Sudan leader travels abroad, defying international court
KHARTOUM - Sudan's president traveled to Eritrea yesterday, choosing one of Africa's most politically isolated nations for his first trip abroad since the International Criminal Court sought his arrest on charges of war crimes in Darfur.
The one-day visit followed Eritrea's official invitation to Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, who faces the arrest warrant by the Netherlands-based court.
Eritrean television showed Bashir being greeted at the airport in the Eritrean capital Asmara by President Isaias Afwerki, along with drummers and dancers. Sudanese state television later yesterday showed Bashir returning to Khartoum.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor said the visit was "important" and reflected Eritrean "solidarity . . . with Sudan against the ICC." Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu said Bashir was there to discuss regional security.
The ICC charged Bashir on March 4 of leading a counterinsurgency against Darfur rebels that involved rapes, killings and other atrocities against civilians.
Up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million driven from their homes in the conflict since 2003, according to the UN.