Sudan summons US envoy over Darfur comments

Sudan summoned the top United States diplomat in Khartoum saying he had interfered in the internal affairs of the country and rejected US criticism of the appointment of Musa Hilal to a central government post.

US Charge D’Affaires Alberto Fernandez told Reuters in an interview last week that Khartoum’s lack of implementation of internal peace accords and international agreements had created an environment of distrust which would hinder peace talks in Sudan’s remote Darfur region.

”These kind of comments are a flagrant intervention in domestic affairs,” senior foreign ministry official Abdel Basit el-Senousi, who met Fernandez, told state news agency Suna. Fernandez was summoned on Saturday.

Senousi also said on Sunday the foreign ministry rejected US criticism of Darfur Arab tribal leader Hilal’s appointment as an advisor to the minister of federal affairs.

”We told him that the government of Sudan and the presidency has the right to appoint anyone they want to any position,” he told Reuters.

Hilal was named by the US State Department as a coordinator of a feared militia known as the Janjaweed and is subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze by the United Nations for his part in atrocities in Sudan’s west.

Fernandez had said he was still concerned about progress on implementing a deal to end Sudan’s separate north-south war and that there were still big gaps between what was written on paper and what had been implemented.

The US embassy declined to comment on the summons.

Sudan has tense relations with the United States, who calls the five-year-old conflict in Darfur genocide, a term Khartoum rejects.

International experts estimate some 200 000 have died and 2,5-million have been driven from their homes in the conflict which began when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms accusing central government of neglect. – Reuters

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