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Sudan’s Bashir will not attend American-Islamic summit: official report

Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir (AFP Photo/ASHRAF SHAZLY)
May 19, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s President Omer al-Bsashir will not take part in the two-day Arab Islamic American Summit, said Khartoum on Friday ending speculations about his unwanted participation by the United States.

On Friday morning the official news agency SUNA, has announced in a laconic statement that al-Bashir will not participate in the meeting due to personal reasons without further details.

"The President of the Republic, Marshal Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir has apologised to his brother the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz for attending the Islamic American Summit held in the Saudi capital Riyadh for special reasons," SUNA said.

It further said Bashir has assigned the Director of his office and Minister of State at the Presidency Taha al-Hussein, to represent him at the summit

The official organ further pointed that the president had received an invitation for the summit handed over by a special envoy.

U.S. officials expressed their displeasure with the presence of Bashir at the summit and urged the host country to not invite him.

But Saudi and Sudanese diplomats including foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour insisted that Bashir was invited and he would travel to Riyadh for the meeting which gathers over 50 heads of state and government.

The row over Bashir’s participation in the summit cast doubts over the recent improvement of bilateral relations between Khartoum and Washington.

Also, Sudanese officials were optimistic about the definitive lift of sanctions, but observers now say in the best cases it would be delayed for additional six month period.

In a press release on Wednesday, the U.S. embassy in Khartoum explained Washington’s rejection of al-Bashir’s participation in the meeting attended by President Trump, saying “we oppose invitations, facilitation, or support for travel by any person subject to outstanding International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants, including President Bashir”.

(ST)