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Tajikistan Rejects Blame For Disrupting Sudanese President's Travel Plans

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's Foreign Ministry has rejected Sudanese accusations that Tajikistan was partly responsible for the delay in Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's arrival in Beijing, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Bashir arrived in China on June 28 a day late after his plane had to turn back to Iran.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti said the following day there had been a disagreement about the flight plan between Turkmenistan's air traffic control authorities and Bashir's pilot.

But Sudanese media on June 30 quoted unidentified Sudanese officials as saying Tajikistan, too, did not give permission for the presidential plane to cross its airspace.

Sudanese newspapers quoted Tajik officials as saying military exercises were under way and they could not guarantee safe passage for Bashir's plane.

Tajik Foreign Ministry spokesman Davlat Nazriev said today no one requested permission for Bashir's plane to cross Tajik airspace. Nazriev said Tajikistan is a sovereign country and makes decision based on its own values and international obligations, and not under pressure.

The International Criminal Court has twice issued warrants for Bashir's arrest on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Darfur.

Tajikistan is a member of the International Criminal Court. China is not, and has reserved judgment in the case of Bashir.