Monday, July 26, 2004

Sudan/Darfur: Libyan FM says non-African troops bad idea

The crisis in Darfur is "very dangerous", [Libyan] Foreign Minister Abdul Rahman Mohammed Shalgham told a press conference, while criticising what he called "the US and Western escalation" in calling for foreign intervention.

"We reject any foreign military presence down there, apart from within the framework of the African Union (AU)," Shalgham said. A non-African deployment would create an "explosive" situation.

"Darfur is situated on the Libyan border and, as a result, the security of the region affects the national security of Libya", he said. (source)
Yesterday ...
Ibrahim Ahmed Omar, secretary-general of the [Sudan's] ruling National Congress party, was quoted by Al Anbaa [state-run newspaper] as warning: "Anybody who contemplates imposing his opinion by force will be confronted by force. Any power that intervenes in Darfur will be a loser." (source)
And ...
Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail would not say whether Sudanese forces would be ordered to attack Western peacekeepers if they were deployed in Darfur.

But in a telephone interview with VOA, Mr. Ismail strongly hinted that the government would not tolerate the presence of military forces that are not part of an African Union-led monitoring team.

"The people of Sudan are against any foreign intervention. No nation would accept foreign intervention in their affairs. Those who are talking about foreign intervention, they do not know exactly what the situation (is). We said that we do not need foreign intervention because we have already African monitors," he says. (source)
UPDATE: Sudan yesterday asked Libya to sponsor talks on Darfur.

UPDATE: July 27 ... Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail was in Turkey today and told a news conference ...
"If we are attacked we will not sit silent, we will retaliate ... but we definitely hope we do not reach that situation," Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail told a news conference during a visit to Turkey.

"We are not looking for confrontation and we hope we will not be pushed to that," he said.

[...] Ismail blamed the rebels [SLA/M and JEM] for the violence.

"Sudan never started this war ... But we admit the government is responsible for bringing back law and order, for disarming the militias and for arresting the Janjaweed." (source)
Also today ...
"While we understand the aspects of concern and we share the aspects of concern and the interest in ... getting Darfur out of this situation, we underline the importance of avoiding the concept of sanctions and threatening sanctions, because this will damage the situation and complicate aspects of this matter," [Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed] Aboul Gheit told reporters in Cairo. (source)