The Bush administration is shedding crocodile tears over the humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region to hide its real aim: securing control of vast oil resources in Sudan. That charge was leveled by Fathi el-Fadl, a leader of the Sudanese Communist Party, in an interview with the People’s Weekly World during the recent meeting of communist and workers parties in Lisbon (see Tim Wheeler’s report from Lisbon at ).

El-Fadl cited highly publicized U.S. demonstrations calling for U.S. or NATO troops to intervene. “The situation is being used,” he said. “Some of those participating in those demonstrations have never cared about democracy or human rights in Sudan.”

The main issue for the U.S. and Sudanese governments “is not Darfur or human rights or democracy in the Sudan,” he said. “It is the joint interests of both governments in dividing the oil ‘cake.’” The U.S. wants to build an oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia, under the Red Sea, across Sudan through Darfur, and into Chad, he noted. Ultimately it would extend to Nigeria and down west Africa to Angola.

This does not mean there is no Darfur crisis, El-Fadl said. “The reality is that there is violation of human rights in Darfur. There is no security. The government troops, the janjaweed bandits employed by the Sudanese government, and to a lesser extent the Darfur Front [including the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and others] contribute to the situation. If the government is serious about a peaceful resolution of this crisis, they should restrain the troops.”

The Sudanese government, he charged, has stalled on implementing the Abuja Agreement, which it signed in Abuja, Nigeria, Nov. 9, 2004. Under that agreement, Sudan agreed to full representation of the Darfur Front in the government. But the representatives from Darfur “are treated as civil servants rather than giving them a share of power,” said El-Fadl. Realizing these problems, he said, the international community is trying to extend the Abuja Agreement “in a way that reflects the aspirations of the people of Darfur.”

The 2004 agreement “failed to address the burning issue in Darfur: practical steps to secure security and peace by disarming the janjaweed bandits, and the return of displaced people to their homeland. It also failed to provide for compensation of the individuals and communities that have suffered heavy losses as a result of the war unleashed by the government of Sudan.”

Last year, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 1706 calling for deployment of 17,300 UN peacekeepers to replace or reinforce 7,000 African Union peacekeepers in Darfur. The Sudanese government rejected the proposal, warning it would regard UN peacekeepers as “foreign invaders.”

The Sudanese Communist Party has proposed convening two conferences to resolve the crisis. The first would be a “Darfurian conference” bringing together all the people of Darfur to implement the agreement with the Darfurian people’s “full knowledge and consent,” El Fadl said. Second would be a “national conference of all the people of Sudan, including representation from the eastern front and Darfur, to discuss the future of Sudan including democratic transformation of the country and division of wealth and power. These ideas are being widely discussed in Sudan. It was the program proposed by the Communist Party of Sudan but now all the democratic forces in Sudan agree with it.”

It is urgent to move forward with this program, he said, because the Darfur Front is threatening to leave the government on grounds it is not serious about implementing the Abuja Agreement. The 2005 Naivasha Agreement between the government and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army in the south is also not yet implemented. “It shows that the government of Sudan is stalling, negotiating and signing agreements they have no intention of implementing,” he said. “Instead they want to negotiate through the United States the opening of the oil industry to the oil monopolies.”

El-Fadl added, “As far as UN troops are concerned, we think the representatives of the Darfur Front and the Sudanese government should enter into negotiations with the UN on the composition of the troops and their mandate. With their agreement, the troops can be sent. Until that time, our position is to reinforce the presence of the African Union troops.” Aside from these peacekeeping forces, he emphasized, “We want to make it abundantly clear that while we call for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, we are opposed to the presence of foreign troops in Sudan and especially American troops.”

The U.S., France and other imperialist powers, he said, “should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Sudan.”

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