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NEWS & VIEWS
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the withdrawal of the British Foreign Secretary of his statement on Darfur

On 16th of March Mr. Jack Straw British Foreign Minister issued a statement in which he retracted his early statement of January 25 in which he accused the Government of Sudan of bombing the village of Shangili Tobaya. That statement had a direct impact on the meetings of the AU Summit in Abuja to the effect that some African and International leaders including the UN Secretary General reacted by condemning Sudan Government without substantive proof. The recent statements made by Mr. Straw on March 16th, though long overdue is a welcome sign of moral courage, sense of responsibility and keenness to reach the truth. This attitude sets a valuable example for other world leaders when making statements or judging sensitive situations like the one prevailing in Darfur. In this context it is highly important to pint out the dangers of issuing statements of criticism or condemnation based on false or unsubstantiated reports. A most unhappy illustration of the grave dangers of basing statements and actions on such unfounded reports is the bombing and destruction of ELSHIFA Factory by the Clinton administration in 1998. The Government of the Sudan wishes to express its sincere hope that this new statement by Mr. Straw which any way could not undo the damage already done by his earlier statement, may help to adopt a more constructive attitude towards the peaceful settlement efforts in Darfur instead of spreading false reports and statements that can only help those who seek to perpetuate instability and prolong human suffering in the region

Khartou

21st March 2005



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