Sudan's al-Bashir will not attend Saudi summit for "special reasons"

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 20, 2017

President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan - indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity - will not attend a meeting in Saudi Arabia alongside President Donald Trump, the Sudanese state news agency said Friday.

"The President of the Republic has apologised for not attending the summit for special reasons and tasked the State Minister at the Presidency and Director of his offices Gen. Taha Al-Hussein to represent him at the summit and participate in all its activities", SUNA said.

A Saudi invitation to al-Bashir had outraged human rights advocates, who called it a breach of long-standing US policy.

But Saudi and Sudanese diplomats including foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour insisted that Bashir was invited and he would travel to Riyadh for the meeting which gathers over 50 heads of state and government.

Saudi Arabia is holding the event under the slogan "Together We Prevail" in hopes of fighting extremist ideologies and cooperating with American and Islamic allies to strengthen economic relations.

The tribunal issued arrest warrants in 2009 and 2010 for Bashir for alleged crimes related to the conflict.

However, the USA embassy in Khartoum said on Wednesday that Washington opposes inviting anyone subject to outstanding International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants, including Sudanese President al-Bashir.

The United Nations estimates 30,000 people have died since the Darfur region erupted in violence in 2003.

Just two days ago, the USA embassy issued a statement voicing its opposition to al-Bashir's plans to attend the summit.

Sudan has close military, business and political ties with Saudi Arabia.

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