Sudan's Bashir plans Chad visit

2010-07-20 20:02

Khartoum – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, plans to visit Chad, his first visit to a country that recognises the court's jurisdiction, a senior official said on Tuesday.

"The president is due to visit Ndjamena on Wednesday and Thursday for a conference of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, confirming press reports.

"The president will head the Sudanese delegation at the CENSAD summit," read the headline of the daily al-Akhbar on Tuesday.

"President Bashir has the intention to go; the final decision is yet to be taken," said another Sudanese official, also on condition of anonymity.

According to the paper, presidential advisor Ghazi Salahuddin and intelligence chief Mohammed Atta will also attend the conference.

Bashir's movements – to certain destinations – have been cloaked in secrecy since the ICC issued a warrant for his arrest in 2009 for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

More charges

Last week, the ICC added three counts of genocide to their charges.

Chad is a signatory of the Rome Statute, the founding document of the ICC, obliging it to arrest any person on its territory wanted by the court.

The visit to Chad, if it happens, would be the first one by Bashir to a country that recognises the ICC, since the warrant was issued.

Since 2003, Darfur has been gripped by a civil war that has killed at least 300 000 people and left 2.7 million homeless according to the UN. Khartoum says 10 000 have been killed.

Chadian President Idriss Deby flew to Khartoum in February in a landmark visit aimed at normalising relations between the two neighbours, who had been fighting a proxy war through rebels.

During his visit, Deby invited Bashir to visit Ndjamena.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti was in Ndjamena on Monday and described the "very positive evolution" of relations between the two countries, the official SUNA news agency reported on Tuesday.