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Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 14:36 UK

President Omar al-Bashir

In an interview first broadcast on BBC World News on Thursday 14 May, Zeinab Badawi asks President Omar al-Bashir how he answers the charges against him.

In an exclusive interview with Zeinab Badawi for HARDtalk, the Sudanese president says the charges brought against him by the International Criminal Court are all lies.

'Hostile media propaganda'

President Omar Al-Bashir is the first serving head of state to be indicted for alleged war crimes.

In his first interview to the western media since his indictment by the International Criminal court over the Darfur conflict, Zeinab Badawi pressed him on some of the detail of the charges against him.

President Omar al-Bashir tells Zeinab Badawi that his government has fought insurgents, but he denies that it has committed crimes in Darfur.

Prospects for peace

The ICC has accused President Bashir of two counts of war crimes - intentionally directing attacks on civilians and pillage - as well as five counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and torture.

The diplomatic fallout from the ICC charges has further complicated an already extremely complicated and long drawn out peace process.

Zeinab Badawi asks President Omar al-Bashir why he does not declare a unilateral ceasefire.

Elections due

Nationwide elections are due in Sudan next year. Under the 2005 peace deal to end years of war in the south, the elections were supposed to be held this year.

The SPLM, former rebels from the south, are expected to field a candidate against President Omar al-Bashir.

The president confirmed that he would be standing for election again. Zeinab asked him whether his candidacy might be an obstacle to the country's further development.

Zeinab Badawi talks to the President of Sudan about his diplomatic isolation. She asks him what prospect there is of a different relationship with the new American administration and why he does not engage with the ICC process.

Hardtalk is shown on the BBC World News at 0330 (except Middle East, South Asia and Asia Pacific), 0830, 1430, 2030 and 2230 GMT (except Middle East and South Asia)

HARDtalk is also broadcast on the BBC News channel at 0230, 0430 & 2330

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