DARFUR: The Arab League (AL) coordinates with all political forces in Sudan and not just the government in Khartoum, Secretary General Amr Moussa told Daily News Egypt.
During the League s visit Saturday and Sunday, projects were inaugurated in Jeninah in West Darfur as well as in Niyala, during which time it held an extraordinary session in Al-Fasher in Northern Darfur.
During the session, the Arab League was more blunt in its support for the Sudanese government.
The Syrian permanent representative to the Arab League Yousef Al-Ahmad said in his opening remarks that there was a conspiracy against Sudan s sovereignty and unity. Syria currently holds the presidency of the League.
Al-Ahmad said that double standards were used by western organizations and countries regarding Sudan, astonishingly adding that Zionism can t be too far away from this.
Alluding to the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant issued against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, he said, What the ICC is trying to do is create conflict and instability in Sudan and the League is against that.
Moussa said in the session, The Arab League is in total solidarity with Sudan in protecting its borders and peace and safety. This position is shared by the League, the UN and the AU.
The situation in Darfur has changed, from tension towards normality and stability, he added.
He described the upcoming Sudanese elections – where campaigning kicked off Saturday – as democratic and unparalleled in the region.
Meny Al- Mennawi, a top aide to Al-Bashir and head of Darfur’s interim authority, warned against those who traded on the plight of the refugees and orphans.
In Khartoum on Sunday, Moussa and members of the AL also met with Al-Bashir, against whom the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for allegedly committing crimes of genocide in Darfur.
Asked whether the close corporation between the AL and the Khartoum government on the issue of Darfur is tantamount to the League’s support for Al-Bashir, Moussa insisted that the League cooperates with the entire political spectrum in Sudan.
Our cooperation so far as the Sudanese question is concerned is with the Sudanese establishment as a whole, Moussa told Daily News Egypt in Niyala, Southern Darfur Saturday. The government in Khartoum, the government in Southern Sudan and many members of parliament and parties and the African Union in particular are our partners in the issues pertaining to Sudan.
The Jeninah projects – settlements that have been constructed with AL funding – were inaugurated amid high security by the Sudanese government. The projects were launched with much fanfare by residents of the area, but were clearly choreographed by the military and police forces present.
As for our visits to Darfur, this is to inaugurate certain projects that the Arab League has sponsored within the process of reconstruction. So we are helping to the best of our ability in the light of the increase in the Arab awareness and contribution to alleviate the suffering in Darfur, Moussa said.
However, representatives of the Sudanese government present at the project’s inauguration took it as a chance to highlight that Darfur has become safe and that there was no more tension between Arabs and non-Arabs.
We ask that Sudan return to its former state of power, unity and peace, a Sudanese official said in Jeninah.
However, it was not completely smooth sailing for the League s delegation and accompanying journalists, when their flight from Niyala to Khartoum on Saturday had to be redirected to Al-Obayed in Northern Sudan due to a technical failure in the runaway lights at Khartoum airport.
Prior to that, the Secretary General had said he hoped that Arab involvement would continue to increase in Darfur.
Moussa said, UN reports have found that the Arab participation in the construction of Darfur has reached 33 percent of total aid in 2009, so I hope in 2010 it will reach 50 percent. The Arab League is the coordinator of Arab aid.
Darfur was thrown into a maelstrom of instability in 2003, when rebel forces clashed with government-backed militias. The UN estimates and 250,000 people have lost their lives in the conflict and 3 million have been displaced.