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PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WATCH

Friday, April 9, 2010
Volume IX, Number 15

 

In this issue:


CONFLICT UPDATES

Burma
Cyprus
Kenya
Liberia
Nepal
Philippines
Somalia
Sri Lanka
Sudan: Darfur
Sudan: Southern Sudan
Tanzania
Uganda
Water Diplomacy
Zimbabwe

Burma

Main Opposition to Boycott Myanmar Election
New York Times, March 29, 2010
The National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and winner of the 1990 elections in Burma, announced that it will not participate in the upcoming 2010 elections.  Members of the party had been divided over whether or not to participate, but after the Burmese junta promulgated a restrictive election law, NLD delegates were unanimous in their decision to boycott the election.  Founding member and party strategist U Win Tin said the party was following the will of the Burmese people.

US Senators Seek Tighter Burma Sanctions
Agence France Presse, March 31, 2010
Nine US senators called for tighter sanctions on Burma to pressure the Burmese junta into reversing its decision to hold elections that would bar the participation of key opposition groups.  The senators wrote a letter to President Obama disparaging the junta’s new election law and urging a strong response by the US.  The Obama administration began a new policy of greater engagement with Burma last year after determining that a policy of isolation had not been successful.

With Burma Election Boycott, Suu Kyi Party Risks Breakup
Christian Science Monitor, March 29, 2010
The NLD’s decision to boycott elections due to an unfair election law may result in the dissolution of the party.  Under Burma’s controversial new election law, parties must register or dissolve by May 7, 2010.  Although some view the NLD’s decision as a principled stance, it may also complicate Western efforts at engaging with the military junta.

Cyprus

Cyprus Leaders Upbeat
Kathimerini, March 31, 2010
On the eve of a break in negotiations for the Turkish Cypriot presidential election, Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat expressed optimism in reunifying Cyprus.  Christofias and Talat cited great progress in power sharing and issues concerning the economy and the European Union.

Election Loss Would Mean Collapse of Cyprus Peace Talks, Talat Says
Turkish Daily News, April 2, 2010
Turkish Cypriot leader Talat warned that negotiations with Greek Cyprus would collapse if he loses in the April 18, 2010, presidential election.  Talat’s main competitor is current Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Derviş Eroğlu, who takes a hard-line approach towards relations with Greek Cyprus.

Talat Trailing in Latest Polls
Cyprus Mail, March 31, 2010
According to an opinion poll published in a far-right media source, current Prime Minister and Nationalist Eroğlu is leading incumbent President Talat by fifteen percent.  Another poll, conducted by the market research company KADEM and considered to be the most legitimate poll, showed that fifty percent of the electorate support Eroğlu while forty percent support Talat.

Kenya

Kenyan Parliament Passes Draft Constitution
Reuters Africa, April 1, 2010
The Kenyan Parliament passed a draft constitution on Thursday.  The draft, which introduces regional governments and decreases presidential power, is expected to be put to a referendum in July. The draft was passed without any of the 160 changes proposed by legislators, but Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula urged Parliament to continue deliberating issues, such as land, devolution, transitional clauses, and armed forces, before submitting it to the Attorney General for publication.

Ruling Means Kenyan Leaders Could Face Charges
CNN, March 29, 2010
A Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) approved the Prosecutor’s request to initiate an investigation into crimes committed in relation to violence following Kenya’s 2007 elections.  The majority of the ruling judges found that there was a reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity had been committed during this time.  The investigation signifies that the ICC may pursue international criminal charges for anyone found to be most responsible for the violence.

Probe Kibaki and Raila Also, Ocampo Told
All Africa, April 2, 2010
Kenyans are calling for President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and the top leadership of the Orange Democratic Movement and the Party of National Unity to be investigated by the ICC for their respective roles in the post-election violence.  According to a report prepared by the Victim Participation and Reparations Section, victims feel that the investigation should look into all the political leaders and prosperous businessmen.  

Liberia

Liberian leader mediates in Nigeria-Libya dispute
Reuters Africa, April 1, 2010
On March 31, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf mediated talks between Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to ease tensions arising from Gaddafi’s recent proposal that Nigeria be divided along ethnic lines into a Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.  According to Ima Niboro, spokesman for Nigeria’s presidency, “the purpose of the meeting basically is to establish the level of rapport so that the two nations can put behind them the recent statement that has been made and move forward.”

Nepal

Maoists Preparing to Issue ‘People’s Constitution’ Unilaterally if CA Fails to Do So Within Deadline
Nepal News, March 29, 2010
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN(M)) announced that the party will issue a People’s Constitution if the Constituent Assembly fails to meet the May 28, 2010, deadline for a new Nepali Constitution.  According to party sources, the UCPN(M) has three drafts of the People’s Constitution currently in circulation.

Constitution by May 28 Unlikely, Says KP Oli
Himalayan Times, April 4, 2010
KP Sharma Oli, a standing committee member of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal – Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), said that the new constitution may not be complete by the May 28 deadline due to efforts by both Maoist and royalist forces to derail the process.  He blamed Maoist efforts at blocking integration of its forces for part of the delay, and suggested that the Maoists transform themselves into a civilian political force and abandon their private army and arms.

Western Envoys Request Nepal PM for OHCHR Extension
Telegraph Nepal, March 31, 2010
Officials from several European countries and the US met with Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and asked Nepal to extend the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) by two years.  According to sources, Prime Minister Nepal expressed gratitude for the role played by the OHCHR but said that it was not needed on a permanent basis.  Sources said that the meeting also discussed the tenure of the UN Mission in Nepal.

Philippines

Norway Joins Peace Missions in Southern Philippines
Bernama, April 2, 2010
A spokesperson for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front reported that Norway has joined the International Monitoring Team (IMT), which is trying to broker a peace agreement between the Muslim rebels and the Filipino government.  IMT is headed by Malaysian representatives and also includes officials from Libya, Brunei, and Japan.  Indonesian and Qatari officials have yet to respond to their invitations to join.  IMT monitors the peace process and the distribution of humanitarian aid to the region.

Philippines Police Warn of Election Attacks
Bangkok Post, March 23, 2010
An intelligence report released by police in the Philippines warns of attacks and bombings as the state prepares for elections in May.  The police suspect that Abu Sayyaf will commit kidnappings and bombings near election time to intimidate voters.  The report also notes that rebel groups are increasing their attacks and extortion of political candidates.  Candidates must pay a high fee for permission to campaign in rebel strongholds, and reports have emerged of campaign workers being injured and property being destroyed due to a candidate’s failure to pay.

Somalia

No Big Offensive in Somalia, Fight to be ‘Gradual’
Associated Press Worldstream, April 1, 2010
Despite pronouncements by Somali officials that the government will launch a significant offensive against Islamist militant rebels, Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke stated the government will only attempt a gradual expansion of its control over the capital.  The US has been pressuring Somali officials for details of the assault in order to understand how the US might best assist.  Somali officials have expressed hopes that the US will help pay soldiers to prevent desertion from the Somali army.

Sri Lanka

Measures to Ensure Transparency in Sri Lankan Polls
Asian Tribune, April 2, 2010
Election monitoring bodies and the Elections Department have taken steps to ensure greater transparency in the forthcoming Sri Lankan Parliamentary election, which is scheduled for April 8, 2010.  The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections, an election monitoring body, has invited a sixteen-member team of election monitors from the Asian Network for Free and Fair Elections.  The Elections Department has, for the first time, taken steps to allow two independent election monitoring bodies to observe the results and to monitor the polls in all twenty-two electoral districts in Sri Lanka.  

Tamils Want an End to Sri Lanka Discrimination After Election
The Guardian, April 4, 2010
Many Tamils residing in the northern and eastern areas of Sri Lanka have voiced concerns over threats to their culture from development and a lack of political representation.  To protect their way of life, Tamils feel they need to be represented by Tamil parties and politicians, that their rights need to be protected, and that Sri Lanka should adopt a federal system.  President Rajapaksa, however, has made it clear that he prefers economic development to alleviate the nation’s ethnic divides.

Sri Lanka’s President Urges Tamil Voters to Trust Him
The Washington Post, April 1, 2010
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the city of Jaffna and urged Tamil voters residing there to trust him.  Voters in Jaffna and other Tamil areas have vigorously rejected Rajapaksa, who led Sri Lanka’s victory over the Tamil Tiger’s twenty-five year separatist war.  Rajapaksa said the nation should eliminate ethnic divisions, and he promised to solve the issues in the northern regions by establishing people’s participation councils.  Thus far it is unclear what such people’s participation councils would look like, and whether they would involve any devolution of state power.

Sudan: Darfur

Darfur Rebels Threaten to Return to Arms
Agence France Presse, March 29, 2010
Representatives of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) voiced their willingness to return to arms if peace talks with the government of Sudan stall.  They also demanded that Sudan’s national elections be postponed for at least five years until the Sudanese people are ready.  Both JEM and the Sudanese government have accused one another of violating the ceasefire signed earlier this year.

Sudan’s NCP Accused of Rigging Elections in Darfur
Reuters, March 31, 2010
The latest report from the International Crisis Group accuses the National Congress Party of rigging elections in Darfur.  The report indicates that voter registration has been “manipulated,” and, moreover, that a significant percentage of Darfur’s population was simply unable to register or refused.  The report explains that “people were deliberately denied sufficient time and information,” and urges the international community to “award no legitimacy to whoever [wins] the polls” in Darfur.

Sudan: Southern Sudan

SPLM’s Arman Quits Sudan’s Presidential Race
Sudan Tribune, March 31, 2010
Yasir Arman, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s (SPLM) candidate for the Sudanese presidency, withdrew from the race citing elections “irregularities” and the situation in Darfur.  The SPLM also announced that it will boycott the elections in Darfur, but will contest posts in the remaining northern states.

‘No Delay’ for Sudan’s National Elections
BBC News, April 3, 2010
Sudan’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) guaranteed that Sudan’s multi-party elections will not be delayed despite boycott threats from opposition parties.  US Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration expressed his belief that the elections will be held on time and will be “as free and as fair as possible.”  The Umma party, however, is threatening to boycott unless a new body to oversee the NEC is created, the national security laws are relaxed during polling, and all parties are granted fair access to the media.

Sudan President Warns South Over Election Delays
BBC News, March 30, 2010
In response to threats of election delays and boycotts, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir warned that any and all delays or boycotts could affect the 2011-referendum on Southern independence.

Tanzania

Fate of GNU in Zanzibar Lies With Referendum
Daily News, April 3, 2010
According to Chief Minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha the continuity of the Zanzibar national unity government will only be possible if Zanzibaris decide go through with the planned referendum.   Nahodha disagreed with views that referendum was a waste of time and funds, arguing that people must be given opportunity to make decisions.  Nahodha also believes that endorsing the referendum bill will make Zanzibar one of the few countries in Africa to widen democracy.

Uganda

ICC Bill: Why Did MPs Trap Museveni and Save Kony?
The Independent, March 31, 2010
The 2006 Ugandan ICC Bill will allow the ICC to conduct war crimes proceedings in Uganda and will facilitate cooperation with the ICC.  The ICC Bill passed this March, which eliminated presidential immunity for crimes under its purview, raised questions about the Bill’s constitutionality, particularly its apparent conflict with presidential immunity as outlined in Article 98 of the Ugandan Constitution.  Despite this apparent conflict, the Ugandan Deputy Attorney General argues that presidential immunity is only applicable as a domestic issue since the Rome Statute trumps any privileges provided by state constitutions.  President Museveni’s signature is still required to enact the legislation into law.  

LRA Victims to be Compensated
Daily Monitor, April 1, 2010
President Museveni stated that the Ugandan government will compensate victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel attacks.  Museveni explained that individuals who suffered directly from LRA violence would be financially compensated, along with the relatives of those who were will killed in attacks.  Museveni clarified that compensation would not be provided for loss of property.

Uganda Rebels Deny Mass Killings in Northeast Congo
Reuters, March 29, 2010
A spokesperson for the LRA stated that allegations that the LRA carried out massacres on several villages in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in December are untrue.  The LRA claims that reports by non-governmental organizations, like Human Rights Watch, are false, and that the LRA is not at war with the Congolese.

Water Diplomacy

Pakistan Threatens to Bring Water Dispute With India to the Boil
Financial Times, March 30, 2010
Tensions are brewing over the Indus River Basin as Pakistan alleges that India is violating the shared waters agreement. Pakistan is concerned over the construction of hydroelectric power plants on shared waters, which it claims is causing water shortages.

World Water Day: Dirty Water Kills More People Than Violence
Christian Science Monitor, March 26, 2010
The UN spoke out about the dangers of dirty water during World Water Day on March 22, 2010.  The UN estimated that dirty water kills more people than wars and violence, and that every twenty seconds an infant dies as a result of a water-born disease.  The organization also discussed solutions to the problem, including new infrastructure  and recycling programs.

Once-In-A-Century Drought Causes Chinese Water Crisis
Pattaya Daily News, March 19, 2010
Drought in many of China’s Southeastern provinces has dried up rivers and left seventeen million people without adequate water.  Emergency water supplies are being distributed, but attempts to curb the drought have been unsuccessful.

Zimbabwe

South African Facilitators Back in Zimbabwe as Power-Sharing Parties Miss Deadline
Voice of America, March 29, 2010
A team of South African facilitators returned to Zimbabwe to continue assisting the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in power-sharing negotiations.  South African President Jacob Zuma, the moderator of the ongoing negotiations, recently announced that both sides had reached an agreement on measures that might resolve outstanding issues.  However, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, of the ZANU-PF, has appeared to disavow the agreement.

Villagers in Northern Zimbabwe Flee Apparent Political Violence; Homes, Church Burned
Voice of America, March 31, 2010
ZANU-PF militia burned the homes of sixteen families from the Mashonaland Central province who support the MDC.  According to observers, the attacks occurred after the families participated in an MDC rally.  The families fled the violence and no one died in the attack.

WORTH READING

Strategic Report Suggests Long-Range US-Burma Policy
The Irrawaddy, March 31, 2010
The Asia Society released the first comprehensive analysis of the Obama administration’s policies toward Burma.  The report recommends that the Obama administration approach policy adjustments with careful consideration to encourage reform and democratic governance in Burma.  The report also recommends that the Obama administration engage not only with Burma’s military leaders, but also with a wide range of groups inside Burma, and include the National League for Democracy as the focal point.

WHO, UNICEF Release Report on Global Water and Sanitation Crisis
Water Tech Online, March 22, 2010
The WHO and UNICEF’s Joint Monitoring Program released a study, “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2010 Update Report,” which found that the world is on its way to meeting its Millennium Development Goal related to drinking water.  The report also found, however, that the world is behind in meeting its goals regarding sanitation, and noted that if improvements are not made the world will miss its goal by one billion people in 2015.


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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