The Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa)

Sudan: Ethiopia Respects Words to Welcome Al-Bashir Ethio-Sudan Joint Meeting Being Held

Addis Abeba — Ethiopian government proved its position in making practical action it has been promising to welcome Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir despite an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against him.

Al-Bashir has arrived here on Tuesday to attend the Second Ethio-Sudan High-level Joint Commission Meeting opened the same day.

It was the president's sixth foreign trip since his indictment on charges of war crimes in Darfur.

State media here reported that Al-beshir was accorded warm-welcome up on arrival at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, senior government officials, resident ambassadors and the members of the Sudanese community in Ethiopia.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been showing that his government does not recognize the ICC in that Ethiopia is not yet a member of the international criminal court institution. Meles recently told BBC HardTalk that he was ready to welcome the Sudanese president provided that he likes to come to the Ethiopian capital and the AU.

According to him Ethiopia had always deplored the ICC resolution against Al Bashir, and made it clear it would ignore calls to apprehend Al Bashir and has led the Addis-based AU delegation demanding United Nations Security Council to suspend the indictments.

It is worth noting that the Joint Higher Committee convenes bi-annually. Its previous meeting was held in Khartoum.

President Al Bashir arrived here in Addis Ababa leading Sudan's delegation to participate in the two-day meeting commencing.

As the two leaders drove out of the airport yesterday morning, security was tighter than ever before, with federal police officers chasing people off the streets, an eye witness told the Daily Monitor.

In one of his first engagements on arrival in Addis Ababa, the Sudanese president went to Sheraton Addis to attend the joint commission high level talk that was last held in 2005.

Bilateral relations including political, trade, finance and social issues and implementation progress on accords signed recently between the two countries will be on the table before the joint committee meeting which will be concluded today by the leaders of the two countries, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Information.

Since the International Criminal Court issued the arrest warrant on March 4, al-Bashir has visited Eritrea, Egypt and Libya, attended an Arab League summit in Qatar and performed a pilgrimage to Islam's holiest city, Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. In March, the Arab League formally rejected the charges against al-Bashir.

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