The chief African Union-United Nations mediator for Darfur says the indictment of Sudan's president for atrocities committed in Darfur has likely "significantly slowed and even compromised" efforts to find a political solution to the conflict.
Mediator Djibril Bassolé said efforts to bring the government of Sudan and rebel groups together at the negotiation table is blocked, following the International Criminal Court's decision to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir earlier this month.
Bassolé briefed the Security Council in a private session Thursday. In a copy of his remarks obtained by VOA, the former Burkina Faso foreign minister said the court's decision has "had a significant impact on the various actors in the crisis."
He cited the announcement by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the main rebel group, that it would capture the president and turn him over to the court, and its recent decision to suspend its participation in peace talks in Qatar.
French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert said Bassolé asked the Security Council to take into consideration the position of the African Union on the court's indictment. "We took the message and we said to him we would take it duly into account, the position of the African Union," he said.
The African Union, along with some other regional organizations, has asked the Security Council to use its authority to defer the charges against President Bashir for one year. The council is split on this issue and no action has been taken. Ambassador Ripert's remarks highlight the division in the council over this issue.
"We respect the position of the African Union, of course, and we listen to the African Union, and we understand what they mean, it does not mean we have to share the same position. Obviously there is some disagreement on this question of the ICC," he said.
During the closed meeting, the council was also updated on the humanitarian situation in Darfur in a briefing by U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes.
In a statement following the meeting, the 15-member Security Council reaffirmed its support for the mediation process and stressed the importance of continuing the peace process, urging the parties to engage actively in negotiations. The council also expressed its support to the Qatari government for its efforts to bring together the government of Sudan and the rebels.