[dehai-news] (Reuters): Sudan's Bashir urges Arab support against warrant

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Mar 30 2009 - 11:52:55 EST

Sudan's Bashir urges Arab support against warrant

Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:53pm GMT

* Bashir urges backing against arrest warrant

* Bashir accuses Israel of backing Darfur rebels

* Syria says Arab peace plan requires Israeli will

(Adds quotes throughout)

By Andrew Hammond

DOHA, March 30 (Reuters) - The appearance of Sudanese leader Omar Hassan
al-Bashir at an Arab summit on Monday, flouting an international arrest
warrant, overshadowed efforts to heal Arab rifts over how to handle Iran.

Bashir flew into the small Gulf Arab state on Sunday after visits to Egypt,
Eritrea and Libya in the weeks since the International Criminal Court (ICC)
indicted him on charges of masterminding war crimes in Darfur.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the summit on Monday, Bashir urged Arab
leaders meeting in Doha to reject the indictment and accused Israel of
backing rebels in Darfur.

"We appreciate your support and hope it will lead to strong and clear
resolutions .... that reject this resolution and call for its cancellation,"
he said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called on the summit to express unequivocal
support for Bashir.

"We are called upon today to reject the warrant categorically and to express
absolute support for Sudan at this stage," he said. "What is happening to
Sudan now is another chapter in the effort to weaken the Arabs ... and
another stage in the effort to break up Sudan."

Arab states were quick to rally around Bashir last month. Some cited the
absence of international measures against Israel over its three-week war on
Gaza that killed 1,300 Palestinians. Arabs generally see a double-standard

But after the demise of Saddam Hussein, international justice for Sudan's
leader would be another cause for concern for Arab leaders accused by rights
groups of repression.

Qatar, which hosts a key U.S. military base, said last week it had faced
unspecified pressure not to receive Bashir but its prime minister flew to
Khartoum to repeat the invitation.

Officials in Doha said Saudi Arabia had pressed the summit of 22 Arab League
nations to offer strong support for Sudan.

Bashir adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail told reporters in Doha: "We expect this
popular uprising of support for Sudan, not just in the Arab world, to be
translated into a strong resolution that meets the hopes of the Arab


Qatar, a major natural gas power, has billed the summit as a chance for
reconciliation among Arab states over a series of regional conflicts linked
to non-Arab Shi'ite power Iran.

Arab governments have struggled to respond to Iran's political clout since
the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 brought long-oppressed Shi'ite Muslims to
power there.

But Qatar, with ambitions to be a major regional powerbroker, has maintained
close links with Iran, despite U.S. and Arab pressure to keep its distance
from a country they suspect of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

The Egyptian and Saudi leaders see Iran's hand behind the strength of
Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories -- Islamist
groups that refuse to renounce armed action in the historic Arab conflict
with Israel.

On Monday, an apparent effort by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to patch up
ties with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah monarch was regarded as an attack.

"It has been six years that you have been running away and scared of
confrontation and I want to say do not be afraid.... the grave is before
you, it is Britain that made you and the Americans that protected you," said
Gaddafi, before being shouted down by the Qatari host.

But he continued in a conciliatory tone, drawing applause from delegates: "I
consider the personal problem between you and me to be over and I am
prepared to visit you and receive a visit from you."

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak stayed away because of rancour over Qatar's
attempt to rally Arabs and Iran behind Hamas during Israel's war on Gaza,
which is under the control of Hamas. But King Abdullah, attending despite
Saudi misgivings over Qatari policy on Iran, has reconciliation as a

Riyadh, which regards itself as the bastion of mainstream Sunni Islam, fears
Washington will end its conflict with Iran at the expense of its traditional
oil-for-security ally.

Assad said the Arab peace initiative to end the conflict with Israel was
still on the table but accused Israel of becoming more extremist, with
ethnic cleansing ambitions.

"When the conditions are there the initiative can be activated and anyone
who wants to promote it must convince us that there really is a partner
interested in peace," he said.

"Israel sees its future in removing the Palestinians to an alternative
homeland," he said. "Israeli society is becoming more extremist and
aggressive." (Editing by Robert Woodward)

C Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved


         ----[This List to be used for Eritrea Related News Only]----

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

© Copyright DEHAI-Eritrea OnLine, 1993-2009
All rights reserved