Sudanese Ambassador to U.S.: Beware 'Hidden Agenda' Behind Sanctions
by Marcia Merry Baker and Doug DeGroot
The Ambassador to the United States from Sudan, John Ukec Lueth Ukec, is speaking out in press briefings and interviews, against the new sanctions imposed on his nation on May 29 by President Bush. Ukec described the harm of the unilateral U.S. economic sanctions at a National Press Club event May 30, and the duplicity involved in the United States attacking a nation already on the road to peaceful solutions. Then on June 2, he participated in an hour-long, live LaRouche Show radio discussion (larouchepub.com), giving in-depth background. Ukec focussed on the impact and "hidden agenda" involved in the geopolitical contrivance of the Darfur "single issue," being whipped up since 2003 as a bludgeon against Sudan, and against the principle of sovereignty of nations throughout Africa. What's required instead, he said, are resources for economic development. Appearing with him on The LaRouche Show were Lawrence Freeman (EIR Africa Bureau), Paul Mourino (LaRouche Youth Movement, Washington, D.C. Bureau), and host Marcia Merry Baker (EIR Economics Director).
The new sanctions announced by Bush involve financial actions against 31 companies doing business in Sudan (see box), and against three Sudanese individuals—two Cabinet officials and one of the anti-government rebels. Bush gave as his reason, acting against the "genocide" in Sudan. The President further called for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to draw up a resolution for United Nations sanctions against Sudan, including military action.
Within hours, Britain and France expressed support for Bush's actions. France's new Sarkozy government further called for military intervention in Chad, in the name of opening "humanitarian corridors" from Chad into Darfur, to be imposed by either unilateral French forces, or European Union troops. Government officials in Chad rejected the "offer." Opposition to the U.S. sanctions has been forthcoming from Russia, China, and South Africa.
The following points and quotations are taken from the June 2 discussion with Ambassador Ukec on The LaRouche Show. Sudan, home to 39.4 million people, has the largest area of any nation in Africa, with 8% of the continental land area.
Sanctions Are 'A Death Sentence'
Ambassador Ukec described how the sanctions affect the most basic aspects of life in Sudan, especially given the numbers of displaced persons, seeking to return to their homes.
"Those sanctions affect everything in my country. It actually destroys the peace which was built by the rest of the world, including us. It destroys the peace, because peace needs constructive development, and when you curtail the economic system of a country—let me give you one example. There is a large number of people displaced, due to the fighting in Darfur; there is a large number of southern Sudanese who have been in all the surrounding countries. Nine countries surround Sudan, these are our neighbors, and there were refugees in those countries for 10, 20 years. They are flocking back to Sudan. Where do they get food?
"Our most important food—staple food—-is sorghum, grown in the eastern Sudan, in a place called Gedaref, and in the northern part of southern Sudan, in a place called Rank...." Agricultural programs—including ones contributed to by the United States, have been buying the grain and "shipping it to Darfur, and to the South for newcomers, who have been displaced for 10, 15 years. They don't have housing; they don't have food.
"And all of a sudden ... these sanctions. Because our refugees are coming back from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, also Central African Republic—all these people are coming back! They have no food, but these agricultural programs that produce grain, produce wheat, produce sugar—these are the ones targetted by [sanctions against] the 31 companies. So where do these people eat?
"They say that they are putting the sanctions on the government," but it is the masses of the poor who will suffer. Look at sugar. The hundred or so government officials drink "high class coffee." But suger in tea is "very important to the average Sudanese. If you go to Sudan today, and go to the hospital, surrounding the hospital you get so many women, with kettles: They make tea. And then the workers, they come down from where they work, get a cup of tea, plus a small piece of bread—and they live on that! When the sugar is not there, the women—which is an informal economy, as we know that—they will lose their jobs. The people who are hungry will not get a cheap means of surviving.
"Those who are in the [refugee] camps will not get the bread, because these companies are targetted by the sanctions. Those who are far away cannot be reached, because the spare parts for the trains or the vehicles we have, cannot be provided.
"This is a devastation.... What I said is: They are crippling my government. They are crippling and killing my people. It is a death sentence to my people, at a time when we really need help so that we build democracy.
"If we don't get that situation, we will go back to hatred, fighting, and all the rest, and we will be at square one again, looking for guns, going back to other countries—I said this, we might go back to Egypt, and you know that Egypt has a large population of refugees who left [Sudan]. They want to come back now. When they hear there are sanctions on Sudan, no jobs! The company will not be encouraged to go to Sudan!
"I see the significance of this thing. It looks like a 'token' to the American administration [sanctioning a few companies], but it is not! This is a death sentence to the growing, democratic Sudan. This is what they have done to my country, and it is very, very shocking to me."
Sanctions Go Against the Peace Accords
Over the past three years, two critical peace accords have been reached in Sudan. As Lawrence Freeman summarized, there was the "Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which was signed in February 2005, and this ended 20 years of civil war in Sudan, between the North and the South. This was a very important peace agreement, which could give the country the potential for development of the South economically, especially in terms of vital infrastructure categories." By mid-2006, a 7,000-person African Union peacekeeping force was in Darfur. Late in 2006, Sudan agreed to expand the AU force by 3,000, On May 3, 2007, Sudan and Chad (which borders on Darfur) signed a reconciliation agreement, pledging to cooperate with the UN and the AU to stabilize Sudan's Darfur region and the neighboring areas of Chad. At the time the sanctions were imposed, negotiations for what is called Phase Three of the peacekeeping forces—a substantial UN force under the command of the AU—was being negotiated.
Now, the May 29 U.S. sanctions and threats of outside military intervention against Sudan have been announced, in the name of saving Darfur. Ambassador Ukec drew out the implications: "The message it sends to those who are rebels there, is to say, 'You know what? This government is going to fall soon.' And the warlords emerge in Darfur. And that is why—you know, on May 6, 2006, we signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, and America was central in drafting the Darfur Peace Agreement. Their representatives from the State Department, the think-tanks, all those guys that deal with Condoleezza Rice and all those: They were there! And the draft, if there was something wrong, they would have pointed out, 'This is injustice.' But it was purely something that brought people together. The largest group, the Minnawi group of the rebels, what they call SLA, Sudan Liberation Army, they signed onto it! And the number-four man in our power system now in Sudan, is from Darfur!
"I don't see why this Darfur has become a big deal, forgetting the people of Southern Sudan in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which is the basis of sharing power, sharing wealth, and making security arrangements. These are the best protocols ever produced by any country which has been at war. Why are these things being ignored? Why should we not stick to what the Americans said? Why is America unilaterally targetting Sudan? The UN has not suggested that we be sanctioned; the African Union, which is working with us, has never been contacted; they have never even condemned us, by saying 'this is a genocide.' It's just making my government and my people think twice: 'Maybe America has something on its mind. Something dubious, something which may be terrible to our people.' This is what it shows. Otherwise, it is unwanted, it is unwarranted, to do this, and put us under sanctions, when we need to be provided for and rewarded."
Ukec has expressed personal shock at the United States action, given the particulars of his own background. In response to a question from Paul Mourino, Ukec recounted his life story. He was born in Southern Sudan, where his Christian missionary parents lived. He was well-educated there as a youngster. A year after Sudan's independence from Britain in 1956, Ukec went into the bush, as an insurgent, at age 15, against the Sudan government. Subsequently trained in the military, and also in economics at Iowa State University, he ended up spending some years in the United States, fighting for Sudanese interests, including testifying to Congress. He then welcomed the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement as an historic opportunity for all concerned. He was posted in October 2006 as Ambassador from Sudan to Washington, D.C. He explained on the June 2 LaRouche Show:
"I came here to bring the American people, and the Sudanese people together, so that they have a good relationship. We hope that we will gain from the American people, their experience, increase our productivity, because this is the world whereby there is a lot of capital-intensive, in addition to labor-intensive products that can help my country.
"This [the May 29 sanctions decision] is shocking. I never expected that the American administration would do this, especially President Bush. He knows better, because he signed the Sudan Peace Act, he signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, he was involved in it. And, he also—as I told you the other day in my press conference: The American money, taxpayers' money, has been used in Sudan. Was that just a window-dressing? I thought the American government and the American people were serious about our situation. But, how can you do one thing, see if it looks good—and then, come up with a big slam, which destroys the entire work which has been done over the last four or five years?"
'Hidden Agenda' Against Sudan, Africa
Lawrence Freeman addressed the underlying question to Ambassador Ukec. "What I've discussed with Mr. LaRouche, is: One of the things that we think is behind the Darfur policy, is in fact to topple or dismember the Sudanese government, and that this would violate the water agreement that Sudan made in 1959 with Egypt, and then this would be used to squeeze Egypt, which depends on that water. What do you think is behind these attacks on Sudan? This is something I think people would want to know."
Ambassador Ukec replied, "I believe the leadership of Sudan has become very ambivalent, and they have always said that 'there is a hidden agenda.' You know, all the things you have just said here, Larry, fit in, into what the leadership of Sudan says: that there is a hidden agenda. There is some powerful organization somewhere, that has picked on certain countries in Africa, especially those countries where the leadership has been strong, has been against any encroachment on their sovereignty. They are the targets of that hidden agenda. I do not want to go into details about it. I think they can be summed up by an intelligent think-tank of this country, and His Excellency LaRouche always goes into details about things like that, because he watches from afar and above the rest of the world. As a result, he might be more objective than those guys who are involved in devious arrangements, like Blair, and the President of the United States George Bush."
Ukec elaborated, in response to an e-mail from a listener in Texas, about oil being targetted by those who are attacking Sudan. "I also think that there are a lot of things in Sudan that may be targetted, by people who are very much interested in oil. As I told you before in my history, I worked hard to evict Talisman Oil Co., the Canadian company, out of Southern Sudan. I believe also, there are large reserves of oil in most parts of the South, and also, Darfur.
"So, there is a hidden agenda, and this is why my leadership thinks that it is our oil which is being targetted. They are going to split us, to make us weak, and then they may pick their stooges, like they have done in Iraq, got their stooges, pulled them into war under the pretext that there were weapons of mass destruction, which we never got. They even showed us certain things, 'these are mobile weapons of mass destruction,' fake things which never happened. They are faking those things now in Darfur!"
What Is Happening in Darfur
Ukec stressed the need for peace, food, infrastructure, and economic development in Darfur and throughout Sudan. What is particularly urgently needed is water. He implored the public, and especially the youth, not to be taken in by the "faking" of the Darfur lobby, which is attacking Sudan and Africa. "Go and look at the report by the AMIS [Africa Union Mission in Sudan] and also the UN reports on Darfur, and see how many deaths per month. You will not get 50 per month! You will never get 50 per month. And you will always hear that the rebels have hijacked the vehicles of humanitarian workers, and they don't condemn them! The rebels also are being subsidized by some countries, and those countries have the French interests. They have oil in that country, and they want to extend their ring to Darfur and probably the entirety of Sudan. These are the things which are going on.
"You young people, you lay American people who do not read any more than what you are fed by the media, do not know this. I'm here to open your eyes, so that you see the other side of the story. You know, this is what I want you to know, especially those you talk about, Paul, those youth who are being drifted away. Don't agree with the divestment! Divestment is a way to weaken us, so that individually, business people do not get into Sudan, only they who want to go there are those who are going to go: This is curtailing your freedom. The [free] enterprise they talk of, they don't want it....
"Divestment: There's no apartheid in Darfur. These Darfuris are our brothers and sisters. They are the majority of the Sudanese Army. Seventy percent of the Sudanese Army are Darfuris! So, if the army is killing those, they are killing their own family! Just visualize these things, you don't know them. Come to us. We'll give you more....
"[Young people] have to be careful about the consumption of media they get. I know resources are limited, and not everybody will go to Darfur to see for themselves, or go to Khartoum or Juba to see for themselves what is going on there. I believe most of the people in the United States are being misled. Because, as I say, I was a fighter against the government that existed before. And nothing could have brought me back from the United States to go back to Sudan, if I had not believed in the peace which had been agreed to. The situation in Darfur is not a genocide. A genocide is when you get innocent people, not armed, and kill them! This is not what is happening in Darfur.
"What is happening in Darfur, is Darfuris are fighting among themselves. The herders, who are mobile, with their cattle, horses, camels, sheep, and all types of animals; and the farmers, who only live on their land, and cultivate grain, sorghum, millet, and those things. Now we have a large animal population, because they get medications, veterinary services from all over the world, and animals do not die as they used to die, to condition the situation. And you know, if you read history in the United States, you would have seen how the cowboys clashed with the farmers! Read your history, and you'll find the same thing....
"This is what has happened also in my country. It came too late, and you cannot believe it, because you are so advanced, but this is what is happening in Sudan, now. And, I warn you, do not think that the people outside Sudan are more caring about our people than we are ourselves. That's not true: These are our brothers and our sisters. Even myself, my cousins are in Nyala, which is in Southern Darfur. Southern Darfur is very close to my home, that is, Aweil. We have the largest population in Darfur. The people from my state, called Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, 570,000, are in Darfur! Because, during the war, they left the South, running to the North....
"There are people dying, because of clashes that occur—I cannot deny that. But it is not at the magnitude as it is shown here! You know, we used to fight as clan against another clan! It used to happen. It's not a new thing.
"So, we know that we should stop that, and we are working to stop that. The administration of the United States should help us in that process, rather than escalating, or taking sides. As I say, the sanctions are on the Sudan government, the institutions of development in the Sudan, but you young people need to know that the rebels have it good. When the rebels have it good, the rebels are going to be fighting and fighting and fighting, and the peace which could have been close, is going to be very far away..."
Elections Are at Stake
Ukec laid special stress on the process toward elections. Mourino pointed out that the word "democratization" is in vogue in Congress about Sudan, even Russia, but it amounts to "a veiled term for 'regime change.' " Ukec replied, "It's a puzzle to me, when people talk about democracy, and they curtail countries which are going toward democracy.
"Democracy means people have to decide their own fate. They have to vote. I don't think what America is doing to Sudan, to Zimbabwe, and other places, is a sense of allowing people to be democratic. It's just curtailing our rights, subduing us from our national sovereignty. They do not understand, and if not, I believe they are actually undermining what they say. They say something, but they do something else. They talk about democracy, they kill democracy by what they do.
"I let you know this: Why would they stop a process which has already been initiated? On Nov. 15, we will have a census, the UN will do it. The United States has volunteered to do it—I don't know whether they will curtail it. Then, after that, we will have constituencies. And at the end of 2008, when you have your Presidential election, we will have our elections, too! By January 2009, when you have a new President for this country, we will also have a fresh, democratically elected body, to rule my country.
"Why are they against it? Why are they putting sanctions on a country which has been fighting for 50 years, and is now in the process of doing everything that was asked of them! The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the United States was advising it, its technical know-how has been applied to it. All those things have been applied. I don't think they really want democracy. They want a new imperialism."
'Left Wing' Attack From Gore Crowd
In addition to the blatantly right-wing attacks on Sudan, a question was posed to Ambassador Ukec, sent by LaRouche Youth Movement activist Ian Overton (from Alaska and Washington, D.C.), about the "left-wing" assault on Africa, coming from the anti-development global warming crowd. Baker pointed out that "there is the soft kind of attack, in the name of saving 'the environment.' The Al Gore crowd recently held a United Nations conference in Nairobi on this. It was said that there shouldn't be industry or modern agriculture in Africa. There shouldn't be high-tech development or infrastructure. Look at the Sudd [a large, swampy area in Southern Sudan]. If you have water management infrastructure there, you will hurt the mosquitoes and the liver flukes. Do you want to say something about that?"
Ambassador Ukec: "Definitely. You know, I'm an economist and I've studied this very much, and I know what it means between the developed and developing countries. You guys have everything, you have done things, and now you want to keep us away from doing them. You want to keep us in the darkness. You don't want us to have roads, because the forests will be destroyed ... when you have destroyed your forests and now have roads! You don't want us to have bridges, 'Oh, they're going to cause problems!' You don't want us to have refineries, because soon it will pollute the Earth.
"You guys are powerful over us, now, because of all of these developments you have done before, and the forests you have cut down; we will know how to save our wealth. But we need to develop fast, so that we become equivalent, or close to equivalent.
"I don't really have a tough opinion about global warming. If it is warm, why not—we in the Third World, we should warm our part also, so that if we go to Hell, we go together. If not, there is no problem! I don't see anything—let me build my power plants, let me get the nuclear plant to provide me with energy. Let me dig my oil which is there; it cannot come out if I say, 'Okay, it is going to pollute.' Why are they telling us that? And they are driving vehicles every day, every household has four, five—! You know, there are places in Sudan, where you've got over 10,000 people, and there is not even a single vehicle! This Earth belongs to us, too! The West and the developed people claim that they have the right to pollute and we should not even make even a little dent of polluting, so that we can come up in the world. You know? That is ridiculous."
Ukec also related the anti-development thrust to the "hidden agenda." There is a lot of talk about things—the environment, democratization, and so on. But the intent for destruction is behind it. He summarized:
"So, we'll discover soon, what is behind all these conspiracies, and all these global warming things, and all these funny things. And saying we are bringing democracy to people, and then that democracy ends up with 600,000 being killed. You know? All these things are a terrible scenario."
Give Us a Chance To Pollute a Bit
In opposition, Ukec laid out a development perspective for Africa, in response to Marcia Merry Baker's question about his experience at Iowa State University, situated in the breadbasket of the United States. She pointed out that sorghum, the food and feed staple, originated in Africa, probably in Sudan. "What is your view, if you had the resources you're saying should be sent—not sanctions—but resources ... ?"
He replied: "I come from that country. Iowa State, the Cyclones [football team], where we have the first veterinary hospital in the world; those who established and invented the fax machine, the anthrax vaccine from us, the first atomic bomb—all these! I am a breed of a very, very wonderful university. If the Americans give me this chance, I can develop Sudan in 15 years! I can catch up with all the technology I have, and the knowledge of my friends and graduates of Iowa State. You know, engineering is our way of life. Engineering changes the life of people: Given that fact, we will develop the South, the North, the East, and the entire Sudan. And in doing so, we will provide the rest of the world with the food!
"We have the breadbasket of the world! Animal population—nobody mentions us. The peanut, that Georgia has; the soybeans, the corn, and sorghum, they will thrive in Sudan. And when people are threatening us with global warming, and telling us to stop, they are going to stop us, they are going to keep us in the 18th Century, while they go into the 21st Century: Give us the chance to pollute a little bit! Give us a percentage, you know?—a little a bit, so that we rise up.... [laughs]
"And I know, I'm proud of being a graduate of Iowa State, and also being a graduate from this country. I want to tell the American people that you have a great country. Don't let some people steal your country. Don't let some people drive your country to be hated by other countries. We are one human race and we have to work together. And when you spot those guys who are destroying this country: Stop them! You have the power, using your vote. You have the power, speaking out. You have your Congressmen and Congresswomen, and Senate. These institutions are good for you. If you elect good people, you will have good government that will cater to sympathy, humanitarian help, rather than always fighting, fighting, and treading on others. Our countries are our countries. We are the children born there; we know what to do with it. We may need help, but not all the time. It doesn't mean that you should rule us. You should not tell us what to do. You may advise us, and when we say, 'no,' don't make us enemies."