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Sudan Insists Bashir be Allowed to Attend UNGA

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses crowd, North Khartoum, June 8, 2013.
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses crowd, North Khartoum, June 8, 2013.
Sudan is insisting President Omar al-Bashir has the right to attend the U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York, despite U.S. warnings he would be unwelcome because of his indictment on war crimes charges.

Sudan's foreign ministry says the U.S., as host country, has no legal right to object to a U.N. member state's participation in activities at the world body.

Sudan's state news agency published the foreign ministry statement on Tuesday, a day after U.S. officials confirmed Bashir had applied for a visa.

The International Criminal Court has indicted Bashir for alleged war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region. He is accused of orchestrating crimes that include murder, rape and extermination against civilians in the region.

On Monday, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said Bashir's proposed trip would be "deplorable" and "hugely inappropriate."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. condemns "any potential effort" by Bashir to attend the U.N. meetings, which begin next week. She declined to say if a visa would be granted.

Sudan's state news agency says the foreign ministry expressed its "rejection and astonishment" at the statements by Harf and Power.

It also said the U.S. is not morally, legally or politically qualified to provide "sermons" on human rights. It cited the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Several African countries have granted entry to Bashir, although human rights groups have pressured governments not to do so.

Bashir has been careful to visit only countries that are not ICC members, or have guaranteed he will not be arrested.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.
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