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Sudan, Uganda Spar Over African Union Summit


Sudan is denouncing neighboring Uganda after that country's government said Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is not invited to next month's African Union summit in Kampala.

Sudan's foreign ministry Sunday said it will request that the summit be relocated unless Uganda withdraws its earlier statement. It also demanded an apology from Uganda and said Kampala's stance would lead to divisions within the African Union.

The office of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Saturday that Mr. Bashir has not been invited to the July summit. A statement said Sudan could only send other government officials.

Mr. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.

Uganda is a member nation of the ICC, and theoretically would be required to arrest Mr. Bashir if he attended the AU meeting.

The U.S.-based organization Human Rights Watch told the French news agency (AFP) Sunday that Uganda's decision proves the ICC is gaining strength in Africa.

Uganda is hosting a conference of the 111 ICC member nations.

President Bashir does not recognize the ICC's authority. He has traveled abroad repeatedly in defiance of a warrant for his arrest, but has avoided countries that are signatories to the ICC.

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

His indictment marked the first time the ICC has targeted a sitting head of state.

The two-week (31 May-11 June) ICC Review Conference in Uganda was convened to discuss possible changes to the court's charter.

Last week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all nations to join the ICC. He said the court must have "universal support" to deter potential war crimes perpetrators.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.

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