The Security Council is awaiting the outcome of several key meetings regarding Darfur and Iran that are taking place outside of U.N. headquarters this week before contemplating its next moves.
Last Tuesday, the council unanimously approved a resolution giving Sudan one week to open its doors to a U.N. military assessment team wanting to plan a peacekeeping operation for Darfur. Khartoum had ignored an earlier U.N. request for access to the troubled region for several months and the hope was that a Security Council demand would force the government to say yes to the mission. But, so far, that has not happened. To help press the case, recently-retired U.N. troubleshooter Lakhdar Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister, is expected to hold talks in Khartoum on Wednesday and Thursday with Sudan's president and other top officials. Brahimi, who recently served as U.N. envoy for Afghanistan and Iraq, is accompanied by U.N. peacekeeping official, Hedi Annabi of Tunisia. They hope to convince Khartoum of the need to cooperate with the U.N. planning mission and to agree to such a U.N. force. The African Union, of which Sudan is a member, gave its blessing last week to a transition from an African force in Darfur to a U.N. operation.
Permanent Security Council members and Germany are scheduled to meet in London on Wednesday to discuss a package of incentives aimed at persuading Iran to give up its nuclear enrichment efforts and come clean to the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency about its controversial nuclear program. In separate meetings in Washington, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei is expected to talk with top U.S. officials Wednesday about Iran's nuclear ambitions. They include U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and Intelligence Chief John Negroponte.