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France-Africa Summit Shifted to Exclude Bashir

The summit will be held in France instead of Egypt after Paris balked at Egypt's plan to invite Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

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Egypt says it will not host a France-Africa summit following a dispute with Paris over whether to invite Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.

The Sudanese leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Tuesday that the summit is being moved to France.  That would effectively bar Mr. Bashir from attending for fear of arrest.

France is a state party to the ICC, which indicted Mr. Bashir back in March.

The Egyptian diplomat made the remarks in an interview with the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Alawsat.

The International Criminal Court accuses President Bashir of masterminding a campaign of rape, murder and other crimes against civilians in Darfur.  His government has been fighting rebels there since 2003.

The United Nations says the conflict has killed some 300,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million others.  Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000.

Mr. Bashir has rejected the court's authority and has repeatedly traveled abroad - but only to countries that have not ratified the ICC charter and can guarantee his safety.
 

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

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