Sudan Summons British Ambassador Following Critical Comments in Blog Post

Posted October 19th, 2011 at 4:35 am (UTC-5)
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Sudan summoned the British ambassador in Khartoum to the foreign ministry on Tuesday, to protest his blog post sharply criticizing the Sudanese government for failing to improve the lives of its citizens.

In a blog posted Monday on the British Embassy's website, Ambassador Nicholas Kay said it was “little wonder” that Sudan's capital, Khartoum, has seen protests in recent weeks over soaring inflation and high food prices.

Kay said over 500,000 people have fallen into food insecurity in the past month as a result of both natural and man-made causes.

Specifically, Kay criticized Sudan for failing to allow international aid groups into the conflict-ridden southern states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Kay said Sudan's “miscalculation, pride and an exaggerated sense of strength” has worsened the humanitarian crisis in the two border states, where the Sudanese government is fighting armed rebel opposition groups.

Kay's blog post also blasted Khartoum for failing to make progress with newly independent South Sudan on the future of the oil-rich border region of Abyei, which is claimed by both sides.

Kay also criticized the Sudanese government for its restrictions on the press, saying the government continues to shut down newspapers and detain human rights activists.

Protests are relatively rare in Sudan, but hundreds of Sudanese citizens have taken to the streets of Khartoum recently to protest rising food prices and spiralling inflation.

Sudan's government has been struggling to deal with an economic crisis after losing most of its oil producing capabilities to South Sudan.

South Sudan took control of about 75 percent of Sudanese oil when it declared independence on July 9.