own mechanism, the Assessment and Evaluation Commission, to be created as a separate monitoring mechanism. And first of all, a Chapter 7 mandate is not going to be necessary, but second of all, that a Chapter 7 mandate with a heavy troop presence would actually send the wrong message to the Sudanese people. We want to send a message that essentially the leadership at a very profound level has reached a peace accord, they are committed to peace, there is a partnership that has been developed here, and put the primary responsibility on them to resolve issues as they emerge--and for them to control the militia leaders, which is another whole discussion.
Chapter 6-1/2--this is the kind of thing that I think will come up as we go down the road in the next couple of months. The initial resolution that will be passed this week or next week will simply welcome the North-South accord, it will give the Secretary-General the mandate to advance his planning, and at some point, then, he is going to come out with a report that will actually propose a mandate for this mission, something within Chapter 6. We’ll have to see what he comes up with first of all.
I do not rule anything out, but we really have placed the emphasis on a straightforward Chapter 6 rather than something that would drift toward Chapter 6-½. I’m honestly optimistic that we are not going to need the Chapter 6-1/2-type mandate. Again, I think it’s real important that the primary responsibility be placed on the parties themselves.
JERRY FOWLER: Okay. With that, thank you all for coming, and I’d ask you to join me in thanking Ambassador Ranneberger for taking the time to be here.