Sudan: No deal with ICC in return of dropping arrest warrant

ICC judges are expected to decide in October or November whether to issue a warrant for Bashir's arrest.

Sudan: No deal with ICC in return of dropping arrest warrant
Sudan on Thursday rejected to send two officials to the International Criminal Court in exchange for dropping the court's arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo however ruled out dropping his call for a warrant for Bashir on Darfur.

"There will be no direct cooperation with the International Criminal Court and no sending any Sudanese citizens to The Hague," Sudanese presidential adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail told a forum on Thursday.

The decision to refer Darfur to the ICC came from the U.N. Security Council so any proposal to resolve the crisis should also come from there, he said.

ICC judges are expected to decide in October or November whether to issue a warrant for Bashir's arrest.

China, South Africa and others have expressed concern that an indictment of Bashir could damage the stalled peace process aimed at ending the 5-year-old conflict in Darfur.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered a different view, saying the ICC also must consider ramifications of its work. "We must seek to strike the correct balance between the duty of justice and the pursuit of peace," he said.

Western diplomats in New York have said a deal could be struck to drop or suspend the warrant for Bashir if he agreed to hand over Humanitarian Affairs State Minister Ahmed Haroun and Ali Kushayb, indicted by the ICC last year.

Deal ruled out

A senior Sudanese government official, agreeing with Ismail's stand, ruled out a deal. "This is non-negotiable," the official told Reuters. "Any talks will be held within the declared position of Sudan."

Sudan has asked Russia, China and members of the Arab League and the African Union to help it pursue a Security Council resolution suspending a warrant for Bashir for 12 months.

Diplomats in New York say the Arab League and the AU's Peace and Security Council are expected to call on the Security Council soon to block any ICC moves in the interests of bringing peace to Darfur.

Sudan is likely to get both Arab and African support at the United Nations. AU officials have expressed concern that the ICC's first four cases have all focused on Africa.

Senegal's president said on Thursday that U.S. President George W. Bush had told African leaders at one point that the United States might send troops to Darfur if they did not act to halt what he saw as genocide there.

"Myself and other African colleagues tried to dissuade him from this and convince him to leave us to try to sort out this problem among us Africans," President Abdoulaye Wade said in a statement issued in Dakar on Moreno-Ocampo's request for an arrest warrant for Bashir.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said: "The president is committed to supporting the AU-UN peacekeeping force."

Bashir's top adviser, Nafie Ali Nafie, told the rally: "The court will not find any respect from anyone in Sudan."

The United Nations strengthened security before the ICC announcement, withdrawing non-essential staff from Darfur and evacuating families from Khartoum in case of a backlash.

Reuters
Last Mod: 18 Temmuz 2008, 14:21
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