Tuesday, May 21, 2013
- Sudan’s government Tuesday offered to cooperate with Kenya to track down those responsible for the bomb attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killing more than 200 people.
In a statement to the Arabic daily ‘Akhbar El Saa’, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mustafa Osman Ismail, said that Sudan had sent a message of condolence and was ready to cooperate with its East African neighbour to find the culprits.
Foreign Minister Ismail, the first government official to comment on last Friday’s bombings, also said that Sudan was not involved in the attacks.
The minister added that he was aware that there might be international suspicion that Sudan had a hand in the incidents which were targetted at the U.S. embassies.
“This is not the first time Sudan has been accused of terrorism, but in this particular case, if Sudan is officially charged with the Dar es Salaam or Nairobi bombings, our answer will be quite clear to the accusing institutions or countries,” he said.
The United States says several of its embassies around the world have received new threats following last week’s attacks in the two East African countries.
The US embassy in Khartoum has been closed amid security fears. “They (the US) informed us about their decision. We did not oppose them, nor did we ask them to return,” the Sudanese Foreign Minister said. “But we assured them that Sudan would remain open to them whenever they wanted to come back.”
Relations between the United States and Sudan have been tense due to the Islamic fundamentalists’ influence on Sudanese politics after President Omar Hassan Al Bashir came to power in June 1989.
The United States has sought the international isolation of Sudan for its alleged role in the organisation of international terrorism. Sudan’s alleged involvement in the assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 1995 caused international outrage and in January 1996, the United Nations Security Council accused Sudan of supporting terrorism and unanimously approved Resolution 1044 demanding that Khartoum extradite three Islamists implicated in the attack.
When Sudan failed to comply with the resolution, the Security Council adopted in April 1996, Resolution 1054 imposing sanctions on Sudan and in August of the same year, the Security Council adopted another resolution imposing a ban on international flights operated by Sudan Airways.
The Khartoum government also supported Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait and has particularly close relations with other countries associated with international terrorism.
Sudanese citizens interviewed in Khartoum expressed outrage at last Friday’s bomb attacks on African soil. Mawab Babker, a student at Khartoum University, described the attack as an “inhuman act”, and said that the bombings had been designed by “criminals”.
Babker added that Khartoum should have condemned the attacks sooner. “The world has a right to accuse us, because Kenya is only miles from Sudan…,” he said.
A businessman in the capital Khartoum, who declined to be named, said that the Islamic government of Sudan must “truthfully” answer any claims that it was behind the bombing. “We want our government to tell the truth about the incidents,” he said.