Sudan's leader ‘honoured’ to attend fete

Monday August 30 2010

Hezron Njoroge | NATION Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir (centre) speaks to an aide after attending the historic promulgation of the new Constitution at Uhuru Park last Friday.

Hezron Njoroge | NATION Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir (centre) speaks to an aide after attending the historic promulgation of the new Constitution at Uhuru Park last Friday. 

By WALTER MENYA [email protected]

The government of Sudan on Monday expressed its gratitude to Kenya for inviting President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to the constitution promulgation fete last week.

A statement from the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan in Nairobi said the President was “honoured” to participate in the celebrations.

“Highlighting the importance of this historic event and in the spirit of the cordial relations between the two countries and the crucial role that Kenya played in the peace process in the Sudan, the Government of the Sudan was honoured to participate at the promulgation ceremony at the highest level represented by His Excellency Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, the President of the Republic of the Sudan,” read the statement in part.

The statement further sought to clarify the reason that Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit did not attend the celebrations.

“Though the invitation was extended to both the President and the First Vice-President, it was agreed that, due to obvious protocol considerations, the country be represented by the President.”

Kenya has been under immense local and international pressure to clarify its position on the ICC.

The visit by President Al-Bashir has also caused confusion in the government, with one half arguing that Kenya had committed a diplomatic blunder and another maintaining that the invitation was in order.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday said the Sudan leader’s presence at the historic event as a blot on Kenya’s international reputation.

But a section of ministers and MPs led by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka defended the government for hosting Mr Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for genocide and war crimes.