South African President Jacob Zuma shares a laugh with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (right), who is wanted by the International Criminal Court. Photograph: Reuters, via The Wire.

Sudan to South Africa: Stop cheap propaganda

By Peter Fabricius

Sudan’s ambassador has implored the South African government to stop making “cheap propaganda” by repeating that President Omar al-Bashir would be arrested as an indicted fugitive from the International Criminal Court if he set foot in South Africa.

Ali Yousif Ahmed Al-Sharif made his complaint at the Institute for Global Dialogue and the Africa Institute of SA on Tuesday. This came after back-to-back statements by President Jacob Zuma and International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane repeating South Africa’s position.

The court issued a warrant for the president’s arrest last year for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Ten days ago Zuma said in response to a question in Parliament that although South Africa had invited Al-Bashir to the World Cup with the rest of Africa’s leaders, it would arrest him should he arrive.

Then last week – 10 days after Zuma’s statement – the Department of International Relations and Co-operation issued a statement after Nkoana-Mashabane met her French counterpart Bernard Kouchner on the fringes of the France-Africa summit in Nice. “Minister Nkoana-Mashabane reiterated President Jacob Zuma’s pronouncement that if the Sudanese President was to visit the country, he will be arrested as South Africa was a signatory to the international justice system.”

On Tuesday, Al-Sharif said: “We respect the fact that South Africa is a member of the ICC.

“I don’t think it’s correct to say, ‘If the president of Sudan comes to South Africa, we will arrest him.’ It looks like cheap propaganda.

“The president will not come to South Africa without an invitation. He is not a tourist. He is a president.”

Published by IOL

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