October 4, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has yet to lodge an official complaint with the United States or the United Nations over stopping a diplomatic vehicle in New York carrying foreign minister Ali Karti and UN ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman last month.
- Ali Ahmed Karti, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan, addresses the general debate of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, on 27 September 2013 (Photo UN)
The two diplomats were on their way to the UN headquarters during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) meetings on September 23rd when they were stopped by New York police.
The police officers asked all passengers to step outside the vehicle and stand away so it can be searched. Despite objections by the UN envoy, the police went ahead with an "extremely thorough" search of the car including the trunk and compartments using police dogs that sniffed through the interior, a UN official told Sudan Tribune this week.
Karti did not raise this issue during his meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon the next day.
It is now understood that Sudan wants to put this issue to rest and has no desire to escalate it.
A source told Sudan Tribune on Friday that he believes that the search was meant as a message to the Sudanese government to discourage president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir from seeking to attend UNGA meetings.
He noted that similar actions were taken against by US against Syria’s UN ambassador Bashar Ja’afari who has seen his luggage and that of his family being thoroughly searched at airports prompting him to complain.
Washington condemned a visa request made by Bashir to attend UNGA and called on him to answer charges first at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which indicted him in 2009 and 2010 on ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in connection with the decade-long conflict in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
The US has kept the request pending without making a decision until Bashir eventually cancelled his scheduled appearance and according to a pro-government newspaper in Khartoum withdrew his passport.