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Sudan Summons EU Envoy Over Election Remarks

FILE - European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini addresses the media during a news conference in Havana, March 24, 2015.

Sudan's Foreign Ministry said on Friday it had summoned the European Union's representative in Khartoum over critical EU remarks about the country's political environment ahead of elections next week.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir looks set to extend his 25 years in power after presidential and parliamentary elections on April 13-15, which leading opposition parties are boycotting.

European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Thursday there was no "conducive environment" for the polls. "The people of Sudan deserve better. We therefore chose not to engage in support of these elections," the statement said.

It said Sudan had failed to hold a genuine national dialogue to ease conflicts and enable an inclusive political process.

Sudan summoned the head of the European Union office in Khartoum on Friday to complain about Mogherini's remarks, which the ministry said were "deliberate distortion", spokesman Ali al-Sadiq told Reuters.

The envoy was Maria Luisa Troncoso, who attended on behalf of EU ambassador Tomas Uliny, a source with knowledge of the meeting said. The EU website lists her as head of governance and social affairs at the delegation.

Bashir, who is wanted on charges of genocide and war crimes by the International Criminal Court, had previously signalled he would step down this year, but his National Congress Party chose him as its candidate in October, all but assuring his success against a fractured and weakened opposition.

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