Sudan: Darfur issue being used against it

Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir has said the international community is using Darfur to target his government and Islam, according to Al-Anba newspaper.

    UN says more than a million people have been displaced

    On Saturday the Sudanese paper quoted al-Bashir as telling supporters in the central region of Gazira the campaign against Sudan was aimed at derailing the growth of Islam in the country.

    Al-Bashir, who took office in 1989, 

    accused UN Secretary General Kofi Annan of "intensifying unnecessary and unjustified pressures" on Sudan.

    He said the international community was ignoring reports about ceasefire violations by Darfur rebels. T

    he rebels were the ones who walked out on peace talks and should be held responsible for exploiting the situation to make political gains, the president said.

    Ghazi Sulayman, leader of the Democratic Alliance which opposes the Sudanese government, told Aljazeera the Western media was unfortunately blaming the Sudanese government for a tribal issue which was exploited by the rebels in the south.

    "Unfortunately the UN and US are falling victim to the rebels," he said.

    International intervention

    Egypt on Saturday called on the US and the UN to give Sudan more time to fulfil its engagements in Darfur before slapping on sanctions.

    "Egypt hopes that an opportunity is given to the Sudanese government to fulfil the commitments it made to US Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan," said Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu al-Ghait.

    Sudan says Darfur is a tribal
    issue exploited by the rebels

    Arguing the Darfur situation is complex, Abu al-Ghait said the Sudanese government, with the support of the African Union, was taking steps to address it.

    "We cannot tell Sudanese officials ... 'you have signed with us today and tomorrow you should immediately achieve complete calm'," the Egyptian minister said.

    He was referring to pledges made by the Sudanese government earlier this month to Kofi Annan and Colin Powell on issues such as facilitating access to humanitarian groups, disarming the factions blamed for atrocities, resolving the conflict with rebels in the region and prosecuting suspected war criminals.

    Abu al-Ghait said Egypt had contacted Security Council members about the issue and warned them of the consequences of rushing through a resolution that might further complicate the situation.

    European plans

    European nations on the other hand joined the US in heaping pressure on Sudan to end the conflict in Darfur.

    As France's foreign minister prepared to visit Darfur, Britain's top military commander General Mike Jackson said his country could muster 5000 troops to intervene in Darfur.

    The UN coordinator for Africa, Muhammad Sahnun, is meeting representatives of rebel groups again, this time in Geneva, in an attempt to bring them to the negotiation table, a UN spokesperson said on Saturday.

    Australian Defence Minister, Robert Hill, also announced his country was considering a UN request for troops for the region.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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