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Abbas to make first Sudan visit since leader's arrest warrant

Aug. 18, 2009 9:37 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 19, 2009 3:27 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Sudan on Wednesday and meet with his counterpart Omar Al-Bashir, the country’s SUNA news agency said.

The meeting between the leaders will include discussions around ways of strengthening bilateral relations and developments in the Middle East, the report said. Abbas' visit with the leader comes despite a standing arrest warrant for him issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.

In March the Sudanese president defied the warrant to travel to the Arab League summit in Qatar, where he was not arrested. Al-Bashir’s indictment is widely seen in the Arab world as a politicized act backed by the West.

Wednesday's visit will be Abbas' first trip to the country since the arrest warrant was issued.

Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) has not been vocal for or against Al-Bashir’s arrest. The PA has asked the ICC to make similar indictments of Israeli officials over the attack on Gaza last winter.

Abbas’ rival Hamas sent a delegation of officials to meet Al-Bashir shortly after the warrant was issued.

On Tuesday Abbas is expected to meet with a delegation of senior Egyptian security officials in Amman, Jordan. The delegation plans to meet with senior Hamas and Fatah leaders in what appears to be an attempt to revive Palestinian unity negotiations.

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