Saturday, May 14, 2005

Thumbs Down From Sudan

Sudan has rejected Paul Martin's offer to send 100 peacekeepers to Darfur under the aegis of the African Union because it wasn't consulted about the proposal, CTV reports:

Canada may not be able to single-handedly bring an end to the fighting and bring peace to Darfur, but Canada can do a great deal," Martin told reporters Thursday.

But Sudanese ambassador Faiza Hassan Taha said Friday that Ottawa didn't consult or negotiate with Sudan on the planned deployment of Canadians before Martin made an announcement and that the troops will not be allowed into the country.

PMO spokeswoman Melanie Gruer told The Globe and Mail that Martin phoned Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir about 24 hours in advance of the announcement.

When asked whether the conversation was a "consultation," Gruer repeated instead that "the Sudanese were advised."

Taha said that while Sudan welcomes Canadian concern, it objects to foreign peacekeeping troops in Darfur from non-African nations.

She said the Sudanese government is concerned about the political climate in Canada, with independent MP David Kilgour leading the call for increased involvement in exchange for his support on a confidence vote next week, The Globe reported.

Even tin-pot little African dictatorships can see through Paul Martin.

When Canada was genuinely respected on the world stage and had the commensurate military force, such an offer would not have been summarily dismissed as futile gesture by a weak man clinging to office by any means necessary.

Sudan has much more to worry about than propping up a second-rate Western power's government. It knows full well why Martin is offering this little token of assistance, and it will not dignify it nor demean itself by accepting it.

This pathetic episode underscores what decades of Liberal posturing about soft power and neglect of our military capacity have done to our reputation in the world.

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