Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat-Mustafa Osman Ismail, the Sudanese Presidential Advisor, compared the people of his country to “beggars” before President Omar Al-Bashir came to power, attempting to highlight the difference between the situation in modern Sudan in comparison with the situation in the past. This occurred as part of the aggressive language that Sudanese officials are accused of using following the issuance of arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court [ICC] against their president.
In a press conference held yesterday in Riyadh, Ismail rejected the claim that aggressive language had been dominating official Sudanese statements over the previous weeks. In response to a question on this, Ismail said “if we were aggressive then just look at the situation in Sudan today, in comparison with the situation in the past. When this government came to power the Sudanese people were like beggars…when this government came to power there was no sugar, the Sudanese people used to drink tea with dates”
This comes after a number of warnings issued by the United Nations [UN] which predicted a disaster for the 4.7 million people that non-governmental humanitarian and relief organizations provide food and medicine to in Darfur following Khartoum’s decision to expel 13 such organizations. The Sudanese Presidential adviser added that they were aware that the decision to expel the humanitarian and relief organizations would cause a gap in Sudan, but he vowed that Khartoum, in cooperation with Arab and Islamic organizations, would fill this gap.
Ismail explained that Sudan’s decision to expel the international organizations was in order to preserve national security, and the sovereignty of Sudan. He added that official Sudanese media agencies were also in possession of documents that condemned the expelled organizations. Ismail said “Should we have waited for these organizations to put the rope around our necks, and strangle and kill us, whilst we are still alive?” Ismail also revealed that Khartoum was aware of what these international relief agencies were planning [against Sudan] saying “One of the reasons for allowing these organizations (and not expelling them) despite their criminal activities in Sudan, was to ensure a higher level of humanitarian aid.”
Ismail also spoke about the diplomatic efforts undertaken by Khartoum to obtain approval from 38 African countries to withdraw from the ICC, adding that discussions are under way for the convening of a meeting of African countries who are signatories of the ICC, as a prelude to a joint-announcement of the withdrawal of their membership. Ismail also highlighted the possibility that the ICC Attorney-General would succeed in discouraging African nations from withdrawing their membership. He said “The Attorney-General in the previous period tried [to do so] by way of overt political activities, even though this position is not a political one. He attempted to put pressure on the states that are moving in this direction…and he may succeed in dissuading some African countries.”
Mustafa Ismail also revealed that the upcoming emergency African Summit will address the issue of African leaders being targeted by Western courts, such as has occurred in Rwanda, Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda.