U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came to Sudan with a diplomatic mission this Wednesday. Being in the country for the first time, Rice was taken aback by the actions of Sudanese guards against her aids and reporters accompanying her. Rice didn’t hesitate to give way to her anger.
"It makes me very angry to be sitting there with their president and have this happen, they have no right to push and shove," Rice was quoted as saying by the AP.
Rice made her remarks to the press when she and her entourage were aboard the plane to leave the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan El-Bashir's guards elbowed members of the American delegation 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.
While Rice and el-Bashir were meeting, journalists were taken inside in groups to see the meeting for a photo opportunity, says CNN.
Ambassador Khidair Haroun Ahmed, head of the Sudanese mission in Washington, attempted to smooth over the situation. "Please accept our apologies," he told reporters and Rice aides. "This is not our policy."
Rice's trip to Sudan is the highest-level visit by a U.S. official in a year.
Sudan's new government was sworn in July 9 after the settlement of a two-decades-old north-south civil war in which 2 million people died. While congratulating Khartoum on the end of the conflict, Washington has remained firm that Sudan must do more to end a separate conflict in Darfur, reminds Reuters. Attacks have abated this year in western Sudan as African Union military monitors have increasingly deployed around the arid region the size of France.
Rice has demanded Sudan's new government speak out against the abuse and punish the attackers, and, to highlight the U.S. concern, she will meet rape victims at one of the largest camps in Darfur on Thursday.
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