Diplomatic Incoherence: Thabo Mbeki’s Gift to the People of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile
Eric Reeves | August 5, 2016 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Vr .
The political and diplomatic machinations around securing humanitarian access to desperately needy populations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, as well as unfettered humanitarian access to equally desperate populations in Darfur, continue to grow more complex. Alarmingly, they have become even more deeply embedded in the disastrous “Roadmap” offered by Thabo Mbeki months ago. Mbeki, as head of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), has enmeshed the issue of humanitarian access in such a way that opposition forces in the Two Areas and Darfur are required to agree to a “National Dialogue” that will simply reincarnate the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime, if perhaps with yet another name (see Appendix A for contemptuous comments on this “National Dialogue,” secretly recorded in meetings by senior regime officials and subsequently leaked).
[First Vice President Bakri Hassan Saleh and President al-Bashir himself have nothing but contempt for any real “National Dialogue,” a phrase now so expansive that it has lost all meaning. In an especially revealing remark, al-Bashir declares in a meeting of July 1, 2014 that,
“The National Dialogue is also intended to provide political cover for the present Constitution and the Decisive Summer Campaign [against rebel groups in Sudan]” | http://sudanreeves.org/2015/02/18/fluent-idiomatic-rendering-of-received-english-summary-translation-of-minutes-from-july-1-2014-meeting-in-khartoum-18-february-2015/]
[all emphases within quoted texts that are in bold or bold underline have been added; my commentary on quoted texts is always in italics, in blue, with my initials following—ER]
Mbeki’s failure to recognize the deeper implications of al-Bashir’s assessment is of a piece with his serial diplomatic failures in Sudan. His “AUHIP” derives its name from the supposed “Implementation” of Mbeki’s “Roadmap for Peace in Darfur”—stillborn and abandoned in 2009, effectively bequeathing Darfuris the travesty of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (Qatar, July 2011). His uncomprehending response to the Abyei crisis of 2011, his misguided efforts to weigh in on the secession of South Sudan, and his inability to secure a lifting of the humanitarian embargo on South Kordofan and Blue Nile: these are only the most conspicuous of Mbeki’s failures—and yet the African Union keeps him on in this critical diplomatic leadership role.
The AU does this despite clear evidence that the Khartoum regime regards Mbeki as essentially in their pocket (see Appendix B, containing notable comments about Mbeki and other AU officials, again from leaked minutes of meetings of the most senior military and security officials of the regime).
In March I wrote at length about the consequences of Mbeki’s latest “Roadmap,” which seemed to enjoy dismayingly uncritical support from the Europeans and the Obama administration. They have both pressed the rebels groups in Sudan—particularly the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N)—to sign onto a “Roadmap” that makes of humanitarian access a political issue, to be negotiated with other political and military issues, including a cease-fire and participation—in one form or another—with Khartoum’s utterly factitious “National Dialogue.” The “National Dialogue” as Khartoum and Mbeki conceive it is a stratagem, recognized as such by rebel leaders, as a mean of regime reincarnation (see “A Diplomatically Corrupt Thabo Mbeki Offers His Latest ‘Roadmap for Sudan’: rejection by the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) was inevitable” | March 22, 2016 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Sa/).
Intense international pressure on the SPLM/A-North eventually compelled the Movement, and the Sudan Call consortium of opposition groups, to sign onto the Mbeki “Roadmap,” a move justified recently by Yasir Arman, Secretary General of the SPLM/A-North in the following terms (Sudan Tribune, July 25, 2016):
For his part, the secretary general of the SPLM-N Yasser Arman said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Monday [July 25, 2016] his movement is ready to sign the Roadmap within the framework of the Sudan Call in order to launch a new negotiations process that would determine the confidence-building measures, the terms of the transition and how to engage in an equal dialogue. He pointed that the regime is now aware that the dialogue process became a regional and international issue contrary to its original plan. [Here Arman unfortunately overstates the “awareness” of the region and key international actors—ER]
“Our refusal to sign the Roadmap has put the Sudan Call forces in confrontation with the mediation and the regional and international community but it was an essential move to prevent [them from forcing us to join] the internal dialogue” he said “Now this phase has ended after we reached understandings with those forces [the mediation and the regional and international community]” he added. [Again, Khartoum shows no sign of sharing this “understanding” of the regional and international communities—ER]
Arman added the regime’s attempt to use the mediation and the regional and international community against the opposition has made them part of the dialogue, saying the regime would soon realize that it has made a mistake by involving them in the dialogue. The rebel leader pointed that the confidence-building demands of the Sudan Call forces would constitute the agenda for reaching an equal dialogue, describing the regime’s failure to force them to join the internal dialogue as [a] “major achievement.” [See below Sudan Tribune article from today [August 5, 2016]—ER]
These comments seem to be putting a happy face on a dictated decision, particularly since—whatever the cogency of Arman’s claims—it leaves humanitarian access enmeshed in political and diplomatic processes that can be extended indefinitely. Just today, for example, a dispatch from Sudan Tribune makes clear how fully Khartoum has succeeded in using the Mbeki “Roadmap” as a means of linking humanitarian access to various others issues, and indeed rebutting Arman’s claims about the significance of a SPLM/A-N and Sudan Call sign-on:
“Sudanese government reiterates rejection of dialogue preparatory meeting”
Sudanese Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid reiterated his government refusal for a national dialogue preparatory meeting, adding that talks on the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access will start immediately after the signing of the Roadmap Agreement by the opposition. In a press conference held on Thursday, Hamid announced that the government received an invitation from the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to resume talks on the Two Areas and Darfur from nine to eleven August, stressing the government readiness to reach a peace agreement.
“There is no room for a preparatory conference. The dialogue mentioned in the Roadmap Agreement is the one the President of the Republic called for in his speech of 2014,” he said. “Once the opposition signs the roadmap we will hasten to sign an agreement on the cessation of hostilities and to end war permanently, after [that] we will move to the humanitarian access,” he added.
Following a meeting last July  in Paris, the opposition Sudan Call groups said they would sign the Roadmap Agreement after talks with the AUHIP head on August 8. They further said they received reassurances from the Chief Mediator Thabo Mbeki that the meeting mentioned in the Roadmap is actually the preparatory meeting and it would be inclusive as they can compose their delegation from all the factions of the opposition umbrella. (Sudan Tribune, August 5, 2016)
This reveals diplomatic incoherence at its worst and most destructive, made readily apparent in the same dispatch:
“Sudanese Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid reiterated his government’s refusal for a national dialogue preparatory meeting”
The opposition Sudan Call groups said they would sign the Roadmap Agreement after talks with the AUHIP head on eight August. They further said they received reassurances from the Chief Mediator Thabo Mbeki that the meeting mentioned in the Roadmap is actually the preparatory meeting.
Understanding Mbeki’s Roadmap
This analysis from Sudan Democracy First Group and is surely right:
On 21 March 2016 and in a clear violation and departure of the well-recognized international standard and ground rules of mediation and negotiation, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), headed by the former South African President Thabo Mbeki, signed, as a witness, a Road Map Agreement (RMA) with the Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP). All other opposition forces which were invited, by the AUHIP Chairman, to attend the strategic consultation meeting that took place in Addis Ababa between the 18th, and the 21st, of March 2016, announced their objection to the RMA and hence refuse to affix their signature to the document.
The opposition forces that attended the opening session of the meetings included the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Movement – Minni Minawi (SLM-M), Sudan People Liberation Movement-North (SPLMN), and the National Umma Party (NUP). The Chair of the AUHIP, presented a RMA that was essentially intended to push the opposition forces to take part in the discredited National Dialogue in Khartoum, which was organized, supervised and managed by the Government of Sudan, without implementing the necessary prerequisites that would ensure inclusivity, impartiality, and seriousness of the process.
The Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) would like to point to the unprecedented deviation of the AUHIP Chair from the rules and regulations that govern mediation between the parties of the Sudanese crisis. This was apparent in the mismanagement of negotiations during the consultation meeting and the inconsistent terms of the RMA that tried to link the security arrangements and the National Dialogue in a way that completely neglected the context pertaining these issues. (“A continuation of Failure: The AUHIP sign a Unilateral Road Map Agreement with the NCP,” March 22, 2016)
Abdelmonim El Jak, Chief Executive of the Sudanese Democracy First Group, offered a useful explanation of the content of the roadmap agreement proposed by the AU mediator.
“The roadmap is based on two main components. The first one concerns a cessation of hostilities, a comprehensive ceasefire, and political negotiations on the Two Areas (Blue Nile and South Kordofan) and Darfur, while the second component is related to the National Dialogue process, in particular to the stances of the ruling National Congress Party.” (Radio Dabanga, March 22, 2016)
What must be understood is that in light of the clear dispute over the very existence of a “preparatory meeting,” and the sequencing of negotiations—“The roadmap is based on two main components. The first one concerns a cessation of hostilities, a comprehensive ceasefire, and political negotiations on the Two Areas (Blue Nile and South Kordofan) and Darfur…”—humanitarian access has no priority or particular prominence. As a consequence, humanitarian access, and improved access in Darfur, is extremely unlikely to be achieved in the near term.
What must be understood is that in light of the clear dispute over the very existence of a “preparatory meeting,” and the sequencing of negotiations—“The roadmap is based on two main components. The first one concerns a cessation of hostilities, a comprehensive ceasefire, and political negotiations on the Two Areas (Blue Nile and South Kordofan) and Darfur…”—humanitarian access has no priority or particular prominence. As a consequence, humanitarian access, and improved access in Darfur, is extremely unlikely to be achieved in the near term. This is so despite the fact that huge populations in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur face extreme food insecurity as well as the consequences of poor water and sanitation, and extremely limited primary medical care. And as long as the humanitarian embargo remains in place in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and humanitarian access is so limited in Darfur, morbidity and mortality rates will continue to increase. Since the intended victims are overwhelmingly from the non-Arab or African populations of the three areas, this amounts to “genocide by attrition.”
It is certainly the case that such systematic and widespread denial of humanitarian access constitutes a continuous “crime against humanity” (see my sustained argument on this point: “On the Obstruction of Humanitarian Aid,” African Studies Review, Volume 54, Number 3 | December 2011 | pages 165 – 174 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-I6).
Human Consequences of the Mbeki Roadmap to Diplomatic Chaos
What are the consequences of this obstruction, harassment, and abuse of humanitarian relief efforts? I have written often on this topic, but would call attention to a recent overview of conditions in Darfur: “Despairing 14-year-old Boy Commits Suicide in Darfur Camp: Suffering from which international eyes remain averted” | July 28, 2016 | http://wp.me/s45rOG-7384/).
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) offers weekly glimpses into the grim consequences for Sudanese civilians of a regime that cares nothing for its people, only retaining its monopoly on national wealth and power:
• An outbreak of Hepatitis E virus has been declared in Sortony, North Darfur, with 134 suspected cases of Acute Jaundice Syndrome reported.
• Since early June, 74 cases of suspected measles have been reported among refugees and the host community in Al Lait, North Darfur. [Measles is among the very most infectious diseases afflicting humankind—ER]
• About 80,000 people have been affected by heavy rains and flooding across Sudan in 2016.
• An estimated 115 families remain displaced following unrest earlier this year in Um Tajok, West Darfur.
The global figures offered by OCHA, the UN High Commission for Refugees, and others are of course the most deeply disturbing:
• Internally displaced persons in Darfur as of December 2015: up to 2.6 million (in addition, more than 200,000 people have been newly displaced in Darfur this year, primarily from the Jebel Marra region;
• UNHCR reports approximately 300,000 Darfuri refugees remain trapped in eastern Chad by rampant insecurity in Darfur;
• Altogether, more than 3 million Darfuris, overwhelmingly from the African tribal groups of the region, have been displaced from their homes by violence that Khartoum perpetrates, sustains, or encourages; this is roughly half the pre-war population of Darfur;
• The number of people with Acute Malnutrition (what OCHA calls the “Global Acute Malnutrition caseload”): 2.1 million human beings;
• UNICEF, in an unreleased report from 2014, leaked to and posted by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, notes the following:
“Acute malnutrition rates for children in Sudan among the highest in the world”:
North Darfur: 28 percent acute malnutrition among children
South Darfur: 18 percent acute malnutrition among children
East Darfur: 15 percent acute malnutrition among children
South Darfur: 13 percent acute malnutrition among children
West Darfur: 8 percent acute malnutrition among children
A tremendous amount of this privation and suffering can be directly attributed to Khartoum’s humanitarian embargo on South Kordofan and Blue Nile and the highly restrictive access given to relief organizations and UN agencies in Darfur. Despite rapid agreement by the SPLM/A-N to an AU, UN, Arab League humanitarian access proposal over four and a half years ago (February 2012), Khartoum has remained intransigent, refusing to negotiate in good faith any lifting of the embargo.
What Khartoum Really Thinks and Wants
Here again we must remember what the regime itself has repeatedly said about the “National Dialogue” when speaking with (erroneously) presumed total confidentiality: that it is a political ploy, simply an expedient means of giving the appearance of democratic reform. The following Appendix makes this fully clear.
APPENDIX A: Comments by senior regime officials on the “National Dialogue” (again, comment erroneously presumed to be completely confidential):
In the leaked minutes of August 31, 2014, then Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein—indicted by the International Criminal Court for massive crimes against humanity in Darfur—declared:
“Our National Dialogue initiative is just a maneuver to provide us with political cover for a continuation of the war…”
In a meeting of July 1, 2014, President Omar al-Bashir—indicted by the ICC on multiple counts of genocide and crimes against humanity—weighs in with the claim that,
“The National Dialogue is also intended to provide political cover for the present Constitution and the Decisive Summer Campaign [against rebel groups in Sudan”
But Khartoum’s view of the much touted “National Dialogue” are revealed most fully in leaked minutes of September 10, 2014: “Newly Leaked Minutes: Another high-level meeting of Khartoum regime officials” | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ff (English translation as well as a link to original Arabic text):
• General Khalafalla, Deputy Director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS):
“At the same time we guarantee that the National Dialogue is going on within the country and the elections are taking place. We shall call international NGOs to monitor the elections, and there will be no rigging because we don’t need to do it due to the fact that the voting will be done through the National Identification Number and the majority of those who got it are NCP supporters.”
“This is an opportunity that will not repeat itself. We will be in a position to dictate our conditions on South Sudan using Mbeki and Haile Menkerios, who can play this role to enable us control our borders. Additionally, we keep the peace-talks forums in Addis and Doha (Qatar) going on separately when we discuss the details of the agreement signed in Addis with the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).”
General Ismat Abdel Rahmin, Minister of Interior:
“Let us bless the agreement politically in the media and keep our real position tightly held among ourselves, working to achieve our goal using the agreement itself.” [The regime has been as good as its word in these minutes, refusing to take the extension of the “Addis Agreement” seriously. Sudan Tribune reports (April 4, 2015):
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on 29 March refused to attend a meeting in Addis Ababa to discuss issues pertaining to the National Dialogue conference and its procedures. Khartoum said the mediation didn’t coordinate with the government on who [would] participate in the meeting; also it said it would be held at the wrong time, arguing they are busy with the election of 13 April.
In a statement released on 1 April, the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) regretted the NCP refusal saying it had previously pledged to attend the consultations. The mediation also said the agenda of the two-day meeting were exclusively dealing with the dialogue process in line with its mandate, refuting claims that it aims to postpone the elections.—ER]
“Since Mbeki and Mohamed Ibn Chambas are cooperating with us, let us use them to help us achieve the following things:
[a] Lifting the blockade (sanctions).
[b] Get economic support.
[c] Alleviate the pressures on us.
[d] Dismantle the movements [Sudan Revolutionary Forces]”
“Those who want to express their views from the political parties or individuals are allowed to do so through the National Dialogue forums, not though demonstrations. The media must be controlled when it is covering the news of the armed forces [Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Response Forces—ER]. On the other side, any delay of the elections will demoralize our forces, so elections should take place on time and should not be connected to the National Dialogue.”
“The elections should take place on time, and the National Dialogue can continue for two to three years after the elections. It will make no difference.”
General Mustafa Ebeed, Sudan Armed Forces Chief of General Staff:
“We prefer the mechanism of ‘National Dialogue’ from within. The Sudan Armed Forces are ready for the elections and the coming dry season military operations. The concessions made by the rebels and their decision to sign the agreement came out of fear from the coming Decisive Summer Campaign military operations. In the past they were not interested in peace negotiations; we understand the motive behind their current position and won’t be bluffed at all. Our plan is to continue with our strategy. If they accept disarming and demobilizing their militias, no problem. But we will not accept partial cease-fire or humanitarian assistance unless they demobilize their forces according to a full agreement.” [In other words, surrender unconditionally and accept the genocidal consequences for the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile—ER]
“Let us use Mbeki to help us finish the rebellion for good. We don’t accept anything called a ‘transitional government’ or ‘constitutional conference.’ It is up to the politicians to welcome the Addis Ababa agreement in order to attract the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Forces to the National Dialogue according to our conditions, but only if any National Dialogue taking place is presided over by the president.”
General Osman, Director of the Central Security Corporation:
“We got the outcome of the opposition meetings with the foreign diplomats and we passed it to the members of the 7+7 team going to Addis Ababa in advance in order to sign the agreement and foil the opposition plan. The opposition conspiracy that was aiming to sabotage the internal National Dialogue and pit the National Congress Party against the international community giving them the impression that the National Congress Party is not serious about the [National Dialogue] and peaceful settlement to the conflict in Sudan… So the decision to release Ibrahim al-Sheikh was designed to coincide with Mbeki’s visit to Khartoum and prior to the submission of his report to the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council.”
Ibrahim Ghandour, Deputy Secretary General of the National Congress Party (currently Khartoum’s Foreign Minister):
“In fact, the concessions made by the rebels puzzled me, because the sons of the two areas (Nuba and Blue Nile) have not changed their positions for long time. After that we decided, with the security organs, to wait and monitor the situation until we got full information about the motive behind their new position.
“So we decided to sign since it is not a framework agreement and not binding to us; instead we have used their signature in propaganda that serves our party and to show that the National Congress Party is serious in regards to National Dialogue. That way we will be able to mislead the countries supporting them in order that they don’t influence the European Union’s positions. That is why we declared that the National Congress Party welcomes the Addis Ababa agreement of 2014. We decided to use the agreement for propaganda in the media, to be followed by the decision to release Ibrahim al-Sheikh.”
“But whatever we do to thank Mbeki will not be sufficient to reward him fully for the things he did for our sake and our behalf.”
“I say that you must properly cover the movement of the weapons you are transporting to Libya, so that we avoid embarrassment next time. There is a general consensus within the National Consensus Forces that they should maintain their position and not sign the Addis Ababa Agreement, or unite with the Sudan Revolutionary Front and Sadig al-Mahdi. We provide the National Consensus Forces with full freedoms as requested in their statement so that we use them in bargaining with the international community, which is currently supporting preparatory meetings in Addis Ababa for the National Dialogue to take place in Khartoum.”
Field Marshal Omar al-Bashir, President:
“So in Libya we must work secretly; it is all about the requirement of the situation in this country. We have political detainees and we released Ibrahim al-Sheikh; but the rest are sentenced before courts and their fate is connected to a political agreement with the rebels after we force them to demobilize their forces. This will be done by means of the Decisive Summer Campaign military operations on one hand and continuing the National Dialogue on the other hand. We will go anywhere wearing the hat of ‘dialogue,’ and on this basis the negotiations will continue.”
“We will going anywhere wearing the hat of [national] “dialogue”—in others words, it is a highly expedient ploy.
The concluding words in this set of minutes were uttered by President al-Bashir, speaking of the tasks at hand (again, this meeting occurred on 10 September 2014):
“Prevention of any demonstrations in this month of September by means of the arrest of anybody reported to have an intention to participate in demonstrations. Any demonstration to be fired at with live ammunition.”
“Any demonstration to be fired at with live ammunition”—during the popular uprising in September 2013, Khartoum’s security forces were given, as Amnesty International has established, “shoot to kill” orders from the outset. This is what accounted for the hundreds of deaths of unarmed civilians, including innocent bystanders—in Khartoum, Omdurman, Port Sudan, Atbara, Wad Medani, and other cities. No census was permitted at the morgues of these cities, but it is clear from comments by medical personnel in Khartoum that some 200 people died there alone from bullet wounds. This hardly sounds like “political transformation.”
There are yet further comments on the “National Dialogue,” again obviously made with the assumption of confidentiality: “The minutes of the Security and Military Committee meeting held on the premises of the High Academy of Security, 3 June 2014 (Part 1)” | published 28 May 2015 | http://sudanreeves.org/2015/05/28/the-minutes-of-the-security-and-military-committee-meeting-held-on-the-premises-of-the-high-academy-of-security-3-june-2014-part-1/
Current Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour:
“Each party was given the chance to meet with the President alone. The aim was to guarantee their loyalty, and ensure that they remain divided and far from one another. That is one of the methodologies adopted in order to protect the National Dialogue and to keep it under control.”
“Political parties that have not had such an opportunity for a very long time were able to discuss issues in detail. Each party was given the chance to meet with the President alone. The aim was to guarantee their loyalty, and ensure that they remain divided and far from one another. That is one of the methodologies adopted in order to protect the National Dialogue and to keep it under control.”
“Those interested to participate in the National Dialogue have to dismantle their militias first; the same applies to the Darfurian movements; we will not allow them to participate in the National Dialogue through Doha. Whatever the case we will not accept taking the National Dialogue abroad: it comes from within the country, and those interested must accept this condition. There will be no National Dialogue in a foreign country.”
APPENDIX B: Khartoum’s view of the African Union, AU officials, and Thabo Mbeki in particular.
Khartoum’s view is startlingly revealed in leaked minutes of a September 10, 2014 meeting of senior regime officials (see “Newly Leaked Minutes: Another high-level meeting of Khartoum regime officials” | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ff | English translation as well as a link to original Arabic text).
Indeed, language from the meeting of September 10, 2014 meeting (which included President al-Bashir) is disturbing evidence of diplomatic malfeasance on the part of the African Union’s Thabo Mbeki, Haile Menkerios, and Mohamed Ibn Chambas. Their imbalanced and tendentious mediation between the belligerents in Sudan’s ongoing civil wars, as well as their poisonous relations with South Sudan—particularly over Abyei—are put in a context not previously available from public sources.
Khartoum has obviously been well pleased by the efforts of the three men, as suggested by the comments of various senior officials. Former Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein is typical in noting:
“By the way, Haile Menkerios is cooperating with us fully and likewise are Thabo Mbeki and Mohammed Ibn Chambas who are so keen to serve and protect our interest, even more than us.”
Hussein completed his contribution to this theme in the discussion by declaring:
“When they visited Qatar they were accorded a good reception and treated generously; they [Mbeki, Menkerios, Chambas—ER] are now under our control. These are the ones we use to dismantle the rebellion… [W]e will also use them [again, Mbeki, Menkerios, Chambas—ER] to subjugate the South to our will and implement the agreement the way we want. All of these envoys promised to submit to the African Union and the United Nations positive reports on Sudan records on human rights and freedoms.”
Other members of the regime had strong words of praise as well:
“Let us bless the agreement politically in the media and keep our real position tightly held among ourselves, working to achieve our goal using the agreement itself. Since Mbeki and Mohamed Ibn Chambas are cooperating with us, let us use them to help us achieve the following things…”
“After that I met Mbeki and we agreed on the recommendations he should submit in his report to the AU Peace and Security Council and the report to UN Security Council. That should include a request concerning the lifting of sanctions and support to Sudan in addition, he should reflect a good image of the Government of Sudan. For now we have won the game.”
“But whatever we do to thank Mbeki will not be sufficient to reward him fully for the things he did for our sake and on our behalf.”
“At this stage we must welcome the [Addis Ababa] agreement [September 2014] in order to give Thabo Mbeki and Mohamed Ibn Chambas the ability to be seen as productive and having achieved something. Accordingly, we must participate in the writing of the report that will be submitted by Mbeki to the African Union and the UN Security Council in order to ensure that it reflects the political transformation that is taking place in Sudan.”
This last excerpt represents either extraordinary presumption, or reflects confidence that Mbeki would indeed allow members of the genocidal Khartoum regime to “participate in the writing of the report that will be submitted by Mbeki to the African Union and the UN Security Council in order to ensure that it reflects the political transformation that is taking place in Sudan.” Mbeki’s corruption has become total.
Especially disturbing was a statement made by General Ismat Ahmed Babikir, Under-Secretary for Presidential Affairs. It comes in the context of the political charade that is the September 2014 “Addis Agreement,” and by way of thanking Mbeki and Ibn Chambas for efforts that the regime clearly feels benefited them enormously:
“And I say you must give incentive to Mbeki, his people, and Ibn Chambas from the money of the Islamic Movement that is deposited abroad.”
President al-Bashir also weighed in:
“Our consent in signing the [Addis] framework agreement with the Mechanism came after consultation with all the relevant organs and supported with thorough information. Actually, we were in need this agreement. Accordingly, we thank Mbeki, Haile Menkerios, Ibn Chambas, and Qatar for achieving this agreement.”
After eight years of representing the African Union diplomatically as a mediator in Sudan’s conflicts (first in Darfur, to no effect), Thabo Mbeki is well known to this regime. And Khartoum is in a position to know whether he would accept “money of the Islamic Movement that is deposited abroad,” even though this is hardly a standard method of payment for what are to be neutral and impartial diplomatic efforts. This is no small matter, since the focus of much these minutes is on Mbeki, the September 2014 agreement in Addis he helped secure, and how that agreement will affect Khartoum’s domestic political and electoral plans.