July 28, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The U.S. special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration has succeeded in changing the views of senior figures within the administration including president Obama, Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir was reportedly quoted as saying.
The editor in chief of the independent Al-Akhbar newspaper published in Khartoum Mohamed Latif disclosed Bashir’s remarks made to him personally in his column published on Wednesday.
“The U.S. position is seesawed. Gration is able to see the realities on the ground and started influencing key people within the U.S. administration” Latif quoted the Sudanese president as telling him.
“Even Biden started changing his position and [U.S. president Barack] Obama but the problem of the U.S. administration are lobby groups with interests and we will suffer from this for a long period of time”.
Gration is widely believed to be a proponent of using incentives with Khartoum as opposed to sanctions and pressure, something which drew wide criticism from the U.S. based advocacy groups. His position is in sharp contrast to that of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
At a hearing before the U.S. senate last year, the U.S. special envoy called for sanctions to be eased on Sudan and said that there is no justification to keep the country on the list of states that sponsor terrorism.
The remarks attributed to Bashir come as media in Sudan is reporting growing debate within the government in Khartoum to take extreme measures of unspecified nature against U.S. interests.
This new attitude being deliberated was to be in response to calls by the U.S. on Chad to respect its international obligations as it received Bashir on its territory,
Bashir went to Chad last week in defiance of his arrest warrant on his first visit to an international Criminal Court (ICC) member since he was charged by the Hague tribunal.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir in 2009 accusing him of war crimes and crimes against humanity during a counter-insurgency campaign in the western Darfur region which borders Chad. This month it added genocide to the charges.
The court said Chad should arrest Bashir, but Chad said after Bashir’s arrival that it had no intention to do that.
This month, Gration had complained that the genocide warrant will complicate his mission in Sudan.