Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

Africa

Bashir defies arrest warrant to visit Eritrea

Latest update : 2009-03-23

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir - the subject of an international arrest warrant for war crimes from the ICC - arrived in Eritrea on Monday to meet with the country's president Issaias Afeworki, who is supporting Bashir.

AFP - Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir arrived in Eritrea Monday on his first foreign trip since the issue of an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes, Eritrea's information minister said.
  
"It is a one-day visit, it's a very normal visit from one president to another. He is responding to an invitation by President Issaias Afeworki," Ali Abdu told AFP by phone from Asmara.
  
The Eritrean president had invited Beshir on March 11 to express solidarity with the Sudanese president, seven days after the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued its warrant accusing Beshir of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.
  
"The drama being orchestrated by the so-called ICC amply demonstrates the anti-people stance and defamatory conspiracy on the part of external forces," the Eritrean government had said in its invitation.
  
"Eritrea sees the decision by the ICC as irresponsible and as an insult to the intelligence of African countries," Abdu said Monday.
  
"They are meeting today and will discuss bilateral and regional issues," he added without elaborating.
  
Like Sudan, the government in Asmara has frosty ties with Western states, notably the United States.
  
Many African and Arab states along with key ally China have condemned the ICC move and called for the warrant to be suspended.
  
Beshir faces five counts of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes. He is the first sitting president to be issued with a warrant by the ICC.
  
Beshir's visit to Eritrea had not been announced in the Sudanese media, even those close to the government were unaware of his travel plans.
  
"I know nothing about this," a high-ranking foreign ministry official told AFP, when asked about the president's visit to Asmara.
  
On Sunday, Sudanese media said the country's highest religious authority, the Committee of Muslim Scholars, has issued a fatwa urging Beshir not to travel to the March 29-30 Arab summit in Doha.
  
"It is inadmissible for the president of the republic to take part in the Arab League summit in Qatar under current conditions while the enemies of God and of the nation are creeping around," the text said.
  
"Because you are the symbol and the guardian of the nation... we think that the conditions are not right (to attend the summit) and that this task can be carried out by persons other than yourself," the fatwa said.
  
The ICC does not have a police force and therefore calls on signatory states to implement warrants.
  
Eritrea has not ratified the Rome Statute which set up the court, although as a member of the United Nations it is urged to cooperate with the court.
  
Besides the possibility of his arrest in Qatar, some officials in Sudan fear that Beshir's presidential jet could be intercepted by other states once out of Sudanese airspace.
  
According to some Sudanese commentators, appeals for Beshir not to travel offer the president a face-saving way out of the ICC bind.
  

Date created : 2009-03-23

COMMENT(S)