Sudan PM talks of peace on maiden trip to Darfur

Sudan's Premier Abdalla Hamdok is greeted on Monday by supporters upon arriving in El-Fasher, capital of the North Darfur state, on a one-day visit. (AFP)
Updated 05 November 2019

Sudan PM talks of peace on maiden trip to Darfur

  • About 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in the conflict, the UN says
  • Bashir, who the army ousted in April after nationwide protests against his rule, has long been accused by the Hague-based ICC of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the conflict

AL-FASHIR: Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Monday his government was working toward bringing peace to war-torn Darfur as he met hundreds of victims of the conflict who demanded swift justice.
Hamdok’s one-day visit was his first as prime minister to the devastated region, where a conflict that erupted in 2003 has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced.
He met victims of the war in the town of Al-Fashir, the capital of North Darfur state, which houses several sprawling camps where tens of thousands of displaced have been living for years.
“We want justice! Send all criminals of Darfur to the ICC (International Criminal Court),” chanted a crowd who met Hamdok as he visited camps in Al-Fashir, an AFP correspondent reported.
Hamdok assured them that his government was working toward peace in Darfur, a region of the size of Spain.
“I know your demands even before you raised them,” Hamdok told the crowd.
“We will all work together to achieve your demands and ensure that normal life returns to Darfur,” he said as the crowd chanted “No justice, no peace in Darfur!.”
The Darfur conflict flared when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the then-government of since-ousted president Omar Bashir, accusing it of marginalizing the region economically and politically.
Khartoum then applied what rights groups say was a scorched earth policy against ethnic groups suspected of supporting the rebels — raping, killing, looting and burning villages.
About 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in the conflict, the UN says.

FASTFACT

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok met victims of the war in the town of Al-Fashir, the capital of North Darfur state, which houses several sprawling camps where tens of thousands of displaced have been living for years.

Bashir, who the army ousted in April after nationwide protests against his rule, has long been accused by the Hague-based ICC of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the conflict.
“We want those criminals to be given to the ICC. Without that there won’t be peace in Darfur,” Mohamed Adam, a prominent leader representing the victims of Darfur, told Hamdok.
The protest movement that led to the ouster of Bashir said it was not against handing over the deposed autocrat to the ICC.
The military generals who had initially seized power in the aftermath of Bashir’s fall have refused to deliver him to The Hague.
Sudan’s current transitional authorities would need to ratify the ICC’s Rome Statute to allow for the transfer of Bashir to the court.
“We have no objection in handing over Bashir to the ICC,” said Ibrahim Al-Sheikh, a leader of umbrella protest movement the Forces of Freedom and Change.
“All the members of the Forces of Freedom and Change agree on that.”


Egypt urges decisive action against states backing ‘terror’

Updated 7 min 7 sec ago

Egypt urges decisive action against states backing ‘terror’

  • El-Sisi was apparently referring to Turkey and Qatar
  • Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula

CAIRO: Egypt’s president Wednesday called for “decisive” and “collective” action against countries supporting “terrorism” in an apparent reference to Turkey and Qatar, who back the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is outlawed in Egypt.
The three countries also support opposing factions in the war-torn Libya.
Addressing a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi also said achieving sustainable development in Africa is needed, along with efforts to fight militant groups in Egypt and the Sahel region that stretches across Africa south of the Sahara Desert.
“There should be a decisive response to countries supporting terrorism and a collective response against terrorism, because the terrorist groups will only have the ability to fight if they are provided with financial, military and moral support,” he said.
The gathering in Aswan is attended by the leaders of Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal along with officials from the US, Britain and Canada.
The Sahel region is home to Al-Qaeda and Daesh-linked militants. El-Sisi said Egypt could help train forces and provide weapons to countries in the region to fight extremists.
Egypt has for years been battling a Daesh-led insurgency that intensified after the military overthrew Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Mursi in 2013 amid mass protests against his brief rule.
Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula, as well as in the country’s vast Western Desert, which has witnessed deadly attacks blamed on militants infiltrating from neighboring Libya.
Since Mursi’s ouster, tensions have grown between Egypt and Turkey and Egypt and Qatar. The political party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo designated as at terrorist group in 2013.
El-Sisi also said a “comprehensive, political solution would be achieved in the coming months” for the conflict in Libya, which descended into chaos after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi. He did not elaborate.
He said that would put an end to a “terrorist hotbed that pushes militants and weapons to (Libya’s) neighboring countries including Egypt.”
El-Sisi apparently was referring to an international summit in Berlin that aims to reach an agreement on actions needed to end the conflict. The conference had been scheduled for October, but it has apparently been postponed.
El-Sisi’s comments came amid heightened tensions with Turkey after a controversial maritime border agreement it signed last month with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.
Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically, have denounced the deal as being contrary to international law, and Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the issue.
Haftar has for months been fighting an array of militias allied with the Tripoli authorities to wrestle control of the capital. He is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy.