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British ambassador to Sudan summoned over hunger and Abyei comments

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18 October 2011 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British Ambassador to Khartoum on Tuesday, over comments made on his blog regarding the prevalence of hunger in the country, lack of progress on the disputed region of Abyei and other issues.

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Ambassador Nicholas Kay (UK Embassy)

Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) said that Nicholas Kay had apologised to the foreign ministry for his article in which he asked: "How do you celebrate World Food Day in a country where hunger stalks the land?"

The British Embassy in Khartoum confirmed to Sudan Tribune that Kay met with the undersecretary of the ministry of foreign affairs Ambassador Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman describing the meeting as ’cordial.’

The Embassy said, ’The Ambassador understands the government’s concerns and will take them into account for future blogs.’

Kay observed in a blog post on Monday that "the past month has seen a further half a million people fall into food insecurity," due to "both natural forces – poor rains– and man-made causes, such as conflict," in Sudan’s regions that border newly independent South Sudan.

The British diplomat regretted that civilians continue to suffer from the armed conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan as result of government’s refusal to allow aid groups to reach the affected populations there.

"Miscalculation, pride and an exaggerated sense of strength bring suffering to tens of thousands. In the very states that should be planting and growing food for much of Sudan and South Sudan, the fields are abandoned. The bitter seeds of future hunger have been sown," he further wrote on his blog.

In the last month there have been regular protests in Khartoum against the rising price of food. Across the Nile in Omdurman a university has been closed after student protests last week.

Kay writes that the protests in the capital indicate that it is not just in the periphery were hunger is an issue calculating that in the last month food prices have increased 20%-25% in the capital.

"The international community, including the UK, aims to feed 5.2 million Sudanese this year," he said.

Considering the price rises the ambassador commented that it is "little wonder Khartoum has seen protests in the last few weeks. And little wonder the Government’s No1 worry is the economy, as President Bashir told the National Assembly last week."

Since August, apart from the spread of conflict from South Kordofan into Blue Nile state, where opposition forces aligned to South Sudan have refused to disarm, political events in Sudan have been more notable for what has not happened than what has, according to the ambassador.

He noted that there has been "no progress on Abyei (the Interim Agreement has not been honoured and Sudanese forces have not been withdrawn despite the impressive deployment of Ethiopian forces by UNISFA); the broad-based government in Khartoum has not been formed; and no clarity has emerged on how the Constitution will be revised."

"In the absence of obvious progress on these, diplomats draw their conclusions from things that have happened: more restrictions on the press, including the closure of newspapers; continuing detention of human rights defenders; the visit of the President of Iran; etc."

Ibrahim Ghandour, spokesperson of the ruling National Congress Party and Secretary of Information, stated Tuesday that he met with the Ambassador Kay and briefed him about the NCP’s vision to address a number of issues and reviewed the general situation in the country.

This is the first time that Sudan’s foreign ministry has requested a meeting with the British ambassador regarding the blog but not the first time he has been criticised for his comments.

In August a newspaper called for him to be expelled after he wrote that it was the Sudanese government’s choice, "whether the national budget for the intelligence service continues to be higher than the budget for education."

(ST)

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  • 19 October 2011 08:56, by Sam.Eto

    "The international community, including the UK, aims to feed 5.2 million Sudanese this year" - which Sudanese is he talking about ?

    Figures for Khartoum include people who were displaced mostly from Souhern Sudan from 1983 on but who continued to be displaced in 2010.
    UNHCR 2011 Figures
    http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e483b76.html
    http://www.internal-displacement.org/idmc/website/countries.nsf/%28h

    repondre message

    • 19 October 2011 09:38, by Logic

      Ever since ST’s new rules, I wondered what happened to these bigots, like the one above.

      So according to his marrow mindedness, Darfurians, Nuba and Blue Nilians are not Sudanese worthy of the name "Sudanese" lol.

      How long are these people going to bury their head in the sand, how ironic. The guest is questioning the host’s authenticity, same way the Israeli’s question the Palestinians.

      repondre message

  • 19 October 2011 09:01, by Sam.Eto

    The IDP figures for Darfur of 1,9 (2,7) million include people who were displaced from 2003-2010. As of Nov 2010, an estimated 268,000 people had been newly displaced in 2010
    In contrast, the figures for the ten states in Southern Sudan are for people who were newly displaced in 2010
    In 2009 390,000 people were estimated to have been newly displaced in Southern Sudan; it is unclear how many return

    repondre message

    • 19 October 2011 09:41, by Logic

      Why don’t you worry about North Sudan’s economy, rather than the displaced in South Sudan.

      NCP is going whether you like it or not, and once they do, may God protect bigots like you.

      repondre message

      • 20 October 2011 16:55, by Col Kowager

        Logic - 100% correct. As for the jalabas crying about their economy and free things - to answer where I have been for the last 22 years - as a kowager in the fields of south Sudan with sth Sudanese who died and suffered helping them get back what has always been their rightful land and belongs to them

        repondre message

    • 19 October 2011 10:54, by Lual Garang De Lual

      Mr. Sam Eto, you are still refering to South Sudan as Southern Sudan, mind you that southern sudan means different thing from the Republic of South Sudan,
      According to your posting, the southern sudan you are refering as per my understanding is the South of the Republic of Sudan. That new south which is under hunger is the southern part of north sudan to be specific in the above topic.

      repondre message

      • 19 October 2011 12:59, by Sam.Eto

        No my friend - it is South Sudan the republic - refer the official UN website. The state the 10 states of SOUTH SUDAN by name.

        Are you saying there isnt hunger in the ROSS? If you are you must be on a different planet or blind. Inflation in South Sudan hit 68%. There is no food production and all oil money is going to corrupt officials. You tell me who is hungry !

        repondre message

  • 19 October 2011 09:10, by okucu pa lotinokwan

    The UK ambassador to Khartoum should have not to apologized,if his statement is very correct,that why we South Sudanese shoul know very well how the color of British look like.
    All our backwardness came from them.

    OKUCU PA LOTINOKWAN

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    • 19 October 2011 20:40, by twins

      Why don’t Eithiopia troops who supposed to secure Abyei go back to Eithiopia since they failed to do their job. South sudan and international community should not waste their time begging Beshir to do what he said he was going to do. If South really want Abyei, then let it think outside the box.

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    • 20 October 2011 07:18, by Col Kowager

      The UK Ambassador never apologised as he had nothing to apologise for. His eloquent diplomatic English pinned the jalabas to the reality and he spoke out correctly. It is not the first time he has done so and he has the full support of the people of south Sudan especially close friends in Abyei, sth Kordofan, SBN.

      repondre message

  • 11 July 2013 17:50, by elie

    le site pour acheter de l’electromenager discount c’est www.discountelectromenager.com
    et www.kovhats.com

    repondre message

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