Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is visiting Egypt on his first
high-profile trip abroad, and second to a neighboring country in three
days. Mr. Bashir is meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in
an apparent attempt to seek reassurances he will not be arrested at an
Arab summit in Qatar.
President Hosni Mubarak met Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir at
the airport in Cairo, in a show of solidarity with the beleaguered
Sudanese leader, before holding talks at presidential headquarters,
outside the capital.
Al-Bashir's trip to Egypt is his second
since a warrant for his arrest was issued on March 4 by the
International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes in Darfur. Egypt
is not a signatory of the court's founding charter, and is not
obligated to arrest him.
The 22-member Arab League also says it
will not implement the international arrest warrant, while Qatar, which
is hosting an Arab summit next week, has repeated a pledge not to
arrest him even though it is a signatory to the court charter.
Qatar Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber al-Thani says Qatar is coming under "increasing pressure" not to welcome him.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters Egypt and Sudan are cooperating to find a solution to the crisis.
says that there is a joint Egyptian, Arab and African position not to
accept the way the international court is dealing with the case of the
Sudanese president. He adds that discussions are also centered around
the situation in Darfur, how to end that conflict and ways to guarantee
the humanitarian situation. Egypt, he says, has pledged to give Sudan
Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor
Kuol says Sudan's government is contemplating what to do about
President Bashir's upcoming trip to Qatar.
"President Bashir's visit to Qatar differs substantially from visits to
Egypt or Eritrea, and, therefore, the Sudanese government is studying
the situation and will make its decision [on whether he should attend],
later," he said. "Sudan will try government officials on charges of
crimes related to the Darfur crisis in its own courts. A special
Sudanese prosecutor has been appointed for Darfur."
Al-Bashir sparked further international outrage when he recently
expelled 13 international aid agencies, adding to fears of a worsening
spiral of violence and further humanitarian tragedy in Darfur.
has been charged with war crimes related to a counter-insurgency
against Darfur rebels, punctuated by rapes, killings and other
atrocities against civilians.
Sudan's Minister for Humanitarian
Affairs, Ahmed Haroun, who is also accused of war crimes in Darfur,
told al-Arabiya TV the International Criminal Court is a "European
Guantanamo ... that will surely convict us, because the United States
and Europe are trying to impose their neo-colonial agendas on us."
also warned the United States "not to meddle in Sudan's internal
affairs," claiming that Washington should "not play world policeman
after what it has done in Iraq."
He went on to deny charges of
war crimes, claiming that the United Nations has "vastly exaggerated
casualty figures for Darfur in 2008."