Sudan seeks India’s support against ICC’s indictment

July 22nd, 2008 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Sudan Tuesday sought India’s support in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) for mobilising international opinion against the decision of International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to indict President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of genocide in Darfur. “We need the support of India in the NAM. The support of India is very important,” Sudan’s ambassador to India Abdel Rahman Mohamed Bakhiet told reporters here.

The envoy said he met officials in the Indian external affairs ministry on this issue. “They said they were concerned about it,” the Sudanese envoy said.

“India has the width and influence internationally. So we can count on it,” Bakhiet said while alluding to the multi-faceted relations between India and Sudan that includes extensive investment in the hydrocarbon sector.

India has yet to officially react on this issue.

The African Union, the Arab League and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council have already rallied behind Sudan, which is not a party to the ICC, on this issue, the envoy said.

Repudiating charges of genocide against the Sudanese president, the envoy said the ongoing violence and crisis in Darfur, Sudan’s resource-rich western province, was not the creation of the current regime in Khartoum.

“History tells us that Darfur has been witnessing tensions among farmers and nomads over resources over a long time from time immemorial. The present problem has not been created by the president,” the envoy said while rejecting the attempt by some Western countries to portray the Darfur conflict as Arab versus Africans problem.

“There can’t be a genocide againt our own people,” he said while stressing that the ICC prosecutor’s charge will undermine the peace process in Darfur.

The ICC prosecutor indicted Bashir last week on a total of 10 charges, including three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder and sought his arrest.

About 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced from their homes in Darfur since the violence between feuding tribes erupted in 2003, according to UN estimates. Khartoum contests these figures and claims that they have been exaggerated many times over.

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