By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
November 22, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, later on Monday to attend the Inter Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) Summit.
- Sudan’s President Omer Al-Bashir (AFP)
Up on his arrival (around 6:30 local time) at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport., Al-Bashir was welcomed by state water and energy Minister, Alemayehu Tegenu and other high ranking government officials.
The 16th extraordinary summit of Head of states of IGAD member states will commence on Tuesday, mainly to discuss Southern Sudan referendum on self-determination and on the situations of Somalia.
On Monday, The 38th extraordinary IGAD ministerial level preparatory meeting was held putting issues of Sudan and Somalia top on Agenda. The ministers discussed the progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the government of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the former rebel SPLM/A to end one of Africa’s worst civil wars in January 2005.
Sudan’s state minister for foreign affairs Kamal Hassan told the ministerial meeting that Sudanese government is committed to respect the outcome of the referendum if it is conducted in a free and fair, transparent manner and reflect the genuine desire of citizens for the southern Sudanese.
Yesterday, NCP officials accused the SPLM of committing irregularities during the ongoing registration of voters for south Sudan’s upcoming referendum on independence.
The IGAD summit was originally scheduled to be held in Nairobi, Kenya last October but it was later moved to Addis Ababa after Kenya’s government received a letter from the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling for the arrest of Sudan’s President Omer Al-Bashir, if he shows up to attend the summit.
Ethiopia, which since the beginning opposed ICC arrest warrant against President Al-Bashir, does not recognize the International Criminal Court and to avoid a possible diplomatic crisis IGAD had to postponed the summit to the Ethiopian capital.
The International Criminal Court (ICC), issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the long standing conflict in the troubled Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
The Sudanese leader denies the allegation and instead accuses the Western powers as their “ploy to topple his regime”
Comprising member countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, and Uganda, IGAD is a six-country regional development organization in East Africa.