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Sudan asks Burkina Faso to block Bashir’s indictment

August 4, 2008 (OUAGADOUGOU) – Sudan has pressed, the third member in the African group at the U.N. Security Council to support efforts to counter the ICC prosecution of charges of Darfur crimes against president Omer al-Bashir.

Last Week, Libya and South Africa led African Union attempt to add a paragraph in the U.N. Security Council resolution 1828 to suspend the ICC proceedings against president Omer al-Bashir.

Burkina Faso whose foreign minister, Djibril Bassolé is appointed as joint chief mediator for Darfur peace talks supported the African initiative but it was keen to not be very visible, because this support could hinder his efforts with the rebel movements.

"We have a problem with the ICC and we have come to ask the support of the president of Burkina Faso and other countries to have the decisions taken suspended to give peace a chance in Sudan," Sudan’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister Joseph Okelo told reporters in Ouagadougou.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo last month requested an arrest warrant be issued against Bashir over accusations that he was involved in war crimes in Darfur region.

Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. Judges are expected to take months to study the evidence before deciding whether to order Al-Bashir’s arrest.

If approved, it would be the first arrest warrant issued by the world court against a sitting head of state.

The Sudanese minister said Compaore had already agreed to have Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Djibril Bassolé "be the mediator" – he was appointed the new UN and African Union’s chief mediator for Darfur in June.

He said Burkina Faso had also "promised to send us 2,400 men" to participate in UNAMID.

(ST)