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President Al-Bashir to attend S. Sudan crisis talks in Uganda

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir will on Monday join a group of regional leaders in Uganda for talks on South Sudan conflict, a top foreign affairs official said on Saturday.

An official in the ministry of foreign affairs, James Mugume, told reporters at State House, Entebbe, 40 kilometers south of the capital, Kampala that President Bashir will join Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to discuss the political crisis in the neighboring South Sudan.”

“He (Bashir) has been invited for heads of state meeting on regional issues at State House, Entebbe. We expect him to join them on Monday to discuss the crisis in South Sudan and how to end it,” the official said.

President Kenyatta arrived in Uganda on Saturday while Desalegn and Bashir are expected to arrive in Kampala on Monday.

The government official said Bashir’s visit to Uganda will not cause “diplomatic incident” because of International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants for his alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

WAR CRIMES

“AU (African Union) has a different position (not cooperating) on ICC. We respect and abide by it. We have no obligation to arrest him,” said Mugume.

Bashir is being accused by ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region. AU in October 2013 opposed the ICC criminal proceedings against the sitting president, saying it infringes on the nation’s sovereignty.

Museveni late last year called on African nations to drop out of the treaty establishing the ICC, saying the court unfairly targets Africans.

Bashir’s June visit to South Africa for an AU summit stirred up an international controversy after the Pretoria authorities refused to arrest him.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has persistently reminded the countries that are signatories to the Rome Statute of a legal obligation to arrest President Bashir.