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Sudan's President Visits Eritrea Despite Warrant


Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir traveled to Eritrea Monday, his first trip abroad since a war crimes tribunal issued a warrant for his arrest.

Eritrea invited Mr. Bashir earlier this month, soon after the International Criminal Court (or ICC) indicted him for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Mr. Bashir arrived Monday in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, and held talks with President Isaias Afwerki before returning to Khartoum later in the day.

ICC prosecutors say Mr. Bashir organized a campaign of murder, rape, and other crimes against civilians in Darfur, where his government has been fighting rebels since 2003.

Eritrea, like Sudan, has rejected the ICC's call for Mr. Bashir's arrest, calling the court's moves unjustified and politically motivated.

Mr. Bashir is planning to attend an Arab summit next week in Qatar. Sudan's highest religious authority has urged him not to go because of the arrest warrant.

On Sunday, a Sudanese presidential spokesman said that no final decision has been made on whether Mr. Bashir will go.

Qatar is not considered likely to arrest Mr. Bashir because like Eritrea, it has not signed the Rome Statute, the founding text of the International Criminal Court.

Under the charter of the ICC, member states are bound to arrest indicted individuals when they enter the members' territory.

The United Nations says the fighting and related violence in Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people, and displaced more than 2.5 million others. Sudan says the death toll is around 10,000.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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