Venezuela critical of Sudan arrest warrant

 CARACAS, Mar 07, 2009 (AFP) – Venezuela has warned the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Beshir could derail peace efforts in the African country.

“Venezuela questions the intrusion into the legitimate internal affairs and sovereignty of Sudan,” a statement from the deputy foreign minister Reinaldo Bolivar said.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Beshir, to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out in Darfur, western Sudan.

“Far from contributing to peace this decision could result in a escalation of violence,” the deputy minister said describing the ICC’s warrant as a “politicized move.”

“(It) meddles with the right to self-determination and the sovereignty of countries and constitutes a threat to the peace process that had been advancing in the republic of Sudan.”

The United Nations says that 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million made homeless by the conflict in Sudan which erupted in February 2003.


Let Darfurian and Sudanese voices be heard


By Kevin Funk and Steven Fake

March 9, 2009 — When the Save Darfur Coalition held a rally on April 30, 2006, drawing thousands to Washington DC, it was a watershed for Darfur activism in the US. Save Darfur’s advocacy efforts enjoyed a moment in the sun, the culmination of an aggressive and well-funded media campaign.

Yet the rally also symbolised another, less-reported aspect of Darfur activism in the US: the tendency to marginalise Darfurian and Sudanese voices.

As reported, “the original list of speakers [for the April 30 rally] included eight Western Christians, seven Jews, four politicians and assorted celebrities — but no Muslims and no one from Darfur”; organisers had to hurry “to invite two Darfurians to address the rally after Sudanese immigrants objected” to their previous exclusion from the line-up.

* * *

Click HERE for an excerpt from Kevin Funk and Steven Fake’s latest book, Scramble for Africa.

* * *

Save Darfur’s prioritising of Western voices is unsurprising, given the group’s establishment-friendly posture. The Coalition, in fact, praised then-President Bush for his “good work” in resolving the crisis (evidence for which is non-existent), and brought former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who famously said that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children as a result of the murderous US sanctions regime was “worth it”, to a rally later in 2006. More noteworthy, however, has been the tendency for the US left to [also marginalise Darfurian and Sudanese voices].

In fact, not only has the US left largely ignored the Sudanese left, which has a storied history and continues to struggle valiantly against the brutal regime led by Omar al-Bashir, but it has also mostly failed to grapple with the Darfur conflict as a whole, not to mention the other issues plaguing Sudan. In some cases, this has even led to apologetics for the Sudanese government, as if its largely adversarial relationship with the West should afford it a special place in our consciousness as a victim of imperialism. Though understandable in that our most pressing moral responsibility as US leftists is to address crises that are of our own making and thus over that we have the most power to change, such as the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and US support for Israel’s aggressive military posture, it is also paramount that the Darfur issue not be ceded to establishment-friendly groups which do not share our concern for anti-imperialism.

Sudan visit

We travelled to Sudan in February 2009 to unearth the voices of the Sudanese left and opposition movements, and bring them to a Western audience. What emerged from our interviews and conversations suggests some baseline points of fundamental importance to Western activists:

1) The US sanctions regime against Sudan, though it may be satisfy an internal desire among Western activists to “do something” to demonstrate disgust with Khartoum, is very much like other instances of US sanctions, such as those against Iraq or Cuba: they hurt the poor, while the government not only survives, but thrives on the propaganda of being able to portray the country, not unfairly, as a victim of Western malice.

2) While Barack Obama’s election as US president has generated significant enthusiasm in the country, this is predicated on the desire for his administration to break with Bush-era policies and make serious efforts to address the Darfur crisis and improve relations with Sudan. Obama also risks losing the preliminary support he has engendered amongst ordinary Sudanese if he does not end US backing for Israel’s highly repressive policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians, an issue the Sudanese people follow and identify with very closely.

3) That China is viewed by many Sudanese as a new colonising power, willing to cozy up to Khartoum for access to oil, among other economic benefits, is hardly a surprise to anyone in the West. The Sudanese left, however, helpfully reminds us that some two decades prior the US was fulfilling the same neo-colonialist role, flooding the then-in-power dictatorship of Jafaar Nimeiri with weapons shipments and economic aid as the regime prosecuted a brutal civil war against the country’s south. They do not want China to leave, just to be replaced with an equally pernicious US influence.

4) The current status of the Sudanese left as small and fragmented is a relatively recent phenomenon, and largely a product of two decades of repression by the governing right-wing Islamist regime. Recent history, however, provides reasons for cautious optimism. In fact, as early as a few decades prior, the Sudanese Communist Party was one of the largest in Africa or the Middle East, and the country long had a vibrant labour movement. Left-wing politics has a vibrant history in Sudan, and still remains a part of the social fabric in a way that the left is not in the US. That the Sudanese Communist Party was recently able to hold a party convention, after a long absence, is a hopeful sign of a left-wing resurgence in Sudan. One of the contenders in the presidential elections scheduled for mid-2009, a leftist originally from Atbarah, a northern Sudanese town famous as the historical centre of strength for trade unionism and radicalism, told us his campaign has been attracting positive media coverage and receptive audiences.

5) Our duty as Western activists is not to impose solutions from outside; it is to be in solidarity with those struggling on the ground, and to listen to them, learn from them, share with them, and give a forum for their voices to be heard. This is the very basis of the concept of “solidarity”. Holding rallies to “save” Darfur while marginalising Darfurian and Sudanese voices is simply incongruous with what should be our aim: building a left-wing movement of a global nature. So is ignoring a conflict, as the US left has largely done in this case, because its perpetrators are official US enemies.

Tools ‹ Darfur true info Weblog — WordPress

Saudi Arabia ‘disturbed’ by ICC Bashir warrant …..

Monday, March 09, 2009 Saudi Arabia ‘disturbed’ by ICC Bashir warrant March 9, 2009 RIYADH (AFP) report excerpt: Saudi ‘disturbed’ by Beshir arrest warrant Saudi Arabia said Monday it was “disturbed” by the arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir on charges of crimes against humanity and pledged to stand by Sudan over threats to its sovereignty. “The council of ministers said the kingdom is concerned and disturbed by the International Criminal Court’s decision to arrest his Excellency President Omar Hassan al-Beshir,” Information Minister Abdul Aziz al-Khoja said following a cabinet meeting led by King Abdullah. “This will not solve the problems in Sudan. On the contrary, it will exacerbate them,” he added in a statement carried by SPA state news agency. “The kingdom will stand by Sudan in facing all that could threaten its sovereignty and territorial unity,” he added.

Country Expresses Deep Regret Following ICC Arrest Warrant Against Sudanese President

Story Timeline:  2 days

Tunis — An authorized source at the Foreign Affairs Ministry issued the following statement on Friday: “Tunisia deeply regrets the issuing of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Sudanese president Omar Hassan El Bachir, and expresses its concern as to the repercussions of this decision which constitutes a dangerous precedent for the sovereignty of States and a threat for the stability and security of this country, as well as for peace conventions, including the global… [read full story]                    

Eritrea renews its support to Sudanese stance against the ICC

Tuesday 3 March 2009 02:30.

March 2, 2009 (ASMARA) —The Eritrean President reiterated today its rejection to the indictment of the Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) saying such move does not targets only the Sudan but the whole region.

President Isaias Afwerki made this statement today during a meeting with a Sudanese delegation led by the Presidential Assistant, Nafi Ali Nafi, who was in a one day visit to Asmara.

The ICC judges are expected to issue a decision next Wednesday on a request for an arrest warrant against President Al-Bashir who is accused of genocide, crimes againt humanity and war crimes.

Afwerki assured the delegation of his support to the President Sudanese considering the ICC accusations against Al-Bashir “not only target the Sudanese leader and the Sudan itself but also the entire countries of the region, said Yemane Gebreab, a close presidential aide in press statements at the end of the meeting. Gerbreb further said that Eritrea would support the Sudanese government and would stand alongside the Sudanese people.”

The Sudanese Presidential Assistant hailed the firm Eritrean stance and its strong opposition to the ICC. Nafi who is also the top negotiator in the peace talks with Darfur rebels, said he briefed the Eritrean president on the goodwill peace agreement signed last month in Doha with the rebel Justice and Equality Movement.

“We also asked Eritrea to support the Doha process,” Nafi added.

Eritrea which was a former foe to Khartoum has turned close ally to Khartoum since 2005 following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the SPLM. Asmara sponsored a peace deal in October 2007 between the eastern Sudan rebels and the central government.

The visiting Sudanese delegation further held with the Eritrean officials to discuss ways to boost the bilateral relations.

The first official meeting of the Joint Eritrean-Sudanese Committee reached an understanding to launch a development and economic cooperation between the two countries as well as undertaking joint strategic programmes.

A meeting of the Ethiopian Sudanese Higher Committee will be held in Addis Ababa on March 10. The meeting will be co-chaired by the President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and the Prime Minister Meles Zinawi.

By the end of February a SPLM delegation visited Eritrea for talks with the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) which is the only legal political party in Eritrea.

The two sides in a meeting held today in Asmara agreed that accords of joint cooperation between the PFJD and the SPLM didn’t make significant progress and pledged to redouble efforts to develop the historical and strategic relations between them.

Arab lawyers criticizes ICC move against Sudanese president

Arab lawyers criticizes ICC move against Sudanese president

CAIRO, July 13 (Xinhua) — The Arab Lawyers Union on Sunday strongly slammed the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its expected move to issue an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The ICC decision to charge al-Bashir with war crimes in Darfur is “a flagrant violation of international law, norms and human rights,” the Arab Lawyers Union said in a statement.

The union also criticized the United States for its alleged role behind the ICC move, saying it’s a U.S. decision to punish al- …