SUDAN: Vulnerable but dangerous A tumultuous political year will begin with the International Criminal Court’s expected issuing of an arrest warrant for President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir. The response of the ruling National Congress (aka National Islamic Front) and then of the once powerful Northern opposition will determine Sudan’s medium-term future. Also important will be the response of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which in theory shares power with President Omer’s NC but in practice, relations are deteriorating fast. Foreign governments will also count. Britain and France have sought to delay the warrant at the United Nations Security Council; the United States’ new Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, would veto such a move. President Barack Hussein Obama’s new US government is set to step up pressure on Khartoum’s Islamist regime on several levels.
CONGO-KINSHASA: Talking to Nkunda – and Kigali No ceasefire was arranged at the latest negotiations in December between the Kinshasa government and General Laurent Nkunda’s rebel Congrés National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP, AC Vol 49 No 25). A fresh attempt was due on 7 January in Nairobi, when it was hoped Nkunda’s people might be more cooperative. In the last round, the CNDP refused to cease firing, although the Kinshasa delegation, led by Minister of International Cooperation Raymond Tshibanda, signed a declaration intended to ‘promote dialogue’ and create confidence. The CNDP claims that hostile forces – the government’s Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), it says – have moved into the agreed separation zones between the armies. The mediation team, led by Nigerian ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, said there were no government troops there. In fact, the men who have moved in belong to a Mai-Mai group, the Hutu militia now known as the Patriotes Résistants Congolais (Pareco), and the Rwandan former soldiers of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR). The CNDP also objected to the junior status of the government delegation.