Bashir attendance at summit with Trump opposed by US

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes, will attend a summit in Saudi Arabia on Saturday in which President Donald Trump will also be present.

"So this isn't a departure from Saudi policy on Bashir, but it is of course notable that he's being invited to a summit where President Trump would be present and US officials have not met with Bashir".

Mr Trump is to make a speech outlining his views of Islam in an attempt to reset his image in the Middle East.

The latest worldwide strongman - or dictator, as the rest of us would put it - who Mr Trump could soon be rubbing shoulders with is Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the global Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, including genocide.

Bashir, who's led his country for nearly three decades, has been charged with crimes against humanity, including genocide, by the International Criminal Court related to the Darfur conflict in Sudan in 2010.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir speaks in New Delhi, India on October 29, 2015.

"He (Bashir) is invited", the official told the press without saying whether the Sudanese leader would attend the top-level talks on Sunday. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

Bashir, who has ruled the country for nearly three decades, is officially blacklisted by the U.S. for presiding over a state sponsor of terrorism, as well as his role in the Darfur conflict - for which he is wanted by the ICC on multiple charges.

After Saudi Arabia, Trump is due to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Rome, where he will head to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis.

Saudi King Salman has expressed hope the summit in Riyadh "will establish a new partnership in confronting extremism and terrorism". The E.U. placed an arms embargo on Sudan in 1994. Under the Obama administration, the USA condemned a potential visit by al-Bashir to visit the UN General Assembly meeting held annually in NY.

The country was one of seven included in Mr Trump's proposed travel ban, along with Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

Weeks earlier, the Obama administration had welcomed Sudan's efforts to counter ISIS and other terrorist groups, even though the United States for 20 years has designated Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism.

Sudan has close military, business and political ties with Saudi Arabia.

The Islamist leader accused the Egyptian media of attempting to aggravate the tensions between Cairo and Khartoum, which have been on edge in recent months after Bashir accused Egypt of supporting Sudanese opposition figures fighting his troops.

Vanessa Coleman

Comments