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Sudanese President to Visit Chad Despite Arrest Warrant

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (file photo)

Officials in Sudan say President Omar al-Bashir will travel to Chad this week, his first visit to a country that is a member of the global court seeking his arrest.

Presidential sources say Mr. Bashir will attend a summit in N'djamena of the Sahel and Saharan states, which takes place Wednesday and Thursday.

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Bashir in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the war-torn Darfur region. Last week, the court added three counts of genocide to the list of charges.

Since the first warrant was issued, Mr. Bashir has traveled to other countries, but never to a nation that is an ICC member.

The ICC has no power to enforce its arrest warrant and can only pressure states to turn over suspects.

Sudan and Chad have a history of tense relations and have accused each other of supporting rebels on each other's territory. However, ties have improved recently and earlier this year the neighbors agreed to end hostilities and normalize relations.

Darfur has experienced seven years of war and instability since rebels took up arms in 2003, accusing Sudan's government of neglecting the western region.

The United Nations says fighting and related violence have killed 300,000 people and displaced more than 2.7 million. Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.