Sudan's president, vowing to never allow U.N. peacekeepers into Darfur, blamed Jewish organizations for pushing for their deployment
President Omar al-Bashir made the assertion on Tuesday while a joint United Nations and African Union team was in Sudan to plan for a large U.N. force to take over peacekeeping in Darfur from the AU's poorly equipped 7,000 troops who have been unable to halt more than three years of violence.
President Bush, who has called for the United Nations to take over peacekeeping in Darfur, reiterated Wednesday that he viewed the government-backed attacks on civilians there as genocide.
"I declared Darfur to be a genocide because I care deeply about those who have been afflicted by these renegade bands of people who are raping and murdering," Bush said in Vienna at a news conference with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and European Union President Jose Manual Barroso.
The U.S. and Europe have been pushing for the quick deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur.
"This shall never take place," al-Bashir told reporters at a news conference with South African President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday. "These are colonial forces and we will not accept colonial forces coming into the country," he said in his strongest rejection yet of a U.N. peacekeeping role in Darfur.
"They want to colonize Africa, starting with the first sub-Saharan country to gain its independence. If they want to start colonization in Africa, let them choose a different place."
A day earlier, al-Bashir said he would personally lead the "resistance" to such a force if it came.
Sudan already has 10,000 U.N. peacekeepers in its south, where they are helping to implement a January 2005 peace agreement that ended a separate conflict - more than 20 years of civil war between the north and the south of the country.
Rallies in Washington and several other U.S. cities in April drew thousands of demonstrators protesting against atrocities in Darfur and attracted celebrity speakers such as actor George Clooney as well as politicians.
Nearly 200,000 people have died, many of them from hunger and disease, since members of ethnic African tribes rose in revolt against the Arab-led Khartoum government in early 2003. Some 2 million people have been displaced. The government is accused of responding by unleashing Arab militias known as the janjaweed who have been accused of the worst atrocities, but it denies any involvement.
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