Sudan’s President applies for visa to visit UN
The USA has confirmed that it has received a visa application from Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir who is seeking entry to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings taking place this month at the UN headquarters in New York. However it is still unclear whether the US will grant the visa.
President Al Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, is subject to international arrest warrants.
US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed Al Bashir’s visa application, but said she was not authorised to discuss specific details of individual visa cases. However she did criticise his intent to travel.
“We condemn any potential effort by President Bashir to travel to New York, given that he stands accused of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the ICC. We would say that before presenting himself to UN headquarters, President Bashir should present himself to the ICC in The Hague to answer for the crimes of which he’s been accused.”
The US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power also strongly criticised Al Bashir’s intended travel to the UN.
“Such a trip would be deplorable, cynical and hugely inappropriate. We would suggest that given that he is under those chargers, and that the ICC has indicted him, again, on genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity charges that it would be more appropriate for him to present himself to the ICC and travel to The Hague,” Power said.
As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, travel has become increasingly difficult for him, even to non-ICC signatory countries.
In July, he returned to Khartoum after withdrawing early from an African Union (AU) health summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja. During his visit, the International Criminal Court (ICC) called for his immediate arrest.
In August, Saudi Arabia denied fly-over rights to a charter aircraft carrying Al Bashir and a delegation of Sudanese Ministers to Iran for the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani.
In June 2011, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan refused permission for Al Bashir to overfly their airspace from Iran to China where he was to start a state visit.
The Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports that the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted on Tuesday with a statement “rejecting the conduct of the US administration toward Sudan”.
The Ministry described the USA as “not morally, politically and legally qualified to provide sermons and advice in respect of International Humanitarian Law and the human rights under its own known record of war crimes and extermination against whole peoples, the last of which was the invasion of Iraq…”.
The statement asserts: “It is ironic that the US administration managed to use the issue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as pretext to criticise the application … when the USA itself is not a member of the ICC and openly objecting to it.”
It concludes by affirming “Sudan’s adherence to its right for full participation at the highest level in the 68th session of the UN General Assembly,” demanding the USA, “in its capacity as the headquarters country, issue the required entry visas for the Sudan delegation, headed by President Al Bashir, as quickly as possible.”
File Photo: Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir (Flickr/Ammar Abd Rabbo)
Sudan President denied Saudi fly-over en route to Iran (4 August 2013)
HRW urges Chad to arrest Sudan President Bashir (10 May 2013)
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