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Sudan's al-Bashir will not attend Saudi summit for "special reasons"

19 Mai 2017

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, indicted on war crime and genocide charges, will not attend an Islamic Summit in Saudi Arabia this weekend in which President Donald Trump is a guest of honor, citing private reasons, Sudanese state media reported Friday. The Sudanese leader extended his apology to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud not to attend the summit for personal reasons. Al-Bashir had received an invitation from the Saudi leader to attend the summit in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is holding the event under the slogan "Together We Prevail" in hopes of fighting extremist ideologies and cooperating with American and Islamic allies to strengthen economic relations.

US officials expressed their displeasure with the presence of Bashir at the summit and urged the host country to not invite him.

In a statement on Wednesday, the US Embassy in Khartoum declared its opposition to the visit saying it "opposed invitations, facilitations or support for travel by any person subject to outstanding International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants, including President Al-Bashir".

The tribunal issued arrest warrants in 2009 and 2010 for Bashir for alleged crimes related to the conflict.

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In 2005, the UN Security Council asked the ICC to probe crimes in the western Sudan region of Darfur, where according to UN figures, some 330 000 people have been killed in a conflict between Khartoum and mostly black African insurgents.

Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the statute that founded the ICC and neither Sudan nor the United States have ratified it.

Trump on Friday will embark on his first foreign trip as president, stopping in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican.

But later, the Trump administration singled out Sudan as one of six Muslim majority countries whose citizens were banned from immigrating to the U.S.

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