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Sudan’s President Wanted for War Crimes Likely to Meet Trump in Saudi Arabia

Thursday 18 May 2017
Sudan’s President Wanted for War Crimes Likely to Meet Trump in Saudi Arabia

Alwaght-The Saudi regime has invited Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes, to a summit with US President Donald Trump and Arab leaders.

Trump is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, from Saturday on his first foreign trip since taking office in January.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour confrimed Bashir will travel to Saudi Arabia on Friday. "I can confirm that President Bashir will go the day after tomorrow to Saudi Arabia," Ghandour told reporters in Geneva, declining to confirm whether Bashir would speak with Trump.

Bashir has evaded arrest since his indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009 for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the conflict in Darfur in which at least 300,000 people have been killed. He denies the charges. The deadly conflict broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority groups took up arms against Bashir's Arab-dominated government, which launched a brutal counter-insurgency.

ICC has condemned South Africa for failing to arrest Bashir during his brief visit to South Africa in June 2015 for an African Union summit, despite its obligation to cooperate with the ICC as a signatory of the tribunal's founding Rome Statute. The Sudanese leader was also a guest last March at an Arab League summit hosted by Jordan -- also a signatory to the Rome Statute.

Rights advocates expressed alarm at the possibility that Trump will interact with war criminal Bashir in Riyadh. “Any interaction by President Trump with al-Bashir in Saudi Arabia, should al-Bashir attend the meeting, would send a terrible signal to the victims of the crimes and raise major questions about U.S. commitment to justice for them,” said Elise Keppler, associate director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch.

The invitation of war criminal Bashir comes as no surprise as Trump is visiting Saudi Arabia which is also being blamed for committing war crimes and genocide in neighboring Yemen. The Saudi regime is leading an Arab coalition, which also includes Sudan, in daily bombardments on Yemen since March 2015.

Last January UN experts said Saudi-led coalition in Yemen may have committed war crimes in the conflict that is wracking the impoverished nation.

Yemenis' pleas fall deaf ears, US Seeks striking $300 Billion Arms Deals for Saudi Arabia

Turning a blind eye to sufferings of most impoverished Arab nation Washington is working hard to ink a series of arms deals for Riyadh worth of hundreds of billions dollar.

A senior White House official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said on Friday the arms package could end up surpassing more than $300 billion over a decade, a week ahead of President Donald Trump's planned visit to Riyadh.

"We are in the final stages of a series of deals," the official said. The package is being developed to coincide with Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia. Trump has chosen the Persian Gulf kingdom as destination for his first foreign visit.

The United States has been the main supplier for most Saudi military needs, from F-15 fighter jets to command and control systems worth tens of billions of dollars in recent years, ignoring international call for an end to Al Saud regime which is blamed for committing war crimes in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched a deadly aggression against its southern neighbor Yemen on 27 March 2015 in a bid to restore power to Yemen's resigned president who fled to Riyadh after Yemeni people's uprising in 2015.

Over 12,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians including women and children, have been killed during the Saudi-led aggression.  

Washington and its oil-rich ally Riyadh have also been negotiating over arms and maintenance, ships, air missile defense and maritime security, the official said.

The official added: "It's good for the American economy but it will also be good in terms of building a capability that is appropriate for the challenges of the region. Israel would still maintain an edge."

The US and UK have been providing logistic and intelligence support to Riyadh in its war against defenseless Yemenis, while equipping the kingdom’s military forces with a wide array of weapons including illegal munitions like cluster bombs.

Saudi Arabia was the world’s second largest arms importer in 2016 after India, purchasing over $15 billion in weapons, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Human Rights Group have repeatedly condemned western countries arms sale to Saudi Arabia whom they accuse of committing blatant war crimes against poorest Arab nation of Yemen.

Amnesty International has recently censured the US and UK for their “shameful” weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia, saying Washington and London were fueling the serious human rights violations and war crimes in Yemen committed by Riyadh. 

Amnesty said the US and UK have sold over $5 billion worth of weapons to the Riyadh regime since the onset of the war, more than 10 times the $450 million they have allegedly spent to help save Yemeni civilians.

Saudi Arabia has conducted at least 58 “unlawful airstrikes” since the start of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen “with direct military support from the US and assistance from the UK,” according to a report in October by Human Rights Watch.

Despite spending billions of dollars on the full-scale war, however, Saudi Arabia has failed to achieve its pre-determined goals.

 

 

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Bashir Sudan Saudi Trump War crimina Darfur ICC

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