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Sudanese media advertize Bashir’s visit to Ethiopia

April 20, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese media extensively advertized today the travel of the President Omer Al-Bashir tomorrow to Addis Ababa in a way to defy the International Criminal Court arrest warrant issued last month.

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President Omer Al-Bashir is greeted by supporters in Khartoum upon his arrival from Saudi Arabia on April 1, 2009.(Getty)

After the ICC decision, it had been decided that Bashir travels outside the country should be well prepared and kept secret. It was the case particularly for his visits to Eritrea and Libya. Also his participation in the Arab summit had been a surprise for many.

However, President Al-Bashir instructed to divulgate the date of his return to the county after a short stop in Saudi Arabia to perform minor pilgrimage (Umrah) rituals.

President Omer Al-Bashir is expected tomorrow in Addis Ababa heading a high level delegation to participate in joint meeting with the Ethiopian government to discuss joint cooperation between the two countries.

On March 4, the ICC judges approved the prosecutor’s request for an arrest warrant to be issued against Bashir on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The ICC prosecutor lastweek called to isolate Bashir by degrading contacts with him. "On practical terms the states must sever non-essential contacts with Bashir and degrade diplomatic relations with his country and avoid attending any event with him [Bashir]" he stressed.

However Ethiopia which is not state party to Rome Statute slammed the ICC decision and said Sudanese President would be welcomed.

For the Sudanese officials advertizing "safe trips" to friendly countries is a good propaganda for the government, critics say.

The joint committee will discuss ways to enhance bilateral relations and tackle ways to reactivate the implementation of signed agreements. The President Bashir and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will head the two delegations.

Besides the border issue and the security cooperation the meeting will discuss joint agricultural and energy projects. Also the parties are expected to sign an agreement on the importation of manpower between the two countries.

(ST)