France continues to pursue latest
"pressure on Khartoum" policy. France's
new government are making Darfur a big
deal. France just hosted a meeting in Paris of several major international aid
organizations, political representatives from the G-8 nations, and China. The
subject was "reconstructing Darfur." That's an objective, but the meetings are
designed to embarrass the Sudanese government. French and Chinese diplomatic
contacts do worry the Sudanese government. Sudan has relied on China to cast a
veto in the UN to avoid truly biting sanctions. The French diplomatic offensive
includes the pitch that France and the international community need to
guarantee Chad's stability and Chad's borders. Sudan and Chad have a border war
that flares up occasionally. Chad used to be a French colony and France has a
small military force in Chad, include an air base in Chad's capital.
June 26, 2007: The government said that China has
invested six billion dollars in Sudan's petroleum industry. China has invested
another 300 million dollars in other industrial and agricultural projects. The
government has bet that China will look the other way on Darfur and on various
human rights issues in Sudan.
June 20, 2007: UN representatives met with Sudanese
government officials to discuss ways to "better implement" the 2005
Comprehensive Peace Agreement in south Sudan. The plan calls for a plebiscite
to be held within six years on whether or not parts of southern Sudan should be
a separate state.
June 19, 2007: A small aid convoy was stopped and
robbed in West Darfur State. Several similar incidents occur on any given day
in the Darfur region. It often takes several days for the reports to filter to
an African Union or UN headquarters which can then pass the information on UN
public affairs officials or the international press corps. The bottom line is
aid workers and aid convoys in Darfur remain vulnerable to attack. Refugees and
villages continue to be attacked, and people continue to die. But the
government has been very effective at keeping journalists out, and forcing many
aid workers to keep quiet about what they see. As a result, one of the most
vicious wars in the world is largely going unreported.