Summit rejects meddling in Sudan

An African summit has concluded with a joint statement rejecting any foreign intervention in the crisis-torn Sudanese region of Darfur.

    Sudan's FM Ismail says Africa can assume all its responsibilities

    The meeting in Libya on Sunday also voiced strong support for the Sudanese government which is threatened with international sanctions over the situation.

    The five participants, including Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir, also urged rebel groups in Darfur to sign a humanitarian protocol, drawn up with Khartoum, at the next negotiating session scheduled for Thursday in Abuja, the meeting's joint communique said.

    The leaders of Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria and Chad also stressed their "rejection of all foreign intervention in this purely African question".

    The meeting also rejected any intervention in the interior affairs of Sudan "which would only hinder the efforts to stabilise the country".

    Olu Adeniji, the foreign minister of Nigeria, which currently chairs the African Union, said the summit "favourably accepted the decision of the Sudanese government to sensibly increase the number of African Union troops in Darfur and appealed to all African nations to contribute to this force".

    He said talks were under way with the United States and the European Union to provide logistic and financial aid to the pan-African force.

    Humanitarian disaster

    Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail said he was happy with the results of the summit, adding that it "sent a message to the international community affirming that Africa can assume all its responsibilities and refuses all international intervention".

    The Darfur conflict has displaced
    1.4 million people 

    Egyptian presidency spokesman Majid Abd al-Fattah echoed that the international community was being asked "to provide Sudan with assistance to allow it to fulfil its obligations under UN resolutions [on Darfur] rather than putting pressure on it and issuing threats".


    The fighting in Darfur erupted in February last year when rebels from minority tribes took up arms to demand an equal share of national development.
     
    The rebellion prompted a bloody crackdown on the civilian population by regular troops and the Janjawid, spawning what the UN has described as the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

    The crisis has left about 50,000 people dead, according to the UN, and nearly 1.4 million more homeless, of whom 200,000 have sought refuge in Chad.

    Rebels excluded

    One of the main rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), told Aljazeera that it had not been invited to participate in the summit.  

    "If this summit will support the governmental stance, then it will not provide any solution"

    Ahmad Husayn Adam
    Justice and Equality Movement spokesman

    "Since the beginning, we have questioned whether this summit comes only to support the governmental stance refusing to fulfil its international commitments or to force this regime to fulfill its commitments approved by the UN Security Council and many other international organisations," said Ahmad Husain Adam, spokesman for the JEM.

    "If this summit will support the governmental stance, then it will not provide any solution."

    Adam said the Sudanese government did not want any international intervention or Security Council resolutions.

    "Then what is the alternative to protect civilians? What is the alternative presented within the framework of human aid?" he asked.


    Oil sanctions

    Last month, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution threatening Sudan with oil sanctions if it failed to restore order in Darfur.

    The international community is insisting that Khartoum disarm the pro-governmental militias which are terrorising the local population.

    The final summit statement said the foreign ministers of the five countries involved would meet regularly to discuss Darfur, with the first meeting to be held in Cairo.

    SOURCE: AFP


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