Bashir not to attend EU-Africa summit as Sudan pulls out

Sudanese President is wanted by ICC for suspected war crimes in Darfur.

Last Updated: Nov 29, 2010, 10:17 AM IST

Tripoli: Sudanese President Omar Bashir, wanted by an international court for suspected war crimes in Darfur, will not attend an Africa-EU summit in Libya which Sudan will boycott, his foreign minister said on Sunday.

"Mr Bashir will not attend" the two-day summit that starts on Monday, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmad Karti said in the Libyan capital.

"We are therefore pulling out and will not be represented at any level," he added after a meeting of African foreign ministers ahead of the summit.

Karti, who walked out of the closed-door meeting after announcing Khartoum`s decision, added that Bashir`s no-show "is to avoid embarrassment to Libya”, which is hosting the November 29-30 summit gathering of 80 nations.

The minister said the decision was taken "under pressure from Europe”.

EU diplomats said in the weeks running up to the summit that they had asked for assurances that Bashir would not attend.

But reports on Saturday that he was flying to Tripoli caused a diplomatic flurry on both continents. In Khartoum, South Africa`s former president Thabo Mbeki had said Bashir "has to go there for that summit which will be followed immediately by the summit meeting of the peace and security council of the African Union”.

Mbeki spoke after talks with Bashir. Bashir was indicted in March 2009 for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, and in July 2010 on charges of genocide, relating to alleged atrocities committed by Khartoum`s forces in Darfur.

PTI