President Bashir to grant Carter Centre unlimited access in Sudan - Carter Center denies Al-Bashir apology demand
From Middle East Online, Wednesday, 07 April 2010:
Sudanese President says decision is recognition to good things former US President did for his country.Carter Center Denies Al-Bashir Apology Demand
KHARTOUM - Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir said on Wednesday he would grant former US president Jimmy Carter and his election observers unlimited access in the country during landmark elections that kick off Sunday.
"In two days, president Carter will arrive and I will receive him and will give him and his centre permission to go to any area of Sudan and to monitor any area in Sudan," Beshir told a rally north of Sudan, as the election campaign begins to wind down.
"This man did good things for us and we never forget the man who did good things for us," Beshir said in an address broadcast live on state television.
It appeared to be a shift in tone after repeated threats by Beshir to expel observers if they were believed "to interfere" in the electoral process.
Sudan is to hold its first multi-party general election since 1986 from April 9-11, which will include presidential, legislative and local polls.
Beshir has previously said he would silence any observers who "insult us", and he also warned that if observers "intervene in our affairs, then we will cut off their fingers and crush them under our shoes."
The American Carter Centre, the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League and Japan are all sending missions to Sudan.
The EU mission, the largest with 130 observers, said on Wednesday that it was considering pulling observers out of the war-torn western Sudanese region of Darfur because of security concerns.
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, 7 April 2010:
(Juba) – The US elections monitoring body from the Carter Center has denied reports that they requested an apology from President Omar al-Bashir who threatened to expel them.
Since the beginning of this year, President al-Bashir has twice threatened to expel any foreign observers who demand the postponement of the elections.
Speaking to SRS on Wednesday from Juba, the Carter Center’s deputy director in Juba said they did not ask for any apology from the president.
[Sanne van den Bergh]: “We did not ask for an apology but we had asked for a clarification of the remarks that President al-Bashir had made and we also asked for a re-affirmation of our invitation as international observers, which we received. The rumor that that president Carter has been banned from Sudan is completely untrue as well as the other rumor that we are banned from 9 states of Sudan as international observers - that is also completely untrue.”
The Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV, quoting unidentified sources, said that the Carter Center informed Khartoum about their intention to withdraw unless they receive a "written and public" apology from President al-Bashir.
Carter Center officials issued a report in March which warned that Sudan’s April presidential and legislative elections remained "at risk on multiple fronts" and urged Sudan to lift harsh restrictions on rallies.