SUDAN WATCH: Sudanese criticise Bashir denial of Darfur crisis

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sudanese criticise Bashir denial of Darfur crisis

Nov 28 2006 Reuters report by Opheera McDoom - Sudanese criticise Bashir denial of Darfur crisis - excerpt:
Sudanese political parties criticised President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Tuesday, saying that in a news conference broadcast live to nine countries he showed signs of denial and lack of respect for Sudanese lives.

"The people outside will think that the president is lying and he does not respect the international community. This is an attitude of denial which will not solve the problem," said Bashir Adam Rahman of the Popular Congress Party.

"When he denies the sun in the middle of the day that means either he is not serious or he thinks people are fools," added Rahman, who is political secretary of the opposition party.

Mariam al-Mahdi, spokeswoman for the opposition Umma Party, said Bashir has shown a lack of respect for the lives of Sudanese people, adding that a few months ago he had said 10,000 people have been killed in the troubled region of western Sudan, more than the 9,000 he mentioned on Monday night.

"How can our last resort -- the president -- belittle the deaths of Sudanese people?" she said.

"Ultimately foreigners are more kind to our people than our president," said Mahdi.

Al-Tayyib Khamis, spokesman for the former Darfur rebel group the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), which joined central government after signing a peace deal in May, said Bashir had underestimated the number of dead by at least five times.

"There are no people in the world suffering as much as the people of Darfur," he said. "Without the humanitarian agencies the people of Darfur would be dead."

"We ask the president: 'Where is the security in Darfur?' There's no stability ... there's still rape, the Janjaweed are still burning villages," Khamis said.

But SLM leader Minni Arcua Minnawi, now a presidential adviser, said earlier on Monday that the government was working with the Janjaweed, rearming and mobilising them.

"Minni is right -- the Janjaweed are part of the government and they work with the government," said Khamis.

Rahman said Bashir wanted to have his comments heard ahead of the African Union's Peace and Security Council meeting in Nigeria on Wednesday, which is likely to decide whether to extend the mandate of the struggling AU peace monitoring force in Darfur to beyond the end of the year.

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