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Bashir in Qatar to Attend Arab Summit

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29 Mar 09 | Press TV

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir arrives in Doha for an Arab summit despite an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

There is little chance of al-Bashir being arrested by the Persian Gulf state, Qatar, since the kingdom, like all Arab states except for Jordan, is not a signatory to the Rome treaty that created the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal, ICC.

Last week, the Prime Minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said that his country was under pressure not to receive the Sudanese President at Doha’s Arab summit over an international indictment for war crimes. The Arab state, however, repeated an invitation for him to attend.

This is the first time al-Bashir is to attend an international conference since the issuance of an arrest warrant against him. The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, on March 4 issued an arrest warrant for al- Bashir, accusing him of masterminding atrocities in Darfur, including murder, rape and torture.

Al-Bashir dismissed the warrant as ‘not worth the ink it’s written with’ and has visited neighboring Eritrea, Egypt, Libya as well as Ethiopia over the past weeks.

In support, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa rejected the decision and accusation of the court. He accused the ICC of ‘selectivity’ for focusing on Sudan, rather than Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip in December and January, which left over 1,350 Palestinians – mostly civilians – dead and around 5,450 people injured.

UN officials estimate that up to 300,000 people have died in the conflict in the western Sudanese region of Darfur and 2.7 million have been forced to flee their homes. Khartoum, however, puts the death toll at just 10,000.

The Doha meeting plans to consider the adoption of a declaration that will call upon Arab leaders to step up visits to Sudan in an effort to further enhance solidarity with the country and its troubled head of state.

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Written by Editors

29 March 2009 at 12:00 pm

Posted in ICC, Middle East, Sudan

Tagged with , ,

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