Carter Gets In Shouting Match With Sudanese Officials In Darfur
Former President Jimmy Carter has never been known to flinch from controversy — and he has sparked more than a few. He has become an irritant to a host of Presidents who followed him. Above all, he speaks his mind.
Now he has shouted it in Darfur — this time for a cause and in circumstances that many of his critics would likely applaud:
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter got in a shouting match Wednesday with Sudanese security officials who blocked him from a town in Darfur where he was trying to meet representatives of ethnic African refugees from the ongoing conflict.
The 83-year-old Carter walked into this highly volatile pro-Sudanese government town to meet refugees too frightened to attend a scheduled meeting at a nearby compound.
Carter was able to make it to a school where he met with one tribal representative and was preparing to go further into the town when Sudanese security services interrupted.
“You can’t go. It’s not on the program!” the local national security chief, who only gave his first name as Omar, yelled at Carter, who is in Darfur as part of a delegation of respected international figures known as “The Elders.”
“We’re going to anyway!” an angry Carter retorted, telling security officers they didn’t have the authority to stop him.
As a growing crowd gathered around the former president, Carter’s U.S. security detail and his African Union escort tried to ease tensions. Carter later agreed to a compromise by which tribal representatives would be brought to him at another location later Wednesday.
“I’ll tell President Bashir about this,” Carter said, referring to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
But then what will happen?
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