Thursday, July 21, 2005

Not the Way to Host the U.S.

The Associated Press has the story here The essence:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held a congratulatory round of meetings with officials of the new unified Sudanese government Thursday, but expressed outrage after security forces manhandled aides and reporters accompanying her.

"It makes me very angry to be sitting there with their president and have this happen," she said. "They have no right to push and shove."
"Diplomacy 101 says you don't rough your guests up," Rice senior adviser Jim Wilkinson had said earlier as he and reporters were facing off with guards at the ultra-high-security residence of Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir.

The guards elbowed Americans and tried to rip a tape away from a U.S. reporter. At another point, Rice's interpreter and some other aides accompanying her were blocked at a gate.

Ambassador Khidair Haroun Ahmed, head of the Sudanese mission in Washington, attempted to smooth over the situation on the spot. "Please accept our apologies," he told the reporters and aides. "This is not our policy."

But there was yet another scuffle moments later when a U.S. television reporter tried to ask el-Bashir a question about his involvement with alleged atrocities.

Guards grabbed the diminutive reporter and muscled her toward the rear of the room as State Department officials shouted at the guards to leave her alone.
Probably not the best move for the Sudanese government to make. Especially when they want the U.S. to lift sanctions against them. Well, a violent government can't change their stripes on a dime. It won't work for them, I'd guess. The U.S. doesn't get bullied. The Sudanese President's security forces can shove reporters all day long. It won't change a thing.

Khartoum might try to act responsibly for once. I'm guessing that approach might lead to better outcomes for Sudan.