KHARTOUM, Mar 4, 2005 (Al-Sharq Alawsat) — A senior Sudanese security official has accused the US embassy in Khartoum of harbouring activists hostile to Sudan.
- US Embassy in Khartoum
The day before yesterday, Brig-Gen Hassan al-Amdah, the director of counterespionage in the security organ, chaired a seminar in Khartoum entitled "The dangers and motives of foreign presence" and organized by the immigration department that is headed by Al-Amdah.
During the seminar, Brig-Gen Hassan al-Amdah said: "The US embassy in Khartoum is leading activities that are hostile to Sudan." He added that the US embassy "is the most troublesome embassy to the authorities due to its hostile stand against Sudan".
He said that this stance has a negative impact on other Western embassies, which he did not name. The Sudanese official also accused foreign NGOs that he did not name of carrying out "suspicious activities" in Sudan. He said: "Some foreign NGOs constitute a threat to Sudan’s security by carrying out suspicious activities that instigate the international community against Sudan". He added: "Other Western embassies have adopted a hostile policy against the government under the influence of the US embassy".
In a paper entitled "Foreign presence and its intelligence-gathering dimensions" that he presented at the seminar, Brig-Gen Hassan al-Amdah said that the majority of the staff in foreign embassies and organizations in Sudan are Sudanese nationals who are "instigators and political dissidents". He said that repeated visits by Sudanese nationals to the foreign embassies have become a way for recruitment to carry out intelligence work. He stressed that the movement of journalists, foreigners and tourists in the various provinces of Sudan should be monitored. A mechanism to inform the security organs of such activities should be installed, he added.
The Sudanese security official emphasized that a law should be enacted to regulate relations and contacts between Sudanese nationals and foreign embassies and organizations operating in Sudan. He said that the lack of such a law amounts to a "threat" because the granting of visas may turn into a factor to recruit Sudanese nationals to serve the countries that grant such visas.
Al-Amdah said that more than four million foreigners entered Sudan illegally in recent years. This is in addition to about 64,000 illegal residents, he added. Al-Amdah said that there are about 700 foreign companies that are operating in Khartoum as commercial fronts for intelligence gathering operations. The operations of some of these front companies are "under surveillance", he added. The Sudanese security official accused some foreign embassies and organizations, which he did not identify, of pressuring the Security Council to impose sanctions on Sudan "by fabricating reports against Sudan".
He said: "This amounts to a threat to Sudan’s security because these fabricated reports are instigating the international community against Khartoum." He added: "These foreign organizations are now running the embassies and exploiting their diplomatic immunity to gather intelligence against Sudan." He said: "Regardless of the benefits that foreign presence brings, this presence has also brought standards of conduct that violate Sudanese traditions and values, such as crime and fraud." He explained that the presence of women and their work in foreign homes has triggered "standards of conduct that are alien" to Sudan.
The Sudanese senior security official stressed that "the exploitation of these foreigners by the intelligence organs constitutes a big threat". He explained that the law that was passed in 1991 that facilitated the entry of foreign dissidents to Sudan also facilitated the infiltration of extremists some of whom secretly married Sudanese women in order to procure Sudanese citizenship or residence permits.
During the seminar, police Brig-Gen Ata Mohamed Abdallah, the director of the Foreigners Department in the Interior Ministry, said that last year, the Interior Ministry deported 259 foreigners for committing various crimes and 55 other foreigners afflicted with AIDS. He added that there are 268 Sudanese women who are married to foreigners and 855 American nationals of Sudanese origin. Ahmed Mohamed al-As, the minister of state in the Interior Ministry, said that the overt and covert foreign presence in Sudan is a real threat, especially in light of the circumstances through which Sudan is passing and the fragility of and the discrepancies that exist among its cultural components. Maj-Gen Bashir Ahmad Bashir, the director of the Passports Public Department, said that his department has issued an immigration identity card to Sudanese nationals who hold foreign passports.
Material provided by the BBC Monitoring Service.