From Volume 8, Issue 10 of EIR Online, Published Mar. 10, 2009
Africa News Digest

Sudan Continues To Reject Legitimacy of the ICC

March 8 (EIRNS)—In the wake of an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Sudan has rejected a proposal for an international conference that would "reconcile the political and judicial considerations in light of the ICC decision," in the words of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Egypt is promoting such a conference. Bashir has said that the ICC is part of a neocolonial drive, and has no valid jurisdiction. Sudan's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ali Karti, told Al-Jazeera TV today, "If there are certain parties that want to internationalize this issue, Sudan will not accept it."

Libya is, so far, the only other government to recognize the ICC as a political tool. Libya's legislature, the General People's Congress, issued a statement on March 4—the day the arrest warrant for Bashir was issued—that said, in part: "The so-called ICC has no legitimacy or legal jurisdiction to examine such accusations.... This order threatens security and peace in Africa and the world." Libya is encouraging governments that have signed the Rome Treaty creating the ICC to withdraw their signatures.

It is noteworthy that Libya holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council this month and will hold the presidency of the UN General Assembly for a year starting in September. Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi is the current president of the African Union.

In Mauritania, dozens of MPs also deny the legitimacy of the ICC. They reacted to the arrest warrant with a declaration stating that the ICC is politicized and lacks independence or credibility. It called on the Arab and African countries to withdraw from the ICC and "not remain silent in the face of this shameful partiality with an international agenda to destroy Sudan, its people, and the integrity of its territory."

Bashir Greeted by Thousands in Darfur Visit

March 8 (EIRNS)—Sudan's President Bashir was greeted by thousands in a March 8 visit to El-Fasher, the capital of Northern Darfur state. He waved from the back of an open pickup truck and told the cheering crowd that, "They told us if we leave the NGOs to continue their work, we will freeze the ICC decision, but we reject that." Only a tiny fraction of the money raised for Darfur by the NGOs ever reached the province, he charged. "We are ready to fill the gap.... We will spend it from our pocket," he said. "They speak as if they are the masters of the world, but they are liars and hypocrites."

While there, he signed contracts for road construction in Darfur. The rally was attended by diplomats from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and other Arab countries.

Obama Pressured To Adopt British Policy on Sudan

March 7 (EIRNS)—Several members of President Barack Obama's inner circle are acting in to rope him into a British-defined policy toward Sudan that will destroy the nation. The issue is not food aid, contrary to what they maintain, but about breaking the Sudan government's commitment to national development. The New York Times joined the fray today with a column by Nicholas Kristof, who charges Obama with being worse than Neville Chamberlain, for "appeasing" Sudan's President Bashir.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has advocated escalating pressure on Sudan, through air attacks, and imposition of a no-fly zone, since 2006. Yesterday, in an interview with NPR, she again promoted the British policy of increasing pressure against Sudan, until Sudan dumps its commitment to a policy of unified national development.

In an op-ed published by the Washington Post March 5, Merrill McPeak, a co-chair of the Presidential Obama campaign (former chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force), singled out Susan Rice for having advocated the creation of a no-fly zone. McPeak is promoting foreign control over Sudan's air space as the most promising initiative against the country. He argues that this would be the best way for the United States to act multilaterally with NATO allies to box in Sudan. Rice, true to her British roots as a Rhodes Scholar, has long been an advocate of a multilateralist approach to wrecking the sovereignty of African nations.

High-level military and diplomatic sources have indicated to EIR that such a policy is unworkable, and would only politically complicate the situation.

The creation of a no-fly zone would lead to a far greater number of deaths in Darfur than are now occurring. Food aid cannot be safely delivered by land, since the British-organized rebel groups hijack the trucks and the food. The only reliable way to deliver the food aid is by air.

China Maintains Commitment to Congo

March 9 (EIRNS)—Despite contrary demands from the IMF, China is still committed to the deal it made with the Democratic Republic of Congo last year to spend $9 billion on mining and infrastructure, according to China's ambassador to Congo, a March 3 Bloomberg wire reports.

This is China's biggest single investment in Africa, and will provide roads, railways, hospitals, and schools in return for $50 billion worth of metals, at current prices.

The IMF had said in December that Congo won't qualify for more than $6 billion of debt relief unless the agreement is changed so the country won't be the guarantor of the deal and add to its debt.

China's Ambassador to D.R. Congo, Wu Zexian, said in a Feb. 25 interview in Goma, eastern Congo, that the IMF's demands are "blackmail," according to Bloomberg: "The contract will not change."

Congo has been hit hard by the global economic/financial meltdown.

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