Home | News    Sunday 24 July 2011

Sudan FM denies willingness to accept peacekeepers in S. Kordofan

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July 23, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti on Saturday denied making statements expressing openness to the idea of deploying peacekeepers to the state of South Kordofan where fighting is ongoing between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and units of the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Karti (Reuters)

Karti was quoted by Agence France Presse (AFP) this week as saying that Khartoum will agree to foreign troops under the condition that there is a consent on this between all parties.

"If there’s an agreement with local leaders specifying the sending of foreign troops, it will be welcome," Karti said.

"But at the moment we don’t have an agreement," he added.

However the Sudanese top diplomat today upon his return to Khartoum from Vienna told state media that he made no such remarks.

Karti said that he was answering questions by some journalists following a lecture he presented at the international academy in Vienna stressing that he explained clearly that the situation in South Kordofan is an internal matter which occurred after an armed attack took place on the state and its civilians in violation of the law.

He added that Sudan has made its stance clear regarding the presence of the international forces on its territory and that any talk about that is out of context.

The Sudanese ambassador at the United Nations Dafalla al-Haj Osman had qualified Karti’s statements earlier this week saying that the minister was only referring to a small “high ranking” force or monitors.

Osman told Inner City Press website that this could be comprised of “ten to fifteen” people that possibly may include Europeans.

The fighting in the state which borders South Sudan and Darfur occurred shortly after the South Kordofan’s gubernatorial elections in which al-Hilu lost to incumbent governor Ahmed Haroun who was the candidate of Sudan’s ruling party.

Haroun is one of the suspects wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in connection with war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur where 300,00 are estimated to have been killed since rebellion broke out in 2003.

The African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki managed to broker a preliminary accord between Khartoum and SPLM-North to de-escalate tensions in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

But Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir later rejected the agreement signed by his assistant Nafie Ali Nafie, ordered SAF to continue military operations in South Kordofan and called for arresting al-Hilu so he can be tried for what he described as crimes against innocent civilians.

Al-Hilu told the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper in an interview published today that it is Bashir who needs to stand before ICC to satisfy the arrest warrant against him issued in 2009.

He claimed that his forces have defeated SAF and that the latter have seen many defections to his side.

(ST)

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