Home | News    Tuesday 31 March 2009

Sudan’s Bashir blasts UNSC, blames Israel for Darfur conflict

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March 30, 2009 (DOHA) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir launched fierce attack on the UN Security Council (UNSC) accusing it of applying “double standards” in handling world affairs.

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Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir attends the closing session of the Arab summit in Doha, Qatar, Monday, March 30, 2009 (AP)

Al-Bashir today received strong backing from his peers at the annual Arab League summit held in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar. The Sudanese leader faces an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) this month in connection with war crimes committed in Darfur.

The Arab League adopted a resolution rejecting the arrest warrant against Bashir and called its members not to cooperate with the ICC.

The Sudanese president used the platform to criticize the UNSC and its 2005 decision to refer the Darfur case to the ICC.

“Reforming the Security Council [would be] a way to make the world more peaceful and secure, because in its current state, with members violating the UN charter ..., international peace and security are in danger” Bashir said.

“How could the Security Council referral of the Darfur issue to the so-called ICC be justified while ... America exempts its civilians and military personnel worldwide from the jurisdiction of this court” he questioned.

The Sudanese president also accused Israel of providing Darfur rebels with weapons and military training and giving refuge to their leaders.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the other hand who was present at the summit toughened his criticism of Khartoum for expelling aid more than a dozen aid agencies from Darfur.

“I remain extremely concerned by the government’s decision to expel key international non-governmental organizations, and suspend the work of three national NGOs that provide life-sustaining services for more than one million people” he said.

“Relief efforts should not become politicized” Ban said. “People in need must be helped irrespective of political differences. At the same time, peace and justice are core principles of the United Nations. We must all be committed to both”.

But Bashir insisted that the expelled groups represent a small fraction of total relief organizations in the region and claimed that they had “secret agreements with the ICC”. The ICC prosecutor has said he received “zero information” from the NGO’s.

UN officials in the past have said that the calculation is misleading as these groups size and activities comprise the majority of relief efforts in Darfur.

The two men did not interact during their faceoff at the summit. Ban’s legal advisers have reportedly told him not to appear publicly with Bashir since his indictment.

(ST)

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