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EU express concern over Sudanese president visit to Chad

February 22, 2013 (WASHINGTON) – The European Union (EU) on Thursday expressed concerns over a visit by Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir to Chad last week despite an outstanding arrest warrant, but fell short of condemning Ndjamena.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (right) receives Chad president Idris Deby upon his arrival in Khartoum, Sudan on 8 February 2010 (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)

“The high representative is concerned by the visit of Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir to Chad on 16 February in the context of the CEN-SAD Summit”, the spokesperson for the EU high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy and vice-president of the commission, Catherine Ashton, said.

“This is the third time that the government of Chad has failed to implement the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the arrest of president al-Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, as it is obliged to do under international law,” the statement read.

“While welcoming the normalisation of the relations between Chad and Sudan, the high representative regrets that the government of Chad has not met its obligations as a party to the Rome Statute”.

This is Bashir’s third visit to his western neighbour since the warrant was issued. Deby had initially vowed to enforce the arrest warrant and rejected African Union (AU) resolutions instructing its members not to apprehend Bashir.

However, as thorny relations between the two countries dramatically improved, Deby allowed Bashir to visit. Conversely, the Chadian government then referred to the AU decision to justify receiving the Sudanese president despite the warrant, as well as dismissing criticism by rights groups.

Ashton noted that all UN members are required to abide by United Nations Security (UNSC) resolution 1593, referring Darfur to the ICC for investigation.

In a related issue, ICC judges on Friday issued an order requiring Chad to file its observations by 14 March on the visit of Bashir and its non-compliance with the arrest warrant.

(ST)