Malawi warns Bashir of arrest at summit
Posted Monday, June 4 2012 at 17:07
Malawi President Joyce Banda has assured British Secretary of State for International Affairs Andrew Mitchell that the country will arrest Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir if the enters the country.
President Banda told Mr Mitchell during a closed door meeting in Blantyre that there was need to iron out issues surrounding Malawi’s position on Bashir.
She is said to have told Mr Mitchell that she has made it clear to the AU that President Bashir will be arrested if he comes to Malawi for the 19th Summit of the African Union.
President Bashir is expected to be in Malawi in July, with other African Presidents, for the summit.
Initially, Malawi sought the help of the Africa Union to convince President Bashir not to come to the summit, however the AU Commission said it had no mandate to stop a president of a member country from attending a summit.
In October last year, President Bashir visited Malawi to attend a Comesa summit and the country attracted international condemnation for failing to arrest him.
He is wanted by International Criminal Court (ICC) to answer cases of human rights abuses against his people.
Mrs Banda has said Malawi would have to “seriously take into consideration the economic repercussions of hosting President Bashir.”
“Malawi is already going through unprecedented economic problems and it would not be prudent enough to take a risk by allowing one person to come and attend the summit against much resistance from our cooperating partners and donors,” Banda told a news conference.
She said a decision by her predecessor the late Bingu wa Mutharika last year to allow Bashir to attend the summit had cost her country $350 million in US aid.
The fund was meant to develop power supply, she said. Ms Banda however said Sudan can assign a representative to the summit.
Mrs Banda, who took over power following Mutharika’s death last month, has moved swiftly to try restore donor confidence and vowed to address concerns previously voiced by key lenders.