Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, an accused war criminal, has asked for a visa to enter the United States in advance of next week's session of the U.N. General Assembly, the BBC reported Tuesday
The International Criminal Court (ICC) wants Bashir tried on charges of directing genocide and participating in war crimes in Darfur, a region in western Sudan. An estimated 400,000 people have died in the genocide there since 2003, according to the U.N. Human Rights Council
Sudanese state media had said Foreign Minister Ali Karti would be leading the country's delegation to the meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York. Bashir last visited the United States in 2006.
The ICC charged him with 10 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in connection with the conflict in Darfur. Warrants were issued for his arrest in March 2009 and July 2010.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power confirmed that Washington had received a visa application from Bashir, calling his move "deplorable" and “cynical.”
"We condemn any potential effort by President Bashir to travel to New York," said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
Harf added that before coming to the United Nations, Bashir “should present himself to the ICC in The Hague to answer for the crimes of which he's been accused," according to the BBC.
She did not say whether the Sudanese strongman’s visa application had been rejected.
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