SUDAN WATCH: AU and European diplomats say Taha had in private agreed last year to a UN takeover in Darfur

Saturday, August 26, 2006

AU and European diplomats say Taha had in private agreed last year to a UN takeover in Darfur

Reuters' Opheera McDoom report 26 Aug 2006 - Pressure Mounts on Sudan to Accept UN Force [via CFD] excerpt:
"... any reported divisions between Bashir and his deputy on a UN presence in Darfur have disappeared with Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha's first direct and public rebuke of the international community.

"Dialogue is maintained with the international community and it is one of the principles of the foreign policy of Sudan, but it does not mean surrender and cancellation of the national identity and the national will," the state news agency SUNA quoted Taha as saying on Thursday.

AU and European diplomats say Taha had in private agreed last year to a UN takeover in Darfur once a peace deal was reached. Since the AU-brokered deal was signed in May, Taha had kept largely quiet on the issue.

In contrast Bashir has made speeches almost daily for the past few weeks, on each occasion making sure to repeat his rejection of the force.

One Western diplomat who declined to be named said: "I think there is little to be positive about at this stage." [edit]

Bashir depicts a U.N. presence in Darfur as a Western attempt to colonise Sudan. But other politicians say his party is worried the troops would be used to arrest officials likely to be indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigating alleged war crimes in the region.

"(There are some who) don't want to accept the U.N. forces if this at the end will mean the signature of their own death certificates," said Ghazi Suleiman, a member of parliament for the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), which formed a coalition government with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in 2005.

He said the SPLM would not be part of any confrontation with the international community and said privately Bashir's only worry was about the mandate of the U.N. troops.

"There are reactionary statements but when it comes to real diplomacy real decision-making, the president just wants to be satisfied about the mandate of these forces," Suleiman added.

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