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PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WATCH

Friday, April 2, 2010
Volume IX, Number 14


In this issue:


CONFLICT UPDATES

Burma
Cyprus
Georgia
Kenya
Liberia
Nepal
Somalia
Somaliland
Sri Lanka
Sudan: Darfur
Sudan: Southern Sudan
Tanzania
Uganda
Zimbabwe


Burma

UN Rights Forum Condemns Burma, Extends Probe
Reuters, March 26, 2010
The UN Human Rights Council condemned widespread human rights violations in Burma, including disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture, ill-treatment of prisoners, and recruitment of child soldiers.  Additionally, the Council urged the military government to release 2,100 political prisoners before the upcoming election this year, pointing to the need for the election to be free and fair.  The resolution adopted by the Council also extended the mandate of the Council's special investigator on Burma.

Detained Suu Kyi Says Would Snub Burma Polls
Reuters, March 23, 2010
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi indicated that she "would not dream" of registering her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), for this year’s elections, given the unjust and biased nature of Burma’s constitution.  Aung San Suu Kyi, however, clarified that it was not her decision to make.  Disagreement persists among the NLD’s 128 committee members regarding whether to participate in the upcoming elections.

UN’s Ban Frustrated and Disappointed Over Burma
Reuters, March 25, 2010
During a discussion with a number of key states about the situation in Burma, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon conveyed his frustration at the slow rate of progress toward conducting free and fair elections in Burma.  Ban specifically complained of the slow implementation of commitments that General Than Shwe made during Ban’s visit last year, as well as the tardiness in publishing the electoral laws.  A number of diplomats indicated, however, that China and Russia would block any action that might be taken by the Security Council against Burma, as they would view such as interference in Burma’s internal affairs.

Cyprus

Cyprus Talks Could End if Eroglu Wins, Says Talat
Today’s Zaman, March 23, 2010
Turkish Cypriot Leader Mehemet Talat said that his loss in next month’s presidential election would likely lead to the end of reunification talks.  Dervis Eroglu, Talat’s opponent in the upcoming elections and the current prime minister of Turkish Cyprus, espouses a two-state solution as an alternative to reunification.  The Greek Cypriots categorically reject that approach.

Papanderou Set to Visit Greek Cyprus
Turkish Daily News, March 23, 2010
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced that he will visit Greek Cyprus in April to discuss the reunification of the island.  Papandreou met with Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias last week, where Papandreou reiterated his support for the policies of Christofias in relation to the Cyprus problem.

Christofias: Direct Trade Issue is in a Coma
Cyprus Mail, March 27, 2010
President Christofias criticized reports that the European Union (EU) Enlargement Commissioner wanted to re-table the issue of direct trade between the EU and northern Cyprus.   Christofias indicated that neither the European Commission nor the European Parliament had discussed the issue for several years.  He said that Cyprus would undertake efforts to put an end to the re-tabling of the issue immediately.

Georgia

NATO Reassures Georgia on “Open-Door Policy”
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, March 25, 2010
NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen told Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili that the promise of Georgian membership in NATO still stands, provided Georgia meets the relevant conditions, including approval by all NATO member-states.  President Saakashvili expressed optimism that Georgia would gain membership “much earlier than any of us can imagine,” and said that Georgia’s military commitment to Afghanistan demonstrates his country’s commitment to NATO’s goals.

Kenya

Annan: ICC to Decide on Kenya Investigation Soon
Associated Press, March 26, 2010
According to former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will decide within the next few days whether to launch an investigation into the perpetrators of Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence.  ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has asked the ICC for permission to investigate the violence, explaining that there is a “reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity” were committed.  Human rights activists have warned that, due to the more than 20,000 people who still remain displaced, certain areas may be very prone to violence during the 2012 elections.

Annan Says Kenya Recovery Hinges on Faster Reform
Reuters Africa, March 26, 2010
Former UN Secretary General Annan cautioned that failure to implement political reforms and to establish and maintain cohesion within the government could destabilize Kenya’s economic recovery, which is expected to grow by approximately four percent this year.  Annan also noted the government’s failure to significantly address corruption and impunity issues, and stressed that delaying reforms would make Kenya’s political situation more complicated.

Urban Refugees Need Legal Clarity, Says Report
All Africa, March 25, 2010
Although the Kenyan government passed the Refugee Act in 2006, lack of implementation and institutional capacity is undermining its significance.  Lack of clarity about the rights of urban refugees is causing much confusion and strife.  Urban refugees will continue to face discrimination and suffer violations of human rights if the government fails to implement this legislation.  Currently, there are some 46,000 refugees registered in Nairobi, and it is estimated that about an equal amount of undocumented urban refugees are living in the cities.

Liberia

Liberia’s President Sirleaf Submits First Report on TRC to Parliament
Voice of America, March 25, 2010
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf submitted a two-page report to Parliament in accordance with the enabling act of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  A number of legislators have rejected the report for failing to sufficiently address the TRC’s recommendations.  President Sirleaf has noted legislative obstinacy in implementation, including specifically rejecting all nominees for the Human Rights Commission.

Nepal

A Rousing Welcome for Former Nepal King in Janakpur
Telegraph Nepal, March 24, 2010
Gyanendra Shah, the last Hindu king of Nepal, received a warm welcome from thousands of supporters in Janakpur Dham, where he performed Puja at a temple in honor of the Ram Navami Festival.  He did not respond publicly to supporters’ calls for him to restore Hindu rule.  In later remarks, however, he said he hoped the peace process would be successful, and called on all political parties to work together to reach consensus.

Nepal to Seek Military Assistance From China
Press Trust India, March 23, 2010
During his eight-day visit to China, Defense Minister Vidya Bhandari is expected to seek military assistance from China under non-lethal weapons cooperation, which primarily includes communication equipment and logistics.  Bhandari is leading a five-member Nepalese delegation to China, and called the visit an opportunity to improve the military relationship and connections between the two states.

Somalia

UN Chiefs Urges Arabs to Outlaw Somalia’s Shebab Militia
Agence France Presse, March 27, 2010
At the opening session of the annual Arab summit in Sirte, Libya, on March 27, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon urged Arab leaders to join the international community in outlawing Somalia’s Shebab militia from their respective countries.  According to Ban, “as long as these insurgents choose indiscriminate killings and bombings, it is our duty to isolate them and prevent them from raising funds and recruiting fighters.”  The Shebab group currently controls about eighty percent of Somalia, mostly in the southern and central regions.  

Somaliland

Somaliland President Reshuffles Cabinet; Disbands Hospital Committee
Garowe Online, March 25, 2010
According to presidential spokesman Siid Adani Moge, Somaliland President Dahir Riyale has moved some ministers and their permanent secretaries to other portfolios.  In particular, Minister for Health and Labor Abdi Haybe Mohammed is now at the Agriculture portfolio; Agriculture Minister Adan Ahmed Elmi was moved to the Justice docket; Justice Minister Ahmed Ali Asowe is now the Health Minister; and Internal Affairs Assistant Minister Farhan Jama Ismail is now the Mines and Water Minister.

Sri Lanka

IDP Resettlement Expedited
Relief Web, March 26, 2010
The return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from welfare centers to their places of origin is continuing at an increased pace.  There is, however, an increasing trend of returnees, especially among young people and women, searching for work and education opportunities in other districts.  Each IDP family is given dry rations, provided by the World Food Program, which are sufficient for six months as well as necessary utensils to re-start their lives.

Sudan: Darfur

Sudan Gives April 2 Deadline to Reach Darfur Peace Deal
Sudan Tribune, March 22, 2010
Ghazi Salah al-Deen, the Sudanese Presidential Advisor on Darfur, has announced that a peace agreement must be reached by April 2.  Talks between the government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement continued in Ndjamena, Chad, until last week when the parties agreed to move talks back to Doha, Qatar, to work on the remaining issues.

International Donors Raise 841 Million USD for Darfur Reconstruction
Xinhua, March 22, 2010
The International Donors Conference for the Reconstruction of Darfur raised 841 million USD for reconstruction and development projects in Darfur, which is significantly less than the conference’s initial goal of 2 billion USD.  Conference participants also agreed to establish a committee to create a development bank for receiving donor funds.

France Invited Sudan, Not Bashir, to Summit
Reuters, March 22, 2010
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked Sudan to attend a Franco-African summit taking place in May in the city of Nice, but has specifically noted that Sudanese President al-Bashir is not welcome at the conference.  A French official explained that “the president has indeed sent a letter to Omar Hassan al-Bashir to ask him to nominate the person who will represent Sudan at the Franco-African summit.”  Egypt was initially planning to host the summit, but French officials were concerned that Egyptian officials would invite al-Bashir to attend.

Sudan: Southern Sudan

Washington is Prepared for South Sudan Secession - Gration
Sudan Tribune, March 26, 2010
US Special Envoy to Sudan General Scott Gration said that the US government is prepared for the possible secession of Southern Sudan.  According to Gration, the US government considers Southern independence more likely than unity, and is preparing to support a “future independent South Sudan.” Gration explained that “looking at the realities on the ground, it is highly likely that the South will choose independence.”  To ensure a peaceful secession, the issues of citizenship, border demarcation, and wealth-sharing must be addressed.  

Oppositions Coalition and SPLM to Decide on Election Boycott Next Week
Sudan Tribune, March 28, 2010
A group of seventeen political movements, known as the National Consensus, announced on March 28 that they would delay their decision of whether to boycott April’s national elections until after a meeting with the president on March 30.  The group, which includes a coalition of Sudanese opposition parties and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, has called for a delay of the national elections until November 2010.  The group accused the National Elections Commission of bias in favor of the ruling National Congress Party, and a lack of reform to laws relating to security and media.  

ICC Prosecutor: Sudan Poll Like Vote Under Hitler
Reuters, March 23, 2010
A day after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir threatened to expel any international election monitor that suggested delaying the April presidential election, ICC Chief Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo described monitoring Sudan’s election as monitoring a vote in Hitler’s Germany.  The Carter Center, the only long-term international observer in Sudan, expressed that the election remains “at risk on multiple fronts.” This is Sudan’s first multi-party vote in more than twenty years, and the European Union plans to send 130 observers to assess the election.

Tanzania

House Forms Team on Isles Unity Government
The Guardian, March 27, 2010
A six-member committee of the Zanzibar House of Representatives has been formed to follow up implementation of the House motion on the formation of a coalition government in the Isles.  The committee comprises three members from Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and three from the opposition Civic United Front.  The Chairman of the committee, Ali Mzee Ali, said the committee would closely follow up the implementation of the private motion, which is expected to end the political uneasiness in Zanzibar.  The private motion was approved under the condition that a referendum would be held before implementation of the motion.

House Endorses Bill for Civil Matters
Daily News, March 25, 2010
The House of Representatives unanimously endorsed a Bill that would provide rights and liabilities to the Zanzibar government in civil matters.  Only ten House members, however, including three from the CCM, discussed the bill before the endorsement.  Although members of the opposition criticized the Bill for threatening to erode good governance, such as people’s rights to take the government to the court, they supported the Bill unanimously.

Uganda

US Legislation Authorizes Military Action Against the LRA in Uganda
Pambazuka News, March 25, 2010
The US Senate passed the Northern Uganda Recovery Act in mid-March, which provides funding for the Ugandan government’s military operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and other rebel groups.  The Act allocates most of its funding toward military projects, with some funding set aside for post-violence justice and humanitarian aid.  It is unclear how the Act will divide this money or what sort of projects it will implement.

Thousands Mourn at Buganda Tombs in Uganda
New Vision, March 22, 2010
Thousands of people camped at the site of the former tombs of the Buganda kingdom that were burned down last week in a suspected arson.  The destruction of the tombs sparked mass protests, during which at least two people were killed.  Despite the protests, Ugandan police have a limited presence at the site where the mourners have pledged to rebuild the tombs.

Zimbabwe

Despite South African Mediation, Negotiations Still Deadlocked
Times Live, March 28, 2010
Sources inside the ongoing negotiations between the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) reported that talks were “going nowhere,” and would likely be extended.  The ZANU-PF continues to refuse to make concessions until travel restrictions against President Mugabe and economic sanctions aimed at the ZANU-PF are lifted.  MDC negotiators protest the unilateral appointment of Gideon Gono as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Johannes Tomana as Attorney General, and continue to push for Roy Bennett’s appointment as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Zimbabwe Government Land in South Africa Attached to High Court Proceedings by White Farmers
Independent Online, March 28, 2010
The North Gauteng High Court moved one step forward in a case filed by white South African farmers dispossessed of land in Zimbabwe by Mugabe’s government.  The Court seized and attached property in South Africa owned by the Zimbabwean government, which could be used to satisfy the white farmers’ claims aimed at enforcing a 2008 decision by the South African Development Community against Zimbabwe.

WORTH READING

DR Congo: Lord’s Resistance Army Rampage Kills 321
Human Rights Watch, March 28, 2010
Human Rights Watch issued a 67-page report entitled “Trial of Death: LRA Atrocities in Northeastern Congo,” which details the four-day Makombo massacre by the LRA in December 2009 that left at least 321 civilians dead and 250 abducted.  The Makombo massacre is the deadliest attack by the LRA against civilians since the Christmas massacres of 2008.  The report concluded that the Makombo massacre was largely coordinated by Lieutenant Colonel Binansio Okumu and a commander known as Obol, both of whom report to General Dominic Ongwen who is wanted by the ICC.



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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