The Daily Challenge 6/14/2007, carried the story that on Wednesday,
June 13th the Security Council of the United Nations (UN) announced
that Sudan had agreed to a joint African Union (AU)/UN force to end
the blood shed in Darfur. Belgium’s Ambassador, Jahon Verbeke,
Chair of the Council for this month, said the 15 members of the Security
Council “welcomed the agreement” after UN Undersecretary
General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guehenno, gave assurance
that “we can move forward.”
In addition, Ambassador Verbeke, the Council expressed support for
UN efforts to bolster and broaden last year’s Peace Agreement
between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels. Only one rebel
group signed the Agreement. It was clear to all parties, except those
who had a direct interest in the success of the negotiations, that
the conflict would continue. The agreement by one party did succeed
in fragmenting the Darfurian leadership. The Council members called
on all parties to cooperate in the negotiations.
The Council members also demanded “immediate and unconditional
respect of the cease fire.” And, “timely and full implementation
of the Agreement.” The Council’s Ambassadors looked forward
to the meeting with President Omar El Bashir on Sunday, June 17th.
The Agreement called for a “hybrid”, UN Peacekeeping Force,
of 17,500 to 19,600 and an additional 6,000 police. Also Mr. Guehenno
said, “We (the UN) will be providing the administration, the
logistics, we will be applying rules and the procedures but in the
framework of a joint AU/UN effort.”
It was agreed that the UN would be in charge of command and control,
in line with all its peacekeeping and procedures. But an African General
would have operational control on the ground. The UN agreed to comply
with Sudan insistence that the Joint Force be made up primarily of
African troops. But if specialized capacities could not be found in
Africa, the UN would look else where. Mr. Guehenno said that a 3,000
contingent that would provide logistical support for the AU should
be deployed in Darfur within the months.
The New York Times on 6/19/07 confirmed all that the Daily Challenge
had reported. In addition, the New York Times reported on the Sunday,
6/17, meeting in Khartoum with Security Council members, President
Bashir and his Foreign Minister. They both stated that they had agreed
“unconditionally” to the UN/AU proposal. The Times also
reported that China had played a significant role in persuading Mr.
Bashir to accept the proposal. While China had not been publicly critical,
however, it was reported that privately, China had had direct conversation
with President Bashir. It is believable. Because China wants to host
the Olympic Games, there is growing fear in China that the mounting
pressure across the world to deny them the Olympics might succeed,
if they continue to support the Sudanese government.
In my conversation with Darfurian leadership, there is cautious optimism.
Although Sudan has been accused of breaking agreements in the past,
this time however, there is greater world pressure and the threat
of an intensification of sanctions by US and Britain, which are compelling
factors, as the Sudanese government considers its options.
I was particularly encouraged and gratified to be informed by a highly
regarded and trusted Darfurian leader that in an interview on Sudan
television and Al Jazeera (Arab speaking television) President Bashir
stated that his government will comply with the Agreement. He insisted
on three demands;
1 – Respect for Sudan’s sovereignty;
2 – The protection of the refugee camps must be by police, not
3 – AU control of the hybrid force.
When Mr. Bashir was reminded that he once said that before he accepted
the hybrid troops, he would give up his Presidency and go back to
being a General. (Meaning he would be ready to go to war.) He replied
that the world was against him and that he had lost sympathy of the
African Americans in the USA. I believe the President had our efforts
and organization (The National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry
Concerned About Darfur, Sudan, Inc.) in mind. Of course, there have
been other African Americans involved, such as Congressman Donald
Payne, but, I think our organization have had the greatest impact.
We have had direct interaction with almost all the leaders in the
conflict, including the Sudanese and Chadian governments, and Darfurian
rebel and civil leaders. Also we have interacted directly with refugees
in the refugee camps.
There is an urgency now for the Darfurian leadership to unite. The
Peacekeeping Agreement is only part of the picture. If Sudan is to
achieve peace and realize its potential, for all of its citizens,
there must be an agreement between the government of Sudan and Darfurian
While important things were happening in Sudan on Sunday, we held
a Father’s Day Pray Vigil at the UN and the Sudanese Embassy
in support of Darfurian fathers. And on Monday, 6/18/07, we carried
another truck load of material support to the warehouse. The support
drive will continue thru June. We ask that all supplies be boxed and
the items recorded on the outside of the box.
For the records, I should mention that on Thursday, 6/14/07, I participated
in a rally with Nubians (indigenous Africans), who claims that the
Egyptian have killed six (6) millions of their people and driven them
from their homeland. I can not help but wonder, if what the Nubians
claim is true, it would substantiate the allegations made by some
Darfurian leadership that the struggle is about Arab expansionism
and Arabism, the imposition of Arab culture. And let us not forget,
that the indigenous Africans in the South of Sudan claim that the
Sudanese government killed four (4) million of their people. And in
Darfur, it has been reported that anywhere from 200,000-400,000 have
been killed and 2.5 million have been displaced. When we add those
numbers, the total is staggering. Again, is Arab expansionism at the
root of the genocide or annihilation or cultural cleansing?
I hope and pray that the Agreement is lasting and that the Darfurian
leadership will arrive at unity swiftly. All who have been a part
of our efforts should feel a profound satisfaction that we have played
a part in world affairs in particularly as it relates to Africa. Who
knows how far our influence has reached.
Saturday, June 23rd - Clergy Breakfast Meeting discussion on the conditions
in Darfur – 8:00am
Bethany Baptist Church, 275 West Market Street in Newark, New Jersey
Saturday, June 30th - Clergy Breakfast Meeting discussion on the conditions
in Darfur – 8:00am
The House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the
House of the Lord Church
Material Support Drive to Help the People of Darfur going on until
BCAT Program every 2nd and 4th Sunday @ 2p.m.
For further Information on all events, contact The House of the Lord
Church @ (718) 596-1991