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Friday, February 26, 2010
Volume IX, Number 9

In this issue:


Sri Lanka
Sudan: Darfur
Sudan: South Sudan


UN Envoy Ends Burma Visit, Denied Access to Suu Kyi
Voice of America, February 20, 2010
A United Nations special envoy for human rights ended a five-day visit to Burma, during which Burmese officials refused to let him meet with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.  The envoy, Tomas Ojea Quintana, expressed regret over the government’s decision, but said he was able to meet with senior members of Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy, as well as a number of government officials.

Burma Gives Monk Seven Years in Jail as Envoy Visits
Associated Press, February 20, 2010
A court in Burma sentenced a Buddhist monk to seven years in prison for allegedly violating immigration laws.  The court issued the sentence during UN special envoy Quintana’s visit to Burma.  Following meetings with senior officials in Burma’s military-led government, Quintana reported that they gave no indication as to when general elections would take place this year, or when the government would pass an election law.  He also said there was no sign that the junta would release any of its 2,200 political prisoners.

Burmese Army in North Told to be Ready for Combat
Kachin News, February 19, 2010
Burmese army battalions located in Burma’s Shan and Kachin states have been put on alert for potential combat.  While the enemy forces were not directly named, Burmese military analysts say the offensive will likely be launched against the two largest armed ethnic groups, both of which have refused a proposal by the junta to join the Burmese Army-controlled Border Guard Force.


New Cyprus Talks Meetings Announced
Famagusta Gazette, February 16, 2010
Greek Cyprus government spokesman Stephanos Stephanou announced that the next rounds of direct negotiations between Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will be held on February 24, March 4, March 16, and March 30.

Talat had Issued a Plea Over Resolution on Turkey
Cyprus Mail, February 20, 2010
Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat had appealed for the Cypriot Parliament to avoid adopting a resolution denouncing Turkey’s “arbitrary” interpretation of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee.  The Parliament, however, passed the resolution on February 18.

Making it Easier for Turkish Cypriots to get Their Property Back
Cyprus Mail, February 20, 2010
The Cyprus government prepared an amendment to the law on Turkish Cypriot property to provide for the return of property in particular circumstances.  The primary changes to the law would allow the Interior Minister to return property in situations where the Turkish Cypriot owner lived abroad.  A vote on the bill has been postponed until next week.


Georgia Criticizes French Arms Sales to Russia
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, February 19, 2010
Russia began negotiating with a French company regarding the sale of “armored amphibious vehicles.”  Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvill has openly criticized France’s plans to sell a warship and armored vehicles to Russia.  NATO allies neighboring Russia also fear the deal may reduce security in Eastern Europe.

Voter-List Row Casts Pall Over Preparations for Georgian Municipal Elections
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, February 19, 2010
Due to criticisms that the former lists were “wildly inaccurate,” Georgia’s Central Election Commission is revising voter lists used to hold the 2008 Georgian parliamentary elections.  The Commission recently announced the total number of eligible voters, yet that recent number is 130,000 more voters than the amount contained on the 2008 voting lists and 100,000 less than the number of voters submitted to the Commission by the Civil Registry.  Among the names removed from the faulty lists include Georgians living in the breakaway region of Abkhazia, deceased persons, and Georgians living abroad. 

Georgian Parliament Drafts Appeal to North Caucasus
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, February 19, 2010
The Georgian Parliament drafted an appeal stressing Georgia’s desire to “preserve the historic friendly ties between the peoples of the Caucasus.”  Georgian parliamentary deputy Tugzar Tsiklauri characterized the appeal as a “gesture of goodwill.”  The appeal, however, was also intended to demonstrate Georgia’s hope that the region will remain peaceful and committed to working on friendships with the North Caucasus republics.  The appeal calls for “joint efforts” to achieve peace and urges cooperation among the states.


Kenya President, PM to Hold Talks Over Row
Reuters Africa, February 18, 2010
Kenya President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga both underplayed fears of a governmental crisis, and prime ministerial adviser Salim Lone reported that more talks focusing on forging common ground between both coalitions would occur in the coming days.  Recently, the coalition government has struggled to implement reforms and address corruption due to disputes within the coalition.  Lone stated, however, that both sides concur that there are no intractable issues preventing the coalition from working together and establishing mutual positions on substantive issues.

Int’l Court Requests More Info on Kenya Probe
Reuters Africa, February 19, 2010
International Criminal Court (ICC) pre-trial judges have requested more information from prosecutors regarding Kenya’s post-election violence before making a decision to authorize an investigation.  Specifically, the Court is seeking clarification on what allegedly occurred, how the violence was linked to state and organizational policies, who and what would be investigated, and what type of investigations are currently being executed in Kenya.  The prosecutors must submit a response by March 3, 2010. 

Ministries Blamed for Internal Refugees’ Woes
All Africa, February 19, 2010
According to the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, only thirty-eight percent of the displaced persons have resettled.  A report prepared by the Panel blames the lack of coordination between the ministries of Internal Security, Land, and Special Program for this reality.   The report also found that most of the internally displaced are disillusioned by the current process of reconciliation.


Liberia: More 2011 Hitches, as Senators Debate Constitutional Changes
All Africa, February 19, 2010
Liberian senators are continuing to debate constitutional changes that could have a significant impact on the 2011 polls.  Among these changes are replacing the absolute majority for legislative and chieftaincy elections with a simple majority, eliminating the ten year residency clause for presidential candidates, changing the date for national elections, and reducing the tenure of senators from nine to six years.  If these proposed changes are approved by the Senate, they will have to be submitted to the people in a national referendum which could further postpone the 2011 elections.

Charles Taylor Dismisses ECOMOG Commander’s Allegations as ‘Nonsense’
All Africa, February 17, 2010
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor dismissed claims by General Victor Malu, former head of West African peacekeeping forces in Liberia during Taylor’s presidency, that Taylor secretly, and without informing Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group, secretly imported ammunition from South Africa.  As Taylor explained, “since ECOMOG arrived in Liberia in 1990, they maintained full control of the Free Port of Monrovia.”  Taylor has admitted, however, to secretly importing weapons and ammunition for the sole purpose of fighting Liberian rebel forces.


Nagorno-Karabakh Forces ‘Committed’ to Cease-Fire
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, February 20, 2010
Armenia has denied any role in the death of three Azerbaijani soldiers in the border region between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan.  The Armenian Defense Ministry has reported that the Armenian side has suffered casualties, but the death of the Azerbaijani soldiers was due to disputes among Azerbaijani troops.  The Defense Ministry suggested that the three soldiers were killed because they are part of an ethnic minority and that Azerbaijan is falsely accusing Armenia.  Armenian and Azerbaijani troops have maintained a ceasefire since 1994, with the occasional exchange of gunfire.

Encouraging Inclusion: NKR President Appeals to OSCE Chairman
Armenia Now, February 16, 2010
Bako Sahakyan, the President of Nagorno-Karabakh, met with Kanat Saudabayev, the new chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to discuss Nagorno Karabakh’s potential role in future peace talks with Azerbaijan.  President Sahakyan encouraged Chairman Saudabayev to visit Nagorno-Karabakh to learn of public opinion on the conflict.  President Sahakyan also encouraged the OSCE to expand the negotiation from maintaining territorial integrity to fulfilling international legal standards.

Iran has ‘Own Considerations’ Regarding Karabakh Peacekeeping
Armenia Diaspora, February 20, 2010
Seyed Ali Saghaeyan, the Iranian ambassador to Armenia, has reportedly expressed a request to for Iran’s involvement in a potential peacekeeping force for Nagorno-Karabakh.  Currently, Nagorno-Karabakh’s conflict resolution principles mandate the creation of a peacekeeping force.  Ambassador Saghaeyan said that Iran shares a border with Karabakh and has an interest in assuring that the conflict comes to a peaceful resolution.  Specifically, Saghaeyan believes that Iran should have a role in determining the composition of the force.


PM Blames Maoists for Delay in Appointments in Constitutional Bodies
Nepal News, February 21, 2010
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal blamed the delay in constitutional body appointments on the repeated absence of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal from Constitutional Council (CC) meetings.  Prime Minister Nepal suggested that the CC should amend its appointment procedures in order to prevent constitutional body positions from remaining vacant for long periods of time.

Nepal Maoists’ Training Program Ends: Revolt Option Remains Open
Telegraph Nepal, February 19, 2010
The Unified Maoists party completed a two-day training session focused on promulgating a draft of the constitution accepted by the people and concluding the peace process.  The session included nearly four thousand participants from across the country.  While advocating the achievement of a popular constitution, party leaders maintained that another round of protests continued to be an option.

Government Wants to Derail Peace Process, Civil War Imminent: Dr. Bhattarai
Telegraph Nepal, February 20, 2010
According to the Unified Maoist party, a decision by Nepal’s government to discontinue monthly allowances to the Maoists’ Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) threatens to collapse the peace process.  Party leaders cited government threats as demonstrating the government’s lack of commitment to peace or the timely drafting of the constitution.  The coalition government threatened to end the PLA’s allowances because they claim the Maoist party is using the funds to buy weapons.


MILF Rebels Reject Power-Sharing Deal
BBC, February 17, 2010
Rebels with the Muslim Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rejected a power-sharing deal offered in negotiations with Philippines President Gloria Arroyo.  MILF claimed the deal did not include sufficient regional autonomy for the predominantly Muslim southern region of Mindanao.  President Arroyo reportedly wanted to negotiate a peace deal before her term ends in June 2010.

Abu Sayyaf Leader Killed on Jolo Island
Washington Post, February 21, 2010
The Philippines military announced that it has killed Abu Sayyaf leader, Albader Parad, and five other militants in a gun battle on the remote southern island of Jolo.  Abu Sayyaf, the Islamic rebel group, kidnapped three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross in January 2009, and Parad was on the US State Department’s terrorist list.

196 People Charged for November 2010 Maguindanao Massacre
BBC, February 9, 2010
Two months after the massacre of fifty-seven people in Maguindanao province, the Philippines government has charged 196 people with the murders.  Approximately half of those killed were journalists while the rest were supporters and families of mayoral candidate Ismael Mangudadatu.  Among those charged are the provincial governor and clan leader, Andal Ampatuan, and an ally of Philippines President Gloria Arroyo.  It is unclear whether those charged have been arrested yet.


Somali Government, Sufi Group Agree to Jointly Fight Extremism
Agence France Presse, February 20, 2010
In response to the rise of the militant Islamic rebel group Shebab, Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sherif Hassan Sheik Aden and Sheikh Mahamoud Sheikh Ahmed, Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa’s spiritual leader, have agreed to work together to fight extremism.  According to the Ethiopian ministry, “both parties have agreed to mobilize Somalis inside and outside the country to fight jointly against the onslaught of extremism, to preserve Somali tradition and custom.”  The Somali Government is planning a nationwide offensive against Shebab which, according to Shebab, will lead to an all out war.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Opposition Coalition Splits
Washington Post, February 19, 2010
Sri Lanka's opposition coalition said on February 19 that it has split after its defeated presidential candidate was detained on allegations of sedition, further strengthening President Mahinda Rajapaksa ahead of April 8 parliamentary polls.  Opposition official Vijitha Herath said the coalition of four main parties and several smaller groups broke up after its biggest partner, the United National Party, decided to stand alone in the upcoming elections.  The split will weaken opposition prospects of checking Rajapaksa's power by taking control of Parliament.

Sri Lanka’s Opposition Appeals Defeat in Court
Associated Press, February 16, 2010
According to one lawmaker, Sri Lanka's jailed and defeated opposition presidential candidate appealed to the country's highest court on February 16 to overturn the results of January’s election.  Official results show that President Mahinda Rajapaksa secured a wide victory over his former army chief and main rival Sarath Fonseka in the Jan. 26 election, however, the opposition has rejected the results claiming that the poll was marred by widespread fraud.  Lawyers for Fonseka, who was arrested last week after the government said he was planning a coup, have asked the Supreme Court to annul the results of the vote.

Sri Lanka to Release all Child Soldiers by May
ATP, February 19, 2010
Sri Lanka announced on February 19 that it plans to release all detained Tamil Tiger child soldiers by the end of May and re-unite them with their families.  Over 500 child soldiers surrendered to the army and appeared before a court before being enlisted in a one-year rehabilitation program.  The National Child Protection Chairman, Jagath Wellawatte, said families could apply to the court to enable their children to remain in government care, allowing them to continue schooling or vocational training.  Over 200 children are currently studying in Colombo, while almost 300 are being trained in a range of professions.

Sudan: Darfur

Sudan Government, Rebels Sign Truce
Voice of America, February 20, 2010
Darfuri rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Government of Sudan signed a ceasefire agreement in Chad which, according to the Chadian presidency, is effective immediately.  A JEM spokesperson reported that discussions with the Sudanese government produced a framework for future peace talks.  Following the deal, Sudanese President al-Bashir withdrew the death sentences of all JEM prisoners.

Sudan Expects Comprehensive Peace Deal for Darfur Before Mid-March
Xinhua, February 21, 2010
Sudanese presidential adviser Ghazi Salahuddin told reporters that the Sudanese government and JEM agreed to reach final peace settlement on the Darfur crisis before March 15, 2010.  The announcement followed the signing of a framework agreement between the Sudanese government and JEM in N’djamena, Chad.  The agreement, which included a ceasefire deal, is effective immediately.  Both sides are expected to sign a final agreement in the presence of Sudanese President al-Bashir and Chadian President Deby on February 23 in Doha, Qatar.

ICC Prosecutor to Appeal Ruling Against Darfur Rebel Commander
Sudan Tribune, February 16, 2010
Lead Prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo has announced his intention to file a leave to appeal the ICC’s decision this month acquitting Darfur rebel commander Abu Garda.  Abu Garda was charged with planning and executing the 2007 attack on African Union peacekeepers in Haskanita.  If the Court grant's Ocampo's leave, he may file an appeal with the ICC's appellate chamber.  Abu Garda, who hailed the court's ruling this month as evidence of his innocence, expressed a willingness to appear in front of the court again if necessary.

Sudan: South Sudan

GoSS Informs International Community on Formation of Group for Referendum
Sudan Vision, February 15, 2010
Salva Kiir, President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), announced that the GoSS has formed a 2011 Taskforce.  The Taskforce is comprised of three committees.  One committee is responsible for referendum arrangements, another is responsible for post-referendum issues, and a third is responsible for building governance capacity in the South.  President Kiir also announced that the GoSS had hired a “US company” to serve as legal advisors to the Taskforce.

Bashir, Kiir and Taha Meet in Khartoum on Darfur, CPA
Sudan Tribune, February 21, 2010
Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir, First Vice President and President of the GoSS Salva Kiir, and Second Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha met to discuss issues surrounding the Darfur peace process and other unimplemented provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  Specifically, the parties discussed forming a human rights commission and the Southern Sudan and Abyei referenda commissions.  The parties also discussed a recent report stating that the majority of the north-south border has been defined.

Egypt Hosting a Conference Between NCP and SPLM on Sunday
Sudan Tribune, February 21, 2010
Egyptian officials hope a conference between the National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement will address Sudan’s future challenges, help stabilize Darfur, and help promote internal security and stability.  Egypt is concerned with the impact of southern independence on the Nile Water Agreement and how independence will affect the allocation of resources.


DRC/Orientale Province: Uganda Changes Strategy Against LRA Rebels
Relief Web, February 15, 2010
In response to the continuing threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, the Ugandan military altered its military strategy to target the remaining active rebel groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The Ugandan army reports that there are likely fewer than one hundred rebels remaining, despite the large number of hostages.

Early Returns on Uganda’s 2011 Election
World Politics Review, February 19, 2010
Uganda will host its next presidential elections in 2011, though many believe that its outcome is a “foregone conclusion” and incumbent Present Museveni will likely remain in office.  Museveni rose to power in 1986, and though criticized for not holding free and fair elections, he has recently gained favor for his strong efforts in leading the Ugandan People’s Defense Force in targeting the LRA rebels.


PM Accused of Promoting Lawlessness
The Herald, February 16, 2010
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai directed the Indigeni-sation and Empowerment Minister to reverse the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act gazetted last month and supported by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).  The ZANU-PF responded by accusing Tsvangirai of "promoting lawlessness."  The bill seeks to make more Zimbabweans part of the economy and thereby empower the black majority.  The bill forces foreign investors to partner with local Zimbabweans and make certain that companies operating in Zimbabwe have a majority of black Zimbabweans as shareholders.

Peace Negotiations Watch is a weekly publication detailing current events relating to conflict and peace processes in selected countries.  It is prepared by the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) and made possible by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ploughshares Fund.

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