Home | News    Thursday 30 October 2008

Sudan president and Saudi King hold talks in Riyadh


October 29, 2008 (RIYADH) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir arrived at Saudi Arabia’s capital for talks with King Abdullah.

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: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah (R) welcomes Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir at the Royal Palace in Riyadh October 29, 2008 (Reuters)

Sudan news agency (SUNA) said that Al-Bashir led a high level delegation on a two day visit.

The Sudanese ambassador to Riyadh Abdel-Hafiz Mohamed told the daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that Al-Bashir briefed his Saudi counterpart on efforts to resolve the Darfur crisis in light of the ‘People of Sudan’ initiative.

Mohamed further said that Al-Bashir reiterated that the initiative will join the Qatari one to speed up a political settlement.

The official Saudi news agency made no mention of Darfur issue being a topic dicussed during the talks.

The Sudanese envoy would not confirm whether the two sides discussed the move by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to indict Al-Bashir.

In mid-July the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced that he is seeking an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir.

The ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. In early October ICC judges have officially started reviewing the case in a process that could possibly drag on to next year.

The Sudanese ambassador hailed the “strong” position of Riyadh on the ICC row. He expressed hope that Saudi Arabia would use its clout to “contain the repercussions” resulting from the indictment.

Last July the Saudi cabinet expressed support to the resolution adopted by the Arab League foreign ministers criticizing the ICC move.

However, according to a political analyst in Khartoum some Sudanese officials have privately expressed dissatisfaction with the Saudi reaction to the ICC crisis.

“They [Sudanese officials] think that they [Saudis] have not gone far enough in condemning Ocampo’s application” the analyst told Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity.

Saudi Arabia was one of few Arab countries to receive the ICC prosecutor. Last May Ocampo met with the Saudi foreign minister Saud Al-Faisal.

The Saudi Foreign ministry issued a brief statement after the meeting saying both sides “discussed regional and international issues” but gave no details.

Saudi Arabia is not a signatory of the Rome Statue that forms the basis of the ICC. However this year it emerged that one of the Darfur suspects wanted by the ICC attempted a trip to Saudi Arabia last December to perform the annual Islamic pilgrimage on a forged passport.

Ocampo told Sudan Tribune that the Saudi Arabian government was aware of the plans to divert a plane that carried Ahmed Haroun, state minister for humanitarian affairs.

Sudan’s envoy to the UN Abdel-Haleem Abdel-Mahmood told Reuters at the time that it was “especially infuriating” that other countries were willing to help the ICC in the failed operation.


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