From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Thu Mar 26 2009 - 07:30:47 EST
Sudan's Bashir goes to Libya, defying ICC
Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:12am GMT
(Updates with Bashir landing in Libya)
KHARTOUM, March 26 (Reuters) - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir
arrived in Libya on Thursday for a foreign visit in a show of defiance to an
arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court on
charges of Darfur war crimes, Arab media reported.
A Sudanese presidential palace source and a foreign ministry official had
earlier said Bashir, who risks arrest any time he travels abroad, was on his
way to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. But Arab television channels Al
Jazeera and Al Arabiya later reported he had arrived instead in Libya.
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.
The trip is Bashir's third abroad since the ICC decision on March 4. He also
visited neighbours Egypt and Eritrea this week following invitations from
those countries for talks on the ICC move.
The Sudanese government said shortly after the ICC decision that Bashir
would defy the warrant by travelling further afield to an Arab summit in
Qatar next week.
But Sudanese officials have released statements raising questions over the
wisdom of the trip, prompting speculation Sudan may send another
Qatar's prime minister has said the Gulf state was coming under pressure not
to receive Bashir, though he did not say from whom. (Reporting by Andrew
Heavens; Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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