Sudan's President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir.
Addis Ababa -
A regional meeting on the situation in Sudan which was due to take place in Nairobi at the weekend has been relocated to Addis Ababa, diplomats in the Ethiopian capital said on Wednesday.
The Inter-Governmental Authority for Development summit had been due to kick off on Friday in Nairobi, with talks on the future of Sudan - where the south is to hold a referendum on self-determination in January - topping the agenda.
“Foreign affairs ministers will meet on October 29 and the summit will take place on the 30th,” a Sudanese diplomat in Addis Ababa told AFP on condition of anonymity.
A source at the Ethiopian foreign ministry confirmed that the summit had been moved to Addis Ababa.
“Ethiopia is only providing the infrastructure,” a diplomat said.
The attendance of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who faces an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant over genocide charges, has not been confirmed but his presence in Nairobi in August had unleashed a barrage of criticism.
While Kenya is a signatory of the ICC's founding treaty and therefore theoretically under obligation to arrest Bashir if he enters the country, Ethiopia is not and has already welcomed the Sudanese president on its soil.
Bashir made a surprise appearance in Nairobi in August at a ceremony promulgating Kenya's new constitution.
Rights groups had accused Kenya of violating its international obligations by failing to arrest Bashir and of sending an alarming message on the new constitution's human rights provisions by welcoming a head of state wanted over genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Officials in Nairobi and Addis Ababa refused to comment on the reason behind the IGAD summit's relocation. - Sapa-AFP