Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Al-Samani al-Wasilah, the Sudanese minister of state for foreign affairs, has warned against referring the Darfur issue to the United Nations (UN) and told “Asharq al-Awsat” that the African Union (AU) needs limited financing for deploying the African forces and is capable of a solution in a short period of time.
Al-Wasilah disclosed new proposals and ideas that the Khartoum is preparing at present for presenting at the upcoming round of negotiations in Abuja and pointed out that these would satisfy the rebels, especially at this stage, in terms of participation in building Sudan and obtaining a share of the power and wealth. After noting that he was expecting a peace agreement between the Sudanese Government and the rebel movement to be reached during this month, he said a UN role could then be accepted, as was the case after the south agreement, which would allow the participation of UN forces but under Chapter 6 of the international organization’s charter.
The Sudanese minister warned against any pressures to impose the UN in Darfur before a settlement has been reached with the rebels and said this is bound to prolong the crisis, especially as the UN might start to examine the issue anew while the AU knows the crisis problems and solutions very well, has almost come close to reaching solutions for them, and has only the problem of financing, which it is discussing at present.
It is recalled that the deployment of African forces in Darfur needs $37 million a year.
Regarding the dangers and warnings that Sudan voiced at the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting if the issue was referred to the UN, the Sudanese minister summed them as follows:
The cost of the action by the UN team and its forces will be higher. Darfur’s region rejection of any UN forces in light of what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. The hostile feeling toward foreign troops causes unprecedented security tension in the region and there is an example of this in another context when the Norwegian defense minister arrived at “Al-Fashir Airport” and the people of Darfur refused to let his plane land. Lastly, the presence of troops will increase the violence.
The Sudanese minister called for the international community’s cooperation with Khartoum to solve the crisis instead of complicating it and demanded several steps, among them:
Promoting the negotiations in Abuja within the AU framework. Helping those carrying arms unite their stands and leaderships, and for them to present reasonable demands commensurate with the nature of the transitional period in terms of sharing power and wealth.
Al-Washilah disclosed that there is pressure on the AU’s Peace and Security Commission to make the AU admit its failure and its inability to continue. He said the reality is quite the opposite because the AU is still in control when dealing with this issue.
On the possibility of collecting weapons in Darfur, he ruled this out due to the presence of other parties carrying arms and called on the UN and others to determine the sources of shooting so as to deal with them and to monitor the situation.