PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WATCH
Friday, March 5, 2010
Volume IX, Number 10
In this issue:
Cameroon: Southern Cameroons
Sudan: Southern Sudan
Burma’s Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Democracy Leader
Voice of America, February 26, 2010
The highest court in Burma rejected an appeal from detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and upheld her continued house arrest without citing a reason. Suu Kyi’s lawyer said that under Burmese law, they can and will file one last special appeal, but did not express optimism about the chances of having her house arrest overturned.
US Charge d’Affaires Meets NLD
Irrawaddy, February 25, 2010
Larry Dinger, the US Chargé d'Affaires in Rangoon, met with members of the Executive Committee of the National League for Democracy to discuss the party's position on whether it will participate in this year's election. While the party leaders have not yet determined whether or not they will take part in the election, they reiterated their support for the Shwegondaing Declaration, recognition of the 1990s election results, political dialogue, and the unconditional release of all political prisoners.
Burma Troops Commit Atrocities
Associated Press, February 24, 2010
The Burmese state military troops are reportedly committing human rights violations against ethnic Karen women who are in positions of authority within Karen villages. Troops are allegedly torturing, murdering, raping, and enslaving these women to combat the revival of the Karen minority militia.
Cameroon: Southern Cameroons
SCAPO’s Transformation Into a Political Party Seen as a Betrayal
The Post, February 26, 2010
The Southern Cameroons People’s Organization (SCAPO) has received criticism for its request to the Cameroonian government for permission to change to a political party. Critics claim it is hypocritical for SCAPO to receive authorization from the same government it is fighting. SCAPO has cited the African Union’s insistence that it operate as a political party as one of its justifications. SCAPO has also indicated that it wishes to change its tactics and work more on organizing support, much like a political party operates.
Rival Cypriot Presidents Discuss Economy During Talks
Turkish Daily News, February 24, 2010
Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias met on February 24 at the buffer zone between the Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus to continue the reunification negotiations. The leaders discussed the economy, as well as other issues. The next meeting between the two leaders will take place on March 4, 2010.
Downer Meets President to Discuss Cyprus Talks
Famagusta Gazette, February 24, 2010
UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor for Cyprus Alexander Downer met with President Christofias to discuss the upcoming rounds of negotiations between Christofias and President Talat. Downer said that the Turkish Cypriots would like two additional meetings on top of the three already planned.
Turkey’s Chief EU Negotiator Calls for Cyprus Settlement by April
Turkish Daily News, February 26, 2010
Turkey’s chief European Union negotiator Egemen Bağiş stressed that Turkish and Greek Cypriots should reach a resolution regarding the Cyprus reunification problem by April. Bağiş explained that President Talat, who has worked towards a resolution, is unlikely to be reelected in April elections.
Georgia, Russia to Open Mountain Pass March 1
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, February 26, 2010
Georgian authorities have said that the Verkhny Lars border crossing, effectively the only pass between Russia and Georgia, will reopen March 1. The pass was closed by Russia in 2006 when relations soured between the two states.
Georgia: Opposition Coalition Cracking Up Over Tblisi Mayoral Election
Eurasia, February 23, 2010
A prominent Georgian opposition coalition, dominated by the Republican Party and the New Rights Party, may be breaking up. The potential break-up follows an announcement by the group’s leader, former UN Ambassador Irakli Alasania, endorsing an initiative to produce a unified candidate to challenge incumbent mayor of Tblisi, Gigi Ugulava.
India, Pakistan Hold First Talks Since Mumbai Attacks
Agence France Presse, February 25, 2010
For the first time in fourteen months, the governments of India and Pakistan have met to resume peace talks, which were derailed by the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir met in New Delhi to discuss all issues between the two rivals, including the disputes region of Kashmir. On February 24, Bashir met with senior Kashmiri separatist leaders as a signal of the Pakistani government’s intention to keep Kashmir on the agenda at the peace talks.
Feuding Kenyan Leaders Meet
February 23, 2010, New York Times
After being caught in a political deadlock which lasted longer than a week, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga met on February 23 to address their differences. According to Jakoyo Midiwo, a political ally of Odinga, “it was a good meeting.” The political deadlock started when Kibaki reinstated the ministers of agriculture and education, who Odinga had suspended on suspicion of corruption.
Kenyan PM More Trusted Than President in Poll
February 26, 2010, Reuters Africa
The Nairobi-based Strategic Research Limited published a poll indicating that fifty-five percent of Kenyans favor Prime Minister Odinga to lead the fight against corruption, whereas only fourteen percent of Kenyans favor President Kibaki. The opinion poll took place following Odinga’s failed attempt to suspend two ministers tied to major corruption scandals. According to the poll, seventy percent of Kenyans supported the ministers’ suspension, and seventy-five percent believe Kibaki’s move to reinstate the ministers was wrong.
Kenya: Anger as Kiplagat Vows to Stay Put
February 26, 2010, All Africa
Kenyan civil society is expressing its concern in response to Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) chairman Kiplagat’s statement about his intentions to remain in his post. Previous apprehension about Mr. Kiplagat’s integrity reached a new level when the Ndung’u report mentioned the TJRC chairman in a negative light. The head of the International Centre for Transitional Justice’s Kenya office argued that “the chair must step down where a reasonable apprehension of bias exists”.
UN Special Representative: Liberians Should Decide How to Implement TRC Recommendations
Voice of America, February 26, 2010
Ellen Margaret Loj, the UN Representative for Liberia, says that Liberians need to decide how to better promote and protect human rights in Liberia. Loj said that one way the Liberians could proceed is to analyze the recommendations that the Truth and Reconciliation Committee released in December. Loj also noted that Liberia’s budget is too small to fund an operational army and police force—both of which are needed to ensure post-conflict peace and security.
Ex-Warlord to Run in Liberia’s President Poll
Washington Post, February 24, 2010
Liberian Senator Prince Johnson, a former Liberian warlord who a Liberian government commission wants to try for crimes against humanity, plans to run in the upcoming presidential election. Johnson claims to want the Presidency to address security concerns in Liberia and to further peace and security in the region. Johnson will run against current President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Committee believes should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity for her involvement in the Liberian civil war.
Four Dead in Religious Clashes in Liberia
Agence France Presse, February 27, 2010
Four were killed and twenty-three wounded in a clash between Muslim and Christian Liberians on February 26. UN peacekeepers moved into Monrovia after the outbreak of violence that supposedly sparked from the death of a Christian student in the village of Konia. The violence also caused hundreds of people to flee across the border into Guinea.
Timely Constitution Drafting Hinges on Maoists’ Behavior: PM Nepal
Nepal News, February 26, 2010
Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal explained that the success in drafting a new constitution by May 28, 2010, depends upon cooperation from the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M). Prime Minister Nepal urged the UCPN-M to integrate and rehabilitate Maoist combatants. He also warned that the failure to draft a new constitution by the deadline would push the state into a crisis.
Fix Commissions’ Number: CA Panel
Kathmandu Post, February 28, 2010
The Nepali Constituent Assembly completed its study on the Committee to Determine the Structure of Constitutional Bodies, which determined how many constitutional institutions the new Constitution should guarantee. These institutions include a Federal Women Commission, Federal Indigenous Commission, Federal Dalit Commission, Federal Madhesi Commission, and Federal Commission for Disabled, Minorities, and Backward Groups.
Royalist Protest Paralyzes Nepal Capital
Agence France Presse, February 22, 2010
Shops and roads closed and Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu came to a standstill as supporters of Nepal’s deposed royal family protested in the streets. The royalists, members of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N), want Nepal to return to a Hindu monarchy. The 240-year old royal dynasty in Nepal ended in 2008 when the Maoists came to power and unseated former king Gyandendra.
General Sarath Fonseka to Stand in Sri Lanka Election
BBC News, February 25, 2010
General Sarath Fonseka is running for a seat in Sri Lanka’s parliament in the Colombo district representing the Democratic National Alliance, a weak coalition of six parties running in opposition to President Rajapaksa’s ruling party. Although Fonseka has contested his military detention as invalid because he is retired, he continues to be held on general allegations of working with “anti-government forces.” In addition, Fonseka has been charged with civilian offenses including engagement in fraud, breaking foreign exchange laws, and creating “disaffection in the armed forces.”
Sri Lankan Government Voices Anger as UK MPs Address Tamil Group
The Guardian, February 25, 2010
Tensions between Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom soured this week when UK Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and David Miliband met with the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a new union of Tamils that held their inaugural conference in London this past week. The Sri Lankan government considers the GTF as a supporter of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group, and viewed the meeting as “lend[ing] credibility to an organization which is propagating the separatist agenda.” In response, the GTF reaffirmed its commitment to “the principles of democracy and non-violence.”
Sudan Signs Ceasefire Deal With Main Darfur Rebels
February 23, 2010, Reuters
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir officially signed a ceasefire with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Darfur’s most powerful rebel group, on February 23. The initial framework agreement includes a ceasefire, plans to integrate JEM soldiers into the Sudan Armed Forces, and a goal to reach a final peace agreement by March 15. As the first concrete sign that the Government of Sudan is willing to share power, the framework agreement also called for JEM to receive offers of government posts, the details of which will be worked out in the final peace agreement.
Sudan and New Darfur LJM to Sign another Framework Agreement
February 27, 2010, Sudan Tribune
The JEM has threatened to quit the on-going peace talks as a result of separate talks between the Government of Sudan and the newly formed Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM). The LJM is due to sign a separate framework agreement next week, which will contain similar provisions as the one signed by JEM. JEM’s leader, Khalil Ibrahim, believes that the LJM should integrate into JEM’s negotiating delegation and has refused to recognize their separate participation in the talks.
Darfur Rebel Leader Denounces “Ceremonial” Peace Accord
February 24, 2010, Sudan Tribune
Abdel Wahid Al-Nur of Sudan Liberation Movement has expressed hope for a genuine peace deal, calling the framework agreement between JEM and the Government of Sudan “ceremonial.” Al-Nur said his movement wants a peace deal that starts with security on the ground in order to protect civilians. In the past, he has refused to negotiate unless Khartoum takes steps to disarm the militias and facilitate the return of displaced persons. Al-Nur said that Qatari officials have to exert pressure on the Government of Sudan to stop violence against civilians before he will consider joining the peace talks.
Sudan: Southern Sudan
Sudanese President Rejects to Postpone Elections
Xinghua, February 28, 2010
President Bashir has rejected the demands of some Sudanese political parties to postpone the upcoming national elections. “Elections will be held on its scheduled time," he said in Khartoum on February 27. "The Darfur issue was a pretext for some to demand postponement of the elections, but after the signing of the framework agreement with JEM, Darfur will live in full peace and great stability." He added, "every body should let the Sudanese people decide through the voting boxes."
Sudan Former Foes Strike Pre-Vote Deal on Contested Census
Agence France Presse, February 25, 2010
The National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement have reached a deal on the contested census results. The deal accords Southern Sudan forty additional seats in the National Assembly, bringing Southern representation from twenty-one percent to twenty-seven percent.
Egypt Invited Kiir/Bashir in a Last-Ditch Effort to Preserve Sudan’s Unity
Sudan Tribune, February 28, 2010
In what has been described as a “last ditch” effort to save to preserve Sudan’s unity, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is to invite Southern Sudan’s President Kiir and the Republic of Sudan’s President Bashir to Cairo. Mubarak is also slated to visit Khartoum and Juba following the visit.
Tanzania Welcomes Election Observers
Nam News Network, February 20, 2010
Tanzania has formally welcomed foreign election observers and monitors for the upcoming general elections scheduled for October 2010. “It is our custom to allow all interested parties to monitor our elections in good spirit and determine whether the exercise (of elections) is free and fair,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Bernard Membe. “We have nothing to hide and all along we have been inviting both local and foreign observers to witness the electoral process and give their comments and recommendations,” said the minister at a meeting with diplomats in Dar es Salaam.
LRA in the News Again
The Indian Ocean Newsletter, February 27, 2010
General Aronda Nyakairima, head of the Uganda People’s Defence Force, concluded that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) does not presently pose as much of a security threat to Uganda as other small factions of Ugandan and Congolese rebels operating in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In a meeting on February 16, Nyakairima and the heads of the armed forces of the Central African Republic and the DRC determined that the LRA now consists of about one thousand fighters who are operating hundreds of kilometers away from Uganda in semi-autonomous groups.
Tough Talk From Secretary Clinton, Senator Feingold on LRA
Enough Project, February 27, 2010
At a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton spoke on how the funds allocated to stopping the LRA would be used to end LRA violence and provide humanitarian assistance to civilians. Secretary Clinton mentioned that the US government has already spent $6.4 million to support military efforts against the LRA, and that it would soon disburse more funds for this purpose. US Senator Russ Feingold reinforced Secretary Clinton’s remarks by urging the Senate to pass the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act.
Zimbabwe Presses on With Local Ownership Law
Washington Post, February 26, 2010
According to Youth Development, Indigenization and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, the Zimbabwean government is moving ahead with implementing the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Law. The law, passed in 2007 before the formation of the unity government, requires companies with more than $500,000 in assets to be at least fifty-one percent black-owned within five years. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the law is now void, but Kasukuwere of the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) claims that the law will be implemented.
ZANU-PF Youth Protest Western Sanctions Against Zimbabwe’s Mugabe
Voice of America, February 24, 2010
Over one thousand youth supporters of the ZANU-PF party rallied on February 24 to demand the lifting of sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and members of his ZANU-PF party. The protesters also demanded the closure of unauthorized, so-called pirate radio stations around the state. According to reporters, the demonstration was at times violent. This follows a violent clash during a MDC rally in Epworth, a suburb of Harare, three days prior.
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.