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Sudanese president, UN, AU apologise to Mark

By Emmanuel Aziken

ABUJA—The President of the Senate, Senator David Mark yesterday accepted apologies from President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan over the treatment meted out to his delegation by that country when it turned away his flight from landing midair.

Senator Mark also yesterday accepted apologies rendered by the United Nations and African Union over the development which aborted a scheduled oversight visit by the Senate to Nigerian troops stationed in Darfur, Sudan.

The Majority Leader of the Sudanese Parliament, Dr. Ghazi Atabani who represented President al-Bashir during a visit to Senator Mark yesterday traced the incidence to the closure of the Khartoum airport at the time the plane of the Senate President was scheduled to land in Khartoum.

“We apologise for this mishap, the Sudanese government is embarrassed because it was not intended. We have ordered investigation into the mishap to unravel the circumstances that led to the incident.’’

Responding to the apology Senator Mark said yesterday: “As far as the incidence that happened on Monday is concerned we feel  disappointed because that was a programmed visit.

It was not an emergency visit, everybody was aware. If we were informed on time that the runway was under repair, there would have been no need for us to leave by 7 o clock in the morning only for us to get to Chad and to be told by the air traffic control in Chad we cannot land in Sudan without giving us any reason.’’

“I think that is totally unacceptable. We waited in Chad hoping that we will be fed back and there was absolutely no feedback.’’

“We made contact with our Ambassador who was not in a position to explain anything to us. We made contact with the ambassador here who was also equally surprised.

I think that for such a deliberate visit they should have been properly briefed, be that as it may, our desire was to go and see our boys who were deployed in Darfur and that was really to encourage  them to continue the good work they are doing in that difficult and harsh environment.’’


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