Sudan to hold crisis talks on ICC charges

July 13, 2008 12:00 am

, KHARTOUM, July 13 – Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir was to chair an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday over plans by the International Criminal Court to prosecute Sudanese leaders for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

Sudanese officials were locked in emergency talks all weekend in a bid to prepare a united front for the widely expected announcement from the chief ICC prosecutor on Monday that Beshir will be named a war crimes suspect.

The extraordinary cabinet meeting was called for 2:00 pm (1100 GMT) exactly 24 hours before Luis Moreno-Ocampo was to unveil the findings of a second investigation into alleged war crimes in Darfur, Sudanese officials said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadiq said the authorities were stepping up security, particularly around the British, French and US embassies in Khartoum, and predicted "chaos" following any indictment of the president.

"It’s already starting from today but most of it is unseen. You see a few diplomatic police around the premises and residences, and at the same time we will increase the general security," he told AFP.

"We assured all diplomatic missions and UN offices. All of them fall under the protection of the government, including the (UN) peacekeepers, and the government is going to do their utmost to protect them," Sadiq added.

Fears have been voiced that naming Beshir could trigger a military response from either Sudanese forces or their proxies against UN and African Union peacekeepers, and embolden Darfur rebels who attacked Khartoum in May.


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