Sudan wants foreign groups to stop distributing aid

Sudan’s president said on Monday he wanted foreign aid groups to stop distributing aid in Sudan within a year, stepping up his defiance of an international war crimes warrant against him.
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir expelled 13 international aid groups this month, accusing them of helping the International Criminal Court, which has indicted him on suspicion of orchestrating atrocities in Darfur. Aid groups deny working with the court.
In an emotional speech to thousands of soldiers and police, Reuters reports Bashir said he had ordered his Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to hand over the distribution of all relief to Sudanese groups — a move that could freeze the work of more than 70 foreign organisations still working in Darfur and other areas.
If carried out, the order will also force international donors, including the United States, Britain and the European Union, to decide whether they will continue to pour millions into projects across the underdeveloped country without full control over how their aid is distributed.
“We have ordered the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to completely ‘Sudanise’ the voluntary work in Sudan within one year and after that we don’t want international organisations to deal with Sudanese citizens on relief,” Bashir told the rally.
“If they want to continue providing aid, they can just leave it at the airport and Sudanese NGOs (non governmental organisations) can distribute the relief.”
“We need to clear our country of any spies,” he told the cheering crowd in Khartoum’s Green Square rally ground. 
Bashir, dressed in military uniform, said Sudan had no need of international aid, given its agriculture and other natural resources, and poured scorn on the ICC and resolutions from the UN Security Council.
The announcement appeared to take officials from the Sudan government’s own Humanitarian Aid Commission unaware.
At a delayed press conference in Khartoum, officials did not respond to questions on how the order would be carried out or whether foreign aid groups currently in Sudan would be expelled.
“The order from the president today is under process,” said the junior minister for humanitarian affairs, Ahmed Haroun, himself wanted by the ICC on charges of war crimes in Darfur. “We will study it and prepare a plan to implement this topic.”
Haroun told reporters the order would not affect U.N. agencies working in Sudan. The head of the Humanitarian Aid Commission, Hassabo Mohamed Abd el-Rahman, said presidential orders covered both north Sudan and the semi-autonomous South.
“We are one country,” he said.
The earlier expulsion of 13 aid agencies, including Oxfam, Save the Children and two branches of Medecins Sans Frontieres, affected only operations in the north.
Thousands of soldiers from the regular army and the state-aligned Popular Defence Forces militia pledged allegiance to Bashir during the rally, the latest in a series of demonstrations against the ICC’s warrant in Khartoum.
Bashir was a career army officer when he overthrew a democratically-elected civilian government in 1989. The army remains one of his strongest power bases.