Franklin Graham: Sudan's al-Bashir 'Responsible for Bloodshed'
You say, "We need al-Bashir at the table." Why should those hoping for peace believe that having him at the table is desirable?
Because there is peace right now in the South, and a government. And as part of the CPA agreement, there will be a referendum in the South for them to vote to secede. People are rebuilding, and the bloodletting has stopped. We are taking a huge risk. But people say this [ICC warrant] is justice. I say, give me a break. What you're going to do is ignite another war because you're trying to make a point.
How do you respond to suggestions by the previous administration's special enjoy to Sudan, Richard Williamson, that al-Bashir is manipulating you and others in the international community and using the suffering Sudanese people as pawns?
I'm sure al-Bashir has his agenda. He may be trying to manipulate the system all he can. That's why we have to hold his feet to the fire in terms of the peace agreement. President Obama has to pay attention to this. The peace agreement should not be renegotiated. It should be implemented.
If you oppose the ICC's arrest warrant, what international action, if any, do you believe should be taken to address al-Bashir's actions?
What do you desire the ICC and the international community to do now that the warrant has been issued?
The damage is done. We have to move past this and get the United States engaged. I encouraged al-Bashir. I said, "Don't let this ruling discourage you and prevent you from working for peace. You can't change what's been done. Now let's work together for peace."
It appears that since the 13 international relief agencies have been kicked out, several Arab and Muslim relief organizations have applied to replace them. Could you comment on this?
This is part of the [Sudan] government's strategy. They say, "If these agencies are going to spy, we'll put them out and aid groups from Iran and Saudi Arabia can come in and pick up the slack." I can't speak to what these groups will do … [but] we are Christian, and we feel we're supposed to share God's love with everyone and tell them what Jesus Christ did for us on Calvary's cross. I want everyone to know that they can have new life and a new beginning in Jesus Christ. So far, God's given us favor with this government, and I don't know why. But I hope in the next 10 years to have 10 churches built in Khartoum, and I'll keep reminding him. I'll [tell al-Bashir], "That's what you told me."
What gives you hope?
Right now there is peace in the South. When I was in Nuba, I visited a Bible school, an evangelical seminary staffed with teachers from Lebanon and Jordan. There are 36 students there about to graduate after a three-year Bible course and become pastors. They are about to graduate and will become new church leaders. That's what gets me excited.
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