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Page last updated at 22:16 GMT, Saturday, 19 July 2008 23:16 UK

Arab nations 'agree Sudan action'

Arab League foreign ministers emergency meeting
Arab League ministers said the ICC move could destabilise Sudan

Arab foreign ministers say they have agreed a plan of action to defuse the crisis between Sudan and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

They met in Cairo after the ICC's chief prosecutor said he would seek to indict Sudan's president on charges of war crimes and genocide in Darfur.

Ministers said the ICC move had set a dangerous precedent.

Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, said he would travel to Sudan on Sunday to discuss their plan.

However, he declined to reveal its details at the end of Saturday's emergency meeting.

Fragile peace

Mr Moussa said that Arabs had to work closely with the African Union and the UN to protect the fragile peace process in Sudan.

In a joint resolution issued at the end of the meeting, foreign ministers of the 22-nation Arab League said the ICC move was not acceptable and undermined Sudan's sovereignty.

"The council decides solidarity with the Republic of Sudan in confronting schemes that undermine its sovereignty, unity and stability and their non-acceptance of the unbalanced, not objective position of the prosecutor general of the Internal Criminal Court," the resolution said.

Amr Moussa
Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, will visit Sudan
Earlier, Algeria had called on other Arab nations to press the UN Security Council to stop the ICC from issuing the arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

"What the prosecutor of the court has done is a dangerous precedent," Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci told the meeting.

"We have [to take] ... a strong stance in solidarity with our brothers in Sudan and move effectively with regional and international organisations and the... states in the Security Council to immediately reconsider this demand by the prosecutor."

Sudan has asked China and Russia, as well as the Arab League and the African Union, to help it pursue a UN Security Council resolution suspending a warrant for Mr Bashir for 12 months.

Speaking after Saturday's meeting, Sudan's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Al Sammani al-Wasila, told the AP news agency: "We reject all the charges old and new."

Troubled region

But he added that "the position expressed by our brothers is fair and balanced".

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has asked the court for a warrant for Mr Bashir on suspicion of masterminding crimes against humanity in the troubled Darfur region.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo accused Mr Bashir 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.



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