Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sudan president rejects UN troops

Nov 28 2006 BBC report Sudan president rejects UN troops - excerpt:
Speaking through a translator, President Bashir said he would only accept logistical and financial support for the current African Union mission.

"We will work with the UN as we have a lot of work with the UN, but this does not mean that we accept this resolution as it is a resolution that will return colonialism to Sudan," Mr Bashir said.

"The focus should be on implementing the [Abuja] agreement, and we do not accept the referral of the AU mission to UN troops."

Mr Bashir's two-and-a-half hour news conference was broadcast live to eight capital cities around the world, including London, Washington, Paris and Berlin.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher, in Khartoum, says Mr Bashir believes the Darfur crisis is the invention of the Western media, designed to deflect attention from military problems in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We do not say that there is no problem and that there are refugees and displaced, but any talk of a humanitarian crisis is not true," he said.

"They say that more than 200,000 thousand have been killed in Darfur, we affirm that this number is not true and that... the number of deaths has not reached 9,000.

Those who argue that the situation on the ground is deteriorating are liars, Mr Bashir said, with only five out of Darfur's 22 localities affected by violence.

Mr Bashir said he believes only a few thousand more people need to be deployed to Darfur.

And he criticised the vast humanitarian operation in Darfur, feeding two million people, which he said has become an industry.

According to President Bashir, aid agencies - many with a hidden Israeli presence - were fabricating reports of attacks and mass rape in order to expand their operations.

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