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Sudan Expels Aid Agencies, Defies Hague Court - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A Sudanese man kisses a picture of President Omar Al-Beshir during a mass demonstration in Khartoum. (AFP)

A Sudanese man kisses a picture of President Omar Al-Beshir during a mass demonstration in Khartoum. (AFP)

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir announced on Thursday that 10 foreign aid agencies had been expelled, in his first public response to the International Criminal Court’s call for his arrest on war crimes charges.

The arrest warrant issued on Wednesday for atrocities in Sudan’s western Darfur region is the first against a sitting head of state by the Hague-based ICC.

“We will act as a responsible government,” Bashir told a meeting of top politicians and cabinet members in response to the arrest warrant, while adding that Sudan would act decisively against anyone threatening stability.

“We have expelled 10 foreign organizations … after monitoring activities that act in contradiction to all regulation and laws,” he said.

China urged the U.N. Security Council on Thursday to heed calls from African and Arab countries and suspend the case against Bashir, but the United States has welcomed the action.

The ICC, set up in 2002, indicted Bashir on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which included murder, rape and torture. The three-judge panel said it had insufficient grounds for genocide.

Hours after the warrant was issued, Sudan revoked the licenses of several foreign aid agencies.

U.N. and other agencies are running the world’s largest humanitarian operation in Darfur, a mainly desert region in western Sudan. International experts say at least 200,000 people have been killed there, while Khartoum says 10,000 have died.

A further 2.7 million people are estimated to have been uprooted by the conflict, which began when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in 2003.

Protesters demonstrate outside the Sudanese embassy in central London. (AFP)

Protesters demonstrate outside the Sudanese embassy in central London. (AFP)

A man protests against Sudanese President al-Bashir in front of the ICC in the Hague. (R)

A man protests against Sudanese President al-Bashir in front of the ICC in the Hague. (R)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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