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Middle East
Bashir in S Arabia despite warrant
Sudanese president makes fifth visit to a foreign country since war crimes charges.
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2009 10:26 GMT
Al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity [EPA]

Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan's president, is visiting Saudi Arabia on the latest leg of a foreign tour despite an international arrest warrant against him for alleged abuses in Sudan's Darfur region.

The visit on Wednesday is the fifth to a foreign country by al-Bashir since the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted him for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Bashir flew to Saudi Arabia after a summit of Arab and Latin American leaders in neighbouring Qatar, Sudanese television and state radio said.

"President of the republic Field Marshal Omar al-Bashir has arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah [an Islamic pilgrimage]," the state-run television channel reported.

Bashir could face arrest should he travel to countries that are signatories to the ICC and so far he has only visited countries that are not members of the court.

He had been in Qatar since Sunday, when he arrived in the capital, Doha, in order to attend an Arab League summit.

The United Nations has said that at least 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2.7 million have been forced to flee their homes in Darfur since 2003, when Arab fighters alleged to have the support of the government started fighting black Africans living there.

Khartoum has played down the UN estimates, saying that 10,000 people have died in Darfur since hostilities started.

Source:
Agencies
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