Bolton bars UN testimony on Darfur

How are we to read this one? Is the US conniving with the Sudan regime while trying to appear not to be? Or is the US gearing up for unilateral intervention in Sudan, and trying to make the UN appear ineffectual in preparation? From Reuters, Oct. 11:

John Bolton has blocked a UN envoy from briefing the Security Council on possible human rights violations in Sudan’s Darfur region, saying the council had to act against atrocities and not just talk about them.

The chief U.S. representative was joined Monday by China, Algeria and Russia as they prevented Juan Mendez, Secretary General Kofi Annan’s special adviser for the prevention of genocide, from briefing the council on his recent visit to Darfur, despite pleas from Annan and 11 other council members that Mendez be heard.

The French ambassador to the UN, Jean-Marc de la Sablière, said he deplored the fact that Mendez was barred from speaking.

But Bolton said he had objected to the briefing to make the point the council should be “talking more about the steps it can take to do something about the deteriorating security situation” in Darfur. He gave no new proposals.

“How many officials from the secretariat does it take to give a briefing?” he said, noting the council had just concluded a briefing on Darfur from Hedi Annabi, assistant secretary general for peacekeeping operations.

Afterward, Mendez, who visited Darfur for a week late last month, briefed reporters on his findings.

He said Sudanese officials were taking only cosmetic steps to prevent systematic human rights abuses that might amount to genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

He also accused the Khartoum government of refusing to cooperate with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

See our last posts on Sudan and on Bolton.

  1. Bolton sabotages diplomatic war on terror
    While the Supreme Court nominees are in the spotlight, Bush’s unconfirmed appointment of unilateral strategist and hardliner John Bolton is undermining our collaborations with UN member countries in the diplomatic and humanitarian war against terror.

    “Many forget that al-Qaeda’s most successful strikes were against our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Late year NATO Gen. Jim Jones told [Parade Magazine] that Africa’s strife -torn regions were poised to host terror cells. Now we hear that Sierra Leone, which just ended a ten-year civil war, is attracting some unusual ‘benefactors.’ Many of the workers dispensing necessities there reportedly belong to Saudi groups with ties to the militant Wahabi strain of Islam. NATO officials are warning of threats to international security.” – Lyric Wallwork Winik

    Bolton presented Administration rewrites of the 8 Millenium Development Goals at the New York summit last month. I haven’t read whether he had success in undermining the language already agreed on by 170 member countries. Some of the proposed language changes included expunging wording about corporate accountability (essentially protection of companies like Haliburton) and muting the mandate that countries contribute .7 percent of their GDP to the erradication of extreme poverty by 2015. We currently contribute only .15 percent – eight countries already contribut .7 percent of their GDP or more, mostly Scandanavian countries, and most other countries are working to bring their contributions up to the .7 percent level. That is not 7 percent, but point 7 percent – less than one percent of our GNP.
    On a positive note, the World Bank has moved to erase third world debts of countries meeting the anti-corruption criteria, one of the 8 MD Goals.
    It is next to impossible to get news about the MDG efforts from the mainstream media.
    -Julie Zimmer
    Keep the promise, no excuses.

    -Julie Zimmer