Sudan's Bashir to skip World Cup

JOHANNESBURG - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will not be among the 20 African heads of state at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in South Africa, SAPA news agency reported on Thursday.

The agency quoted international relations director general Ayanda Ntsaluba as saying Bashir would not be joining African leaders like Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe to witness the start of the first World Cup hosted by the continent.

"He was invited to the World Cup opening ceremony, but he indicated that he won't be coming," Ntsaluba said.

Last month South African President Jacob Zuma said his government had invited Bashir - wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes - to the continent's first World Cup along with the rest of Africa's leadership.

But Zuma hinted in response to a question in parliament that South Africa had a responsibility to arrest him should he come, as dictated by international law.

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