Sudan criticises Obama

2009-07-12 14:03

Khartoum - Sudan on Saturday hit out at US President Barack Obama, saying his use of the term "genocide" to describe the conflict in Darfur marked "a step back."

Obama, in Ghana on Saturday on his first official trip as president to Africa, condemned tyrants who enrich themselves and urged Africans to demand stronger governments.

He added that conflicts such as the "genocide" in Darfur and terrorism in Somalia were "a millstone around Africa's neck."

"It is a step back... it is not helping. It is not constructive," Ali Sadiq, spokesperson for the Sudanese foreign ministry, told AFP, referring to Obama's comments.

"We would like the president to consult with his special envoy about this issue."

Scott Gration, appointed by Obama as US envoy to Sudan in March, declined to use the term "genocide" when referring to the Darfur conflict in his first news briefing in Washington on June 17.

Asked by a reporter at that briefing whether he would characterise the situation in Darfur as "genocide", he replied: "What we see is the remnants of genocide. What we see are the consequences of genocide, the results of genocide."

Gration is due in Sudan on Tuesday for a visit of 10 days focused on the future of the talks between the government and Darfur rebel groups.

The United Nations says about 300 000 people have died in Darfur since ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in 2003, complaining of discrimination.

Sudan says about 10 000 people have died.