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President Bashir, wanted by ICC, applies for a United States visa

President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, has applied for a US visa to attend the next United Nations General Assembly, an official said Thursday.

This would be President Bashir’s first visit to the US since his 2009 indictment by the Hague-based ICC for alleged war crimes in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

"Yes, Prisident Bashir and his delegation have applied for US visas for attending the UN General Assembly meeting," Bashir’s press secretary Obei Ezzedine mentioned.

Sudan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Kamal Ismail said it was Khartoum’s right to send a delegation to the UN meeting.

"If a country hosting UN institutions refuses to give visas to any other country’s delegation for attending UN activities, then the host country is violating its legal committment," Ismail told a news conference.

Bashir applied for a visa in 2014 to attend the General Assembly, which is held in September each year at the UN’s headquarters in New York, but it was rejected.

United States embassy in Khartoum could not be reached for comment.
Washington has regularly condemned Bashir’s international travels, and last week lashed out at Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni for hosting the Sudanese leader at his swearing in ceremony in Kampala.

Diplomats from the United States, the European Union and Canada walked out of the ceremony in protest at Bashir’s presence.

In theory, states like Uganda who are signatories to the ICC have an obligation to arrest ICC suspects on their territories.

But African leaders have increasingly been resentful of the ICC’s authority and Bashir denying the allegations.

Controversy erupted last year when the South African government did not arrest Bashir when he attended an African Union summit in Johannesburg.

Darfur has been gripped by conflict since 2003, when ethnic minority rebels rose up against Bashir, complaining that his Arab-dominated government was marginalising the region.

According to the UN,President Bashir launched a brutal counter-insurgency and at least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.


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