August 31, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – The United Nations has attempted minimized the importance of a meeting between Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir and the UN Secretary general Ban Ki-moon in Tehran.
- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 2007 - (photo UN/file)
Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti said Thursday that Ban Ki-moon discussed with Al-Bashir the unresolved issues Sudan has with newly independent South Sudan including the the map drawn by the African Union to establish a buffer zone along their shared international border.
But Farhan Haq, UN secretary-general associate spokesperson, on Friday told reporters that it was just a "brief greeting" on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement conference in the Iranian capital.
Asked whether the Secretary-General had met with Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir while in Iran, the Spokesperson said that "they had a brief greeting and handshake."
Sudan’s Darfur region has the largest United Nations peacekeeping mission in the world, UNAMID, but Ban Ki-moon an many other UN and western officials normally seek to avoid meeting the Sudanese president at international events since Bashir’s indictments by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against the humanity in 2009 and the genocide in 2010.
Khartoum is not a state party to the ICC, but the United Nations Security Council referred the case of Darfur in 2005 to the war crimes court following the death of 300,000 people in a counter insurgency campaign organised by the government Army and its allied militias.