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Jordan denies receiving request to visit from Sudan president

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March 10, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s presidential media secretary, Emad Sid Ahmed, has vehemently denied reports that Jordan refused to receive president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir describing them as mere rumors.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir

Press reports over the weekend said that a request made by Bashir to visit Jordan for medical checkup was denied by authorities in Amman.

According to these reports, Bashir made the request through the Jordanian embassy in Khartoum, which referred the matter to its foreign ministry. The latter informed Khartoum later that it is unable to receive Bashir.

Ahmed said in statements to Quds Press that Bashir is in good health and does not need to see the doctor and asserted the president did not apply for a visa to visit Jordan or Saudi Arabia, stressing that these reports are completely unfounded.

He noted that Bashir is carrying out his day-to-day tasks as normal, saying he met with the speaker of Sudan’s parliament and several heads of diplomatic missions to Khartoum on Monday.

According to Ahmed, Bashir intends to fly to Addis Ababa on Wednesday to attend the meeting of the East African bloc, Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which will discuss the crisis in South Sudan.

The spokesperson for the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Sabah al-Rafie, also issued a similar denial.

She said in a press release to the independent Ammon News Agency that the Sudanese president did not request entry into the kingdom as was reported.

The Jordanian ambassador to Khartoum, Aa’ed Jameel, told Sudan Tribune that his embassy received no visa request from Bashir.

Jordan is one of four Arab states along with Djibouti, Comoros Island and Tunisia which are members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which issued two arrest warrants in 2009 & 2010 for Bashir on charges of war crimes and genocide allegedly committed in Darfur.

Despite singing off on Arab League declarations rejecting the warrants, Jordanian officials quietly stated they will honor their obligations under the ICC’s statute.

Jordan is also one of the very active states at the ICC and Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein was the first President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties from 2002-2005.

The Sudanese president used to undergo regular medical examinations in Qatar and more recently in Saudi Arabia but an apparent strain in bilateral relations may have forced him to seek treatment elsewhere.

Last week, the head of external relations for Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP), al-Dirdeeri Mohamed Ahmed, admitted that his country’s ties with Saudi Arabia are at a low point in the wake of Riyadh’s decision to bar its banks from dealing with their Sudanese counterparts effective February 28th.

In August of last year, Saudi Arabia closed its airspace to a plane carrying Bashir en route to Iran, where he was scheduled to attend the inauguration ceremony of president-elect Hassan Rouhani, thus forcing him and his delegation to return home.

Observers speculated that Sudan’s growing ties with Iran could have irked the Saudis, prompting them to block Bashir’s flight.

The 70-year-old president underwent throat surgery in Qatar more than a year and a half ago and another one few months afterwards in Saudi Arabia.

A year ago, he secretly flew again to Saudi Arabia again for a medical checkup, according to a presidential source at the time.

Bashir’s brother Abdullahi Al-Bashir, a physician, later admitted that his younger sibling was suffering from a tumor in his throat but insisted that medical tests proved that the swelling is benign.

(ST)

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