Sudan's Bashir at Istanbul summit

Abdullah Gul holds talks with Omar al-Bashir during Turkey-Africa economic summit.

    Al-Bashir, center, faces an arrest warrant from the ICC over war crimes in Darfur [AFP]

    Bashir has defied the ICC and calls the court's move part of a neo-colonialist agenda to protect the interests of developed countries.

    Turkey, who is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) has not ratified the treaty forming the ICC, but is under pressure to become a member as part of negotiations to join the European Union.

    ICC judges could take weeks or months to issue a warrant, but have never failed to issue one after it was requested by the prosecutor.

    Sudan warning

    Sudan has warned the United Nations of "serious consequences" for its staff and facilities if an arrest warrant is issued for Bashir, a UN envoy told the security council on Monday.

    African and Arab states are pushing for the suspension of moves by the court to indict Bashir and say it could prevent efforts to bring peace to Darfur.

    International experts estimate some 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million were driven from their homes in Darfur since mostly non-Arab fighters took up arms in early 2003 accusing central government in Khartoum of neglect.

    The US-based Human Rights Watch organization has called on Turkey to express its support for the court during Bashir's visit.

    The summit in Istanbul is expected to be attended by leaders from 40 African countries, as energy-thirsty Turkey seeks to tap into the African continent's vast resources.

    Turkey, which has signed liquefied gas agreements with Algeria, is seeking to boost investments and trade with sub-saharan Africa, following similar moves by emerging
    powerhouses China and India.

    In recent years, Turkey has boosted investments in Sudan.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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