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South Africa’s Mbeki to visit Sudan over ICC issue

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August 2, 2008 (JOHANNESBURG) — South African President reaffirmed on Saturday he will travel soon to Sudan to discuss with his Sudanese counterpart a possible arrest warrant against him over Darfur crimes.

South African President Thabo Mbeki poses with his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir in Cape Town on November 6, 2007

Last week, Thabo Mbeki joined calls for suspension of Omer al-Bashir’s indictment saying it would destroy efforts for peace in Darfur and hinder the implementation of another peace agreement in the south.

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on July 14 requested a warrant be issued against Bashir over charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur region.

Mbeki had to be in Sudan during last June but the two day working visit was postponed due the political crisis in Zimbabwe. As chairman of the African Union post-conflict and reconstruction committee for Sudan, he had to discuss the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the settlement of Darfur crisis.

The announcement made today about his imminent trip to Khartoum didn’t provide a date for the visit, but it seems that it would take place in the coming days. During an interview with the South African Pubic television on July 25, he has stated he would visit Sudan soon.

President Mbeki made this statement after a meeting with the Sudanese Presidential Adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail in Pretoria today.

Libya and South Africa as African Union members have called this week on the U.N. Security Council to defer the indictment of the Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

However, the Security Council in a paragraph had to be inserted in a resolution to renew the mandate of the UNAMID, pledged to discuss the "matters related to the international court"

It "will continue to engage one another with That’s a good thing," Mbeki said on Saturday.

(ST)

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