Monday, March 28, 2016

Journal Entries for June 28 & 31: Codels and the Secretay

My son visited me for a few weeks in June, including spending time with the CPMT in southern Sudan. 

 That's him in the south.

Then came visits by a congressional delegations (a "codel") and Secretary Powell to visit Darfur.
June 28: Well, I am living proof of the literal veracity of the old saying that it is an ill wind that blows no one any good. Right now I should have been in the middle of staying up till 1:30am with my visiting Senator while he was awaiting his plane out of here at the ungodly hour of 2:45. However, a haboob -- a big wind for sure -- kept his plane from leaving Geneina. He'll come though now at a more reasonable hour tomorrow with the Congressman. And I'll be with the Secretary so will delegate out their departure. Now I can go to sleep in my own bed at a reasonable time. He gets to sleep in the desert. No ill wind as far as I am concerned.

Got over a 100 people from outside working on the visit. My part really starts tomorrow when I need to be able to respond to whatever the Secretary asks and seem to know what I am doing. In this sort of visit, protocol is him and COM, all others follow. Show time.

June 31: Back from the airport and "wheels-up." The trip went very well. The Embassy -- strengthened by some 100 additional people from all over -- did an excellent job and everything went smoothly. We eventually even got some potential progress from the government. Things went quickly from the time I met the Secretary at the airport.

Meeting with the Foreign Minister and then the President. At midnight, we were in the Secretary's suite in the Hilton "brainstorming." During the rides, I was in the limo with him and briefed him and answered questions. This morning, he met the Embassy staff and had another meeting before going on the plane at noon to go to Darfur. On the plane, we brainstormed some more. Met the African Union ceasefire monitors in El Fasher and then NGO workers. Quickly toured a camp for the displaced
and then back to Khartoum. Total trip took less than five hours in the big 757. At the airport, we met with the UN Secretary General and then the Sudanese Vice President. After a press conference, he said goodbye and left.

Powell is smart, considerate and patient. Spent a fair amount of time with him and it was a pleasure. Got on pretty good terms. He took on board my ideas, asked my questions and drifted toward my perspectives. I took the opportunity to ask if might put in a word in support of my staying. He said he hadn't yet spoken to new A/S since she was sworn in. He didn't say he would or would not. But he didn't seem bothered that I asked. All in all, a few intense days (with a US Senator and Congressman also visiting) and I feel up. 

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