In Summary
  • Saudi Arabia has invited Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for alleged war crimes, to a summit with US President Donald Trump and Arab and Muslim leaders.
  • But the US embassy in Khartoum said in a statement it opposes "invitations, facilitation, or support for travel by any person subject to outstanding International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants, including President Bashir".

KHARTOUM

Sudan said Wednesday that President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for genocide, will appear at the same summit in Saudi Arabia as Donald Trump, but the United States indicated it opposes his attendance.

"I can confirm President Bashir will go ... to Saudi Arabia," Sudan's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour told reporters in Geneva. "We look forward (to) normalisation of our relations with the US."

But the US embassy in Khartoum said in a statement it opposes "invitations, facilitation, or support for travel by any person subject to outstanding International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants, including President Bashir".

Bashir has evaded arrest since his indictment by the ICC in 2009 for alleged genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the conflict in Darfur that has killed tens of thousands.

He denies the charges.

The Saudi-hosted summit of Arab and Muslim leaders is expected to include top level talks on Sunday.

BILATERAL DIALOGUE

Trump is scheduled to be in Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, from Saturday on his first foreign trip since taking office in January.

Asked if Bashir expected to shake hands with the US president, Ghandour said it was impossible to predict, but added that "a handshake doesn't mean a lot if relations are not (good)".

Khartoum has said it is keen to improve relations with Washington under Trump.

"Sudan renews its commitment to continue a bilateral dialogue in order to reach full and normal relations between the two countries in the interests of their peoples," its foreign ministry said on March 7.

That was despite Sudan's inclusion on an executive order signed by Trump in March to temporarily close US borders to nationals from six Muslim-majority countries.

The travel ban has since been blocked by a US judge.

After signing of the order, however, Sudan voiced "deep regret and discontent" over the move.

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