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Sudan president will not attend Saudi summit with Trump
19 May 2017, 11:52 | Anna Nguyen
Sudan's President, Wanted For War Crimes, Decides To Skip Summit With Trump
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will not attend a gathering in Saudi Arabia on Saturday where U.S. President Donald Trump is scheduled to make his first worldwide trip, state news agency SUNA said on Friday.
Mr Bashir, who cited "private reasons", is wanted for alleged war crimes in Darfur and the U.S. was reportedly unhappy about his attendance.
In a short statement, Al-Bashir apologised to Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for his inability to attend but said that Minister of State Taha Al-Hussein would represent Sudan at the two-day summit in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, instead. No further explanation was given.
The United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court, but it has long sought to ostracize defendants who defy the court's arrest warrants, including al-Bashir, who has led Sudan for almost three decades.
Media captionTrump's first trip: What's on the agenda in Saudi Arabia? He has steadfastly denied the charges.
Sudan has close military, business and political ties with Saudi Arabia.
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Until the withdrawal of Omar al-Bashir, the high point of the summit was a possible meeting between Trump and Bashir at the summit which will be attended by over 50 leaders from Muslim countries around the world.
The administration earlier this year placed Sudan on its list of seven Muslim-majority nations impacted by Trump's travel ban.
"While the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute. we nevertheless strongly support efforts to hold accountable those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes", the official said.
Mr Trump will deliver a speech on his "hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam".
Trump on Friday will embark on his first foreign trip as president, stopping in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican.
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