AFP: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit out at Western governments on Monday for “tearing apart” Sudan while rejecting the demands of separatists on their own soil, his website said.
TEHRAN, July 4, 2011 (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit out at Western governments on Monday for “tearing apart” Sudan while rejecting the demands of separatists on their own soil, his website said.
“Enemies want to tear apart Sudan,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the southeastern port city of Chabahar ahead of south Sudan’s proclamation of independence on Saturday.
“Those who are concerned about realising the rights of a group of Sudanese people and are seeking to declare the south as independent, how come they do not share this concern for the people of Spain’s Basque Country, Northern Ireland, France’s Corsica, or the southern states of America?” he asked.
“Why don’t they hold referendums for them?”
South Sudan voted for independence by a landslide in a January referendum that was the centrepiece of a 2005 peace deal that brought an end to five decades of conflict between the Arab-dominated Muslim north and the mainly Christian, African south.
Britain, Norway and the United States were key brokers of the deal along with east African states.
“Why do these issues only concern North Africa and the Middle East?” Ahamdinejad asked.
“Allow the Irish who have been fighting for 100 to 300 years to hold a referendum… also in the Basque Country and Corsica where people have been fighting for decades and do not want you, let the people vote,” state television’s website quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
“Why do you throw all calamities at our region and other nations?”
Basque separatist movement ETA has waged a four-decade armed campaign that is blamed for more than 800 deaths in Spain.
There has also been sporadic separatist violence in Corsica while in Northern Ireland small dissident factions continue an armed struggle against British rule despite 1998 peace accords under which the mainstream Irish Republican Army agreed to put its weapons beyond use.