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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan says Bashir to skip IGAD summit in Kenya

March 4, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government announced that president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir will not take part in the extraordinary summit of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Nairobi scheduled for next week.

Bashir received an invitation yesterday delivered by the visiting Kenyan foreign minister Moses Wetangula and Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs Seyoum Mesfin.

The pro-government Al-Rayaam newspaper quoted Sudanese foreign minister Deng Alor as saying that the presidency has previously declined the invitation due to being occupied with preparations for the April elections.

The Sudanese head of state risks arrests in Kenya, a Rome Statute signatory, as he is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for charges of masterminding crimes committed in Darfur.

Despite an African Union (AU) resolution last year for member states not to cooperate with the Hague based court none of the continents ICC members received the Sudanese head of state and other countries such as Uganda and South Africa even warned him to stay away to avoid apprehension

Yesterday Bashir addressing NCP supporters in the Sudanese capital said that he will continue to travel worldwide despite the warrant accusing world powers of standing behind his indictment.

“They are liars, hypocrites…this [my destiny] is not in the hands of the US or the UN and we will not kneel before them like others did” the Sudanese president said.

“We do not fear them and we will continue to travel because death can be through fever or malaria or a traffic accident but a happy death is to die as a martyr to join my fellows who were martyred” he added.

The Sudanese head of state managed to maintain ability to travel regionally to countries such as Ethiopia, Egypt, Eretria, Libya and going as far as Zimbabwe and Mauritania, none of which are ICC members.

But Bashir has also turned down several invitations over the past year to attend events in Uganda, Nigeria, Venezuela, Denmark, Turkey, South Africa and US.

Today the ICC president Judge Sang-Hyun Song expressed confidence that Bashir will eventually face justice.

“May I remind you of two previous similar occasions where President Slobodan Milosevic and President Charles Taylor of Sierra Leone were brought, surrendered before the ad hoc tribunals. When the arrest warrant was issued against these two individuals, pretty much people were laughing … ‘How could you bring the top person to justice? This is a joke” Song said at a briefing in the House of Commons in London.

“It took less than three years to get them brought before the tribunal and in the case of the arrest warrant for Mr al-Bashir, the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court knows no statute of limitations, so some day he will be brought to The Hague to face justice.” he said.

Seperately, it was announced on Friday the Sudanese president will travel to Eritrea on a one day visit for discussions on bilateral relations.

(ST)