France to shun Sudan's Bashir at independence event
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Thursday he would represent France at south Sudan's independence ceremony but would avoid Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court.
"Just because Bashir is there does not mean that we should not show our support" at the ceremony on Saturday in Juba, he told reporters.
Juppe said he would try to avoid an encounter with Bashir by remaining during the event among the international dignitaries attending such as UN chief Ban Ki-moon and British Foreign Minister William Hague.
South Sudan is poised to become independent on Saturday after five decades of conflict with the north.
Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be targeted by an ICC arrest warrant, issued on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan's western region of Darfur.
© 2011 AFP