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France promises to pressure SLM’s Nur on peace talks: Bashir


November 30, 2008 (DOHA) – The Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir said that his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to pressure a rebel leader to attend any future peace talks.

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Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir addresses the UN conference on Financing for Development in Doha on November 29, 2008 (AFP)

Al-Bashir told Sudan official news agency (SUNA) that his private meeting with Sarkozy tackled the Darfur crisis and the issue of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“The French position was firm. They will not allow any dodging on the part of Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur to come to peace” Al-Bashir said.

Relations between the two countries have been troubled particularly over the presence of Al-Nur leader of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) in France despite demands by Khartoum that he be expelled.

Al-Nur has been refusing to attend peace talks insisting that Khartoum honor a ceasefire and facilitate deployment of UN peacekeepers in Darfur.

Yesterday Sarkozy and Al-Bashir held a closed summit on the sidelines of the UN development conference being held in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar. No other officials were present.

Sarkozy told reporters afterwards that he informed Al-Bashir of the need to step up efforts to end the five year conflict in Western region of Darfur.

“I told him that the Darfur tragedy has now gone on for too long, that he must take initiatives and change things” he said.

Khartoum has been lobbying Paris in its bid to defer the indictment of Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In mid-July the ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno- Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder and accused Al-Bashir of masterminding a campaign to get rid of the African tribes in Darfur; Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa.

The African Union, Arab League, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) called for invoking Article 16 which allows the UNSC to suspend the ICC prosecutions in any case for a period of 12 months that can be renewed indefinitely.

But Sarkozy suggested that Sudan has yet to embrace changes for his country to support a suspension under Article 16.

He said the changes to be made concerned the tumultuous relations between Sudan and neighboring Chad and the situation inside Sudan “regarding human rights, and the presence of certain people in his government”.

Al-Bashir however said that he sensed a “positive development” on the French stance with regards to the ICC issue before adding that no agreement has been reached.

“The dialogue [with French] will continue on this [ICC] issue” the Sudanese president said.

France has been the only country to publicly offer Sudan a suspension of charges in return for concessions on the ground with regard to the Darfur crisis and relations with neighboring Chad.

Moreover French officials have said that it is “unacceptable” that an individual indicted of war crimes to be part of the Sudanese cabinet. This was in reference to Ahmed Haroun, state minister for humanitarian affairs who is wanted by the ICC for 51 counts of war crimes.

But Sudan has so far made no move with regard to Haroun.

Last month a senior European diplomat told Sudan Tribune that Khartoum offered to remove Haroun and investigate his alleged role in Darfur war crimes.

Sudanese officials insisted however, that any prosecution of Haroun is contingent upon coming up with evidence implicating him. They further said they will not cooperate with the ICC in conducting national proceedings as demanded by Paris.

UN experts estimate some 300,000 people have died and 2.5 million driven from their homes. Sudan blames the Western media for exaggerating the conflict and puts the death toll at 10,000.


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  • 2 December 2008 09:43, by mandino

    I don’t think that pressuring on either sides of Sudan’s leaders will have an adverse effects on the progress for peace, instead, I lean towards in supporting site: http://emmaacademyproject.com/ which has a very noble cause to build a School in Sudan. I know that through education a lot of lives will be saved.

    repondre message

  • 2 December 2008 23:13, by BAKER

    This is just tomfoolery by France.Already the leader of the SLM is also a party to the genocide in the Darfur,why not arrest him like they did to Rose Kabuye,the Rwandese government Chief of Protocol?,is it because that in the former its the Africans dying while in the latter,also the French civilians were involved?,aren’t these double standards by this noe-colonialist(read Sarkozy)?

    repondre message

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