Four stories (updated to add the ones from the BBC, the "Detroit Free Press", and Reuters):
Sudan's president told attendees of the Nation of Islam's national conference [in Detroit] via satellite [on] Friday that the United States is exaggerating troubles in his country's volatile Darfur region so [that] 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 [that] 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 [have] 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 [that] Darfur is "quite calm." He said [that] its problems are limited to a small section in the region's north.
He was enthusiastically greeted by several hundred people who chanted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great," several times during his address.
Al-Bashir reiterated comments [that] he made last week that he would not allow United Nations peacekeepers into his country. He suggested that Sudan could accept more African Union peacekeepers, with U.N. support.
A 7,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force has been trying to stop the ongoing violence in Darfur, but the force is underfunded and ill-equipped. Al-Bashir has rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for 22,000 U.N. peacekeepers to replace the AU force.
He said [that] the Security Council resolution would put "Sudan under the full mandate of foreign countries" and would give U.N. troops "the same position as coalition forces in Iraq."
Farrakhan's chief of staff, Leonard Farrakhan Muhammad, who extended the invitation to al-Bashir, said [that] the speech was an important message for Nation members and others to hear.
"Whatever happens in Africa is the business of black people," he said. "Don't you dare suggest [that] this is beyond the business of the Nation of Islam."
From the BBC...
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has accused the US and the West of exaggerating the level of conflict in the country's troubled Darfur region.
He said [that] media reports of hundreds of thousands of fatalities were false.
Speaking via satellite to a conference in Detroit, he said that his government welcomed help on Darfur, but not at the expense of its sovereignty.
Some 200,000 people have died there and more than two million have fled since the start of the four-year conflict.
The United Nations wants to send more than 20,000 peacekeepers to Darfur to reinforce a struggling African Union force, but Mr Bashir has refused.
He has repeatedly denied backing the Janjaweed militias, who are accused of carrying out widespread atrocities there.
The Sudanese leader was addressing the national conference of the American Muslim organisation, Nation of Islam, at the invitation of controversial leader, Louis Farrakhan.
He said [that] he was speaking to a US audience because he wanted to correct the "campaign of distortion by the media" towards Sudan.
He dismissed reports of ethnic cleansing, saying: "Talk of Arabs killing blacks is a lie."
And he accused the West of exaggerating the number of casualties.
"A lot of organisations and the American media refer to imaginary numbers, up to 400,000 dead," he said. "All these are false."
He later said the number was closer to 9,000, Reuters news agency reported. [see below]
Mr Bashir also accused the international community of unfairly pressurising his government.
"We welcome the help of everyone to solve our problems, including the problem of Darfur, but not at the expense of our sovereignty and the unity of our homeland," he said.
"Those who want to topple the government in Khartoum, we will not allow them to do so," he warned.
The President of Sudan told a cheering crowd of Muslims at the Nation of Islam's convention in Detroit on Friday that his country is being unfairly targeted by Israel and Western countries "who do not respect the will and dignity of our nation."
Speaking from Sudan, Omar al-Bashir addressed hundreds of Nation members and other Muslims in a video conference that Nation members said was broadcast live inside the African country.
"Colonial powers ... want to come back" to Sudan, al-Bashir said through a translator to a crowd inside Cobo Center, the site of a three-day convention by the Nation, founded in Detroit and headed by Louis Farrakhan. There is an "American, Israeli, British alliance to dominate all the region."
In recent years, al-Bashir and his government's military forces have been criticized for allegedly killing people inside Sudan, allowing slavery, and providing a haven for terrorists. The U.S. State Dept. lists Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism.
But al-Bashir said that "there is no ethnic cleansing at all" and "there isn't any slavery in the Sudan."
Speaking to a largely African-American audience, Al-Bashir also addressed the issue of race in his country. Some have said that Arabs with light skin are oppressing Africans in Sudan.
But the leader said "this is nothing but a lie," because in Sudan, "we're all Africans and we're all black."
Akbar Muhammad, a Nation of Islam leader who moderated the program, pointed to al-Bashir on the screen and said that: "He's darker [than] me."
Leonard Muhammad, another Nation leader, said that African-Americans should be aware of what happens in Sudan and other African countries.
"Don't ... suggest this is beyond the business of the Nation of Islam," he said.
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir defended his handling of the Darfur crisis and criticised Western media for exaggerating the death toll in a video conference with worshippers at a Detroit mosque [sic] on Friday.
Bashir acknowledged [that] Sudan was facing a "problem" in Darfur, but placed the blame squarely on rebel groups which did not sign on to a peace agreement concluded in Abuja, Nigeria, in May 2006. "There is a problem, and the main cause of that problem is the rebellion ... we've done everything to possible to try to convince those who bore arms against the state and the people ... but all efforts and mediation failed," he said.
Experts say [that] an estimated 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million [have been] driven from their homes in Darfur since 2003.
"There's a discourse in Western media about the number of people killed in these events, and a lot of organisations and the American media refer to imaginary numbers, up to 400,000 dead. All these are false," Bashir said, later adding that the actual number was closer to 9,000 dead.
He dismissed claims of ethnic cleansing in Darfur. "Talk of Arabs killing blacks is a lie. The government of Sudan is a government of blacks, with all different ethnic backgrounds ... We're all Africans, we're all black."
Bashir said [that] Darfur's non-signatory rebel groups had refused to negotiate with Khartoum during Wednesday's summit in Tripoli, Libya, attended by the rebels, whom Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was expected to try to persuade to join the peace deal.
But the rebels said [that] they had gone to Libya to observe, and did not intend to engage in talks with Khartoum, and that their priority was to unite Darfur rebels.
Bashir reiterated his rejection of Security Council resolution 1706, which calls for the deployment of some 22,500 U.N. peacekeepers and police to take over the African Union mission in Darfur, saying [that] it would effectively place Sudan under U.N. control.
He said Sudan would hold "free and fair" elections in 2008 and 2009, monitored by regional and international bodies.