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Sudan Rebels Criticize African Union Opposition to ICC Warrants


Some residents in Sudan's restive Darfur region are reportedly expressing concerns that growing debate about the possible indictment of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes could worsen their plight. The residents claim they could not only be denied much needed help from the international community, but also that peace and security in the area could be seriously jeopardized. This comes after the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement accused the African Union of bias after it urged the UN Security Council to suspend a proposed arrest warrant against President Bashir.

The rebels reportedly said they would no longer recognize AU efforts to mediate a peace process aimed at resolving the Darfur crisis. But the former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) sharply differed, saying there is need to find a solution to the Darfur crisis. Yasser Arman is the Deputy SPLM Secretary General. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Khartoum that his group is calling for cooperation between Sudan and the International Criminal Court process.

"In the first place the SPLM had earlier on a clear position on this indictment process that we are calling for cooperation on the legal aspects with the ICC. At the same time we can see very clearly this situation. If it is not well managed, it could and it can hurt the peace and stability in Sudan. And the most important thing is for all of us finding a fair and a just solution for the Darfur crisis, which is the source of all the other consequences," Arman pointed out.

He said the SPLM see the crisis in Darfur as political, which needs an urgent solution.

"We think the Darfur crisis is a political crisis and is part of the socio-economic process through cultural and political marginalization of wider segments of the Sudanese society. The general characteristics of the Darfur problem are the same as in South Sudan and Eastern Sudan, and it needs a fair and just peaceful settlement," he said.

Arman said there was need not to be sidetracked on the resolution of the Darfur crisis after news of the indictment of President Bashir.

"I believe the most important thing is to focus on how to resolve the issue of Darfur itself and how to strike a balance between justice and stability and the resolution of the crisis in Darfur as a primary and fundamental issue for everybody. Those issues are interrelated, the justice, the stability, democracy. Implementing the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) is also important. How to move this situation forward and how to get a perfect comprehensive outlook of the present situation in Sudan, it is very important, and we should not be selective on all the other aspects," Arman pointed out.

He said the SPLM would do all it can to have the crisis in Darfur resolved.

"As you know, the chairman of the SPLM, General Salva Kiir, is also the chairman of the crisis management committee, and this committee is doing a lot in focusing the attention on a peaceful negotiated settlement with all these stakeholders," he noted.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese government reportedly vowed Tuesday to protect its sovereignty, reiterating that the indictment of President Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) will jeopardize the country's entire peace process.

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