Guest Author - Lisbeth Cheever-Gessaman
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has heralded his official first day appearance in Sudan by issuing a warning to Sudan, according to news reports.
Ban's arrival marks the first day of a six-day trip that will take him to several other African countries, but with a primary focus on the unrest in Darfur. In typical, political retrospeak, Ki-moon hashed out such nothingness verbosities as 'the need for a political will inside the government of Sudan to move the negotiations' adding that he did believe that there 'was such a political will'.
On a slightly stronger note, he denounced the resurgance of violence in Darfur as 'simply unacceptable', but offered nothing in the way of UN sanctions or stronger political resistance to strengthen international aid to underscore it, a thing that it seems Sudan is more in line with understanding.
August 27th, just before Ban's visit, Sudan expelled Paul Barker, the director of the US-based charity, CARE, for allegedly interfering in the country's internal affairs. And although there are more than 12,000 aid workers in Darfur, 12 were killed across the region in 2006 and five since the beginning of this year.
Ban said he would raise the issue of Barker's expulsion during his meetings with Sudanese leaders, while further noting, "I am ... concerned about the Sudanese government asking those envoys and NGO workers - humanitarian workers - to leave their country and so, in other words, expelling those people from Sudan,"
"We have raised this issue ... conveyed our strong concerns to the Sudanese government to implement genuinely the humanitarian Joint Communiqué which was signed between the UN and the Sudanese government to help those humanitarian workers, so that they can engage themselves without any interference," Ban continued. "This is what I am going to raise with President [Omar el] Bashir."
Meanwhile, official counts to date of the Darfur conflict show that 55,000 people were newly displaced in the region between June and August, bringing the total number of those fleeing their homes since January to 250,000.
Additionally, out of a total population in Darfur of 6.4 million, 2.2 million are displaced while four million are dependent on humanitarian assistance.