A summit of African leaders started in Istanbul on Monday, but the focus was on the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir — his first trip abroad since the International Criminal Court prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, requested that an arrest warrant be issued for al-Bashir for masterminding a campaign of genocide in Darfur, western Sudan. A panel of judges is reviewing evidence submitted by Moreno-Ocampo to decide whether there are reasonable grounds to issue the warrant.
"We would ask you to use this opportunity to make it clear to the government of Sudan that Turkey does not, nor will ever, support impunity for such crimes," according to a letter read by representatives of the group to Turkish officials.
The summit in Turkey is part of the country‘s intensifying efforts to expand ties and increase trade volume with the African continent.
Meanwhile, Sudan has warned the United Nations of "serious consequences" for its staff and facilities if the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir over Darfur, a U.N. envoy said on Monday.
Addressing the U.N. Security Council, Ashraf Qazi, head of the U.N. mission charged with monitoring a 2005 peace accord between Sudan's north and south, said the mission ready preparing for any such actions. "The government has conveyed to me that the issuance of an arrest warrant against President Bashir could have serious consequences for U.N. staff and infrastructure in Sudan," Qazi said, according to Reuters.
"We are taking all necessary precautionary measures including strengthening our cooperation with Sudanese security institutions," Qazi said.