Khartoum (Alshahid)-Genocide-accused Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived home on Friday from a summit in Chad having strengthened ties with a former foe while thumbing his nose at the International Criminal Court.
Upon his return to Khartoum, Bashir’s visit to Chad was hailed by his entourage as “more than a double victory” as it boosted the neighbours’ ties and was his first trip to a country that recognises the ICC.
“This summit… shows African solidarity and it also exposes the ICC and its agenda and it also exposes the agenda of some European countries and the United States in particular,” presidential adviser Ghazi Salaheddine said.
“We praise our relations with Chad very much. We have made very clear in previous occasions that we cannot see an end to the problem in Darfur without fixing the relationship with Chad.
“It is a victory in the profound sense of the word (and) we are happy,” Salaheddine told reporters in Khartoum after returning with Bashir from the summit of the Community of Sahel-Saharan (CEN-SAD) states.
Bashir arrived in Khartoum at 8:20 pm (1720 GMT) after a two-day visit to Chad seen as a breakthrough after years of proxy warfare between the two countries in Darfur.
He left for Sudan after talks with his Chadian counterpart Idriss Deby Itno, whose villa he had stayed at near Ndjamena airport protected by an impressive security detail.
The summit backed Bashir on Thursday, saying it rejected “all accusations” against him, while Deby called on regional leaders to support the peace process in Sudan and help solve the Darfur crisis.
“Darfur continues to be a source of concern. CEN-SAD refutes all accusations against President Bashir. These accusations do not contribute to bringing peace to this part of Sudan,” said CEN-SAD chief Mohamed al-Madani al-Azhari.
“We declare our total support and our solidarity to Sudan and its people,” he added, speaking to an audience that included 13 heads of state including Bashir.
The ICC, which has no police and relies on states that support it to carry out arrests, in March last year accused the veteran Sudanese leader of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, and issued a further arrest mandate for genocide earlier this month.
Chad was strongly criticised by the European Union and human rights groups for its refusal to arrest Bashir.
On Thursday, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton had urged Chad to arrest him and hand him over to the court based in The Hague to face the charges.
The United States urged Chad to consider “its responsibilities.”
The seven-year Darfur conflict in western Sudan, on the border with Chad, has claimed 300,000 lives according to the United Nations. The Khartoum government puts the toll at 10,000.