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Sudan leader defies arrest warrant

March 30, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Qatar's leader embraced Sudan's president in a red-carpet welcome as he arrived to attend an Arab summit in an act of defiance against an international warrant for his arrest on charges of war crimes in Darfur.

For host Qatar, a key U.S. ally, the Arab League meeting starting today also showcases its desire to stake out a prominent role in regional affairs.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir had promised to attend the 22-nation gathering after assurances from members that they would not enforce the International Criminal Court's arrest order issued March 4. Only Jordan and two other tiny Arab League members, the Comoros and Djibouti, are party to the ICC charter, and they can take no action on Qatari soil.

Arab foreign ministers have endorsed a draft resolution for the summit rejecting the ICC's arrest warrant.

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