Wanted Sudan war criminal given UN transport: Spokesman

Ahmad Mohammad Harun was taken in a UN helicopter to talks in Abyei region.

New York: A Sudanese governor wanted by a UN court for war crimes used a UN helicopter to attend a peace meeting, a spokesman for the world body said on Tuesday.

Ahmad Mohammad Harun was provided air transport as he played a "critical" role in attempts to end ethnic clashes in Sudan`s troubled Abyei region, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Harun, a former minister who is now governor of South Kordofan province, in 2007 accusing him of 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder and rape in the Darfur conflict.

Sudan`s President Omar al-Bashir is also wanted for genocide in Darfur by the ICC, which is based in The Hague.

Media reports said Harun was taken in a UN helicopter on Sunday to talks in the troubled Abyei region where dozens have been killed in ethnic clashes in recent days.

Nesirky confirmed that Harun had used the UN helicopter.

The UN mission in Sudan, UNMIS, "is mandated to provide good offices to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement parties in their efforts to resolve their differences, dialogue and negotiations," Nesirky said.

He added that UNMIS "has been working with the parties, including local authorities, to contain any potential violence that may escalate."

"There have been hostilities in Abyei and these clashes had been threatening to escalate into a wider war.”

"But Governor Harun was critical to bringing the Misseriya tribal leaders in southern Kordofan to a peace meeting in Abyei to stop further clashes and killings.”

"And in accordance with its mandate the mission will continue to provide the necessary support to those key players in their pursuit of a peaceful solution."

The Misseriya Arab tribes people and Ngok Dinka people based in Abyei have been involved in clashes since last Friday in which at least 33 people have been killed, according to the two sides. Many have linked to a self-determination referendum being held in southern Sudan.

Bureau Report