Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Sudan vows to resist Darfur intervention

A crowd of boys welcomes the arrival of a convoy of Red Cross trucks carrying food and supplies to a camp between Chad and Sudan.

The Sudanese Cabinet has put all government institutions on alert after vowing to face down any foreign intervention in the Darfur crisis.

Ministers have ordered the "political and strategic mobilisation of all government institutions", Agriculture Minister Majzub Al Khalifa Ahmed said after an emergency cabinet meeting.

Mr Ahmed says ministers also decided to "strongly resist all [UN Security Council] resolutions calling for despatching international forces to Darfur".

"The Government will from now on harden its attitude in rejection of any foreign intervention in Darfur and will notify the international community of this position," he said.

"The Government will appropriately deal with any soldier who sets foot on Sudanese territory."

Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail later re-iterated that Khartoum was prepared to face down any foreign intervention in Darfur, by force if necessary.

"We are not looking for confrontation and we hope that we will not be pushed to that," Mr Ismail told reporters in Ankara.

"But if we are being forced to do so, if we are being attacked, definitely we are not going to sit silent. We will retaliate or we will hit back."


At the same time, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell said it was too soon to talk of military intervention in Darfur.

Speaking to reporters on his way to Egypt, Mr Powell called such talk "premature", adding that he believed the Sudanese Government still had the ability to take action to bring the violence there under control.

Australia and Britain have both expressed readiness to commit troops to an international intervention force in Darfur.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on the weekend that there was a "good chance" Australia would send "a small number" of troops to Darfur as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force.

The US is looking to introduce a new resolution on Darfur in the UN Security Council later today.

By In Solidarity 27 July 04


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