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Archive for July 19th, 2008

China reiterates it worries concerning ICC move to arrest Sudanese president

Posted by African Press International on July 19, 2008

China on Thursday reiterated its worries concerning an International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s move to have the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir arrested, charging him with war crimes in Darfur, and said that such a move will further complicate the situation in Darfur and the region.

“China hopes the situation in Darfur would not be complicated by any attempted prosecution of the Sudanese president,” said Liu Jianchao, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson at a press conference in Beijing.

“China was deeply concerned about the ICC’s attempted prosecution of the Sudanese leader”, added Liu.

Liu said the international community held different views on this issue, noting that the countries concerned were discussing the issue within a certain framework. He said China was ready to continue an exchange of views with them on the issue.

He said China proceeds from safeguarding the peace and stability of Sudan and realizing peace, stability and development in the Darfur region to handle related issues.

China, the biggest ally of Sudan and a permanent member of the UN Security Council is considered by the western countries as a firm barrier vis-à-vis any further UN sanctions against Sudan.

An ICC prosecutor asked the court on Monday to approve an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir, accusing him of a campaign of genocide that killed 35,000 people outright and another 100,000 through ’slow death’ in Darfur region.

On Thursday, the “People’s Daily”, the official newspaper of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, criticized the ICC, saying that it could ’pour oil on fire’ by seeking to arrest Sudan’s president.

’Don’t pour oil on fire,’ said a commentary in the paper, adding that Darfur is ’at a sensitive and crucial time.’

Alleviating this problem demands all sides exercise prudence, consult on an equal basis and strive to cooperate, not rashly push for sanctions, indictments, verdicts and even issuing arrest warrants, said the newspaper.

The ICC case could threaten with destruction efforts for political negotiations between the Sudanese government and anti-government armed forces, the newspaper said.



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Kofi Annan calls on Mbeki to treat Tsvangirai and Mugabe as equals

Posted by African Press International on July 19, 2008

Pressure is mounting on Thabo Mbeki to negotiate a speedy settlement in Zimbabwe with Kofi Annan, on Thursday night, calling on him to accept the Zanu-PF chief and his MDC counterpart as equals, while church leaders from southern Africa call for immediate sanctions.

“Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai must be able to enter into a dialogue on an equal footing, as two leaders,” the former UN Secretary-General said during a speech Thursday night at the University of South Africa (Unisa), in Pretoria, where he was conferred with an honorary doctorate in Literature and Philosophy. Progress can only be made when the conditions are right, Annan told the gathering.

He said he was speaking on behalf of the Elders, the group that comprises Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter, in calling “for a speedy and robust mediation to resolve the political crisis” to put an end to “this crisis of governance, for human lives and livelihoods are at stake.”



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