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Sudan's wanted president Bashir to attend Saudi Trump summit

President Omar al-Bashir has been an ICC fugitive since 2009 [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 May, 2017

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Any direct contact between Trump and Bashir would be a diplomatic disaster, with outstanding ICC arrest warrants for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity hanging over the Sudanese leader.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes, will attend a summit in Saudi Arabia on Saturday in which President Donald Trump will also be present.

Saudi officials confirmed that al-Bashir had been invited to the meeting, which will see the US president gather with over 50 dignitaries from the Arab world in his first visit to the region, the Associated Press reported.

Any direct contact between Trump and al-Bashir would be a diplomatic disaster, with outstanding ICC arrest warrants for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity hanging over the Sudanese leader.

A US State Department official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the US opposes governments inviting anyone subject to ICC arrest warrants, including al-Bashir, the AP reported.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour on Wednesday confirmed the visit to reporters, saying Sudan looked forward to normalising relations with the United States.

"On the question of the Trump-Bashir handshake, nobody can pretend anything, but anyway President Bashir has been invited by the Saudis to be in that conference," Ghandour said, according to Reuters.

After Saudi Arabia, Trump is due to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Rome, where he will head to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis.

In March, media reports alleged that a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, had called on Jordan to arrest Bashir during a trip there for the Arab League summit.

Sudan asserted that it is not a member of the 1998 Rome Statute that the ICC derives its legitimacy from, and rejected the statement.

Sudan, which is on a list of predominantly Muslim countries placed by Trump on a temporary visa ban, has close relations with Saudi Arabia.

It is also part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

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