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Sudan Denies Threatening UN Staff Over ICC Arrest Warrants


President Omar Hassan al-Bashir government is denying threatening United Nations staff and facilities in the country over a possible International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against him for war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region. This comes after a UN envoy to Sudan told the Security Council Monday that Bashir's government warned the UN of "serious consequences" for its staff and facilities if the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant against Bashir over Darfur.

Ashraf Qazi said there is need for the UN to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of UN staff. But Sudan's government denies the charge, saying that it has been cooperating with various UN organizations operating in Sudan. Ambassador Ali Saddick is the spokesman for Sudan's foreign ministry. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the government is doing all it can to deal with the possibility of ICC arrest warrants.

"It an alleged threat and it is not true. The government of Sudan is a serious government and it is totally committed to its obligations, especially when it comes to agreement signed with other organizations and especially the United Nations and the African Union. I'm not aware of any threat that has been towards to the United Nations regarding their very existence in the Sudan if the ICC has and the judges have confirmed the indictment of the president," Saddick noted.

He said President Bashir's government is steadfast in its determination to cooperate with the United Nations.

"I would rather say that the government is totally committed to its obligations and we have never threatened the United Nations peacekeeping force here in Sudan, whether in Darfur or in the South," he said.

Saddick said it was routine for the United Nations to take precautionary measures to protect its staff and facilities.

"In fact they usually do that not only in Sudan, but everywhere just in case because it happens that when the ICC announced its indictment of the president of Sudan, some of the UN peacekeepers here have been relocated outside of the Sudan in case anything might happen. And this proves just a precautionary measure. And because nothing happened and things are going normal in Sudan and now those are taken away from Sudan, the peacekeepers have been flown back to Sudan," Saddick pointed out.

He said Sudan's government is making its case before the UN Security Council to have the indictment of President Bashir squashed.

"In fact, we are launching some sort of diplomacy with the United Nations and with major players in this game, and we are doing very well. We have got support form almost all organizations, and we are going to carry this support to the Security Council. We are doing very well in that regard," he said.

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