UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Khartoum to cooperate with all U.N. entities and ensure their safety after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday for Sudan’s leader.
“The United Nations will continue to conduct its vital peacekeeping, humanitarian, human rights and development operations and activities in Sudan,” said a U.N. statement released after the ICC issued a warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of war crimes in Darfur.
“The Secretary-General calls on the government of Sudan to continue to cooperate fully with all U.N. entities and their implementing partners, while fulfilling its obligation to ensure the safety and security of the civilian population, U.N. personnel and property, and that of its implementing partners.”
There are 25,000 international peacekeepers in Sudan serving in a U.N. mission monitoring a 2005 north-south peace deal and a separate U.N./African Union force in Darfur. U.N. aid agencies also have staff in Sudan.
The statement said Ban recognized the ICC as an independent judicial institution but the only comment on the ICC warrant was to say he trusted Khartoum would address issues of peace and justice in line with U.N. Security Council resolution 1593.
That resolution, passed in 2005, referred the Darfur situation to the ICC prosecutor and called on the Sudanese government and other parties to the conflict to cooperate fully with the court and its prosecutor.
The statement did not explicitly call on Sudan to cooperate with the ICC regarding the arrest warrant for Bashir.
Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; Editing by John O'Callaghan