Malawi to lose $350m aid if it hosts Bashir, says US

The United States says Malawi government will affect its chances to get back to the  US$ 350.7 million worth of assistance  meant to revitalise the country’s faltering energy sector if it will hosts fugitive Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir at the June’s Africa Union summit.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. aid agency that rewards good governance, on Thursday announced it suspended the aid because Malawi hosted Bashir to a trade summit despite an international warrant for his arrest for alleged crimes against humanity.

President Bingu wa Mutharika’s government says it will host Bashir because he has been invited by African Union as a member of the continental body.

Bashir in Malawi: No arrest

Mutharika argues that African leaders should only ever be tried domestically for their crimes, not by the Hague-based court

But MCC’s deputy vice president for east and southern Africa, Andrew Moyock, told Malawi journalists in Lilongwe on Monday through video conferencing that the impoverished southern African will be assessed in three months time.

He said Malawi government is supposed to undertake “sufficient and tangible action” to address the decline in democratic rights, accountability and sound economic management.

Mayock said Malawi chances to qualify for the funding will be greatly affected if Bashir will be hosted, saying that will  would be in violation of its obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which it ratified on 19 September 2002.

“The ball is in Malawi’s court, we will wait and see how the matter will be handled,” said Moyock.

Bashir was the first head of state to be indicted by the ICC, which accused him of genocide and war crimes in Darfur.

He denies the charges, saying they are politically motivated.

However the US Embassy in Lilongwe charge-de-affairs Lisa Vickers said in a separate interview that whether MCC moves forward to decide on the compact or not, her government will continue supporting Malawi in other area as it has been doing.

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