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Asharq Al-Awsat: Transcript of French Spokesman Speaking About Al-Bashir’s Arrest | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat-The Sudanese Foreign Ministry summoned Patrick Nicoloso, the French Ambassador to Sudan, in order to demand an explanation for the statements published by Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday in which French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Eric Chevallier said that his country supported the interception of the aircraft of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in the event of his traveling outside of Sudan in order to fulfill the International Criminal Court [ICC] arrest warrant issued against him. French Ambassador Nicoloso informed the Sudanese Foreign Ministry that Chevallier was misquoted and Chevallier himself “formally denied” making any such statement.

In a press conference following his meeting with Dr. Mutrif Siddiq, Sudanese Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the French ambassador to Sudan said that Asharq Al-Awsat had misquoted Chevallier, adding that France had no intention of intercepting the President’s aircraft, and that it would not be possible for them to do so in international airspace. Nicoloso added that his country is a member of the ICC, and would apply the courts decision [to arrest Al-Bashir] within its own territory.

Agence France-Presse [AFP] quoted the French Foreign Ministry as saying that Asharq Al-Awsat had taken Chevallier’s comments out of context. AFP cited a transcript of Chevallier’s comments published on the French Foreign Ministry website in which he was asked whether France and other countries were obliged to intercept Al-Bashir’s aircraft if he traveled to Doha, Chevallier said “One of the sections of Resolution 1593 [of the UN Security Council regarding the referral of the Darfur file to the ICC] calls for parties which are not members [of the ICC] to cooperate for the implementation of the arrest warrant.”

AFP also quoted Chevallier as saying that he “completely denies urging European Union countries to arrest the Sudanese President if he should travel to Qatar by aircraft” adding that “France, as a signatory of the ICC, has a clearly identified obligation aimed at allowing the arrest warrant to be implemented” although he went on to say that “this obligation to cooperate only concerns persons who are within our [French] territory.”

Asharq Al-Awsat stands by what it published on Sunday, especially since the statement made by Mr. Chevallier came in the form of a Q & A written in two languages, Arabic and French, via e-mail.

The transcript reads as follows;

Question: Mr. Haroun had previously intended to travel to another country, but he cancelled this because there were plans to intercept his aircraft in order to arrest him. Does France and other countries which are signatories of the Rome Statute have an obligation to intercept an aircraft transporting Mr. Al-Bashir?

Chevallier: We are a party to the Rome Statute and there are clearly identified obligations aimed at allowing the arrest warrant to be implemented, there is a resolution issued by the [UN] Security Council that states this, which is Resolution 1593. There are obligations at the very least in accordance with the Rome Statute and/or the Security Council Resolution which apply to, the [government of] Sudan, all parties to the conflict [in Darfur], as well as to states which are signatories of the Rome Statute. One of the sections of Resolution 1593 [also] calls for parties which are not members [of the ICC] to cooperate in the implementation of the arrest warrant.”