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NEWS & VIEWS
'SUDAN COMMITTED TO PEACE'

The Hindu, January 27, 2004

Sudan's Ambassador to India, Mr. Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohammad writes:

Empty barrels make louder noise. That was typical of a big title of an article drawn from the New York Times Service, " Sudan's New War." that appeared in the The Hindu on 19th January, 2004, by Somini Sengupta. Not only misleading and riddled with fabrication and exaggeration, the article further shed crocodile tears with incorrect stories about the situation in the Sudanese State of Darfur, which has, for some time, been an arena for criminal acts by some armed bandits in five out of the 23 municipalities in Greater Darfur.

Rather than attempting to diagnose the root causes of the developments in the region, which are essentially the emergence of armed bandits terrorising the local people and robbing their properties and available resources following prolonged droughts in the area, and resultant dislocation among the population, the article, resorted to misleading language that the Sudanese people are tired of, like the reference to the so-called "Arab-dominated government and the African Blacks", ignoring the fact that by way of representation, the Ministers, Governors and high-level officials from Darfur States in the Federal and State Governments and in the Sudanese Parliament outnumber the size of any other group's representation, and ignoring also the basic facts of the nature of the Sudanese social fabric and mosaic in which the notion of so-called domination only exists in the minds of those who only see the unity in diversity of the African societies as a threat to their own interests.

And for decades, such voices which were dying hard to portray for similar reasons, the unrest in the southern part of the country as a conflict between Muslims and Christians are now labeling the Darfur events as between Arabs and Africans…. Is it a divide-and-rule old wine in new glasses ?

Allegations that the Government is denying access to humanitarian activities are not true, as the Government assisted by national NGOs and U.N. agencies, has mounted an unprecedented campaign to access the needy and to provide food and shelter for the displaced.

Apart from its humanitarian responsibilities and its duty to safeguard its citizens and to maintain law and order, the Government has repeatedly declared its willingness and readiness to discuss any claims or grievances through peaceful means.

That is why it has fully adhered to the various home-grown peace initiatives along with the good offices of neighbouring Chad as manifested by the Abeche Agreement which was, sadly, violated by the armed groups.

The author of the article, who did not ask from where the bandits got the arms and ammunition, should advise them to accept negotiations.

The Government of the Sudan, which won the admiration of the international community for its peace initiatives to resolve the decades-long southern problem for which the Peace Accord is a matter of days to be signed, is of course ready to talk to whoever is committed to the language of peace and not to that of the gun.








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