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UN Monitors Shot At to Prevent Massacre Investigation. Prepare a Second Attempt to Visit the Site

UN Monitors attempting to access the site of an alleged massacre of 100 Syrians near the town of Homs came under small arms fire yesterday. The monitors are unarmed and were turned away. Today, several teams are massing in Hama in a bid to visit the site and are expected to arrive any moment. “Three teams of observers from the United Nations monitoring mission in Syria have massed in the city of Hama and are awaiting the green light from the provincial governor to try to access the village of Qubeir, where the opposition says regime forces massacred scores of people on Wednesday. CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, traveling with the U.N. observers, says that in total three teams – from Damascus, Hama and Homs – were expected to try and get into the village in 11 vehicles, traveling in “waves”. A contingent of U.N. staff was blocked from the village on Thursday by Syrian military personnel at checkpoints, and by mobs of angry locals chanting pro-Assad slogans and warning the observers that they would be met with violence if they entered Qubeir. Members of the U.N. mission tell Palmer that some observers were detained for hours Thursday by state forces. (CBS http://cbsn.ws/K4GQ6k)

In ICC Row over Sudan, African Union Moving Summit Out of Malawi

The African Union Summit next month will be moved from Malawi to Ethiopia, after Malawi indicated it would execute the ICC’s warrant against Sudan’s President should he attend the summit.”Malawi last month asked the African Union to prevent Bashir from taking part in the event, saying his visit would have “implications” for its aid-dependent economy. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges he masterminded genocide and other atrocities during his country’s Darfur conflict. As an ICC member state, Malawi is supposed to arrest him if he enters its territory – and the global court’s chief prosecutor on Monday said countries that failed to detain him should have their aid cut. ‘The African Union has written us a letter informing us that if we don’t allow al-Bashir to come to Malawi, then they will move the summit to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia,’ Vice President Khumbo Kachale told reporters on Friday.”  (Tribune http://trib.in/K4JZmv)

Sudan – South Sudan Break Off Peace Talks

After the two countries came close to all out war in April, the AU mediated peace talks on border demilitarization have come to a grinding halt. “After 10 days of talks, the two sides were unable to agree where to draw a demilitarised buffer zone along the 1,800-km- (1,200-mile-) long border. Khartoum’s delegation accused South Sudan of making new land claims, most importantly to the Heglig oil field whose output is vital to Sudan’s battered economy. The southern army had temporarily occupied Heglig during the recent fighting. “The border is based on a map that we have been using for the past six years (since the 2005 peace deal was signed), but they (South Sudan) have included five areas within their border,” Sudanese Defence Minister Abdel Raheem Mohamed Hussein said. “We consider it as a hostile action,” he told reporters in Addis Ababa, where the talks took place… There was no immediate word from South Sudan but members of Juba’s delegation confirmed talks on border security had ended for now with no agreement and no new date scheduled. (Reuters http://reut.rs/NlaHZk)

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