International - POSTED: 2009/03/23 09:43
Sudan's president traveled to Eritrea Monday, choosing one of Africa's most politically isolated nations for his first trip abroad since an international court sought his arrest on charges of war crimes in Darfur.
Eritrean television showed live coverage of Omar al-Bashir arriving at the airport in the capital Asmara where he was greeted by his counterpart President Isaias Afwerki along with drummers and dancers. The semiofficial Sudanese Media Center confirmed al-Bashir went following an invitation from Eritrea. Sudanese state television later Monday showed live television pictures of al-Bashir returning to Khartoum.
Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu told The Associated Press that al-Bashir was accompanied by his heads of security and intelligence and was there to discuss regional security.
The Netherlands-based ICC charged al-Bashir on March 4 of leading a counterinsurgency against Darfur rebels that involved rapes, killings and other atrocities against civilians. His government has been accused of unleashing Arab militiamen known as janjaweed against Darfur civilians in a drive to put down a revolt by ethnic Africans in the region.