African diplomats discuss Bashir arrest warrant with Russian authorities – APA-Moscow (Russia)

March 7th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

A group of African ambassadors from Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Sudan, Ethiopia and South Africa held an emergency meeting with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov to discuss issues connected with the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s arrest warrant issued for President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur conflict, APA learns from diplomatic sources here on Friday.

The African ambassadors, after referring to the position of the African Union and the League of Arab states, they established it was unacceptable for the court to issue the warrant, which could possibly affect the situation both inside Sudan and spill over to the neighbouring countries.

Last Wednesday, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir on charges of alleged atrocities in Darfur. The United Nations Security Council said it would take up the matter and with Russia’s active participation in the discussions. Meanwhile, many African and Asian states have warned that the ICC’s move could reflect negatively on the situation in this troubled east African country.

In this case, it was emphasized that this is directed against the sovereign rights and the legitimate interests not only of Sudan, but also other states of region.

In turn, Saltanov noted that in Moscow the authorities are divided over the Sudan issue and its possible negative consequences and steps to be taken for the peaceful settlement in Sudan. He however expressed hope that in the prevailing complex situation, they will continue to search for suitable solutions, and also the steady realization of a universal peace accord between north and south of Sudan.

Moscow supports a proposal for a one-year suspension of criminal prosecution of President al-Bashir who faces charges of five counts of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes.

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