Home | News    Friday 16 February 2007

Sudan reaffirms rejection of UN force, says packages still negotiated

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By Wasil Ali

Feb 16, 2007 (CANNES, France) — Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Friday affirmed his government rejection of the deployment of U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur. He further said details of second and third UN packages are still under negotiations.

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Omar al-Bashir

In an interview with the London based “Asharq Al Awsat” president al-Bashir said that Sudan is still negotiating details on the second and third phase of UN support plan to the AU forces in Darfur.

The three-phase plan agreed in Addis Ababa on 16 November 2006and was expected to comprise about 17,000 troops and 3,000 police officers. Al-Bashir, however, stressed that any U.N. role in Darfur under the plan is limited to technical and logistical support of the African Union forces with no peacekeeping powers.

Speaking from Cannes where the question of Darfur and Sudan-Chad dominated the Africa-France summit, al-Bashir said the deployment of UN forces “will transform the country to another Iraq.”

Al-Bashir indicated in his interview that Khartoum is not prepared to make further concessions on the issue.

The recent statements made by al-Bashir, on his opposition to UN forces deployment in Darfur, come in sharp contradiction with a letter he sent to the outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan last year endorsing the plan for joint African Union-U.N. peacekeeping force.

Sudan’s leader further accused some groups in the US Congress of seeking to topple his regime through sanctions. Nevertheless he added that US Administration had helped his regime during Navaivsha to end civil war in southern Sudan, and the US State Department also played a positive role during Abuja negotiations”

He also criticized “western” nations for harboring rebel leaders and proving them with “financial and military support” which helped them to control the northern part of Darfur.

The U.S. administration has threatened Khartoum with an unspecified “Plan B” if it blocks the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur.

Under the plan, first reported by The Washington Post newspaper Wednesday 7 February, the US Treasury would block US commercial bank transactions connected to the Sudan government, including those involving oil revenues — a delicate diplomatic issue given that China buys some 75 percent of Khartoum’s oil exports, the official said.

The aim would be to discourage foreign governments and companies from doing business with Sudan, which has a largely dollar-based economy.

(ST)

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