(AFP) – Sep 22, 2008
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — The head of a pan-Islamic organization called Monday for more time for negotiations to resolve the conflict in Darfur conflict before any move to arrest Sudanese President Omar el-Beshir.
"I think we have to be a little bit more prudent before we proceed further in this direction," Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, told a press conference.
"I sense that a consensus is emerging among the different international organizations that we have to give a chance for more negotiations and for the Sudanese government to take more actions in the right direction before we get to a point we might regret," he said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Sudan is a member of the OIC, which represents 1.3 billion Muslims.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), was heading for New York this week seeking backing for his bid to try Beshir for war crimes in Sudan's western Darfur region, the tribunal said.
Moreno-Ocampo will meet officials of the United Nations and African Union, said a statement, as a debate rages on whether the UN Security Council should defer the probe.
He would discuss "how to further the protection of civilians in Darfur, stop the crimes, and ensure the court's judicial mandate and decisions", said a document issued by Moreno-Ocampo's office.
In July, the prosecutor asked the court for an arrest warrant for the Sudanese leader for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.
A panel of judges is reviewing the evidence to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to proceed.
Beshir has shrugged off the threat of prosecution, while Arab and African leaders have warned of the dangers to regional stability of arresting the Sudanese leader.
On Friday, France raised the possibility of suspending international court proceedings against Beshir in exchange for a "gesture" of good will from Khartoum towards the ICC.
The UN Security Council has the option of deferring the prosecution for one year, renewable, if backed by nine of its 15 members and all five permanent members, which include France.
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