Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha has called on the United Nations to reject the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against President Omar al-Bashir for allegedly masterminding a campaign of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Sudan Vice President Taha (left)
Addressing the ongoing General Assembly session in New York Monday, Mr. Taha said the involvement of the ICC is a threat to the peaceful settlement of the Darfur conflict.
Sudanese-born Omer Ismail, senior policy advisor for the Enough Project, an advocacy organization set up to highlight Darfur crisis, told VOA the international community should not fall for what he called Khartoum’s blackmail.
“The indictment by the International Criminal Court came as a result of the behavior of the government of Sudan and its president, (Mr.) Bashir. So, he’s coming now to blackmail the world basically and saying that the government will either get their way in delaying justice. Otherwise, they are not going to invest a penny in Darfur,” he said.
Ismail dismissed Taha’s claims that the involvement of the ICC would threaten the peaceful settlement of the Darfur conflict.
He said Khartoum has consistently reneged on every agreement to bring about a peaceful settlement of the Sudan crisis.
“There is no peaceful settlement to the conflict in Sudan. The world tried and they signed the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) to transform the country and everybody failed because this government was not trying to do the right thing by pursuing peace in Sudan,” Ismail said.
Sudan's Darfur refugees
The Sudanese vice president also told the General Assembly Khartoum is ready to put almost $2 billion into Darfur as part of the government’s effort to re-establish security, increase development and bring about reconciliation in the western region.
Ismail said Taha made the announcement for political reason and with no intention to bring about reconciliation in Darfur.
He said there can be no reconciliation without justice.
“There are over half a million people killed and seven million people living in warehouses. This government is doing this for political reasons. It has nothing to do with reconciliation. Over 20 years, if you look at the track record of the government of Sudan, they reneged on every single promise they’ve made so far. What should make the world to believe that they will honor what they say,” Ismail said.
The Sudanese vice president, in his speech to the General Assembly, expressed hope next referendum would be voluntary in accordance with the wishes of the people of South Sudan, and without outside interference.
But, Ismail said Khartoum will rig the referendum and start another war in the south because it is not interested in peace.