08/05/2007 03:46 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Understanding UN Darfur Resolution 1769

In attempting to understand UN Darfur Resolution 1769 it is helpful to look
at the draft as it evolved. Doing so has left me with some worrying

The fact that the resolution lost some of its sharper teeth early on,
combined with Khartoum's history of placing stumbling blocks in front of
what has already been agreed upon, gives me concern about the future of this
operation/peacekeeping force and especially about its protection aspects.

Absent are any references to the role of sanctions monitoring mechanism,
the seizure, collection and disposal of arms in violation of the embargo and
the peace agreements, as well as strong language condemning the government
for obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The text did keep some important protection-related provisions. The final
version, however, has reduced them to the following: "protect civilians,
without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of Sudan."
Completely absent is the reference to the 2005 World Summit outcome document
that was included in the earlier drafts ( an implicit reference to
Responsibility to Protect ) and a mention of a report of a report from a
mission led be Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams on behalf of the UN
Human Rights Council.

A Chapter V11 mandate is crucial to the success of the operation but here it is used strangely. Usually in Council resolutions, the formula "Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations" would be a separate
line between the preambular paragraphs and the operational part, i.e. before
the numbered paragraph 1. But not in the case of this resolution. The reference to Chapter VII is part of paragraph 15.

What therefore are the
implications for the remaining 24 paragraphs?

One indication of what these implications are is the fact that the arms monitoring mandate of the new UN/AU operation to be known as, UNMID was still under Chapter VII in the second draft (though without seizure and disposal) but it is outside in the final text. Admittedly, Sudan had already manipulated a similar usage of Chapter VII in
Resolution 1590 when the Council created the UNMIS mandate following the
North-South Agreement -- but in that instance nobody pretended that the whole
mandate was about protection, which is the case here.

All the changes in the final version were made as a result of direct negotiations with the Sudanese. In the eight days between the circulation of the second version and the
adoption of the final version, the French and British ambassadors had four
sessions with their Sudanese counterpart, each lasting over an hour and one on a weekend. This obviously was done to ensure Chinese agreement to the draft.

China is the big winner here: it got Sudan to be reasonably happy, so its oil deals are safe; it may have got Steven Spielberg to relent on his threat to withdraw from his involvement with the Olympics; and it got to preside over
the adoption of Resolution 1769 -- looking to the outside world -- and certainly to Spielberg and sponsors of the Beijing Olympics -- as one who
worked to make it happen.

This last touch is inexplicable because if the Council waited 20 hours longer, it would not have been Chinese presidency any longer. What was the
rush after all these years? And with something that will probably take months if not close to a year to deploy -- incidentally probably long enough for China to be done with its Olympics.

In terms of what we may now expect from the Sudanese, one worrying aspect
is the odd formulation regarding UNAMID's protection of civilians. Though it was not part of the official statement The Sudanese ambassador made speaking outside the Council following the adoption of the resolution, he then went to the press floor and told reporters the wording of the Resolution was such that UNAMID would have to ask the Sudanese government
for permission.

"As far as protection of civilians is concerned, that has been very much conditional to its being done in conformity and full respect to
responsibility of the government of Sudan" he stated "No blank check

So my friends we must push on. We have a long way to go