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Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 12:24 UK

Sudan's Bashir in visit to Turkey

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
Neither Turkey nor Sudan recognise the authority of the international court

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is attending a summit of African leaders in Turkey, his first foreign trip since he was accused of war crimes.

Last month, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor asked the court to issue an arrest warrant related to crimes in Darfur.

Neither Sudan nor Turkey recognise the international court based at the Hague.

During a meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, in Istanbul, Mr Bashir denied the accusations against him.

"We are not committing genocide in Darfur," Mr Bashir said, according to a Turkish official quoted by Reuters.

"We are saddened by events there," he added.

Mr Bashir is attending a Turkey-Africa economic co-operation summit taking place at a palace on the Bosphorus Strait. Some 54 African heads of state are at the meeting.

Turkey is keen to complete its membership of the African Development Bank Group, which would allow Turkish firms to compete for development contracts in Africa.

It also wants access to Africa's abundant raw materials to fuel its fast-growing manufacturing sector.

'Serious consequences'

On Monday, Turkey's foreign minister asked that African nations back the country's bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council, pledging to become its "voice of Africa".

ACCUSATIONS AGAINST BASHIR
map
Genocide:
Killing members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups
Causing these groups serious bodily or mental harm
Inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about these groups' physical destruction
Crimes against humanity:
Murder
Extermination
Forcible transfer
Rape
Torture
War crimes:
Attacks on civilians in Darfur
Pillaging towns and villages

African and Arab states are pushing for the suspension of the court's indictment which they say could damage the path to peace in Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

Sudan has warned of "serious consequences" for UN staff and facilities based in the country if an arrest warrant is issued for its president.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo sought an arrest warrant against Mr Bashir in July.

He accused Sudan's leader of running a campaign of genocide that killed 35,000 people outright, at least another 100,000 through a "slow death" and forced 2.5 million to flee their homes in Darfur.

Mr Bashir has said he is not worried by the accusations and his government has denied mobilising the Janjaweed militias, accused of widespread atrocities against Darfur's black African population.

The UN estimates that five years of conflict in Darfur have left 300,000 people dead and more than two million people homeless.



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