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Sudanese President’s Swearing-in Thursday

  • Peter Clottey

A leading member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) told VOA several heads of states and government officials will participate in President-elect Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s swearing-in ceremony Thursday.

Rabie Abdulatti Obeid said the swearing-in will proceed despite boycott calls and protests from opponents including human rights groups.

“The ceremony of the swearing in of President Bashir for a new term of office will be attended by different African presidents and representatives of African presidents who are not in a position to participate in this ceremony. And, also from the Arab countries, as well as the representatives of United Nations in Sudan, will also attend the ceremony of president Bashir,” he said.

Last week, Human Rights Watch called on the international community, as well as officials of the United Nations in Sudan, to boycott President Bashir’s swearing in. The rights group contends that the international community’s presence will undermine the arrest warrant against Mr. Bashir, issued by The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).

But, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was quoted as saying that the world’s body has a duty to maintain good relations with Khartoum in order to maintain peace and stability, and to foster the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The world body currently operates through its missions; the U.N. Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), which is mandated to support the implementation of the CPA as well as the combined force of the United Nations and the African Union Mission (UNMID).

Ruling party official Obeid dismissed the rights group boycott calls.

“This occasion of swearing-in of President Bashir does not concern the international organizations… whether Human Rights Organizations or any other organizations. This is something concerning the people of Sudan…and they have selected the president,” Obeid said.

Last year, a three-judge panel from the ICC accused President Bashir of seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from his government's counterinsurgency campaign in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

But, supporters of President Bashir rejected the indictment claiming the United States and others were behind the charges against the Sudanese leader.

The National Electoral Commission declared Mr. Bashir winner of the presidential election with over 60 percent of the votes. But, opposition groups rejected the election results saying the election was fraught with irregularities.

Obeid said some opposition groups will participate in Thursday’s ceremony.

“Other opposition parties will be participating in this ceremony … the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) will participate in this ceremony. And, I think that there is an understanding between the SPLM and the National Congress Party to have partnership in the rest of the period, especially to implement the rest of the remaining points of the CPA,” Obeid said.