Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sudan's President Al-Bashir warns Darfur will be foreign troops' graveyard.

Sapa report Feb 26, 2006 via says Sudanese President al-Bashir warned Darfur would become a "graveyard" for any foreign military contingent entering the region against Khartoum's will, newspapers reported today.

In my view, for what it's worth, he is right. All the more reason to get waterpumps working in Sudan to help quell anarchy. Sudan could be the tinder box that sets Africa alight. As pointed out here several times over the past year, the stability of Sudan is fundamental to the whole of the African continent. Sapa report excerpt:

"We are strongly opposed to any foreign intervention in Sudan and Darfur will be a graveyard for any foreign troops venturing to enter," he [Bashir] was quoted as saying Saturday.

His comments came amid stepped-up efforts by the international community to send UN peacekeeping forces to war-torn Darfur in place of African Union troops, which have failed to quell the three-year-old bloodshed.

Beshir, who regularly accuses the United States and its allies of fomenting a conspiracy to plunder his country's resources, again accused the West of seeking to use the western region of Darfur as a launchpad to spread its interests in Sudan.

The United States, which currently chairs the UN Security Council, saw its hopes of clinching a resolution for a UN mandate in Darfur by the end of the month dashed but vowed to continue its efforts.

The transition is expected to be discussed during an AU Peace and Security Council meeting in Addis Ababa on March 3.

Beshir was also dismissive of the AU, which has hinted it would not oppose its own replacement by a UN contingent in Darfur.

"The African Union forces can leave the country if they believe that they have failed to carry out their duties," Beshir said.

The war in Darfur broke out in February 2003, when black ethnic groups launched a rebellion against Khartoum that was brutally repressed by the Arab Islamist regime of Beshir.

The combined effect of the war and one of the world's worst humanitarian crises has left up to 300,000 people dead and an estimated 2.4 million displaced.

There has been increased speculation that NATO would step in to operate the transition between AU and UN peacekeepers, an option supported by Darfur rebels but implacably opposed by Khartoum.

Beshir even found support for his resistance to a Western deployment among members of the opposition.

"We firmly reject any foreign intervention, particularly by the Americans, in Sudan," Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim, a communist MP, said Sunday at a parliament meeting.

Further reading:

April 27 2005 PAP urges Sudanese to disarm Janjaweed - Gertrude Mongella, President of PAP

Oct 24 2005 Calling Mama Mongella: The stability of Sudan is fundamental to the whole of the African continent

Oct 25 2005 Why wait on Darfur? UN could authorise cutting off Sudan's oil exports at Port Sudan

Jan 9 2006 As Darfur peace talks break for Muslim celebration, little progess reported - Who disarms first: Janjaweed or rebels?

Jan 26 2006 The children of Sudan are its future - Save the Children

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