Monday, December 11, 2006

Sudan Speaks Out Against the United Nations' Policy Towards the Oil-rich Nation

Sudan's leader lashes out at UN

Sudan's president has accused the UN of making unreasonable demands on his government over Darfur and turning a blind eye to rebel activities there.

Earlier, UN chief Kofi Annan had said Omar al-Bashir's government had failed in its responsibility to protect its citizens in the war-torn region.

But Mr Bashir said the rebel National Redemption Front, which rejects May's peace deal, was causing recent unrest.

At least 200,000 people have died in Darfur's three-year conflict.

An estimated two million people, mostly black Africans whose villages have been attacked by the Arab Janjaweed militia, have fled their homes.

Khartoum denies accusations it is backing the militias to put down an uprising by Darfur's rebel groups in 2003.

There are currently 7,000 African Union (AU) troops in Darfur but the violence has continued, amid arguments about whether the UN should take control of the peace force.

Meanwhile, the Irish aid agency Goal has become the latest aid agency to pull its international staff out of Darfur because of the violence.

Goal chief executive John O'Shea said they had no choice but to take the "difficult decision" after 13 aid workers had been killed in the past six months and several Goal vehicles hijacked.

"It is clear that the international community does not rate the lives of the 4 million in the region desperately in need of protection by the international community," he said.


The UN secretary general said on Thursday that the Sudanese government "may have to answer collectively and individually for what is happening in Darfur."

"I think we should be clear where the failure lies," he said.

But Mr Bashir, who rejects plans for a joint African Union (AU) and UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, dismissed such criticism.

"If there are any problems in Darfur, it is because of the activities of the National Redemption Front, which was formed after the Abuja agreement," Reuters news agency quotes him as saying at a press conference.

"This group is receiving huge support in terms of weapons, equipment and vehicles through the border [with Chad] and this has not been condemned."

Chad denies backing the Darfur rebels and in turn accuses Sudan of sending the Janjaweed across the border to destabilise Chad - charges denied by Sudan.

Mr Bashir recently said that 9,000 people had died in Darfur's violence - compared to the figure of at least 200,000 used by the UN.

Some groups say the true number is far higher.

Earlier in the week former rebel leader Minni Minnawi - who joined the government after signing the peace deal in the Nigerian capital, Abuja - accused the Janjaweed of repeatedly violating the agreement.

He said the government was rearming the Janjaweed and 48 villages in Darfur had been destroyed since May.

On Wednesday, the UN withdrew non-essential workers from El Fasher, where the AU mission is headquartered, because of fighting in the town between the Janjaweed and rebels.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/08 16:31:33 GMT

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