Sudan's Bashir visits MauritaniaBy | Tuesday, December 22 2009 at 09:27
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir received a red-carpet welcome from Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz at the start of a three-day official visit Monday, Mauritania national radio reported. This is the latest in a series of foreign visits al-Bashir has made in defiance of an international arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Bashir's trip to the oil-rich desert nation was the first by a foreign head of state since President Abdel Aziz was sworn into office in August after controversial elections that followed his seizing power in a military coup a year earlier. Main avenues and the surroundings of the Nouakchott airport were bedecked in the colours of the two countries, an AFP correspondent reported.
President Abdel Aziz, accompanied by members of his government and other senior officials, welcomed the Sudanese leader off the plane, the radio report said.
Bashir is to spend three days in Mauritania and have a series of meetings with his Mauritanian counterpart focusing on bilateral cooperation.
Bashir's trips abroad have been surrounded by tight security since the ICC issued its warrant for him in March for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan's strife-wracked Darfur region.
Mauritania is not a signatory to the Treaty of Rome that laid the foundations for the ICC and is therefore not obliged to hand him over to justice.
Sudan has invested in Mauritanian telecommunications by way of Chinguitel, a company set up in 2007 and whose licence was bought by the Sudanese company Sudatel, allied to private Mauritanian interests, for 100 million dollars (70 million euros).
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