"The indictment is a dangerous precedent in dealing with heads of state. It will have dangerous repercussions, not only on Sudan but on the whole region," Youssef said.

He chaired the meeting convened by the 22-member Arab League to discuss the charges.

In his opening statement, Youssef criticised what he branded "the double standards" of the international community, saying that "the world watches Palestinian suffering without moving" to end it.

Extermination charges

Al-Bashir was charged on July 14 that he waged a campaign of extermination against three Darfur tribes that claimed up to 300,000 lives and drove 2.5 million people from their homes.

A three-judge panel from the ICC is expected to take two to three months to decide whether to issue an arrest warrant.

Al-Wasiyla, left, said Arabs were united in condemning the ICC action [AFP]
The charges against al-Bashir came a year after the court indicted Ahmed Harun, Sudan's humanitarian affairs minister, who was formerly in charge of security in Darfur, and suspected militia leader Ali Kushayb on crimes against humanity.

Arab foreign ministers were expected to discuss a proposal calling on al-Bashir to hand over two Darfur war-crimes suspects to the court in an effort to fend off the longtime leader's own prosecution.

Al-Samani al-Wasiyla, Sudan's minister of foreign affairs, after a brief meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Abul-Gheit, said that "the Arab position is completely united" in condemning al-Bashir's indictment.

Just before the Arab League meeting convened, Yemen's lower house of parliament condemned the charges against al-Bashir as legally groundless.

A resolution passed by the 301-seat Yemeni Assembly of Representatives dismissed them as a "complete falsehood and an infringement on Sudan's internal affairs".

It said that the charges were "part of a plot targeting Arab and Muslim nations".