Thursday, August 02, 2007

Millennial Challenge: AU-UN Hybrid Force for Good Governance? Positive or Negative Development for Africa?

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity-;

Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and Friends of Ethiopia:

Re: the New UN-AU Hybrid Force- A positive or negative development to hold African Governance Accountable?

It is claimed by some that the Sudan: Darfur Force 'Should Boost Humanitarian Access' or encourage security dependence? It is becoming common place that African governments are found to be lacking in good governance and security matters.

With the advent of the US Africa Command to be established in Africa the development of this new AU-UN Hybrid force might be interesting to provide ballance and the much needed transparency and accountability. African Union should consider seriously puting in place an AU force that deals both with US and UN as well as EU Forces.

If there is no indigenous AU Force on the ground with intelligence, command and control capacity then the physical presence of US and UN Forces will have negative imapct on Africa's Self Determination and capacity for institutional building, as these two forces will hire all the competent African forces in effect serving as consultant Military Forces which might be forced to sacrifice Africa's interests in the long term.

It is time to study the 1885 Berlin Conference and subsequent marginlization of Africa and eventual colonization of one of the most rich and resourceful continents for over 200 years.

Now is the time, to think and strategise as to how Africa should respond to the ever increasing challenges of Good Governance, that is transparency and accountability.

Please read the following two reports and share your perspectives, now is the time to think, to dilogue and to strategize at the dawn of the new Ethiopian-African Millennium. We should not repeat the same mistake but charter new opportunities.

Seeking your interactive response, I remain

Belai Habte-Jesus,MD, MPH
Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity;

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

1 August 2007
Posted to the web 1 August 2007


The new hybrid UN-African Union force for Darfur, established by the UN Security Council and accepted by the Sudan government on 1 August, will improve security and humanitarian access, aid officials and analysts say.

According to a UN official in Darfur, the number of people recently rendered inaccessible by continuing violence had risen.

"In May 2006, the humanitarian community had access to almost everybody; now we do not have access to about half a million people," Mike McDonagh, north Sudan manager for the UN Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said.

"We are under attack every day, we have hijacks every day, we have aid workers attacked every day," he added. "Very many humanitarian staff were held at gunpoint [and] in many cases, were detained for hours and sometimes overnight and very often they were dumped in the desert."

At least 12,000 aid workers operate in Darfur, where an estimated 4.2 million people are affected by the humanitarian crisis.

"There are large areas to which we don't have any access; areas where we have what we call sporadic access," McDonagh said. "We are starting to see the effect of the lack of access - an increase in malnutrition, more diseases that prey on children, diarrhoea."

Twelve humanitarian staff were killed across Darfur in 2006 and five since the beginning of this year, according to the UN. More aid vehicles have also been hijacked since, with the UN saying the hijackings have become more brutal.

"Darfur has become a very dangerous place for aid workers," McDonagh said.

Arusha talks

The UN Security Council resolution authorising the deployment of 26,000 troops and police endorsed the use of force to protect humanitarian workers and civilians under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, condemned the violence and called for a stop to aerial bombardments.

Sudan's Foreign Minister told reporters in Khartoum: "We announce our acceptance of the resolution." He said the revised and final text did take into consideration most concerns expressed by the Sudanese government about previous drafts.

"The Sudanese government sees that it can live with this resolution," Lam Akol added. "We will undertake to implement it faithfully; we expect others to also do the same."

Miriam Jooma of the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, however, said: "We also need to look at the upcoming Arusha talks where political engagement will be discussed.

"It is important that the Chapter VII mandate was not compromised, although one missing aspect is that it does not give the UN the right to appropriate arms and related materials," Jooma said.

Troop-contributing countries are expected to announce their numbers within 30 days and the UN African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) could establish operational capabilities by October.

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Urging member states to support the operation, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council: "You are sending a clear and powerful signal of your commitment to improve the lives of the people of the region and close this tragic chapter in Sudan's history."

Only one of three negotiating rebel groups signed an agreement with the government in Abuja, Nigeria, last year and more recently, the groups have split into more than a dozen unruly factions. The Arusha talks, planned for 3-5 August, are expected to bring together the non-signatories. "Arusha represents an important opportunity," Jooma said.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]


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The UN-AU Biggest Peace Keeping Mission to the Horn it set to Impact the Sub-region

Mulugeta Alemu

2 August 2007

After a mind boggling diplomatic deadlock and wrangling, the United Nations Security Council finally adopted Resolution 1766?2007 which seeks to send one of the largest and the first of its kind UN-AU hybrid force to the West Darfur region of the Sudan. The first time we heard of a possible UN resolution on Darfur was years back.

The force under the new resolution, dubbed the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur(UNMID), is expected to be fully deployed by December this year. Already a 7000 strongmen African troop is stationed in the region under the auspice of the African Union. The operation will have up to 19,555 military personnel, including 360 military observers and liaison officers, a civilian component including up to 3,772 international police and 19 special police units with up to 2,660 officers. The force is expected to have a “predominantly African Character” where the day to day activity will be run by the African Union with a UN command and control.

Resolution 1766 was adopted by unanimous vote by the 15 members of the Security Council. But the journey toward such consensual agreement took longer than expected. Perhaps the African Union should come as a big winner by the adoption of the resolution. It has managed to ensure that the force is not exclusively UN and that African forces and commander will be in charge of the day to day activities of the peace keeping mission. T

he hybrid nature of the force is tainted as groundbreaking in the practise of the maintenance of international peace and security. Though the United Nations Charter provides for the role of regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security (Article 52 and 53), these institutions have never been taken with seriousness. The relationship between regional organizations such as the African Union and the UN in peace keeping has never been clarified. As such the earlier report of the Secretary General on the Hybrid force and Resolution 1766/2007 breathe new thinking and perspective.

UNAMID’s lasting contributions will be reflected in the kind of support it lends to the development of regional and sub-regional peace and security architecture in Africa. African members of the Security Council such as South Africa, and Ghana highlighted this element in their official statement following the adoption of the resolution. Ethiopia was one of the leading countries supporting the establishment of the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade (EASBRIG).

This force is established as a sub-regional component of the African Standby Force as envisaged under the Constitutive Act and the Protocol for the Establishment of the African Union Peace and Security Council. Ethiopia has ratified both instruments. The headquarters and the logistic base of EASBRIG are based in Ethiopia. Hence Ethiopia should support the effort that these sub-regional forces benefit from the promote location of the UN AU force.

Ethiopia has consistently supported the resolution of the conflict in Darfur through a peaceful dialogue. As a member of the African Union Peace and Security Council, it participated in the various decisions made by this important organ regarding this beleaguered region.

It was also a leading member of IGAD which has been involved in Sudanese peace process for years. It has actively encouraged the leading role of the African Union as a mediating institution and of course as a credible force on the ground. It has emphasised the role of diplomacy and peaceful dialogue as a means of settling the dispute and that the AU should be allowed to play a central role.

A diplomatic axis involving Eritrea and Libya had been playing a role that put to risk the centrality of the AU in this endeavour. Eritrea was involved in arming various groups involved in the Darfur conflict. Eritrea, consistent with its policy of meddling in the affairs of other countries in the region was arming some of the rebel groups in Darfur. Eritrea’s support to the Al-Sharq Front is an open secrete. The same Eritrea tried to use its connections among its brothers in arms posing itself as a mediator.

It was very effective in forcing the Sudan government to acknowledge its role. During the Libya talks which brought parties from the Sudan, Chad and Central African Republic, no one had questioned the presence of the white elephant, Eritrea. Eritrea was among those who strongly rejected the presence of the UN troops in Western Darfur. However it tried to sale itself as a “neutral negotiator.” These futile attempts by Eritrea not only led to no concrete results but were rejected by the AU in numerous occasions. The presence of the hybrid force and the peace talks in Tanzania will close the door on actors such as Eritrea who see plenty of advantages in others miseries.

France’s hyper-active and limelight-loving new government had also gathered mainly western Governments in Paris to discuss the future of Darfur in June 2007. The AU, which noted the absurdly self-serving nature of the diplomatic drama rightly rejected these moves and declined to participate in the conference. Though Resolution 1766/2007 is a result of the hard work of the AU and the UN, and that the Sudanese Government agreed to the deployment of the force way before the resolution was adopted, the new leaders of France and UK stole the show by posing as grand achievers of how to end the misery in Drafur. As usual ceremonies tend to attract the glorification of the uninvolved. Diplomatic events are not immune to such vices.

The Sudanese government had shown a remarkable strength and vitality in negotiating the final shape and content of the resolution, thanks to the country’s oil and the friendship it has brought particularly from China. China was a big factor in the adoption of the new resolution. It has supported Sudan’s resistance against the inclusion of a provision in the resolution involving a possible imposing economic sanction in case of non-compliance on the part of the Sudanese Government. The Sudan is already under a US bilateral sanction.

Countries such as the UK threatened to follow such bilateral routes if the Sudanese government is not willing to comply. If these measures are taken in the future, they may affect trade relationships between the Sudan and its neighbours. But the Sudanese government had learnt an important lesson in the meantime. The new emerging financial centres in the Middle East and good friends from Far East provide an important relief from pressure from the West.

No one exactly knows how long UNAMID will stay in the region. Neither is it clear how it will affect the future of Sudan. After all, as Secretary General Ban Ki Moon noted, the purpose of the deployment is achieving lasting peace. It is likely that the force will remain within the territory of the Sudan when the future of the Southern Sudan unravels in the coming few years.

Will UNAMID’s mandate change in due course of time to include the enforcement of existing agreements regarding the Southern Sudan? These changes can not happen at ease. The Sudanese Government will never allow such shifts to happen. Moreover, preserving the territorial integrity of the Sudan is encoded as an important element of Resolution 1766/2007. But some argue that after the Sudan gave in to the presence of such a huge force in its territory, their future realise less on the will of its government.

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