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Wolf calls for arrest of Sudanese leader at U.N. General Assembly
Question of the Day
A senior House Republican wants the Obama administration to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of war crimes, if he arrives in the U.S. to attend a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly this week.
Gen. al-Bashir has applied for a U.S. visa to travel to New York to attend the annual U.N. session, which starts Tuesday. He said at a press conference Sunday in Khartoum that he has made plans to travel to New York, but U.S. and Sudanese officials declined to say whether he had been granted a U.S. visa.
“I understand that there are host-country obligations as it relates to the United Nations,” Mr. Wolf said in a letter to President Obama. “Nevertheless, don’t we have a higher moral obligation not to allow an internationally indicted war criminal to step foot on U.S. soil unless it is solely for the purpose of arresting him? Bashir has the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocents on his hand — Christian, Muslim and Animist alike.”
“From this point forward, the message to Bashir should be: You are an international pariah; not a legitimate head of state. We are not required to embolden evil. Should you choose to come to New York, you will be met by U.S. law enforcement officials and a plane prepared to transfer you to The Hague,” Mr. Wolf added.
Mr. Wolf, a longtime critic of Gen. al-Bashir, last year offered an amendment to the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that would have cut non-humanitarian foreign aid to any nation that allows Gen. al-Bashir into its country without arresting him.
“You have before you a clear choice,” he told Mr. Obama. “Will you turn a blind eye to slaughter and extend diplomatic courtesy to such a man? Or will you seize the opportunity presented by Bashir’s brazenness and facilitate his transfer, as is legally permissible, to The Hague, such that he is finally made to account for his crimes?”
A Sudanese official said the U.S. must approve Gen. al-Bashir’s visa application.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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