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Sudan angry over Bashir flight incident

Aug. 9, 2013 at 9:31 AM
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KHARTOUM, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The Sudanese government called on Saudi Arabia to offer a formal explanation regarding its refusal to let President Omar al-Bashir fly through its airspace.

Bashir was invited to attend a ceremony in Tehran for the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani. The Saudi government closed its airspace Sunday to the Sudanese president's plane as it prepared to travel to the ceremony.

The Saudi government said it had no prior knowledge the president was on the plane, adding his chartered plane did not have permission to use Saudi airspace. The independent Sudan Tribune reports Sudan's Civil Aviation Authority notified officials a "very important person" was aboard and later said Bashir was a passenger.

After that, the report states, Saudi Arabia stood by its decision. The Sudanese government has now summoned Saudi diplomats to Khartoum to get a detailed explanation of the incident, the newspaper reported Thursday.

The International Criminal Court called for the immediate arrest of Bashir in Nigeria where he was attending an HIV conference hosted by the African Union. Bashir is wanted for war crimes allegedly in Darfur, beginning in 2003.

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