South Africa: Jacob Zuma and Omar Bashir to meet?

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South Africa’s new president, Jacob Zuma, is set to be inaugurated on Saturday amid a serious diplomatic dilemma involving the South African administration after they dished out indiscriminate invitations to the international community.

Reports say the new administration invited Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir but he might stay away as the Zuma government would have to arrest him for alleged war crimes.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for him

Reports say although Al- Bashir was invited it would not be in his interests to come to SA.

“If he does, that will create a situation, and we would be forced to arrest him, and we don’t want that,” a governmt officila is quoated saying.

As a signatory to the Rome Statute on the ICC, SA would be compelled to arrest him should he visit here.

Government spokesman Themba Maseko confirmed that al-Bashir had been invited, along with other heads of state, but said his presence was “not advisable”.

Meanwhile Zuma will be among the first group of MPs to be sworn in today when Chief Justice Pius Langa does the honours for the 400 new members of the National Assembly.

This will bring Zuma full circle as he returns to the house from which he resigned after then president, Thabo Mbeki, dismissed him as deputy president of the country.

South African media say there is speculation about whether President Kgalema Motlanthe would be sworn in as an MP today because a sitting president is not a member of the National Assembly.

He remains president until the new president assumes office on Saturday.

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