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Al-Bashir, Museveni discuss peace efforts in South Sudan

President Yoweri Museveni (L) shakes hands with President al-Bashir at his arrival to the Ugandan capital on 13 Nov 2017 (Photo Ugandan presidency)
November 13, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni Monday have discussed bilateral relations, regional peace and security and the ongoing crisis in South Sudan.

Al-Bashir has arrived in Kampala on Sunday for a three-day visit on the invitation of President Museveni.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour told reporters following the meeting of al-Bashir and Museveni the two leaders discussed joint cooperation between the two countries, saying they agreed to organize an investment forum in Khartoum.

According to the official news agency SUNA, Ghandour added al-Bashir and Museveni underlined support for peace and security in the Great Lakes region.

He also said the two leaders agreed to support peace efforts in South Sudan according to the agreements mediated by the East African regional bloc (IGAD).

The Sudanese top diplomat pointed out that Museveni has congratulated al-Bashir on the lift of the U.S. economic embargo on Sudan, renewing his firm stance against the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ghandour added the two leaders agreed on the need to exchange visits and continue meetings of the joint ministerial committee between the two countries.

Following ten years of strained relations, Museveni visited Khartoum in September 2015 where he and al-Bashir agreed to work together to bring stability in South Sudan and the region, and to end tensions between the two countries over the issue of rebel groups.

The Year 2016, witnessed a steady rapprochement between the two countries, accelerated, by the South Sudanese crisis and their joint efforts to end the three crisis in the neighbouring nation.

The visit of President Museveni to Khartoum in October 2016 to take part in the closing conference of the government-led national dialogue is seen as a turning point in the relationship between the two countries.

In September 2016, the Ugandan government facilitated informal talks between the Sudanese government and armed groups in Darfur and Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas, in a bid to support the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) efforts to bring peace in the east African country.

CALLS TO ARREST AL-BASHIR

Rights groups on Monday urged Ugandan government to arrest the visiting president of Sudan, who has long been wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes .

"Inviting an international criminal suspect to Uganda not only undermines the fight against impunity which Uganda has for long championed but also betrays the concerns and interests of the victims of the most heinous crimes," six Ugandan rights watchdogs said in a joint statement.

"We, therefore, call upon the government of Uganda to fulfil its obligations under international and domestic laws by arresting and surrendering President Omer al-Bashir," further said the joint statement.

In May 2016, al-Bashir, who was indicted by ICC on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, was one of the dignitaries at Museveni’s inauguration in Kampala.

Uganda is a state party to the Rome Statute and has an obligation to arrest the Sudanese president.

(ST)