Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sudanese envoys in Paris meeting with Kouchner and Malloch-Brown

Beshir arrest warrant threaten Sudan peace: envoys
April 23, 2009 AFP report from Paris - excerpt:
Sudanese envoys urged the West Thursday to forget about the war crimes arrest warrant issued against their president and said Khartoum wanted to normalise ties with the international community.

"If we can't have cooperative and friendly bilateral ties, that will have an effect on the Darfur question and the peace deal with the South," Nafie Ali Nafie, a senior adviser to President Omar al-Beshir, warned in Paris.

Nafie and fellow senior Beshir aide Othman Ishmael have spent three days in Paris meeting diplomatic officials, including French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Britain's junior foreign minister Mark Malloch Brown.

French officials said they told them that Sudan must cooperate with the ICC arrest warrant and lift an ban on international aid workers in Darfur.

Beshir's envoys told reporters Sudan hoped to normalise its relations with Western capitals, but they did nothing to moderate Beshir's harsh language and dismissed the ICC arrest warrant as dangerous and impractical.
From Sudan Tribune 23 April 2009:
Sudan, France & UK conclude talks without agreement
April 22, 2009 (PARIS) — The Sudanese delegation ended their talks last night with French and British officials in Paris with neither sides appearing to reach common grounds on issues discussed.

Khartoum dispatched a high level delegation to the French capital consisting of presidential assistant Nafi Nafi, presidential adviser Mustafa Ismail and Abdel-Baset Sanoosi chief of bilateral relations at the Sudanese foreign ministry.

The French side was represented by foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and British side by Mark Malloch-Brown, Foreign Office Minister for Africa.

The deputy spokesperson of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Frederic Desagneaux said that the meetings “covered all the issues concerning the Sudan, whether in the humanitarian situation, security, stability or the dynamics of peace”

Desagneaux said that the French and British delegations expressed their “grave concern” at the implications of Sudan’s decision to expel more than a dozen aid agencies from Darfur.

On the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Sudanese officials, the French and British delegations “reiterated their commitment to international criminal justice and cooperation with the ICC”, the French diplomat said.

Sudanese presidential assistant Nafi Nafi speaking to Radio Monte Carlo Arabic service called on France to focus on enhancing bilateral ties so that other issues can be discussed.

“The focus this visit is to talk about bilateral ties. We gave the French our views on issues that prevent the normalization of ties and fruitful cooperation. We don’t see that our dialogue on Darfur or the peace agreement or even the ICC can lead to positive contribution in these same items without discussing the bilateral issues clearly” Nafi said.

The Sudanese official reiterated his government position of refusing to deal with the ICC saying it is a “political tool used against African leaders who are viewed to be uncooperative with Western programs in Africa”.

“The French position supporting to the ICC is an obstacle to peace in Sudan and peace in Darfur with negative implications on all issues in Sudanese [political] arena” he added.

Sudan has held several talks with French officials over the last few months seeking to reach agreement on border tensions with Chad, ICC row and the status of Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur the chairman of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM).

Al-Nur has rejected engaging in peace talks before security is achieved on the ground in Darfur through full deployment of peacekeepers with a mandate to protect civilians.

Sudan wants France to expel Al-Nur from its territory but it appears unlikely that this will happen anytime soon.

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