AU limits locations of warring sides in Darfur - Africans must change negative media image says Rwanda's President
The AU team of verification and limitations of locations in Darfur started its visit to Darfur to specify the locations controlled by the warring parties in accordance with the ceasefire agreement signed in April 2004.
Full Report via Xinhua/ST May 22, 2005.
Photo: Rebels from JEM, one of Darfur's main rebel groups (Reuters/Sudan Tribune)
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Sudanese official says war in Darfur complex
David Rosenberg, coordinator of the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition who attended a forum said the deputy ambassador for Sudan in the US was presenting disinformation at the forum.
"He is coming to talk to Muslims, who understandably want to feel pride in their traditions, and enlist them in his propaganda campaign," Rosenberg said. Full Story at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Ann Rodgers via Sudan Tribune May 22, 2005. Excerpt:
The Sudanese deputy ambassador in the USA argued yesterday at a forum that complex regional ethnic and economic rivalries started the war in Darfur, and that the Sudanese government had a legitimate right to intervene.
He described Darfur as plagued by ethnic and tribal conflicts, despite centuries of intermarriage that have made the rivals indistinguishable from one another. The recently resolved 20-year civil war in the southern region of Sudan made arms readily accessible to these groups, who did not believe the national government would protect them.
When armed groups destroyed government airplanes and captured the top Sudanese Air Force general in 2003, the government responded, he said. "This is a tribal conflict ... but I am not saying that is the whole thing," he said. He also cited "ecological problems" over control of access to grazing lands and other natural resources.
He argued that the 16-year-old national government has benefitted Darfur, increasing public high schools from 16 to 250, universities from zero to three and hospitals from three to 23. He referred to the Janjaweed, a group of raiders accused of mass murder, rape and other crimes, as "outlaws."
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Africans must change negative media image - Kagame
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Rwanda's President Kagame says the international media had portrayed the 1994 genocide as the result of primitive tribal killings, rather than an organised campaign perpetrated by the former government, reducing pressure for outside powers to act. Excerpt:
Rwanda's president accused western media on Sunday of portraying Africa as a continent wracked with poverty, war and disease, and he challenged Africans to change that image.
"One of the reasons Africa is unable to attract enough foreign direct investment, which we need for our development, is the constant negative reporting," President Paul Kagame said in an address to the International Press Institute World Congress.
Kagame said it was a common belief on the continent that the international press gives Africa only negative coverage and ignores positive developments on the continent.
"I believe that we in Africa must take responsibility for the sorry state of affairs in our continent, most of which form and generate the kind of reporting that we have witnessed," Kagame said.
Kagame said in his own country, the international media had portrayed the 1994 genocide as the result of primitive tribal killings, rather than an organised campaign perpetrated by the former government, reducing pressure for outside powers to act.
"Constant reference by the media to tribal killings, civil war, anarchy and chaos obscured and minimised the genocide that was taking place and the complicity and indifference of some powers," he said.
"As a result the U.N. member states were not called upon to recognise the genocide that was under way and did not feel compelled to take the appropriate action".
Paris-based press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders says Rwanda's government has harassed and arbitrarily detained several journalists in recent years, undermining press freedom in the tiny central African country.
Kagame urged the media to highlight efforts by the continent to come up with African solutions to the conflicts in Burundi, Sudan, Somalia and Ivory Coast.
The International Press Institute, a group comprised of journalists, editors and media executives from more than 120 countries, is meeting in Nairobi to discuss press freedom, with a particular focus on Africa.
Full Report by Wangui Kanina via Reuters May 22, 2005.
Tags: Darfur Sudan Kagame Propaganda