Africa Matters is a blog that follows the news and offers analysis of African affairs. Our aim is to delve deeper into the issues of African politics and development. We don’t presume to be experts, and we don’t presume to have all the answers—we are just trying to ask the right questions.

Tuesday, April 24

Darfur roundup

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, upon his return from Sudan, accused the government of a "deliberate campaign of intimidation" against aid efforts. Several international NGOs have suspended operations around the town of Um Ukhum due to increasing violence.

US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization, Kristen Silverberg, is traveling to South Africa to try to drum up support in the UN Security Council for sanctions. Sudan said yesterday that it might deny visas for the UN panel looking into sanctions options.

John Edwards called for multilateral sanctions, a no-fly zone, and a large peacekeeping force, criticizing his rivals for the Democratic Presidential nomination of not offering specific proposals on Darfur.

The Sudanese government has proposed a two-month ceasefire in Darfur to try to restart peace negotiations with rebels. The governor of North Darfur also announced that 38 military or police personnel have been tried in Darfur, and some have been sentenced to death, thus removing the need for international prosecution. There hasn't been much of a response from the international community to these statements.

Islamist opposition leader (and former Bashir ally) Hassan al-Turabi doubts that the latest UN support package agreement will do much, but suggests that it might pave the way for acceptance of a larger UN force.

Eritrea's President Issaias Afewerki met with Sudan's President Bashir over the weekend. And Egypt's Foreign Affairs and Intelligence ministers visited Khartoum yesterday.