Khartoum, Asharq Al-Awsat- An Islamic Courts delegation met with U.S diplomats in Khartoum on Monday, as part of a visit to negotiate with the transitional government. A source in the Islamic Courts told Asharq al Awsat, the ten-member delegation met with U.S officials, including Katherine Moseley, the Public Affairs Officer at the embassy in the Sudanese capital, alongside other officials.
The delegation presented the Islamic Courts’ views on the future of Somalia and discussed relations with the United States.
A source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Islamic Courts representatives criticized US policies towards their country in recent years and condemned the restrictions imposed on charities and financial organizations, which notably lead to the closure of al Barakat Bank, after its assets were frozen by Washington D.C in October 2004. The U.S government was also criticized for back Somali warlords under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
On the other hand, the delegation hailed a number of steps taken by the U.S in the past two weeks, including the creation of a “contact group on Somalia and the welcome it gave to the first round of Arab-League sponsored negotiations between the transitional Somali government and the Islamic Courts delegation in Khartoum .
For their part, the US diplomats indicated their government was studying whether to send a team of observers to the Sudanese capital to oversee the second round of negotiations, expected to be held in the coming days.
The date proposed visit to Mogadishu by a U.S delegation has not yet been set. President George W. Bush has indicated he was deeply worried by events in the Somalia and said his government would not let the African nation become a haven for al Qaeda fighters.