[dehai-news] (AFP): Egypt sees danger if Beshir warrant issued

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Feb 23 2009 - 06:35:59 EST

Egypt sees danger if Beshir warrant issued


CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt warned on Sunday of dire repercussions if an
international arrest warrant is issued for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir
just as steps are being agreed towards ending the six-year conflict in

"An arrest warrant for President Beshir will have dangerous consequences for
the situation in Darfur, in particular, and Sudan in general," presidential
spokesman Suleiman Awad told reporters after Beshir met Egyptian counterpart
Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.

Beshir, whom the International Criminal Court in considering charging with
genocide and war crimes in Sudan's western region of Darfur, met Mubarak for
several hours before returning to Khartoum.

Awad said Mubarak has pressed world leaders not to support the possible
arrest warrant, adding that if it is issued Egypt believes some members of
the UN Security Council will vote against and thus veto endorsment of the

Sudan's ambassador to Egypt, Abdel Moneim Mohammed Mabruk, welcomed Egypt's
position, saying "we are satisfied with the outcome of this visit."

"Egypt has always stood fast in supporting Sudan," he said, adding that
Sudan believes a warrant would also complicate peace talks between the
Sudanese government and Darfuri rebels.

Last week, the Khartoum government and the most active rebel group in
Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement, signed a confidence-building pact
in Doha aimed at laying the groundwork for broader peace talks.

On the same day, JEM chief Khalil Ibrahim announced the release of 21
government prisoners held by his group.

And on Saturday, Sudan freed 24 Darfur rebel prisoners, despite fighting on
Thursday that left 11 Sudanese soldiers dead or wounded and 17 JEM fighters

Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor Kuol on Friday reiterated an African
Union-backed call to postpone international efforts to try Beshir for war
crimes by a year to smooth the way for the peace efforts in Darfur.

"We are asking for one year for postponement because this will give us time
to work for peace in Darfur which we have already started with one movement
... we have many movements, more than 10, about 15," Kuol said in South

If an arrest warrant is issued, "there will be negative consequences of
course," he said.

The New York Times reported earlier this month that the ICC had decided to
issue a warrant for Beshir's arrest, but a spokesman for the court in The
Hague said that "at this moment, there is no warrant.

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked last July for an warrant to be
issued against Beshir for alleged genocide, war crimes and crimes against
humanity in Darfur.

According to the United Nations, 300,000 people have died and more than 2.2
million fled their homes since ethnic minority rebels in Darfur rose up
against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in February 2003.

The UN and African Union have a joint peacekeeping mission in Darfur, where
15,200 police and troops are stationed.


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