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NEWS & VIEWS
STATEMENT BY TE SUDANESE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON THE REMARKS MADE BY THE U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ON THE SITUATION IN DARFUR

1. The conclusion by the Secretary of State Colin Powell before the Senato Foreign Affairs Committee was rather flawed, regrettable and dismaying, it tantamounts to the blunder of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The methodology followed in reaching this mistaken conclusion was neither scientific nor rational. It was merely based on partial observations by an American team that had never set foot in Darfur and interviewed politicized individuals refugees in Eastern Chad according to Powell only one thousand individuals were interviewed out of 2.2 million people. It is obvious that this negligible percentage can never lead to a credible conclusion.

2. Darfur had lately been a target for visits by national dignitaries including Kofi Annan the Secretary General of the United Nations and tens of Ministers from Europe, Asia and Africa. The region has as well been an arena of activities by many international governmental and non-governmental organizations in contrast to the conclusion of Secretary Powell none of the aforementioned had depicted the situation as genocide.

3. The Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of Genocide of 1948 is a multinational instrument that gives a definition to the term genocide and specifies the modalities of interpretation, application and fulfillment of the Convention as stipulated in article IX of the Convention. Therefore, it is not for the Unites States to unilaterally label the situation in Darfur as genocide.

4. The African Heads of State and Governments in their latest summit have concluded that the terms genocide and ethnic cleansing do not apply to the situation in Darfur. Teams of investigation from the United Nations, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, different non-governmental organizations and the Independent committee for Investigation that was commissioned by the President of the Sudan had toured the region and scrupulously scrutinized the situation none of the forecasted had ever tagged the situation as genocide.

5. The timing of such an unfounded allegation by the United States Secretary of State raises skepticism as it comes at a time when a presidential election is at its heat, ostensibly to divert deceitfully win the Afro-American votes. It comes at a time when the US administration strives to draw public and international attention away from the administration's quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan. It comes at a time when both the Government of the Sudan and the rebel movements are seriously engaged in peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria in quest for a lasting, durable and just solution to the conflict in Darfur under the auspices of the Chairman of the African Union President Olusegun Obasanjo Of Nigeria.

6. This erroneous conclusion by the US will undoubtedly aggravate the situation on the ground and inflict a devastating blow to the African Union's efforts to solve the problem in Darfur as it had already sent a wrong signal to throw intransigence in the negotiations.

7. A conclusion of such a magnitude would have been credible had it emanated from international figures, such as Mr. Jan Pronk who toured the region together with Ambassadors of Western Arab and African states accredited to the Sudan. It is worth nothing that Pronk report before the United Nations Security Council had never described the situation in Darfur as Genocide.

8. We just wonder what term will Secretary Powell use to describe the mass carnage of millions of civilians perpetrated by the United States' government in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War, the massacre of millions of Vietnamese and Somali civilians by virtue of the American War machine, if that was history, what will he label the massive killing of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan which is taking place now?

9. To normalize the situation in Darfur, Sudan government has kept its doors open to welcome international observers, thousands of representatives from NGOs, United Nations Agencies, international media and human rights activists. Will be United States keep the doors of Abughreib prison open where thousands of Iraqis are nakedly tortured and subjected to sexual abuse? Will the United States open Guantanamu Bay base for observers and human rights activists to know what is taking place there?

10. In conclusion, the United States administration is indeed playing a dangerous game by putting American votes before Sudanese peace in both western and southern Sudan. The government of the Sudan pledges to honour its commitment and obligation of getting the situation in Darfur back to normalcy. The government will continue its well established cooperation with the United Nations the Special Representative of the Secretary General, the African Union, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference and other national and international non-governmental organizations to implement the agreed plans of action to bring about stability and order in Darfur. The Government will continue negotiating in good faith in Abuja to conclude a peaceful settlement to conflict that caused much human suffering in the region.


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