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Sudan UN envoy says Georgia war eased international pressure on his country

August 28, 2008 (UNITED NATIONS) – Sudan’s envoy to the UN Abdel-Haleem Abdel-Mahmood suggested that the conflict between Russia and Georgia helped shift focus away from his country.

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Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations Abdel-Haleem Abdel-Mahmood (AP)

Abdel-Mahmood told the Inner City Press website that the Caucasus conflict relieves international pressure which has increased since International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

The Sudanese diplomat also suggested that his government remains opposed to the independence of Kosovo and said that they will support Serbia’s request that the UN General Assembly ask for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.

The Sudanese government has opposed a Turkish sponsored draft resolution by the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) last March that would voice support to Kosovo’s independence.

Khartoum’s position on Kosovo may put it at odds with its Islamic base. The Southern European region is 90% Muslims allowing it to reap sympathy from the Islamic world during its war with Serbia in the late 90’s.

Abdel-Mahmood further said that Sudan’s recognition of the Georgian rebel regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is contingent upon developments on the issue of Kosovo.

This week Russia defiantly announced that it will recognize the two Georgian breakaway regions despite increasing international condemnation.

Moscow likened its support of the independence of the two regions to Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in February 2008 which was backed by Western countries.

Sudan and Russia enjoy good relations particularly in terms of military cooperation. Moscow along with Beijing blocked tough UN Security Council (UNSC) measures against Khartoum over the Darfur conflict.

Sudanese officials have expressed confidence that Russia along with China will step in to block any decision by the ICC judges to issue an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir. As a result Khartoum has adopted a policy of backing Moscow despite the latter’s dwindling support from world countries.

In mid-August the Sudanese National Assembly lent its support to Moscow in its military clash with Georgia on the borders.

(ST)