Sudan's Bashir arrival in China delayed without explanation

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 27, 2011 4:38 AM
Sudan's Bashir arrival in China delayed without explanation

BEIJING, Jun (Reuters) - Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir failed to show up on time on Monday in the Chinese capital for talks with his country's most powerful patron.

No official explanation was given for the delay by Bashir, whose talks were expected to focus on Sudan's impending split and who faces indictment from the International Criminal Court over war crimes.

Chinese Foreign Ministry officials said they were unsure of the reasons for the delay, and Sudanese officials in Khartoum were not immediately available for comment.

"We don't know," said an official at the Sudanese embassy in Beijing, when asked about the unusual delay.

Bashir had been due in Chinese capital in the morning, ahead of talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao scheduled for late in the afternoon. But Chinese Foreign Ministry officials said the events would be postponed and rescheduled.

Analysts have said Bashir is likely to use his four-day visit to China to reassure Chinese leaders that their investments and energy stake in Sudan will not be threatened by the north-south split of his country scheduled for July 9.

Before leaving Khartoum, Bashir told Chinese media the impending split risked triggering "time bombs," but said his government's bond with China would not be shaken by Beijing's courting of the secessionist south.

Beijing has been building ties with the emerging state in southern Sudan but continues to be one of the major supporters of Bashir, who faces indictment from the International Criminal Court over war crimes charges stemming from long-running fighting in the Darfur region.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley and Tyra Dempster in BEIJING and Alexander Dziadosz in KHARTOUM, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)