Beijing: President Omar al-Bashir returned to Sudan on Friday, state media reported, after a three-day visit to China that drew condemnation from the United Nations and rights groups.
Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, was given red-carpet treatment in China and met President Hu Jintao, whom he called his "friend and brother”.
China, a major military supplier to the regime in Khartoum and the biggest buyer of the country's oil, gave the Sudanese leader guarantees of financial support and the two sides signed several agreements.
"China wanted from this visit to affirm that there would be no change in its policy towards Sudan after the separation of the south, and Sudan will be a strategic partner of China's in all fields," said Bashir, quoted by SUNA state news agency late Thursday.
The Sudanese President is the first sitting head of state targeted by an ICC arrest warrant on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity that occurred in Darfur.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday expressed disappointment that China failed to arrest Bashir.
China has defended the visit as "reasonable”, with the Foreign Ministry saying Beijing reserved its opinion on the ICC's indictment.
Bashir said the main focus of the talks during his visit had been the expansion of north Sudan's oil production, in which China is the largest investor, as well as agriculture and mining, with the government determined to reduce imports.
First Published: Friday, July 01, 2011, 13:10