The Sudanese government has responded t o the suggestion by Malawi President Joyce Banda that President Omar al-Bashir should send a top level official to represent him at an African Union summit in Lilongwe, saying Malawi had no right to make such a request.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
Banda, who became president last month, said she had asked the African Union not to invite Bashir to the African heads of state summit to be hosted by Lilongwe in July.
But Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman El-Obeid Morawah said Bashir will not be dictated to choose a representative.
“This will not happen, because the host country does not have the right to dictate who comes. This is according to the AU,” said El-Obeid Morawah in Khartoum.
“Since Sudan is a member of the AU, it has a right to attend the summit. The hosting country does not have the right to say who comes,” he said.
President Banda told journalists that Bashir’s visit could have serious “economic implications” for Malawi.
She was apparently referring to the international criticism triggered by Bashir’s last visit to her country during regional trade summit last year.
“He [Bashir] should forgive us this time as we are struggling to fix the economy,” said Her Excellency Banda.
The International Criminal Court, the world’s first permanent war crimes court, has no police force of its own and relies on member states to carry out arrests.