What you need to know:
- Regional bloc wants Sudan leader spared ICC’s wrath
VICTORIA FALLS, Monday
Nineteen regional leaders today called for the suspension of the warrant of arrest against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
President Bashir is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region.
In a communique read at the end of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) heads of state and government summit, the leaders also called for Sudan and Chad to exercise restraint in their border dispute.
President Bashir was in Zimbabwe in defiance of the ICC warrant issued in March.
A futile plot
He had earlier told the summit that the warrant was part of a futile plot to isolate and fragment his country.
“It (the ICC warrant) is an action aimed at isolating Sudan and eventually fragmenting and dividing our country,” he said.
The visit was his first to southern Africa after he travelled to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Libya.
Comesa leaders called on the UN to press for the cancellation of the indictment and encourage a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Sudan.
The regional leaders also called for a robust approach to the problems of piracy in the coast of Somalia.
Comesa secretary-general Mr Sindiso Ngwenya said the problem of piracy was one of the main peace and security issues of concern that the leaders deliberated on during the two day long summit that also witnessed the launch of a new customs union.
Was not invited
Ousted Madagascar leaderMarc Ravalomana, who was invited to the summit as an observer, also received the backing of the leaders who called for the return to democracy on the Indian Ocean Island. The Comesa leaders hinted at a possibility of military intervention.
Madagascar’s President Mr Andry Rajoelina was not invited to the summit.
Zimbabwe took over the chairmanship of Comesa from Kenya on Sunday.