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NCP denies intention to question Sudan’s foreign minister over his criticism of Bashir

May 17, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan has dismissed press reports that it is intending to hold Foreign Minister Ali Karti to account over his thinly veiled criticism of comments by the country’s president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

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Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti speaks during an interview with Reuters in Khartoum January 18, 2012 (REUTERS PICTURES)

Karti told Sudan’s parliament this week that the comments, in which Al-Bashir described South Sudan’s leaders as “insects” to be crushed and that he would use “the stick” to discipline them, were interpreted in ways that had “disastrous effects” on Sudan’s foreign policy and diplomatic efforts.

“The talk that they [leaders of South Sudan’s ruling SPLM] are a group that only understands the stick was interpreted to be referring to the poem of [Abu El-Tayib] El-Mutanabi that says “you shall not buy a slave without a stick” and "the term insect was likened to the use of the term cockroaches by the Hutu [ethnic group] against the Tutsi during the Rwandan massacres,” he said.

Reports published by some of Khartoum-based newspapers on Thursday quoted anonymous sources as saying that the NCP intends to summon Karti for questioning over his criticism of Al-Bashir on the grounds that the latter “represents a symbol of national sovereignty.”

“Regardless of anything, what the president says is what the president says” the sources said.

But the NCP’s spokesman Badr Al-Din Ahmad Ibrahim has quickly denied the veracity of such reports. “What has Karti done to be questioned?” he told reporters in Khartoum on Thursday’s evening.

Ibrahim pointed out that Karti made his statement inside the parliament and therefore it is the parliament not the NCP that has a right to decide whether his comments imply a disagreement with the president.

The NCP spokesman further acknowledged that there is a need to correct the world’s perception of Sudan, urging the government and his party to be attentive to foreign media. He concluded that Sudan’s image in the world does not reflect the reality.