Saturday, March 21, 2009

Further US Threats Against Sudan

Bashir Must Be Accountable for Every Darfur Death, Rice Says

21st March 2009, 10:00 WST

Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir must be held accountable for each and every death caused by his expulsion of 16 humanitarian aid groups from the nations Darfur region, the US ambassador to the United Nations said.

Surely no person of conscience can remain unmoved by the untold misery and death that this cutoff of desperately needed food, water and medicine will inevitably inflict upon millions of innocents already huddled in the camps of Darfur, Ambassador Susan Rice told the UN Security Council today.

We urge other members of this council to join us in this urgent work, Rice said.

There are things upon which we can and will disagree. But surely saving the lives of desperate and innocent civilians being deliberately deprived of water, food, and medicine is not among them.

The UN has said the expulsions will leave more than 1.5 million people without food aid, drinking water or health care. Neither Rice nor any other council member proposed any specific action by the panel.

China, a major investor in Sudans oil industry, has blocked a statement by saying any position must include a call for suspension of the International Criminal Courts indictment of Bashir for war crimes in Darfur.

Fighting in Darfur has intensified since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government, complaining of marginalization and seeking a greater share of the countrys wealth and political power.

The UN estimates as many as 300,000 people have died there, mostly of disease and malnutrition, and that another 3 million have fled their homes.

The government says the figures are exaggerated and puts the death toll at around 10,000.

Sudan expelled the aid groups after the ICC charged Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity for allegedly masterminding atrocities during the Darfur conflict.

The government accuses the groups of spying for the court, a charge they deny.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told reporters that the expulsion of the aid groups confirmed Bashirs guilt and that the groups provided him with zero information.

"The king is naked," he said.


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