[dehai-news] Aljazeera.net: Sudan's al-Bashir heads to Ethiopia

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Thu Mar 26 2009 - 06:25:48 EST

Sudan's al-Bashir heads to Ethiopia

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, has travelled to Ethiopia in
defiance of an arrest warrant issued against him by the International
Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes in the Darfur region.

Al-Bashir, who risks arrest any time he goes abroad, left for the Ethiopian
capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday, a foreign ministry official said.

The trip is al-Bashir's third abroad since the ICC's decision, after
visiting neighbours Egypt and Eritrea this week following invitations from
those countries for talks on the arrest warrant.

The Sudanese president has also visited Darfur twice since the ICC decided
to order his arrest.

Sudan's government said shortly after the ICC decision on March 4 that
al-Bashir would defy the warrant by travelling to an Arab summit in the
Qatari capital, Doha, on March 30.

Qatari welcome

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani, the prime minister of Qatar, travelled to
Sudan on Tuesday in an attempt to convince al-Bashir to attend the summit
where they will focus on the situation in Darfur.

The Qatari prime minster said during his visit that Doha had been put under
pressure from several parties not to receive al-Bashir.

"Doha would not acquiesce to such pressure while al-Bashir is absolutely
free to take the appropriate decision about attending the Arab summit," the
Qatari prime minister said.
But a series of Sudanese officials have released statements questioning the
wisdom of the trip, prompting speculation they were preparing to send
another representative instead.

A group of Sudanese Islamic scholars have advised al-Bashir not to travel to
the Arab League summit.

Al-Bashir responded to the ICC warrant by expelling 13 international aid
agencies from Darfur earlier this month.

Experts say at least 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2.7
million driven from their homes in almost six years of ethnic and political
fighting in Darfur in western Sudan.

Khartoum says 10,000 people have died.

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