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South Africa confirms Sudan’s Bashir not attending World Cup opening ceremony


June 10, 2010 (WASHINGTON) — The Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has confirmed to authorities in South Africa that he will skip the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals despite being invited with other African leaders, an official in Johannesburg said today.

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter, right, and South African President Jacob Zuma, left, acknowledge the crowd during the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, Thursday, June 10, 2010 (AP)

"He was invited to the World Cup opening ceremony but he indicated that he won’t be coming," Ayanda Ntsaluba, South African Director-General at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation told reporters.

Media in South Africa reported that 20 African heads of state are expected to be present for the start of the month-long tournament including Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe.

Last month South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma suggested that Bashir is subject to arrest if he sets foot in the country.

Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the troubled Sudanese province of Darfur — the first sitting leader to be indicted by the global court.

As a signatory to the Rome Statute which established the court, South Africa is legally bound to arrest Bashir if he comes to the country.

The Sudanese foreign ministry issued a statement afterwards saying Zuma was misrepresented by the media "to serve an agenda" and that his position is no different from that of the African Union (AU) which calls for a moratorium on ICC proceedings, as it would leads to a continued deterioration of the situation.

However, on the same day the South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane issued a statement reaffirming that "Zuma’s pronouncement that if the Sudanese President was to visit the country, he will be arrested as South Africa was a signatory to the international justice system".

On Tuesday the Sudanese envoy in Johannesburg Ali Yousuf Ahmed Al-Sharif speaking at the Institute for Global Dialogue and the Africa Institute of South Africa said his government "respect the fact that South Africa is a member of the ICC"

"I don’t think it’s correct to say, ’If the president of Sudan comes to South Africa, we will arrest him.’ It looks like cheap propaganda" Al-Sharif was quoted as saying by Pretoria News.

"The president will not come to South Africa without an invitation. He is not a tourist. He is a president" he added.

Bashir was reelected last month with a comfortable majority in Sudan’s elections marred by opposition boycott and allegations of fraud by the ruling party.


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  • 11 June 2010 05:28, by Jerie

    It’s really disturbing for Mr. Killer to be missing out on special occasions like the opening ceremony of the first ever world cup on African soil. Trust me, it’s mind boggling when peers isolate you and Mr. Killer must be having a hard time trying to live with reality. That’s what the stupid northerners want; a president who can’t move out of the country but to only small insignificant middle eastern countries. We will detach ourselves from such shame in 2011.

    South Sudan - Diverse, glorious and free!

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    • 11 June 2010 06:56, by Angelo Ajiech Manyuat

      President Bashir can now understand what it means to be a good leader so that you can be invited and attend historic events like this world cup. In fact, this opening ceremony is very important for all world cup fans especially Africans. Thanks South Africa for bringing pride to Africa.

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      • 11 June 2010 23:35, by Padiet Gagag

        Bashir can not go to invitation that has been made by south Africa president because his rope is on his neck but untied if he could gone there his rope will tie itself on.

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  • 11 June 2010 06:22, by Kur

    Bashir was invited by South Africa. Why he did not go then?


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  • 11 June 2010 10:04, by Daniel Juol Nhomngek Geech

    I am tired and sick about the bad news concerning Sudan all the times. The whole state which is supposed to be accorded with respect that it deserves should not be made as a scapegoat so that its citizen are victimized for nothing. In history Sudan is known not only in Africa but the whole world.
    The meaning of Sudan according to the historical perspective means Land of the Black, which means that it covers the whole Africa and the whole Africa in the other words means Sudan.
    However, today Sudan has been considered as a rogue state by the world due to the bad leadership of Islamic regimes in the north.
    The Islamic governments with their fatal fundamental attitudes look at non-Muslims as less human beings and this is the major root-cause of the Sudanese problems. We southern Sudanese are tired of being victimized through the word "General Sudan" we have to get our independence by all means. Enough is enough, we need respect from the world. We are human beings.

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