Tag Archives: international criminal court

Honduran rulers insist Zelaya cannot be president


Honduran rulers insist Zelaya cannot be president

The de facto Honduran government insisted on Thursday that it would not allow ousted President Manuel Zelaya to return to office, dampening hopes of a deal to end a political crisis after last month’s coup.

Roberto Micheletti, named president by Congress after Zelaya was toppled in the June 28 coup, said he was open to dialogue to resolve the crisis but would not accept Zelaya back in power, as mediators are asking.

“I’ve clearly said it before and I say it again, if there is a solution where I have to step down I will do it willingly, but I cannot allow Zelaya to return as president,” Micheletti told reporters.

Rafael Pineda, who as minister of the presidency is No. 2 in the de facto government, told Reuters the administration was “firm, unchangeable” against Zelaya’s return to power.

In neighboring Nicaragua, the exiled Zelaya asked a U.S. delegation to step up measures against the coup leaders and vowed to take his case to the International Criminal Court.

With mediator Costa Rica’s efforts making little progress, Micheletti invited Enrique Iglesias, former Inter-American Development Bank head, to come to Honduras as a special envoy to try and rekindle negotiations.

The coup leaders are under pressure from Washington to reinstate Zelaya, and a source close to the de facto government said Micheletti might consider letting Zelaya back if there were assurances he would not try to derail democracy.

But Micheletti said on Thursday that if Zelaya came back it would be to face trial. Zelaya incited profound criticism while in office by allying with Venezuela’s firebrand President Hugo Chavez and pushing to allow presidential re-election.

“If he wants to retake control of the government, not under any circumstance,” Micheletti said.

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Sudan cooperation with peacekeepers better says U.N.’s Ban


Sudan cooperation with peacekeepers better says U.N.’s Ban

UNITED NATIONS  – Sudanese government cooperation with peacekeepers in Darfur has improved and major violence there is now uncommon but the situation of civilians remains dire, says a new report by U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

The report appeared to counter predictions that the issuing of an arrest warrant in March by the International Criminal Court for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur could make life worse for the peacekeepers.

A joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force, known as UNAMID, has been gradually deploying for the past 18 months, held up by shortages of troops and equipment, harsh conditions in Darfur and bureaucratic obstacles in Khartoum.

Currently at just over two-thirds of its planned strength, it is due to reach more than 90 percent of its full complement of 26,000 troops and police by the end of this year, according to the report by the U.N. secretary-general, issued on Friday.

The report for the Security Council, which will debate renewing UNAMID’s mandate next week, said that “on the whole … there has been considerable improvement in the quality of the government’s cooperation with the mission.”

“Mechanisms for cooperation with the government are functioning more effectively over time,” it added.

Ban complained, however, that Sudanese delays in issuing visas for UNAMID staff remained a serious concern, and that decisions in Khartoum were not always carried out locally.

Delays in granting customs clearance and permission for U.N.-contracted vessels to disembark at Port Sudan had led to more than $1 million in charges for the United Nations, he said.

The conflict in Darfur, western Sudan, dates back to 2003, when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against Khartoum, accusing it of neglecting the region. The government mobilized troops and mostly Arab militias to crush the uprising.

Estimates of the death count in Darfur range from 10,000 according to Khartoum, to 300,000 according to U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes.

But Ban’s report said that “large-scale violence stretching over a wide territory and for lengthy periods is now infrequent.” Nevertheless, the security situation remained volatile, posing an ongoing threat to civilians, it said.

The situation for civilians in Darfur continued to be “deeply troubling,” the report said, with 2.6 million people internally displaced and 4.7 million needing assistance. Banditry and sexual violence still plagued civilians.

The joint U.N.-African Union special envoy to Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, created controversy in April when he said the violence there had subsided into a “low-intensity conflict.” He said about 130 to 150 people were dying each month, compared with tens of thousands killed in 2003-2004.

The Sudan Liberation Army, a leading rebel group, called the comments “fabricated … and unfortunate” and threatened to stop dealing with UNAMID.

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