Sudan leader to miss Saudi summit with Trump

Sudan leader to miss Saudi summit with Trump
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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will not attend an Islamic Summit in Saudi Arabia this weekend that touts President Trump as a guest of honor, The Associated Press reported Friday, citing Sudan’s SUNA news agency.

Al-Bashir, who is on the International Criminal Court’s wanted list for alleged war crimes, has assigned Sudanese Minister of State Taha al-Hussein to attend the event in Riyadh instead.

SUNA reported that al-Bashir cited private reasons for missing the summit, which will bring more than 50 leaders from Arab and Muslim countries together.

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Saudi Arabia is holding the event to discuss combating extremist ideologies and economic cooperation between the U.S. and Islamic nations.

The U.S. Embassy on Wednesday issued a statement voicing opposition to al-Bashir’s planned attendance.

Al-Bashir is on the International Criminal Court’s wanted list for alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region. ICC prosecutors issued two warrants for al-Bashir’s arrest, in March 2009 and July 2010.

The United Nations estimates 30,000 people have died since the Darfur region erupted in violence in 2003. The U.N. also estimates the conflict has displaced roughly 2.7 million people.

Trump on Friday will embark on his first foreign trip as president, with stops including Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican.

Sudan is on the list of majority-Muslim nations affected by Trump's travel ban, which is currently being litigated.

Critics accused the directive of bias against Muslims, while Trump countered that it would help protect the U.S. from radical Islamic terrorism.