Sudan's president told attendees of the Nation of Islam's national conference via satellite Friday that the United States is exaggerating troubles in his country's volatile Darfur region so it can control the country as it has in Iraq.
President Omar al-Bashir was invited to speak at the three-day convention by representatives of longtime Nation leader Louis Farrakhan. Al-Bashir said he was using the address, which also was said to be broadcast live on Sudanese television, to call on the mass media and American public to learn the truth about his country.
"A number of governments, including the U.S., are putting pressure (on Sudan)," he said. "They're imposing solutions that don't respect the dignity of our nation."
More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million been chased from their homes in Darfur since 2003, when rebels from ethnic African tribes rose up against the central Arab-led government.
Al-Bashir denied reports of ethnic cleansing among tribes and said Darfur is "quite calm." He said its problems are limited to a small section in the region's north.