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Sudan Says the West Is Exploiting Conflict

August 13, 2004|From Reuters

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan's president on Thursday accused the West of exploiting the Darfur conflict in the hope of seizing the country's gold and oil, but Washington responded that its only aim was to halt mass slayings.

Sudan is under intense international pressure to rein in Arab militias accused of sacking villages and raping and killing civilians, and to provide security for more than 1 million people displaced by the turmoil.

Khartoum could face penalties if it failed to do so, according to a July 30 United Nations Security Council resolution. In addition, there has been talk of foreign military intervention.

President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir said Thursday that the real goal of Western nations was to destabilize his country.

"There is an agenda to seek petrol and gold in the region," he told a women's union meeting in Khartoum, the capital.

A State Department spokesman dismissed Bashir's comments. "Oil and gold is not the issue here. The issue is saving people from disease, starvation, rape and murder," Adam Ereli said.

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