(AFP) – Jul 16, 2008
CAIRO (AFP) — Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa said on Wednesday that he will travel to Khartoum this weekend following a request by the International Criminal Court prosecutor to arrest President Omar al-Beshir.
Mussa told reporters he would leave for Khartoum on Sunday, the day after an extraordinary meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, called at Khartoum's request.
The meeting would discuss "the latest developments in relations between Sudan and the ICC and the issue of the immunity of heads of state," Mussa said.
"We will examine the Darfur crisis as well as the political and judicial considerations that follow the request of the ICC prosecutor," Mussa said after talks with Sudanese deputy foreign minister Al Samani al-Wassila.
"The situation is dangerous and our region faces serious challenges," Mussa said, adding he had already had talks with the African Union and its peace and security council over the issue.
He underlined that Sudan was not a signatory to the Treaty of Rome, which created the ICC.
The top diplomats decided to meet after ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused Beshir on Monday of masterminding a genocidal campaign against three non-Arab ethnic groups in Darfur and called for an arrest warrant against him for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Khartoum denies the accusations.
If granted, the warrant would be the first ever issued by The Hague-based court against a sitting head of state.
Meanwhile, the joint African Union - United Nations peacekeeping mission announced that a UN peacekeeper was killed in Forobaranga in West Darfur while on patrol on Wednesday. The circumstances of the death were not immediately clear.
The death comes after UN officials said they feared the request for the warrant could trigger a violent backlash in the war-ravaged country.
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