Asharq Al-Awsat- The Sudanese Embassy in Washington has welcomed the new US policy toward Khartoum that was announced by the US State Department and called for following up the words with deeds and said in a statement it issued: “We welcome the new US policy and we welcome its emphasis on negotiations.”
In a reference to previous reports of a struggle over the issue between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and retired General Scott Gration, President Obama’s envoy to Sudan, and without naming specific names, the Sudanese Embassy statement said: “The new US policy has the support of all the relevant parties inside the US administration. The differences between these parties were resolved and they are talking now with one voice.”
The statement welcomed and urged the encouragement of what it called “the fact that the new policy does not refer to declarations of incitement to which the world became used for a long time and were issued by quarters inside the United States.” Without referring by name to American organizations which wanted to increase pressure on the Sudanese Government such as the “Darfur Rescue” organization, the statement said: “These developments make it clear that the new US administration’s policy prefers diplomatic action to hostile activities.” And in a reference to the word “genocide” mentioned in the US State Department’s statement, the Sudanese Embassy statement said “this is regrettable” and added: “This description is contrary to the facts and never reflects the reality as described by many international investigation quarters” and the United States “remains alone” in its insistence on using the word “genocide.”
The Sudanese Embassy also criticized what it called the absence of “a real commitment” by the US Government and said it is apparently waiting to see what the Sudanese Government will do and then respond. The statement stressed that “solving Sudan’s problems and therefore deciding Sudan’s fate depends on the Sudanese themselves” and this view is the basis on which Sudan deals with other countries, including the United States, and the actions of other countries, and not necessarily their statements and announcements, will be the basis for the reactions of the Sudanese foreign policy.
On the other hand, political forces and displaced persons and refugees in Darfur welcomed the new policy and considered it a radical change in Washington’s policy of dealing with the Sudanese issues, especially its linkage of the south and Darfur issues as one package and demanded a comprehensive solution for the crises facing the country.
Dr. Ali al-Haj, assistant secretary general of the opposition of People’s Congress Party led by Hasan al-Turabi, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the policy announced by Obama is no more than a “stick and carrot” one and added: “But there is this time a radical change to a large extent in Washington’s policy toward Sudan by linking the issues of the south, Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Abyei as one package”, considering this a positive step by the US administration.
On his part, Abdul-Wahid Nur, leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement, welcomed in statements the US policy toward Sudan that was announced the day before yesterday but criticized at the same time Envoy Scott Gration’s approach in handling Sudan’s Darfur issue and demanded the return of security first, the disarming of the Janjawid, and the expulsion of the new settlers from the lands of the displaced and compensating the latter.
On its part, the People’s Movement [SPLM] urged Obama not to be lax with Khartoum and Ann It to, its deputy secretary general, said “there were reasons for which these sanctions were imposed on Khartoum and these situations have not changed.” On its part, the new Justice and Equality Movement led by Dr. Khalil Ibrahim told Asharq al-Awsat through its official Spokesman Ahmad Hussein it welcomed in principle the new US policy toward Sudan and that its establishments were examining these policies so as to issue a detailed opinion on them. He added that the most important thing in the policy announced by the US administration is that it put an end to the individual opinions of US officials in charge of the Darfur dossier. That was a reference to Envoy Gration. The spokesman went on to say that this gave the regime the chance to buy time and pointed out that the US administration took a comprehensive view of its handling of the Sudanese issues and this is in accord with his movement’s stands.
On the other hand, several displaced persons and refugees in the Darfur and eastern Chad camps welcomed in a contact with Asharq al-Awsat Obama’s policy toward Sudan and a number of them demanded more pressures on Khartoum. One of them, who asked to be unidentified for security reasons, said Washington must intervene instead of offering incentives to Al-Bashir’s government.