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U.S. denounces Sudanese MP remarks on visiting American jazz band

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December 18, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The United States embassy in Khartoum on Monday has condemned the statements by the head of the information committee at the Sudanese parliament, Al-Tayyib Mustafa, in which he criticized a visiting American jazz trio describing his remarks as “incendiary”.

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Al-Tayeb Mustafa, chief of the Just Peace Forum (JPF) party (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Mustafa, who is the maternal uncle of the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir and publisher of Al-Saiha newspaper, wrote an article on Tuesday refusing the visit of the American jazz band.

He described the United States as the “evil of the age”, warning Washington against “playing with fire”.

The Sudanese MP also said the jazz trio should be worried about their safety especially after the U.S. administration decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, pointing to the murder of a U.S. diplomat in Khartoum ten years ago.

“The expressions of Mr Mustafa were deliberately designed to incite hatred and promote violence towards the United States, its government and its people,” said the U.S. embassy in a statement on Monday

“In particular, Mr Mustafa’s reference to the murder of U.S. diplomat John Granville by terrorists 10 years ago was deeply irresponsible for an official of the Sudanese government, which is responsible for the safety of foreign diplomats under the Vienna Conventions,” it added

John Granville, an employee from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and his Sudanese driver Abdel-Rahman Abbas Rahma were shot dead on 2008 New Years Eve by men belonging to an Islamic militant group Ansar al-Tawhid which claimed responsibility for the killing.

Granville was the first American to be killed in Sudan since 1973 when two diplomats were slain by Palestinian militants.

The Embassy pointed out that the U.S. “celebrates freedom of speech, both in our country and around the world”, saying “we believe that freedom of speech in Sudan is essential for society to fully develop democratically and is a fundamental right for all humankind”.

“We support Mr Mustafa’s right to express his views on Jerusalem and on U.S. foreign policy in general, even if we do not agree with the substance of his views” read the statement

“But, vague threats against innocent American citizens, here for the sole purpose of expanding cultural people-to-people ties, are unacceptable and should be condemned by all” it added

It is noteworthy that the Embassy, in collaboration with the Sudanese American Friendship Association, has invited an American Classical Jazz trio to Sudan to perform in various concerts in Khartoum, Port Sudan, Karmakol and Jebel Berkel.

In Khartoum, the free outdoor event had to take place last week at the Green Yard to allow the maximum of people to attend it.

However, the Embassy reviewed its plans and decided to hold it in a concert room and under tightened security measures including an invitation list for those who will attend.

Following the recent recognition by President Donald Trump of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Embassy called on the U.S. nationals in Sudan to review their personal security plans and to remain aware of their surroundings.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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