Accused president: Sudan to resist ”colonialism”
Sudan's president, wanted by an international court on war crimes charges, denounced the tribunal, the U.N. and aid agencies on Thursday as part of a new "colonialism" that aims to destabilize his country.
President Omar al-Bashir danced and waved a cane defiantly before thousands of supporters, the AP reported.
Speaking for the first time since the warrant was issued Wednesday, al-Bashir told a Cabinet meeting that those agencies, the U.N. and the tribunal are "tools of the new colonialism" meant to bring Sudan and its resources under control. Al-Bashir accused the aid organizations of trying to disrupt peace efforts in Darfur, profiting from the conflict and interfering with foreign investment. He said his government ordered them out of Darfur because they violated the law.
"We in Sudan have always been a target of the U.N. and these organizations because we have said, 'No,'" al-Bashir said. "We said the resources of Sudan should go to the people of Sudan."
Hasabo Abdel-Rahman, the head of the government agency coordinating humanitarian affairs, also accused the aid groups cooperating with the ICC and offering the court "false" testimonies.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the order "a serious setback to lifesaving operations in Darfur."
In the capital, Khartoum, senior U.N. officials were meeting with government officials, trying to negotiate a deal to stay.
Appearing before tens of thousands of supporters at a Khartoum rally Thursday after the Cabinet meeting, al-Bashir warned international missions and organizations still operating the country "to respect themselves," saying they would be "humiliated" if they infringe on Sudan's sovereignty.
Al-Bashir danced with the cheering crowd outside his Republican Palace in the biggest demonstration in Sudan in years. "We are ready to resist colonialism," he said, jabbing his cane in the air as he spoke. "We are ready to defend our religion."