August 27, 2008 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese security blocked publication of a news article quoting foreign minister Deng Alor criticizing Monday’s raid by soldiers and security officers on Kalma refugee camp in South Darfur that killed at least 30 people and injured many more.
- Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor speaks during a press conference (AFP)
Sudanese journalists told Sudan Tribune that security services have started stepping up censorship of newspapers following a Chadian rebels attack on Ndjamena, believed to be backed by Khartoum, and tightened it further after International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.
Alor spoke to reporters after his first meeting with Joint United Nations and African Union mediator for Darfur, Djibril Bassole.
“The Kalma camp events will drown the country into unnecessary problems” Alor was quoted by the daily independent Al-Ahdath reporter as saying.
The news piece that contained Alor’s statements was not cleared for publication by Sudanese security.
“We are in no need of new accusations by the international community at this time and we are not in a position to enter into internal problems more than what we already have” the Sudanese foreign minister said.
“We need a consensus to solve our problems” he added.
Alor, who is also a key figure in the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM), said that he intends to meet with senior presidential assistant Minni Arcua Minnawi who left Khartoum for Darfur angrily a few months ago and accused Khartoum of not honoring the peace agreements.
The Sudanese foreign minister has angered the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in the past by his statements that were considered a deviation from the official government line.
In June Alor called on the government to comply with the UN Security Council resolution on the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“I am not talking as a minister of foreign affairs. In this particular issue I’m speaking as SPLM and SPLM calls for cooperation. That’s what I said in my briefing with the ambassadors” Alor told reporters on the sidelines of a visit by the UNSC delegation to Khartoum.
The ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced in mid-July that he requested an arrest warrant against Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.
Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. Judges are expected to take months to study the evidence before deciding whether to order Al-Bashir’s arrest.
Alor has conveyed a French proposal for Khartoum to resolve the ICC row that was ultimately rejected despite on the government to accept them.
“In my assessment, these proposals are good” he said. Alor also pointed out that to end the crisis; the government needs to provide certain things.
The NCP sits in an uneasy coalition with the south’s SPLM forged in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 ended two decades of war.
Al-Bashir has been reluctant to endorse Alor’s appointment as a foreign minister but bent down to pressure by the SPLM.