Omar el-Bashir of Sudan will attend this week's summit, Iraq's state television says
The Arab League secretary general arrives in Baghdad for the summit
Attacks in Iraq last week were considered threats to summit security
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and genocide, will attend this week’s Arab Summit in Baghdad, Iraqi state television reported Sunday.
The report by Iraqiya TV said the office of President Jalal Talabani announced Bashir’s intention to attend the summit on March 29.
It will be the first summit of Arab leaders in Iraq since 1990. A planned Arab summit last year in Baghdad was postponed due to unrest in the region.
This year’s summit begins with preparatory meetings starting Tuesday involving government ministers.
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby arrived Sunday in Baghdad for the summit with a small delegation, Iraqiya TV reported.
Sudan’s Bashir has traveled to other Arab countries despite the ICC warrants against him for alleged war crimes and genocide in the Darfur region, where rebels have fought government forces and allied militiamen such as the Janjaweed since 2003.
The United Nations estimates as many as 300,000 people have been killed and almost 3 million people have been displaced from their homes in Darfur.
In Iraq, a militant group with links to al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a deadly wave of bombings across the country last week on the ninth anniversary of the U.S. invastion. The attacks were designed to undermine government security plans for the Arab Summit.