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Sudan angered over Clinton's statements.

August 6, 2011 (KHARTOUM) -- The Sudanese foreign ministry issued a strongly worded response in reaction to the statements made by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (AFP)

Clinton criticized the delay by Sudanese authorities in granting clearances to a medical evacuation helicopter that was to transport three Ethiopian peacekeepers wounded in a landmine explosion that occurred in Abyei this week. The United Nations top peacekeeping official Alain Le Roy said Sudan threatened to shoot down the Medivac helicopter unless authorization in granted. The three soldiers died while clearances were being obtained from Khartoum. "We are alarmed by reports that the Government of Sudan delayed granting the necessary flight clearances to allow the expeditious medical evacuation of the injured peacekeepers and threatened to shoot down any UN helicopter that attempted to access the area without approval. Three wounded soldiers died during this unnecessary delay" Clinton said on Friday. "The United States is committed to ensuring that the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has the political support to carry out its important and difficult mandate under challenging circumstances and strongly condemns the Government of Sudan's non-compliance with its obligation and its obstruction of the work of the United Nations". But the Sudanese foreign ministry brushed aside Clinton's criticism. "The Sudanese foreign ministry was not surprised by the false and misleading information contained in Mrs. Hillary Clinton's statements......in light of the movements being made by a number of decision-making institutions for hostile activities seeking to tarnish Sudan's image and weaken it for the sake of lobby groups known for their religious and race fanaticism" The statement said that despite clarifications made by Sudan's envoy to the UN "the international organization and State Department afterwards insisted on evading the truth and admitting negligence and probing those who failed to evacuate the injured and instead blamed the government of Sudan". It also referred to accusations that Khartoum is engaged in ethnic cleansing targeting indigenous non-Arab Nuba people in South Kordofan state where fighting has flared last June between the army and units from Sudan people Liberation Army (SPLA). "The military operations carried out by the Sudanese authorities in South Kordofan target the rebels, regardless of race, color, religion, and attempts to portray this as targeting the Nuba peoples... are deliberate attempts to distort and damage Sudan's image," it said. "We call on activists in the committees of the U.S. Congress and urge foreign policy-making institutions in the United States, led by the State Department to be helpful in consolidating peace and stability in Sudan not [become] a tool for igniting the war and bring destruction and ruin". Relations between Sudan and the U.S. have appeared to have suffered a setback in recent weeks amid remarks by officials in Khartoum that they will initiate a teat for tat policy with Washington. Two visiting US officials recently including special envoy Princeton Lyman and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner received a cool welcome in Khartoum. Neither Lyman nor Posner have been able to meet with key Sudanese officials in what appeared to be a deliberate move. The Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti has appeared to be fighting internal battles with ruling National Congress Party hardliners who want a tougher approach with the US administration. Last month Karti criticized a resolution adopted by the NCP dominated parliament bashing the US Congress's hostile attitude towards Sudan. Karti described this as "excessive zeal" saying that it will backfire. The US promised Sudan that it would be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in return for cooperation on the referendum vote that led to Southerners voting for secession from the North. Since then, however, the North and South have failed to permanently resolve a dispute over the border region of Abyei and seen fresh violence in South Kordofan state, another border flashpoint. US officials said Khartoum needed to follow through on all of these, as well as improve conditions in the western region of Darfur, before Washington could move on improving bilateral ties. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Aug 7, 2011
Words:702
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