Speaking to Aljazeera from Khartoum on Wednesday, Sudan's Information Minister Abd al-Basit Sabdrat, commenting on the US threat to impose sanctions on Sudan's oil trade, said Washington judged events on its own terms.

 

The minister was addressing US insistence that the conflict in Darfur amounts to genocide despite a contrary finding by a United Nations fact-finding investigators.

 

He pointed to US allegations on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction which were later proved to be false by committees that Washington itself had constituted, Sabdrat said.

 

Although the International Committee for Investigation in Sudan (ICIS) had found no evidence of alleged genocide, the US was bent on imposing sanctions, the minister said.

 

'Positive step'

 

Sudan has formed a judicial panel
to look into alleged violations

Explaining Sudan's violations in Darfur listed by the ICIS in its report, the minister said there was a war raging in the region.

 

During any war, laws could get violated and other consequences could follow, he said.

 

The Sudanese government had taken a positive step to form a national judicial committee which submitted its report last week. "We are following up on its recommendations," the minister said.

 

A second committee would study the damage inflicted on the people and a third would solve the issues that had triggered the fighting, he said.

Under pressure

 

Speaking to Aljazeera from Washington on Wednesday, Dr Edmond Gharib, a professor of international relations at the American University, said it would be difficult for the Bush administration to impose sanctions on Sudan.

 

Some Security Council members
oppose sanctions on Sudan

Security Council permanent member China opposed such a move, he said.

 

Pressure on the US administration was increasing from congressmen who had recently visited Darfur and refugee camps in Chad, Gharib said.

 

In particular, African American senators have urged the US administration to take  action and not allow a repetition of Rwanda where many were left unprotected, he said.

 

In addition, US human-rights organisations have accused the Bush administration of preventing action against Sudan. Some of these had called on Washington to form an independent court in Tanzania, separate from the International Criminal Court, to try Darfur cases.

Right-wing senators and conservatives, who have their own specific view on the Middle East and the Arab and Islamic countries, have played a major role in this, Gharib said.

 

Crucial element

 

Meanwhile, the US has renewed efforts to impose UN sanctions on Sudan's oil industry to force Khartoum to stop the violence in Darfur.

 

"We are following up on [Sudanese national judicial committee's]
recommendations"

Abd al-Basit Sabdrat,
Sudanese Information Minister

Undeterred by the failure to win support for a similar move last year, the US Department of State on Tuesday said it hoped that a new UN report on atrocities committed in the western region of Darfur would prompt Security Council members to take stronger action this time.

 

The UN report on Darfur concluded that the Sudanese government was guilty of gross human-rights violations but stopped short of labelling the violence genocide.

 

The "crucial element of genocidal intent appears to be missing", the report, released on Monday, said. It recommended that the rights abuses be dealt with by the International Criminal Court based in The Hague.