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Sudanese gov't refuses to withdraw decision to expel NGOs from Darfur
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13:31, March 22, 2009

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The Sudanese government reiterated on Saturday that it would not retreat from its decision to expel more than a dozen of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating relief work in its western region of Darfur.

Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha made the remarks at the opening session of the conference of Arab civil society institutions.

"The government's decision to expel some of the organizations is a sovereign decision which was dictated by the national interest. We will not back down from this decision whatever the pressures," Taha said.

"We know our national obligations, and we do not need anyone to remind us of these obligations, and we do not accept any threat or promise to us," the Sudanese vice president added.

He also criticized the UN Security Council which intended to step up pressure on Khartoum to reverse the expelling decision and expressed its concern over a gap of humanity in Darfur following the expulsion.

"It would be fitting for the Security Council to receive information from the right sources, and from the UN agencies involved in carrying out an assessment of the humanitarian situation in Darfur," Taha said.

He stressed that the Sudanese government was fully committed to covering the needs of their citizens and meeting these needs with its owns resources.

The Sudanese vice president denied an allegation that Khartoum's decision to expel the international organizations was aimed at depriving the humanitarian aid from the those who needed it in Darfur.

"The allegation has been refuted by the fact that organizations from the same countries and the same nationalities of the deported ones still remain in Darfur to continue their operation," Taha noted.

The Sudanese government has been under mounting pressure of the United Nations and Western countries after it announced a decision on March 5 to expel 13 foreign NGOs operating in Darfur, accusing them of passing "false and fabricated information" to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The decision came one day after the ICC issued an arrest warrant against the Sudanese president for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

Source: Xinhua

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