- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SUDAN

End to violence with Chad pursued

KHARTOUM — The government is determined to seek a peaceful solution to the deadly violence that has erupted with its neighbor Chad, Foreign Minister Lam Akol said yesterday.

“Sudan is firmly committed to finding a peaceful solution to this problem,” Mr. Akol said, toning down an earlier threat of retaliation for Chad’s reputed involvement in border violence.

Mr. Akol spoke after talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki, during which Monday’s deadly border clash between military forces of Sudan and Chad featured prominently. Sudan said 17 of its troops were killed in the clash, for which Chad apologized, saying its soldiers had been in hot pursuit of rebels.

SOUTH AFRICA

African Union plans to create drug industry

JOHANNESBURG — Africa is gearing up to manufacture its own essential drugs, reducing reliance on the West for lifesaving medicines to combat diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, the African Union announced yesterday.

“We need to produce [medicines] in Africa. We have the potential. Why do we want to take them from outside when we can take it in Africa?” Mamadou Diallo, chief pharmacist in the AU Commission’s medical services directorate, said before a conference of health ministers.

The health ministers are in Johannesburg to hear a plan detailing options for the continent to produce cheap, quality generic drugs.

CONGO

Opposition leader seeks treatment

KINSHASA — Jean-Pierre Bemba, opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, wanted for treason after bloody election-related violence, flew to Portugal yesterday for medical treatment.

The former rebel leader and vice president boarded a Boeing 727 bound for Lisbon with his wife and five children, airport officials said. Mr. Bemba, 44, who lost the December presidential election to incumbent Joseph Kabila, had been holed up at the South African Embassy in Kinshasa after clashes last month between his supporters and government troops.

The government issued an arrest warrant for the former rebel leader on charges of treason and maintaining a militia. Because of his seat in the Senate, however, Mr. Bemba has immunity that can be lifted only by parliament.

Weekly notes …

The Arab League announced yesterday the postponement until May 15 of a Somali reconciliation conference planned for next week to allow more time for preparations. “The delay will allow a full opportunity to prepare for the conference,” Samir Hosni, the league’s representative for Africa, told reporters in Cairo. He added that former Somali President Ali Mahdi Mohammed, head of the preparatory committee, will visit Cairo in coming days to discuss conference preparations. … Beijing urged Sudan in unusually strong terms yesterday to show more flexibility on a peace plan for its devastated Darfur region, but said the international community would get nowhere by dictating terms on the subject. China, which buys much of Sudan’s oil and has veto power on the U.N. Security Council, had been criticized in the West for not using its leverage to force Khartoum to act to curb violence in Darfur.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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