PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WATCH
Friday, July 30, 2010
Volume IX, Number 27
In this issue:
Cameroon: Southern Cameroons
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Sudan: Southern Sudan
UN Security Council Hails International Conference on Afghanistan
Xinhua, July 24, 2010
The United Nations (UN) Security Council released a statement congratulating the Afghan government on the recent international conference in Kabul, which included national governmental, regional, and international representatives. The representatives met and discussed strengthening regional and international cooperation, Afghan leadership and governance, security, and economic growth. The UN Security Council stated that the conference is another step in the political, economic, and security improvement process in Afghanistan, as well as the peace process.
ASEAN Urges Burma to Hold Free, Fair Election
The Irrawaddy, July 19, 2010
Foreign ministers of nine of the ten states forming the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) took a rather unusual stand on the eve of their annual conference by urging Burma, the tenth member, to hold free and fair election and offering to send observers to the elections. Such a statement from states known for their strict policy of non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs, often leading to overlooking violations of human rights, demonstrates the deep concern of ASEAN members regarding Burma.
Burma Upgrades Military With North Korean Advice
The Irrawaddy, July 23, 2010
Following North Korean advice, Burma recently upgraded its military equipment to improve the rapid deployment of its forces, providing increasing evidence of existing ties between Burma and North Korea. Other instances illustrating the increasingly close ties between Burma and North Korea include a memorandum of understanding regarding joint military exercises between the two armies, North Korean assistance in defense matters, and the recent rumors regarding the import of nuclear weapons. The Burmese military is also seeking North Korea’s input on the upgrade of its people’s militias, which are part of the regime’s “People’s War Strategy.”
India Welcomes Burma Military Leader
CNN, July 25, 2010
Indian officials welcomed the top leader of the Burmese Junta on July 25. General Than Shwe’s five-day visit aims to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties between both states. Bilateral trade between both states has reached almost one billion dollars in the past few years, with several Indian companies investing in Burma’s energy sector. The visit comes several days after the United States (U.S.) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged India and neighboring countries to pressure Burma to comply with UN human rights resolutions and nonproliferation agreements.
Cameroon: Southern Cameroons
Prisoners? What Prisoners? Asks Cameroon Minister
Radio France International, July 12, 2010
Cameroonian Minister of Communication Issa Tchiroma Bakary refused to confirm or deny whether members of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) are currently imprisoned in Cameroon. The SCNC alleges that fifty of its members are currently detained without trial. Bakary asserted that the Government of Cameroon will not negotiate with the SCNC as long as it advocates for secession from Cameroon.
Proposals on Famagusta
Famagusta Gazette, July 19, 2010
During a public speech, Greek Cypriot President Christofias presented a three-part proposal to revive peace negotiations. In hopes of facilitating a quicker dialogue between Greek and Turkish Cyprus, the first part of the proposal seeks to combine three divisive topics, including property, territory and immigration, into one. The second seeks to implement UN Security Council Resolution 550, and to give the UN administrative power over the fenced-off areas of Varosha in Famagusta. The third looks to convene an international conference to address internal issues in Cyprus. Christofias contended that the package of proposals is balanced and is in the interest of the international community.
Turkey and Northern Cyprus Sign Long-Awaited Water Deal
Hurriyet, July 21, 2010
On July 19, Turkey and Northern Cyprus signed a 450 million dollar water project agreement. The water deal envisions the construction of an undersea pipeline between Turkey and Cyprus which would be capable of delivering seventy-five meters of water. The agreement is aimed at enhancing the lives of Turkish Cypriots, but Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek suggested that the water would benefit the entire island of Cyprus should a lasting peace be achieved.
Christofias’ Proposals Not Serious
Cyprus Mail, July 25, 2010
Turkish Cypriot Kudret Ozersay, the Special Representative for Turkish Cyprus at UN-sponsored talks, accused Greek Cypriot President Christofias of pitching a package of proposals that he knew was unfeasible and repetitive. Ozersay explained that two of the proposals mirrored past ideas that Turkish Cyprus had already rejected and that the third proposal was not politically practical. Ozersay also reaffirmed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’s commitment to the UN framework for negotiation.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo:Militia Leader Ordered Back To Jail
The New York Times, July 23, 2010
After the International Criminal Court (ICC) suspended the trial of Congo militia leader Thomas Lubanga on July 8 due to what the judges termedthe prosecutor’s abuse of process and ordered his release, the ICC appellate judges’ panel halted his release. They stated that his release might prevent the trial from resuming in the future. Lubanga plead not guilty and was standing trial for charges of using children under 15 years old to fight for his Union of Congolese Patriots militia during the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 1999-2003 war.
EU Launching Talks on Closer Ties With Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia
Radio Free Europe, July 15, 2010
The European Union (EU) has announced the beginning of talks with Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia for formal association agreements on political and economic issues. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said that talks on association agreements usually take between one and four years, and include the possibility of visa-free travel and free-trade regimes.
Abkhazia Does U-Turn Over Geneva Talks
Radio Free Europe, July 24, 2010
Prime Minister of Abkhazia Sergei Shamba announced that Abkhazia would send a delegation to attend the next round of mediation. Abkhaz presidential-administration head, Nadir Bitiyev, said previously that Abkhazia would not attend the next round of talks because international mediators were unwilling to pressure Georgia to sign an agreement on the non-resumption of hostilities.
Separatist Abkhazia, S. Ossetia Leaders Meet With Venezuela’s Chavez
Radio Free Europe, July 24, 2010
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met with separatist leaders Sergei Bagapsh of Abkhazia and Eduard Kokoity of South Ossetia in Caracas on July 23 to discuss the development of cooperation between Venezuela and the two regions. Venezuela is the fourth country, along with Russia, Nicaragua, and the island state of Nauru, to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent. Venezuelan officials signed a series of agreements establishing foreign diplomatic relations and other potential future cooperation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
US Rejects Pak’s Request to Mediate in Talks with India to Resolve Kashmir, Water Issues
TheIndian, July 20, 2010
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated during a meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that the U.S. will not mediate between Pakistan and India on the issues of Kashmir and water rights. Regarding the water dispute, Clinton stated that each country should efficiently manage its own water resources before asking for more from the other country. Clinton also commented that Pakistan and India, the two countries involved in the disputes, must resolve the issues themselves, and that the U.S. encourages both governments to continue their recently renewed talks and engagement.
Water Dispute Increases India-Pakistan Tension
The New York Times, July 20, 2010
A water dispute between India and Pakistan continues after Pakistan’s May filing with the international arbitration court against India’s planned hydroelectric dams. With both countries’ populations expanding, India is currently building one of several planned large hydroelectric dams to help maintain and increase India’s energy resources. Pakistan fears the dams will increase India’s control of Pakistan’s water resources for agricultural use, which makes up a large percentage of Pakistan’s employment and economy. The water dispute is a sticking point in the negotiations and renewal of peace talks between Pakistan and India, which once focused squarely on Kashmir.
Kenyan MP Ditches Bill after Defecting
Capital News, July 20, 2010
Member of Parliament (MP) Jamieck Kamau said he will not go forward with a bill in Parliament to postpone the referendum on the Proposed Constitution. Mr. Kamau indicated that the President told him the contentious portions of the document would be dealt with after the new Constitution is passed.
Poll Chaos Witnesses Flown Out
Daily Nation, July 20, 2010
Earlier this month, the ICC flew out three key eye-witnesses to the post-election violence of 2007. The ICC decided to take the witnesses under its protection because the government had not dedicated enough funding to its witness protection program. The Kenya National Commission for Human Rights said that threats against eye-witnesses have been on the rise.
Police are County’s Most Corrupt Institution – Index
Daily Nation, July 22, 2010
According to the Transparency International Bribery Index, which reviews levels of bribery in government institutions of five East African states, the Kenyan police are the most corrupt institution in the state and the third most corrupt state body in the region. Kenya was ranked the third most corrupt state overall.
Kyrgyz Interim Gov’t Amends Election Law
Xinhua, July 21, 2010
Kyrgyzstan’s caretaker government amended Kyrgyzstan’s election laws by presidentially signed decree. The changes bring Parliament’s seat count to 120 from 90. Further changes include: limiting each party to no more 65 seats; setting 21 as the minimum age for candidate eligibility; and announcing the upcoming parliamentary election date 90 days before the election. The decree also requires Kyrgyz citizens to present validated documents of residency in addition to proof of a registered permanent residence.
South Kyrgyzstan Forces May Have Used Torture: UN Rights
AFP, July 21, 2010
UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay stated that acquired information shows that military and police forces in Kyrgyzstan have used torture, ill-treatment, and illegal and indiscriminate detention in response to June’s ethnic violence. The ill-treatment has been mainly of Uzbek men and threatens the peace process, said Pillay.
Kyrgyz Police Detain Ex-President’s Brother
The Associated Press, July 22, 2010
Kyrgyz police detained the brother of deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on Wednesday night outside of Jalal-Abad, where June’s ethnic violence occurred. He was arrested on charges of contributing to and inciting the ethnic violence, which left hundreds of Uzbeks dead and resulted in over 400,000 refugees and internally displaced persons. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe announced that they would send an international police force to Kyrgyzstan’s southern region to advise local police.
Obama Pick for U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan on the Defensive at Senate Hearings
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, July 22, 2010
The U.S. nominee for Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Matthew Bryza, previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and as the U.S. co-chair of the Minsk Group. His selection has upset many Armenian officials and diaspora groups. At his July 22 nomination hearing, U.S. senators questioned Bryza intensively about his delayed condemnation of Azeri troops’ attack on UNESCO-protected gravesites in Julfa, his inability to efficiently deliver funds to assist Nagorno-Karabakh, and his role in the dismissal of former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans.
Too Early for a Karabakh Referendum – EU Envoy
News.az, July 26, 2010
EU Special Envoy on the South Caucasus Peter Semneby indicated that a referendum would be inappropriate at this stage in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace negotiations. Semneby encouraged the parties to adhere to the Minsk Group principles for resolving the conflict.
Samvel Nikoyan Draws Similarities Between Kosovo and Karabakh Issues
PanArmenian.net,July 26, 2010
The decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia was lawful may have implications for the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. Armenian Vice Speaker of Parliament Samvel Nikoyan and former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovhannisian have both highlighted the similarities between the situations in Kosovo and Nagorno-Karabakh.
No Winner in Nepal Run-Off Election
The Hindu, July 23, 2010
Neither candidate for the prime ministerial post obtained a majority of the votes in the July 23rd run-off election. The two candidates, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN-Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress Vice-President Ram Chandra Paudel, failed to win by majority principally because the members of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-UML) and several Madhesi parties refrained from voting. Another prime ministerial election is planned to take place on August 2.
“UML Won’t Partake in Prime Ministerial Run-Off Until Consensus Government Ensured”
NepalNews, July 23, 2010
CPN-UML leader Bharat Mohan Adhikari declared that his party would not vote in the second prime ministerial election without assurance that it would result in “a national consensus government.” Adhikari insisted that his party had withdrawn the candidacy of Jhala Nath Khanal for the sake of such national consensus because, although Khanal would have obtained a majority of votes in the election, he had failed to achieve a two-thirds majority.
Madhesi Parties Set Conditions for Support as House Prepares for Prime Ministerial Run-Off
NepalNews, July 23, 2010
The Unified Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), an alliance of Madhes-based parties, revealed three main conditions its constituents have set for their support in the prime ministerial election, without officially pledging their support to any of the candidates. First, the UDMF insisted that the future government should comply with past agreements regarding the autonomy and right to self-determination of the Madhesi province, and should not set up the State Restructuring Commission without consulting Madhesi parties. Second, the UDMF called for the drafting of the new Constitution to be completed within the Constituent Assembly’s tenure. Finally, with regard to the peace process, the UDMF proposed a schedule for the integration of People Liberation Army (PLA) fighters, the dismantling of Young Communist League (YCL) camps, and the return of seized properties.
Government Reviewing Peace Process Before Talks
Reuters, July 16, 2010
The government of President Benigno Aquino expects to hold informal talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) by October 2010. In preparation, the government is reviewing the peace process that has been facilitated by Malaysia since 2001. Norway and the EU will soon join Malaysia on the monitoring team in Mindanao. Norway continues to facilitate talks between the government and the Maoist National Democratic Front (NDF). President Aquino has linked the need for peace to economic development, and aims to return 25,000 displaced persons to Mindanao before the end of his first 100 days in office.
General Mabanta Vows that Military Operations Against Insurgents Will Comply With the Law
PhilStar, July 26, 2010
The new Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Civil Relations Service (CRS), Brigadier General Jose Mabanta Jr., has said that all military operations against insurgents will comply with existing laws. Mabanta promised that all operations would be documented and all searches would be initiated under warrants. His statement came in response to complaints that allege extra-judicial killings and other violations of human rights on the part of the AFP. Mabanta is working under a three-year deadline to end the insurgency.
Somaliland Clashes Displace Thousands
All Africa, July 23, 2010
Several thousand people in northern Somalia have been displaced in recent weeks by clashes between Somaliland troops and a new rebel group, Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC). The rebel group wishes to liberate these three regions from the government of Somaliland. During campaigns before the June election, President Silanyo pledged to start negotiations with the SCC.
Inauguration of President-Elect Silaanyo to be Attended by Djibouti and Kenyan Delegations
Somaliland Press, July 25, 2010
The inauguration of President-Elect Silaanyo will be attended by delegations from Djibouti and Kenya, only a week after a former Kenyan minister called for the administration to recognize Somaliland as a country.
Darfur Rebels and U.N. to Sign Deal to Protect Children
Reuters, July 20, 2010
Darfur’s Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) signed a deal with UNICEF on Wednesday to protect children from being used as solders in the Darfur conflict, and from sexual violence. Both rebel forces and government-sponsored groups have reportedly recruited children to fight during the course of the Darfur conflict, though the agreement did not specifically mention such recruitment. UNICEF will have access to JEM locations to verify compliance.
LJM and Sudanese Government Agree to a Ceasefire
AFP, July 22, 2010
Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), the only rebel group that is currently party to the peace process, signed a ceasefire that follows the March framework. Qatari mediators continue to extend an invitation to the other rebel groups to re-join the negotiating table.
Sudan Softens Stance on Adding More Darfur Rebel Groups to the Negotiations
Sudan Tribune, July 22, 2010
A spokesperson for the Sudanese government’s delegation to the Doha peace talks says the government is making “real efforts” to bring the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and JEM to the talks. Regarding the progress of the talks, he named the security arrangement committee and the justice and compensation committee as the only two committees that have not achieved progress thus far in Doha.
Sudan Summons UNICEF Representative to Protest JEM Pact
Sudan Tribune, July 25, 2010
The Sudanese foreign ministry conveyed a strong disagreement to a recent deal UNICEF signed with the JEM and demanded that UNICEF back away from the agreement. The agreement signed this week allows the UN to access JEM bases to check that child soldiers are not recruited.
Sudan: Southern Sudan
Sudan’s Peace Partners to Begin Post-Referendum Negotiations Next Week
Sudan Tribune, July 23, 2010
Vice President of Southern Sudan Riek Machar has announced that negotiations on post-referendum issues are expected to begin on July 27 in Khartoum between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The NCP and SPLM have signed an agreement on the guiding principles for the negotiations and have recommitted themselves to the January 2011 referendum. The negotiations will include issues concerning oil production, transport, marketing, assets, debts, security, international treaties, and currency.
Sudanese Opposition Reject Meeting with Bashir to Discuss Referendum
Sudan Tribune, July 25, 2010
Several opposition parties have rejected a meeting invitation from President Bashir to discuss the upcoming referendum in Southern Sudan. Eight opposition parties released a statement accusing President Bashir of trying to stall the referendum process. Deputy Secretary General of the SPLM Yasir Arman said that opposition leaders believed that the meeting should also cover other issues such as the crisis in Darfur, economic conditions, democratic transformation, and political freedom.
African Union Drops Resolution Barring Arrest of Sudanese President in Continent
Sudan Tribune, July 26, 2010
Delegates at the African Union summit in Uganda have agreed to remove draft language from a resolution that would have instructed member states not to cooperate with the ICC. At the opening of the summit, Malawian President Mutharika said that the ICC arrest warrant for President Bashir was “undermining African solidarity.” The non-cooperation wording was removed from the draft resolution after South Africa and Botswana opposed its inclusion. Chad, an ICC member state, chose not to arrest President Bashir during his recent visit to the state.
CHADEMA Announces Candidate for October Presidential Elections
The Citizen, July 22, 2010
The Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) has named Dr. Willibrod Slaa as its presidential candidate for the general election to be held October 31. Many believe that Dr. Slaa will pose a healthy challenge to President Kikwete. Dr. Slaa’s signature issue is the battle against official corruption.
Transparency International Lists Tanzanian Police Force among Top Ten Most Corrupt in East Africa
The Citizen, July 23, 2010
Transparency International’s East African Bribery Index (EABI) 2010 includes Tanzania’s Judiciary and Police Force among the ten most corrupt institutions in East Africa. The report called the National Police Force the most corrupt institution in Tanzania, and the fifth most corrupt in the region. The report found that nearly forty-one per cent of its interactions with the public were characterized by an expectation of or demand for bribery, and almost sixty-five per cent resulted in payment of a bribe.
Kikwete in Kampala for AU Summit
Daily News, July 25, 2010
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete arrived in Kampala on Sunday afternoon to attend the 15th African Union (AU) Summit. The Summit will address maternal, infant and child health. Kikwete is scheduled to facilitate a progress report on the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) launched in September 2009.
Thai Government Lifts Emergency in More Provinces
Reuters, July 20, 2010
The Thai government said it was lifting the state of emergency in three provinces, but that it would remain in effect in sixteen others. A government spokesman said that signs of unrest in the sixteen provinces justified keeping the state of emergency in effect, but that for the other three provinces there are no signs of unrest, and the government has enough forces to maintain peace. The state of emergency, which came in the aftermath of violent protests earlier this year, gives the government power to ban most political gatherings, detain suspects without charges, and censor the media.
Thailand’s Democrat Wins First Local Election After Red Shirt Rally
Xinhua, July 25, 2010
According to an unofficial tally by the Election Commission, the elite-backed Democrat Party candidate won the by-election for a vacant seat in Parliament for Bangkok’s Constituency 6. The opposition Puea Thai Party accepted the result and defeat of its candidate, who is a Red Shirt leader detained on terrorism charges after the protests. The turnout rate in the election, the first after recent protests, was approximately fifty percent.
One Dead, 10 Wounded in Bangkok Bomb Blast
AFP, July 25, 2010
A bomb exploded on Sunday at a bus stop in central Bangkok, killing one person and wounding ten. The explosion occurred just hours after the parliamentary by-election, where initial results indicated that the Red Shirt candidate lost to the ruling Democrat Party’s candidate. The site of the blast is in the same area occupied by the Red Shirts during their protest in May.
Army Rescues 10 From LRA
The New Vision, July 22, 2010
The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) reported that it rescued eight women and two children from Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic (CAR). The UDPF sent 150 soldiers to search for and arrest LRA leader Joseph Kony in the CAR. Maj. Victor Opera, the UDPF 4th division intelligence officer, estimates that 200 LRA rebels are currently hiding in the Congo.
Ugandans Edgy Over US Move Against LRA
Institute for War & Peace Reporting, July 22, 2010
In May 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill that requires producing a strategy regarding the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict by November. Many Ugandans, while thankful for U.S. support, are worried that it could lead to increased violence and civilian deaths. Ugandans are skeptical because none of the LRA leaders for whom the ICC issued arrest warrants five years ago have been apprehended, and the ICC relies on cooperation from states to execute the arrest warrants. Although the U.S. strategy is currently uncertain, it will likely attempt to respond to humanitarian needs while also providing military, economic, and intelligence support to eradicate the LRA rebels.
Uganda President Calls for Africa to Fight Terror
Huffington Post, July 25, 2010
At last week’s AU summit in Kampala, Uganda, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urged the African leaders present to work with Uganda to eradicate terrorists from the continent. Al-Shabab, a Somali militant group associated with al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the July 11 bombings in Kampala. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who attended the AU summit, pledged continued U.S. support for peacekeeping efforts in Somalia. Holder also said an FBI forensic team is assisting Ugandan officials with the ongoing investigation.
Mugabe’s Party Sees Possible 2011 Zimbabwe Elections
Reuters, July 20, 2010
Analysts believe Zimbabwe’s next elections could be two years away, despite President Robert Mugabe’s more optimistic prognostications. Supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai, currently Mugabe’s political rival in the power-sharing government, publicly say they will be ready for elections in 2011, but privately believe that further electoral and other political issues will need to be resolved first.
Civic Groups Warn of Potential Political Violence in 2011
Voice of America, July 23, 2010
Civic groups have warned the AU that Zimbabwe’s next elections could be violent without sweeping electoral reforms. President Mugabe’s party, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), says it is ready for the ballots, hoping that it will end the current unity government and allow for a one-party outright winner.
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