|Africa News Digest
Italy Opts for Dialogue, Not Sanctions, for Sudan
May 4 (EIRNS)After meeting with Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol May 3 in Sudan, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Patrizia Sentinelli told the Italian news agency AKI that Italy wants to encourage the Sudanese government to resume talks with rebels in the strife-torn Darfur region. "Instead of threatening the Khartoum government with more sanctions over its refusal to allow UN peacekeeping forces to deploy in Darfur, Italy is working to help relaunch negotiations between the Sudanese authorities and the rebels in Darfur," Sentinelli said. She made clear that in her meeting with Akol, she had "stressed the need to make all efforts possible to relaunch negotiations with all sides involved."
Sentinelli's remarks appear to place Italy at odds with warnings issued by the United States and Britain to Khartoum, that they will step up efforts to implement sanctions against Sudan, if it continues to forbid UN peacekeeping forces from deploying in Darfur. The warnings followed the publication of a UN report that accuses the Sudanese government of painting UN colors on planes used by the military to transport weapons to Darfur, in violation of international agreements.
May 3, Sentinelli attended the official opening of a hospital specializing in heart surgery situated in Soba, some 20 km from Khartoum. Named the Salam Centre, the 15 million euro facility, equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment, is operated by the Italian non-governmental organization Emergency. The facility also employs a large number of Italians and Sudanese.
On May 2, Saudi Arabia brokered a peace agreement between Sudan and neighboring Chad which aims to ensure territorial integrity, and weaken opposition forces who are using the border region as a base of operations.
ICC Has Issued Arrest Warrants for Sudanese Officials
May 5 (EIRNS)The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants May 3 for Sudan Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ahmed Haroun and a militia leader, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, according to Somali.net. Haroun was a minister allegedly responsible for the Darfur portfolio in 2003 and 2004, according to BBC, but the Sudan government denies this. Kushayb is alleged to be part of a pro-government militia in Darfur. He is already in the custody of the government for attacks committed in Darfur.
The ICC conducted its investigation from outside Sudan. Haroun said the move against him was politically motivated. Sudan reports that the ICC has not indicted any Darfur rebels who are also guilty of murderous attacks.
The ICC move creates a head-on confrontation with the Sudan government, over the Darfur crisis.