KHARTOUM: Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit held talks with Sudanese President Omar Al-Beshir on Saturday amid reports that the International Criminal Court has decided to issue a warrant for his arrest.
The heads of the two countries powerful intelligence services – Omar Suleiman for Egypt and Salah Gosh for Sudan – also joined the two-hour meeting about the six-year-old war in Darfur where Khartoum s scorched-earth policy has prompted the arrest warrant request from ICC prosecutors.
Beshir s spokesman Mahjub Fadl Bakri spoke out strongly against any move by the court to issue an unprecedented arrest warrant against a sitting head of state, asking how the world could continue to have normal diplomatic relations with Khartoum after any such step.
We put this question to every country that recognizes the jurisdiction of the ICC – if an arrest warrant is issued, are your ambassadors going to consider Omar Al-Beshir as a president or a defendant? Bakri asked.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that ICC judges in The Hague had decided to issue an arrest warrant for Al-Beshir but a spokesman for the court later insisted that At this moment, there is no arrest warrant.
A Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman dismissed the report as a baseless attempt to undermine renewed Darfur peace talks.
The Egyptian foreign minister said: We came here to support President Al-Beshir and his government… in all of their efforts aimed at bringing peace and stability.
But the Sudanese president s spokesman said that all efforts to bring an end to the Darfur conflict so far, whether by the Arab League or the African Union, had failed even if they were still continuing.
Arab League member Qatar is currently hosting talks between a Sudanese government delegation led by top Beshir aide Nafie Ali Nafie and the most heavily armed Darfur rebel group – the Justice and Equality Movement.
They are the first contacts since 2007 between Khartoum and the JEM, which mounted an unprecedented assault on the Sudanese capital in May last year and was involved in heavy fighting with government troops inside Darfur in recent weeks.
But the JEM had joined with other Darfur rebel leaders in insisting that they continue to support the ICC in pressing legal proceedings against Al-Beshir and other Sudanese officials over war crimes allegations in Darfur to their conclusion. -AFP