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A senior Russian senator said on Monday that the International Criminal
A senior Russian senator said on Monday that the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant for the president of Sudan is an obstacle to peace in the Arab world, and is harming relations with the West.

The court issued its warrant for President Omar al-Bashir on March 4, on charges of war crimes in Darfur. The move was criticized by the 22-nation Arab League, which has said it will not enforce the order.

The leader's arrival on Sunday in Qatar for this week's Arab League summit shows that the arrest warrant "is only harming peace processes in the Arab world" and adding tensions to "East-West relations," Mikhail Margelov, who heads the Russian Federation Council's foreign affairs committee and is the president's special representative on Sudan, told RIA Novosti.

"Some believe that the show of solidarity of Arab countries, who have protested against the court's decision, could influence the International Criminal Court, and that the warrant will be revoked, even though there is nothing in the rules of this organization that would allow for this," he said.

Foreign ministers of Arab League states issued a draft declaration on Saturday saying: "The leaders reject attempts to politicize the principles of international justice and using them to undermine the sovereignty, unity and stability, of Sudan."

The International Criminal Court accuses al-Bashir of criminal responsibility for "intentionally directing attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property."

The warrant is the first ever to have been issued by the ICC for a serving head of state.


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