U.S. weighs in on Sudan – NBC’s Libby Leist

March 4th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

The State Department today pressed the Sudanese government to “take seriously” the arrest warrant of President Bashir issued by the International Criminal Court and to respond “in a positive matter.” (more…)

The State Department today pressed the Sudanese government to “take seriously” the arrest warrant of President Bashir issued by the International Criminal Court and to respond “in a positive matter.”

The U.S. is not a signatory to the court, so spokesman Gordon Duguid would not explicitly welcome the arrest warrant today.

Instead he said, “The United States is strongly committed to the pursuit of peace in Sudan and believes those who have committed atrocities should be held accountable for their crimes.”

He added later that he thought the warrant could be “helpful” in bringing peace to Sudan.

The U.S. is calling for restraint from the government of Sudan and armed rebel groups in responding to the arrest warrant, Duguid said, and he stressed the need to ensure the safety of Sudanese populations, international citizens and peacekeepers.

As for U.S. embassy operations in Khartoum, Duguid said the embassy is open and functioning and all U.S. citizens are safe and accounted for.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit took a different tack earlier, calling “on the U.N. Security Council to suspend” the arrest warrant and “hold an urgent and emergency meeting” to decide to do so, per Reuters.

Meanwhile, while in the Middle East, Secretary of State Clinton publically pressured Israel to stop the demolition of homes in East Jerusalem, calling it “unhelpful” and a breach of Israel’s international obligations.

She also pressed the need to do more to open border crossings into Gaza, to allow humanitarian aid to get through.

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