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Sudan, Libya agree to join hands on ICC and Darfur

July 20, 2008 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan and Libya agreed to work together in order to counter the prosecution of president al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to settle Darfur crisis.

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Muammar Gadhafi

The Vice-President, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, returned to the country on Sunday evening after a short visit to Libya during which he discussed with the Libyan leader ways to counter charges against the Sudanese president by the ICC prosecutor.

Sudanese government is seeking to raise enough support within the UN Security Council, of which Libya is currently a non-permanent member, to block the eventual issuance of an arrest warrant for president Omer al-Bashir.

The Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked pre-trial judges on Monday to issue arrest warrants for Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir accusing him of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Taha told the reporters that his visit comes in the frame of the Higher Committee action to freeze any prosecution of president al-Bashir. He said his meeting with Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi was very positive, adding that they agreed on constructive ideas with regard to the management of the ICC crisis and how to deal with "the false accusations against" the Sudanese president.

He pointed out that Gadhafi confirmed "his rejection and condemnation of these allegations" and his support to the Sudanese government.

Libya’s minister for African affairs, Abdel Salam Triki reiterated the support of his government to the Sudanese president in this "conspiracy orchestrated against him." He further added that such "plot is directed primarily against Sudan, Africa and the entire Arab homeland."

Mustaf Osman Ismail the presidential adviser, and Youssef Abdel Fatah the responsible of relations with Libya in the ruling National Congress Party were among the delegation that accompanied Taha in his visit to Libya.

Last year, the African Union and the United Nations chose Libya to host peace talks aimed at ending the five-year conflict which has killed over 300,000 people and forced over 2.5 million from their homes. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised Libya’s "constructive role."

Taha said the meeting with the Libyan leader touched on the ways that could lead to address the issue of Darfur which is the pretext on which the ICC prosecutor based his charges against the Sudanese president.

The two parties also agreed on a joint mechanism to detail the ideas put forward by Gadhafi. According to the Sudanese vice-president, the Libyan leader proposed to conduct a series of contacts to address Darfur crisis and to determine a roadmap to for to settle it.

He also underlined that the contacts would be inclusive to all parties which could contribute to the resolution of Darfur crisis and the issue of the ICC.

(ST)