Secretary of State Rice watched in disbelief as Andrea Mitchell of NBC was physically thrown out of a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan. The press conference was held at the home of Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir and Rice and el-Bashir were joined by Ambassador Khidir Haroun Ahmed, head of the Sudanese mission in Washington.
The Mitchell ejection was quickly followed by the physical ejection of all the reporters and crews from the room. The entire visit to Sudan was marred by physical violence by Sudanese security against American diplomats, staff and newspersons. When the American entourage arrived at the gates of the residence, armed guards blocked three cars from entering. Those cars held Secretary Rice's translator and aides who were supposed to attend the press conference.
When, after insistence by the Americans, the cars were allowed inside the compound, more fights broke out at the door. As Rice senior adviser Jim Wilkinson tried to get in, guards repeatedly pushed and pulled him, and at one point he was shoved into a wall. Reporters, whom guards reluctantly allowed into the meeting for a planned photo session, were harassed and elbowed, and guards repeatedly tried to rip a microphone away from a U.S. reporter. At some point the Sudanese, over the objections of the State Department, changed the format from press conference to photo session.
Ambassador Khidir Haroun Ahmed, head of the Sudanese mission in Washington, attempted to smooth over the situation on the spot. "Please accept our apologies," he told reporters. "This is not our policy." Then, to show how serious he was about "This is not our policy," and how in charge of the situation he was, Mitchell and all the rest of the reporters were pushed and dragged out.
The only peaceful interlude to the brutish thuggery came when the Americans visited a refugee camp in Darfur. They were met with freshly planted pink and magenta flowers outside the doorways of refugees' plywood and canvass huts and by children chanting "Welcome, Welcome, Oh Condoleezza."
el-Bashir denied any government involvement in the Darfur massacres and mass rapes, which makes him a liar as well as a thug. The major theme of the talks, from the Sudanese side, was to beg that the economic sanctions against the country be dropped. So I guess that makes el-Bashir and his government lying cowardly thugs.
Did you really expect anything different from these animals?
Tags: government diplomacy Sudan thugs Darfur massacre rape State Department Condoleezza Rice
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