Sudan claims US scheme to hijack presidential plane thwarted
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday morning arrived in the Chinese capital Beijing for a summit between him and President Hu Jintao, as Sudanese parliament deputies spoke about the mystery that surrounded his delayed arrival. According to them, a U.S. scheme to intercept Bashir's plane has failed.
Bashir was officially welcomed in China after his plane yesterday had to change the course of the flight in the wake of Turkmenistan's refusal to allow it to use its space en route to China. Thus the presidential plane was forced to return to Tehran and then take off again through another route.
The Sudanese newspaper Alintibaha on Tuesday quoted local lawmakers who spoke about the "American scheme" to hijack Bashir's plane.
For its part, the Sudanese foreign ministry said in a statement: "The late arrival of the president's plane was due to changes in the flight route."
China is an important investor in the Sudanese economy. It is also one of the major countries importing Sudanese oil. An official Chinese statement said: "During President al-Bashir visit to China, the two sides will discuss ways to strengthen the traditional friendship between the two countries under the new circumstances." It added the two sides will also discuss "the peace process between north and south Sudan and the Darfur issue."
Over two years ago, the International Criminal Court has published an arrest warrant against Bashir on charges of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.