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Russia concerned by UN resolution on Sudan president indictment

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August 1, 2008 (MOSCOW) — Russia has regretted today that U.N. Security Council in its resolution related to the extension of Darfur peacekeeping mission didn’t reflect concern about the indictment of Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir.

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Omer al-Bashir waves to supporters during a tour of Al-ginana, East Darfur, July 24, 2008 (Reuters)

The Security Council adopted yesterday the resolution 1828 to extend the mandate of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID) for one year. However the resolution notes the concern raised by regional bodies over the accusations directed by the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor against al-Bashir and pledge to "to consider these matters further."

A Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday expressed concern over the "possible negative turn of events in Sudan" after the request filed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) pre-trial chamber by the prosecutor asking to issue an arrest warrant for the Sudanese president.

"Regrettably, the opinion of the UN Security Council member countries which share this concern has failed to be reflected fully in the resolution due to the opposition of a number of Security Council members," the document says.

Moscow underlined Khartoum "constructive cooperation with the international community" with regard to the peacekeeping operation and the settlement of Darfur conflict

The Russian ministry added the position of the Council "may have unpredictable and negative consequences, the responsibility for it will fall squarely on the shoulders of these UN Security Council members."

Libya and South Africa on behalf of the African Union (AU) lobbied other UNSC members to insert a paragraph in the resolution deciding to defer the indictment of the Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

However the AU proposition was not included in the final draft, which instead included compromise language noting concern that any indictment of Beshir might jeopardize the Darfur peace process.

Yesterday, the US made the highly unexpected move of abstaining from voting on the UN Security Council) resolution extending the mandate of the hybrid force in Darfur.

"The United States abstained in the vote because language added to the resolution would send the wrong signal to Sudanese President Beshir and undermine efforts to bring him and others to justice," Alejandro Wolff, the deputy US ambassador to the UN, said.

"There is no compromise on the issue of justice," he added, after dismissing suggestions that the US delegation had given its consent to the compromise language.

But the Russian foreign ministry said the priority should be given to the political process to end the conflict and to provide assistance to overcome the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

Russia "has been consistently in favour of the international community’s efforts aimed at settling the Darfur crisis, including, first of all, the political process as well as assistance in overcoming most acute humanitarian problems and in post-conflict rebuilding". The ministry said.

(ST)

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