Africa bloc ready to move summit over Bashir row-Malawi
Fri Jun 8, 2012 11:31am GMT
* Sudan's Bashir wanted on genocide, war crime charges
* Malawi asked AU to block Bashir's visit to July summit
* AU ready to move meeting to Ethiopia - Malawi VP
By Mabvuto Banda
LILONGWE, June 8 (Reuters) - The African Union will move a July summit from
Malawi if the country keeps up its efforts to block the attendance of
Sudan's wanted president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Malawi's vice president said
Malawi last month asked the African Union to prevent Bashir from taking part
in the event, saying his visit would have "implications" for its
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges he
masterminded genocide and other atrocities during his country's Darfur
As an ICC member state, Malawi is supposed to arrest him if he enters its
territory - and the global court's chief prosecutor on Monday said countries
that failed to detain him should have their aid cut.
"The African Union has written us a letter informing us that if we don't
allow al-Bashir to come to Malawi, then they will move the summit to Addis
Ababa in Ethiopia," Vice President Khumbo Kachale told reporters on Friday.
Kachale said the cabinet had decided it was happy not to host the
conference, which was focused on boosting trade between African countries
and originally scheduled for July 9-16 in Lilongwe.
Malawi angered international donors, who have supplied about 40 percent of
its budget funding, when it hosted Bashir last year when Bingu we Mutharika,
who died in April of a heart attack, ruled the country.
African Union heads of state voted in 2009 not to cooperate with the ICC
indictments, saying they would hamper efforts to end Sudan's multiple
conflicts and criticising the court for unfairly targeting African
Bashir has since visited Kenya and Chad, both of them ICC members, as well
as other countries - an embarrassment for the global court.
The July summit would be particularly important for Sudan because the agenda
included talks over its relations with South Sudan, which seceded last year
under a 2005 peace deal, Sudan's foreign ministry has said.
The two countries are at odds over a long list of issues, including the
position of the border, oil payments, debt and the status of citizens in one
another's territory. (Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Andrew Heavens)