February 19, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government hit back at remarks made by the African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Jean Ping in which he accused Khartoum of sponsoring terrorism.
The pro-government al-Rayaam newspaper quoted Ping as saying that the Sudanese government supports terrorism and harbours terrorists within its territory and noted that Khartoum previously hosted al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and Venezuelan-born terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal.
Ping made these statements during the International Conference on Human Rights and Counter Terrorism in Geneva that was organised by the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) with the participation of 200 experts and politicians from 67 countries.
The Sudanese mission in Geneva criticised those statements describing them as “inappropriate” and told the conference that Sudan has maintained cooperation with the international community in the fight against terrorism.
Azza Mohamed, a diplomat in the mission, asserted that Bin Laden was present as a businessman and was prohibited from indulging in any political work and was later asked to leave.
With respect to Carlos, she noted that his extradition to Paris was in accordance with the agreement between the two sides which demonstrates Khartoum’s seriousness in combating terrorism.
The remarks by the former AU chief are unusual given his close relationship with Khartoum during his term in office.
Ping held strong pan-African views and has been a fierce critic of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the warrant it issued in 2009 for Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir over alleged war crimes in Darfur.
In 2013, Bashir awarded Ping the Two Nile Order for his role in boosting peace and stability in Sudan and the African continent.