Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sudan: Troika envoys summoned over criticism of elections

 Sudan’s foreign ministry has summoned on Tuesday the United Kingdom, Norway, United States and the European Union ambassadors to Khartoum following their criticism of Sudan’s elections.

In a statement released on Monday, the three members of the Sudan Troika expressed regret over what they described as failure by the Khartoum government “to create a free, fair, and conducive elections environment”.

They said the “outcome of these elections cannot be considered a credible expression of the will of the Sudanese people”.

Sudan’s foreign ministry described the statement as “a blatant interference in the country’s affairs”, accusing them of deliberately ignoring rebels’ shelling of South Kordofan during the elections.

The acting undersecretary of Sudan’s foreign ministry, Abdalla al-Azrag, has conveyed to the ambassadors Khartoum’s official protest and condemnation of the wrong information and preset positions included in the troika statement about Sudan’s elections.

The foreign ministry said it “condemns in the strongest words the troika statement which represents a blatant intervention in the internal affairs of the country”.

Al-Azrag handed over each ambassador Khartoum’s response to the Troika statement, stressing the election is “a pure Sudanese affair and no other party has the right to intervene or to express an opinion”.

The foreign ministry further accused the troika countries of deliberately ignoring violent acts carried out by the rebels during the elections, saying the latter shelled South Kordofan capital Kadugli in order to sabotage elections.

In a subtle criticism of attacks levelled by rebel groups during the elections in conflict zones, troika countries said they condemn “acts of violence during the election period”, but it did not go into details as the two parties were involved in the ongoing violence there, the Sudanese army by the bombing and the rebels by the shelling.

The Sudanese foreign ministry pointed in the letter handed over to the ambassadors and seen by Sudan Tribune that “the whole world saw the electoral process in Sudan which was conducted in a peaceful climate and with the participation of several regional and international monitoring missions from around the world”.

The letter also said that reports of monitoring teams have stressed integrity and transparency of the election process and underscored that it met the international election standards.

It pointed to the participation of a considerable number of political parties in the elections, saying that most of the opposition parties which boycotted the polls did not object to the holding of elections.

The foreign ministry renewed Sudan’s commitment to go ahead with the national dialogue initiative following announcement of polls results and formation of the new government.

Sudan’s election has been boycotted by major opposition parties. They had demanded postponement until the formation of a coalition government to oversee the vote and ensure its fairness.

The final results of the elections will be officially announced on 27 April.
ncumbent president Omar Hassan al-Bashir is expected to win again after more than 25 years in power.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s minister of information and the government spokesperson, Ahmed Bilal Osman, described the troika statement as “dangerous” and “biased towards the opposition and armed bearers”, saying it encourages continuation of violence in Sudan.

He told the pro-government Sudan Media Center (SMC) on Tuesday that polls was held in a calm atmosphere and has not witnessed violence, saying Troika is not a neutral party.

“Therefore we will not allow [the troika countries] to mediate [between the government and the opposition],” he said.

Sudan Tribune

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