The International Crisis Group’s special adviser on Sudan and the African Union (AU) told VOA there are strong indications that President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s government will not benefit financially from the decisions to be taken at a two-day African Union-European Union summit which begins in neighboring Libya Monday.
No Sudanese official will take part in the summit. Fouad Hikmat said organizers don’t appear to want the negative publicity that would be generated since President Bashir is under indictment by the Hague-based International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.
“The summit is very important discussing investment development, peace and security and other issues pertaining to the continent and the cooperation between the two institutions. I think this is important (not) to be jeopardized by one person given that the European Union is also one of the principal supporters of the International Criminal Court.”
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmad Karti was quoted as saying Mr. Bashir decided not to attend the summit in order to avoid embarrassing Libya, and that no other Sudanese official would be sent to replace him.
Hikmat said there are indications Sudan will not be a beneficiary of the possible investments and support that the European Union will pledge at the two-day summit hosting 80 heads of state from two continents.
“I can see the government in Sudan is very busy with two important issues. One is the benchmark of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the referendum and if it is going to be peaceful and the results of it is going to be accepted, and, at the same time, the consequences of the inevitable separation of south Sudan on the state of Sudan itself,” Hikmat said.
“The second point is trying to find a solution to the Darfur problem before the referendum. And, I think these are the (main) concerns (rather) than the African Union and the European Union summit on investment and development.”
European Union officials reportedly threatened to walk out if Mr. Bashir attended the summit. The 27-nation bloc supports the ICC tribunal, while Mr. Bashir rejects its jurisdiction and refuses to cooperate.
The Hague-based International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Bashir for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sudan's western province of Darfur.