Posted by: africanpressorganization | 26 March 2009

Sudan / US Department of State Daily Press Briefing

 


 

Sudan / US Department of State Daily Press Briefing

 

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Gordon Duguid

Acting Deputy Department Spokesman

11:30 a.m. EDT

MR. DUGUID: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. As you know, Secretary Clinton is in Mexico today. She’s currently in Mexico City. She’s having meetings with Foreign Minister Espinosa and President Calderon, and she will have a couple of public events that I think will be certainly carried by your colleagues in the Mexican media and those traveling with her on the plane.

I don’t have any other announcements or any announcements to offer you, so we’ll go straight to your questions, please.

Yes.

QUESTION: Change of topic. Sudan’s president is in Egypt today.

MR. DUGUID: Yes.

QUESTION: And you know, he was met by President Mubarak at the airport. It doesn’t appear that he’s going to be arrested from there. I’m still —

MR. DUGUID: Egypt is not a signatory to the ICC.

QUESTION: But do you think it will be good if Egypt took the initiative of —

MR. DUGUID: What I think would be good is for all of us to focus on the problems at hand in Sudan. Those problems affect 4.7 million people in Darfur alone. Internally displaced people in Darfur number 2.7 million. Populations with reduced access to health care due to the expulsions of NGO workers could number as high as 1.5 million. Populations with reduced access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene services due to the expulsions could number as high as 1.6 million. And populations with reduced access to food aid due to the expulsions could reach as high 1.1 million. This is what the United States is focusing on right now.

There are the long-term questions. I know you have them. We are looking at the result of the expulsions and its effect on the vulnerable populations in Darfur and in the south. What we need to do is to work diplomatically to get the Government of Sudan to reverse this policy of expulsions. And in the interim, between that reversal and now, we need to work as hard as we can to make sure that the vulnerable populations do not suffer because of the decision.

QUESTION: But wouldn’t you agree, though, that by hosting Bashir, the Egyptian Government is giving him credibility, number one? Secondly, the prime minister of Qatar said today that his state was coming under a lot of pressure not to host Bashir. Is the United States putting direct pressure on Qatar not to host Bashir?

MR. DUGUID: We are talking with all of our allies and partners, friends in the region, on ways to resolve the problems for the internally displaced people in Darfur and the south of Sudan. All of our efforts right now are looking at diplomatic ways in which to ease the suffering, to prevent any increase in suffering.

QUESTION: That wasn’t the question —

MR. DUGUID: As you know —

QUESTION: Gordon.

MR. DUGUID: Yes.

QUESTION: The question was are you putting pressure on the Government of Qatar not to invite Bashir to —

MR. DUGUID: I don’t have any specific information about diplomatic exchanges on – and I’m not sure in what context this pressure is being applied. What we are doing, and what we are encouraging strongly all interested parties to do, is to get back to the problem at hand, which is the fate of the vulnerable populations in Darfur and the south of Sudan.

QUESTION: So does that mean that you’re avoid – that you’re sort of putting to one side the ICC warrant – I know you’re not a signatory anyway, so it doesn’t really have an effect on you – and just focusing on the people of Darfur and trying to get water to them, et cetera, et cetera? Have you just put that to one side, the ICC warrant?

MR. DUGUID: The ICC warrant has been issued by the signatories to that party. The United States, through the UN Security Council, did not stop the UNSCR that authorized that. That was a – one process. What we are looking at right now is how to relieve the suffering. And discussions about, you know, things other than that don’t help us get that job done.

Yes.

QUESTION: The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has been denied a visa by South Africa. Do – what – do you have any – a position on that, and do you think it is appropriate?

MR. DUGUID: I refer you to the organizers of the event and the Government of South Africa for details of this particular incident.

QUESTION: Canada and Sri Lanka —

QUESTION: I just – on the same subject, actually, the conference has been cancelled. Do you think – by the organizers, by Archbishop Tutu and —

MR. DUGUID: Yes.

QUESTION: — others who have withdrawn their support for it. Do you think that South Africa missed an opportunity to discuss – they were looking at various sporting issues – do you think that it was a lost opportunity on behalf of the South Africans and criticized —

MR. DUGUID: I again would refer you to the South Africans to discuss what the ramifications of their decision is. And the Dalai Lama, as you know, is a regular visitor to the United States and we do not miss an opportunity to try and have discussions with him.

Any other questions? Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 11:51 a.m.)

 

SOURCE : US Department of State


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