Sudan Leader Bashir Arrives in China, 24-Hours Late



The Sudanese leader wanted for war crimes, Omar al-Bashir, steps down on to the tarmac in Beijing. This is the start of an official state visit.

The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for Bashir’s arrest, relating to his involvement in genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Yet the Chinese regime is not a signatory of the ICC and has long been a major economic partner of Sudan. The African nation is one of China’s largest suppliers of crude oil.

Bashir’s plane arrived 24 hours late, after several countries refused him permission to fly through their airspace, but the Chinese regime insisted the visit go ahead.

[Nicholas Bequelin, Human Rights Watch]:
“It’s very political and Beijing is pursuing quite ruthlessly its interests over the general well-being of the Sudanese population. It is shielding Bashir who is facing very serious charges of genocide and war crimes at the international criminal court by giving him this, sort of, royal treatment in Beijing. This is the wrong kind of signal.”

Talks during the visit are expected to focus on ensuring a peaceful transition to independence for Southern Sudan. The oil-rich south won a referendum on independence that will take effect on July 9th. Bashir, leader of soon-to-be North Sudan, will lose two thirds of the country’s oil resources after the split. But most of the country’s oil exporting infrastructure is located in the north and experts believe that the Chinese regime’s oil trade will continue with the north and south.

[He Wenping, Africa Expert, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences]:
“I think that even if Southern Sudan finally gains independence, per the previous agenda, then China’s relations with Southern Sudan are set on a very good base because Southern Sudan needs to continue to explore its oil resources.”

The Chinese regime, known for its policy of non-intervention in countries’ internal affairs, remains an obvious ally and trading partner for Sudan. The Chinese regime used its veto in the UN Security Council in 2007 to stop sanctions penalizing Sudan for human rights abuses.

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