Home | News    Tuesday 22 May 2007

Sudan’s envoy : Darfur “an issue for those who have no issue”

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By wasil Ali

May 22, 2007 (UNITED NATIONS) — Sudan’s envoy to the UN Abdalhaleem Abdalmahmood blasted a visit by a US congressional delegation to the UN headquarters to discuss the Darfur crisis. Abdalmahmood said he was “disappointed” saying he expected US senator Joseph Biden to “come with clean hands and apologize to the UN for the mess that the US has done in Iraq”.

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Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem

Sen. Joseph Biden, the aspiring Democratic nominee for US presidency, headed a bipartisan delegation and met yesterday UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to receive an update on efforts made to resolve the Darfur crisis. Biden, who chairs the US Senate foreign relations committee, said in remarks following the meeting that he would commit US troops to end the Darfur crisis if it was his decision.

Abdalmahmood said that Biden’s discussion of the Darfur crisis is “unwarranted and out of context”. He sharply criticized the international focus on the Darfur crisis saying it has “become an issue for those who have no issue”. Sudan’s UN envoy said that the situation in Darfur is improving on the political and humanitarian track.

A three-phase plan floated last year by then UN chief Kofi Annan is supposed to culminate in the deployment of UN peacekeepers to bolster the embattled African force in Darfur, a region the size of France.

But Khartoum has accepted only the first two stages of the plan, accusing the Western powers of plotting to recolonize the country under the guise of the UN mission. The second phase is supposed to set the infrastructure for the UN-AU hybrid forces as part if the final stage of the plan.

Abdalmahmood said that his government “fully agrees to the second phase without reservations”. He called on the UN & US to authorize funding to the African Union troops so that the second phase can be completed saying that the “ball is in their court now”.

The statements by Sudan’s UN envoy contrasted sharply with that of the UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS) spokesperson Radhia Achouri who said last week that the UN “will help the AU by providing support personnel and equipment but not paying up their budget”. Achouri stressed that “the African Union Mission in Sudan will continue to be financed through donations from member States”.

Abdalmahmood denied UN allegations of bombing raids by Sudan on Umrai calling it “rumors by the National Redemption Front [Darfur rebel faction]”. He said these news are spread by those who want to prolong the sufferings of the Darfur people.

The United Nations says 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced in the Darfur conflict, which flared in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government.

(ST)

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