By Chaimae Boulifa
By Chaimae Boulifa
Rabat – Arriving at Tangier’s Ibn Battuta airport on Thursday accompanied by ministers and other senior Sudanese officials, Sudanese president Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir was greeted by local officials and Sudanese diplomats, several media outlets reported.
After his arrival, Al-Bashir headed to the residence of King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who has been spending his annual summer holidays in the northern Moroccan city since July 24.
The heads of state had lunch together and discussed “bilateral relations,” according to the Saudi national TV channel.
The official Sudanese news agency reported earlier in the day that the president had left for Morocco on a multiple-day visit, without giving specific details.
The Sudanese leader, who is subject to two international arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), came to Morocco amid opposition by local human rights groups.
Following the announcement in July of his visit to the kingdom, several human rights activists voiced their opposition to receiving Al-Bashir in Morocco, pointing to his alleged crimes in Darfur region.
On Tuesday, the Sudanese president’s detractors signed a petition against his visit, calling Al-Bashir a “dictator” and urging the Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani not to meet with him.
The visit “does not serve the interests of the Moroccan people,” read the petition.
“We strongly protest against inviting Al-Bashir to Morocco and we demand from the Moroccan government to refuse to receive this dictator.”
The opponents also called on the government “to distance itself” from those it called “criminals of wars” and “international justice fugitives.”
The ICC issued two warrants for Al-Bashir’s arrest in 2009 and 2010 for war crimes and crimes against humanity and 10 charges of mass killing, rape, and pillage in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.