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Uganda Invites Bashir to AU Summit

Uganda says Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is invited to next month's African Union summit in Kampala, backing off a statement from the president's office that Mr. Bashir, wanted for alleged war crimes, would not be welcome.

Uganda's Foreign Ministry said late Monday that the invitation had been sent to Mr. Bashir, as it had been sent to all African heads of state, except those specifically suspended by the AU.

Those suspended include Guinea and Niger, whose leaders came to power in military coups. Mr. Bashir recently won re-election in Sudan, though the poll was marred by boycotts and allegations of fraud.

The Sudanese leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in his country's Darfur region.

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

Saturday, the office of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Sudan could only send other government officials to the AU summit.

Sudan demanded an apology, saying it would request the summit be relocated unless Uganda withdrew its statement.

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.

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 was provided by Reuters.