Home | Reports    Thursday 19 April 2007

TEXT : Sudan violates UN arms embargo -report

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April 18, 2007 (UNITED NATIONS) — The Sudanese government violated UN resolution 1591 by flying weapons and other military equipment into Darfur, a confidential U.N. report says.

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A plane in Darfur, painted like a United Nations craft, in a photo from a confidential report on Sudan’s involvement in the regional conflict.

The government was using planes painted white to make them look like U.N. aircraft to bomb and carry out surveillance of villages in the violence-torn western region, said the report by a panel of five experts appointed by the world body.

Diplomatic source told Sudan Tribune that this report was presented in a close door meeting to the UN Security Council on April 5, 2007.

The panel said it had seen one such aircraft, an Antonov AN-26, at an airport in Darfur and that it had the letters "UN" painted on its wing. It had also seen white helicopters operated by Sudan. The report was accompanied by photographs.

The team told the council they had requested Sudanese to explain this flagrant violation of UN Resolution 1591. Sudanese authorities promised to explain the presence of a military plan with UN camouflage but up to now the UN has received nothing from Sudan.

Also, the experts told the UNSC that Sudanese official, to explain some violations, said they had wrote to the AU to have the permission, in spite the fact that the African Union has no competence in this ban of military planes, but the AU denied receiving any demand from Sudan related to this issue.

The report has not so far been issued by the U.N. but was published on the Internet on Wednesday by the New York Times, which said it had received it from a diplomat of a country that wanted it publicized.

"On the basis of evidence gathered, the panel concludes that the government of the Sudan continues to violate the (U.N.) arms embargo by transferring equipment and related weapons into Darfur," the 44-page report said.

"The panel believes that the use of white aircraft by the government of the Sudan constitutes a deliberate attempt to conceal the identity of these aircraft such that from a moderate distance they resemble United Nations" or African Union aircraft used in Darfur, it said.

Sudan’s U.N. Ambassador Abdelmahmood Abdelhaleem called the panel’s allegations "fabrications" and "a cowardly attempt" to overshadow the government’s approval on Monday of the first significant U.N. peacekeeping force for Darfur, according to the official Kuwait News Agency. He added that Sudan requested an urgent investigation of the allegations.

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Interim report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1591

The panel’s report includes photos of grounded military aircraft that could carry bombs in South Darfur on Jan. 10 and Jan. 30. It also showed two photos of a military attack helicopter with the number 932 on its side — in Khartoum on Jan. 28 and in El Fasher, a government-controlled town in North Darfur, on Feb. 26.

Both were under the heading "Violations of the Arms Embargo: Government of Sudan."

So was a photo of the Feb. 24 crash of an Antonov AN-12 aircraft at the airport in El-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur.

The panel said the aircraft was owned by United Arabian Airlines, operated by AZZA transport. Its cargo, which was unloaded by the Sudanese armed forces, included two howitzers and between 40 and 50 wooden boxes suspected of containing arms and ammunition, it said.

On a map of Darfur, the panel showed over 100 incidents of "aerial bombardment" between October and January.

Under the heading "Acts That Impede the Peace Process," the report cited "use of white aircraft with `UN’ markings by armed forces of the government of Sudan."

It showed photographs of a white Antonov AN-26 twin-engine aircraft with U.N. markings on top of the left wing next to rows of bombs on the military apron at the airport in El Fasher on March 7. The same aircraft was photographed at El Fasher again on March 27.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "deep concern" Wednesday at the evidence presented to the council about the flying of arms and heavy weapons into Darfur, U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

"He is especially troubled by reports that private or national aircraft have been illegally provided with U.N. markings and used for military purposes," she said.

Ban expects "full cooperation from the government of Sudan, other governments and all other parties to provide prompt clarification," she said.

A U.N. official said possibly the same plane was photographed again in the major eastern Chad town of Abeche, presumably in support of the government of Chad. The U.N. also received secondhand information that a similar aircraft with similar markings was spotted in northern Central African Republic, allegedly to bring Chadian troops or rebels to the area, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information has not been confirmed.

U.N. officials noted that the International Civil Aviation Organization’s code for Kazakhstan is "UN", so there is a possibility the plane might be from the central Asian nation.

The U.S. State Department expressed concern Wednesday over charges in a United Nations report that Sudanese aircraft have been flying military equipment into Darfur in violation of Security Council resolutions.

The confidential U.N. report, leaked to The New York Times, "is a cause for real concern," spokesman Sean McCormack said.

He said the report will provide important input into upcoming Security Council decisions on next steps to deal with the continuing crisis in Darfur.

PDF - 823.4 kb
Interim report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1591

(Agencies/ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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