Bashir asks Putin for ‘protection’ from US

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir during their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. (Sputnik via Reuters)
Updated 24 November 2017
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Bashir asks Putin for ‘protection’ from US

SOCHI: Sudanese President Omar Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes, on Thursday asked Russia’s Vladimir Putin to protect his country from the US.
Speaking during his first visit to Russia as president, Bashir also said he wanted to ramp up military ties and praised Moscow’s military campaign in Syria.
“We have been dreaming about this visit for a long time,” the Sudanese president told Putin at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
“We are thankful to Russia for its position on the international arena, including Russia’s position in the protection of Sudan. We are in need of protection from the aggressive acts of the United States.”
The Sudanese leader praised his earlier meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“We are currently launching a program to modernize our armed forces and we agreed with the defense minister that Russia will contribute to this,” Bashir said.
Putin said that Russia was keen to intensify economic ties including in agriculture and energy.
“There are prospects not only in the hydrocarbon sphere but also in energy,” Putin said. “There are many prospects of cooperation.”
The visit came a month after the US lifted a trade embargo it imposed on the impoverished African state in 1997 over Khartoum’s alleged backing of militant groups.
US President Donald Trump also removed Sudan from a list of countries facing a US travel ban.
Sudan’s deadly conflict in Darfur broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority groups took up arms against Bashir’s Arab-dominated government, which launched a brutal counter-insurgency.
The UN says at least 300,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million displaced as a result of the conflict.
Top Sudanese officials including Bashir now claim that the conflict has ended, but the region continues to see regular fighting between numerous ethnic and tribal groups.
Bashir is wanted by the ICC for genocide and war crimes related to the conflict, charges he denies.


Libya confirms it rescued 87 migrants in Mediterranean

Updated 45 min 40 sec ago
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Libya confirms it rescued 87 migrants in Mediterranean

  • Friday’s statement from the navy says the Libyan coast guards found a sinking rubber boat whose bottom had collapsed on Thursday
  • It says the migrants — Arab and African nationals — were handed over to Libyan police after receiving humanitarian and medical aid

CAIRO: Libya’s navy has confirmed it rescued 87 Europe-bound migrants, including six women and a child, off the country’s Mediterranean coast, following a video released by a German aid group about the disaster.
Friday’s statement from the navy says the Libyan coast guards found a sinking rubber boat whose bottom had collapsed on Thursday, leaving most migrants in the water and hanging onto what was left of the boat and plastic barrels.
It says the migrants — Arab and African nationals — were handed over to Libyan police after receiving humanitarian and medical aid.
Earlier, German group Sea-Watch said its aircraft had filmed three rescue operations by Libyan coast guards on Thursday.
Humanitarian groups object to returning migrants to lawless Libya, citing reports of abuse, beatings and other inhuman treatment.