Sudan’s Bashir vows rural development as new protests loom

Sudanese protesters chant slogans during a demonstration against President Omar al-Bashir in the capital Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman on January 29, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 03 February 2019
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Sudan’s Bashir vows rural development as new protests loom

  • The veteran leader has been on a charm offensive with rallies across the country in a bid to head off weeks of protests
  • Demonstrations erupted in Sudan in December after a government decision to triple the price of bread

KHARTOUM: Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir on Sunday pledged to bolster rural development, as he seeks to face down anti-government demonstrations that have rocked cities and villages.
The veteran leader has been on a charm offensive with rallies across the country in a bid to head off weeks of protests seen as the biggest threat to his 30-year rule.
Addressing hundreds of villagers in North Kordofan state at a televised event he promised to bring clean drinking water to rural areas “across Sudan” and open a new hospital in the region.
The speech came after he inaugurated a new 340-kilometer (210 miles) highway linking North Kordofan to Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum.
“Building such a road in present economic conditions is not an easy thing to achieve,” said Bashir, after being escorted to the stage by dozens of men on camels.
“Along this road we will bring electricity to boost the region’s growth.”
Demonstrations erupted in Sudan in December after a government decision to triple the price of bread unleashed frustrations at years of deteriorating living conditions and growing hardship.
Officials say 30 people have died in protest-related violence, while rights group Human Rights Watch says at least 51 have been killed.
Bashir’s attempts to rally support have so far failed to halt the wave of discontent, with the group leading the demonstrations calling for fresh protests over the next few days starting Sunday night.
Bashir and other senior Sudanese officials have repeatedly said that the government can be changed only through elections.
The leader, who came to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, is considering running for a third elected presidential term in polls due next year.


Iran’s Zarif says risk of war with Israel is great

Updated 5 min 24 sec ago
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Iran’s Zarif says risk of war with Israel is great

  • FM said Israel’s behavior violates international law
  • He also criticized Europe for not calling out Israel and US for illegal behavior in the region

MUNICH: Iran’s foreign minister accused Israel of looking for war and warned that its behavior and that of the United States was increasing the chances of a clash in the region.
“Certainly, some people are looking for war ... Israel,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said at the Munich Security Conference.
Accusing Israel of violating international law after bombing campaigns in Syria, Zarif also criticized European powers for not calling out Israel and the United States for their behavior in the region.
“The risk (of war) is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law.
“Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, US behavior is putting international law on the shelf.”
Zarif, who said Iran was committed to a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers for now, also accused France, Britain and Germany of not doing enough to ensure Tehran received the economic benefits of that accord.