22 February 2013

Sudan: EU Express Concern Over Sudanese President Visit to Chad

Washington — The European Union (EU) on Thursday expressed concern over a visit by Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to Chad last week despite an outstanding arrest warrant but fell short of condemning Ndjamena.

"The High Representative is concerned by the visit of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to Chad on 16 February in the context of the CEN-SAD Summit" the spokesperson for EU High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton said.

"This is the third time that the Government of Chad has failed to implement the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the arrest of President al-Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, as it is obliged to do under international law," the statement read.

"While welcoming the normalisation of the relations between Chad and Sudan, the High Representative regrets that the Government of Chad has not met its obligations as a Party to the Rome Statute".

This is Bashir's third visit to his western neighbor since the warrant was issued. Deby has initially vowed to enforce the arrest warrant and rejected African Union (AU) resolutions instructing its members not to apprehend Bashir.

However as thorny relations between the two countries dramatically improved, Deby allowed Bashir to visit. The Chadian government then referred to the AU decision to justify receiving the Sudanese president despite the warrant and dismissed criticism by rights groups.

Ashton noted that all UN members are required to abide by United Nations Security (UNSC) resolution 1593 referring Darfur to the ICC for investigation.

In a related issue, ICC judges on Friday issued an order requiring Chad to file observations by March 14th on the visit of Bashir and its non-compliance with the arrest warrant.

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