Sudan's President invited to attend regional summit in Zambia.
President Al-Bashir during the ceremony of promulgation of Kenya's New Constitution on August 27, 2010 in Nairobi (File - Getty Images)
Sudan official news agency (SUNA) said that Al-Bashir had received an invitation from his Zambian counterpart Rupiah Banda to participate in the Special Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGR) which is scheduled to take place in the Zambian capital Lusaka on December 15. The invitation to the ICGR, whose sessions will be devoted to discussing illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes region, was extended by Banda's special envoy and minister of labor and social security, Simon Kasimba, following his meeting with Al-Bashir on Monday at the republican palace in Khartoum. Kasimba was cited as saying that Zambia is keen on Sudan's participation in the summit and added that Bashir has "responded positively" to the invitation. Al-Bashir is hounded by two warrants issued for his arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the background of the seven-year conflict in Sudan's western region of Darfur. Zambia, which became a full member of the ICC in 2002, is legally obligated to execute the arrest warrant against Al-Bashir once he sets foot in its territories. Al-Bashir previously managed to visit two state members of the ICC, Kenya and Chad, but he was forced to skip two events abroad this month when Libya disinvited him from the Africa-EU summit in Tripoli to avoid walkouts by EU officials, and later when Central African Republic blocked his visit to attend the celebrations of the country's Golden Jubilee Independence Day. Senegal , another ICC member, has also invited Bashir last August for the 3rd festival of Negro Arts that will take place in Dakar starting December 10th. Sudan has said it will participate but did not specify at what level. Several African countries justify inviting Bashir by saying that they are committed to an African Union (AU) decision stating that no country in the continent shall cooperate with ICC in apprehending Bashir. But several countries such as South Africa, Uganda and Botswana said they will not abide by these resolutions. These resolutions were pushed for by countries such as Libya, Egypt, Senegal and Eritrea. The ICC charges Al-Bashir with masterminding war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed in Darfur. The Darfur conflict broke out in 2003 when rebels belonging mostly to African ethnicities took up arms against Khartoum, prompting the latter to unleash an abusive counterinsurgency campaign as a result of which nearly 300.000 people died and more than 2 million fled their homes, according to UN figures. (ST)
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