July 16, 2008

Former Sudanese Prime Minister Condemns Indictment of Al-Bashir

While the Sudanese demonstrations, which are opposing the accusations levelled against Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir, continue, Sudanese political groups have warned of the repercussions of the incident over the constitutional situation in the country. Al- Sadiq al-Mahdi, leader of the Sudanese Ummah [Nation] Party, has called for finding [a political] equation that should be suitable for all, in an attempt to resolve the crisis. France has urged Khartoum to hand over [Sudanese Interior Minister] Ahmad Harun and [Sudanese militia leader] Ali Kushayb." Al-Arabiya TV then carries a video report by its correspondent Sa'd-al-Din Hasan in Khartoum on this topic:

Hasan says that Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, who has previously supported the ICC's decision to detain two Sudanese persons on charges of war crimes in Darfur, has changed his position towards the ICC, following the issuance of the ICC arrest warrant for the Sudanese president. Hasan notes that Al-Mahdi thinks that the ICC move against the Sudanese president may harm the constitutional situation in his country.

Al-Arabiya TV then shows Al-Mahdi speaking: "If the head of the state is harmed in this way, this will lead to repercussions that will harm the constitutional situation and the order in Sudan. Therefore, equation should be reached [to resolve this crisis]."

Hasan points out that Al-Mahdi has urged the UN Security Council to take into account his proposal about this political equation, in the way that officials, who are accused of war crimes, should be prosecuted, but the head of the state should not be harmed.

Al-Mahdi continues: "There is no doubt that we should find [a political] equation [that] strikes a balance between keeping the head of the state away from these repercussions, and the necessity of achieving justice, and not letting the persons who committed crimes go unpunished." Al-Arabiya then interviews Murtada al-Ghali, editor-in-chief of the Sudanese Ajras al-Hurriyah newspaper, who says that the official reactions of the Sudanese government to the ICC move against the Sudanese president are different from previous ones because they avoid rallying the Sudanese public street.

Al-Ghali expresses his belief that the Sudanese government handles this crisis through different tracks, and "the reasonable political action adopts several tracks, including legal, diplomatic, and political tracks."

Hasan concludes the report by saying that while the Sudanese government is waiting the results of the next meetings which will be held by the Arab League and the AU; its followers continue their protests and demonstrations.

Originally published by Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai, in Arabic 0415 16 Jul 08.

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