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Bashir goes to Libya in another gesture of defiance

Video by Eve JACKSON

Latest update : 2009-03-29

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (pictured) traveled to Libya to hold talks with leader Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday in another show of defiance of the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant for him.

REUTERS - Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir defied an international arrest warrant by travelling to Libya on Thursday to hold talks with leader Muammar Gaddafi, a Libyan official said.

Bashir arrived in the Libyan city of Sirte to have lunch with Gaddafi, who is also the current president of the African Union, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The visit is a show of defiance to the arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes in Darfur in western Sudan.

Gaddafi said last month that “foreign forces” including Israel were stoking the Darfur conflict and urged the International Criminal Court to stop proceedings against Bashir.

The veteran Libyan leader says Africa can solve its own problems without outside meddling and has made a number of attempts to broker peace between Darfur rebels and the Khartoum government.

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.

The trip is Bashir’s third abroad since the ICC issued the arrest warrant on March 4. He also visited neighbours Egypt and Eritrea this week following invitations from those countries for talks on the ICC move.

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 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 representative.

Qatar’s prime minister has said the Gulf state was coming under pressure not to receive Bashir, though he did not say from whom.
 

Date created : 2009-03-26

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