Bashir had been en route to the inauguration of the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani [Reuters]
Sunday, August 04, 2013
Aircraft carrying Sudanese leader forced to turn back while en route to swearing-in of new Iranian president.
Saudi Arabia has denied permission for a plane carrying Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to cross its airspace for the swearing-in of the new Iranian president.
"The Saudi authorities refused to give the plane carrying President Bashir permission to cross their airspace," Emad Sayed Ahmed, the presidential press secretary, told the AFP news agency on Sunday.
Ahmed said Bashir was not flying in his normal presidential aircraft but was using a plane rented from a Saudi company.
The Sudanese leader was travelling to attend Iranian president Hassan Rouhani's swearing-in before the Iranian parliament.
Ten leaders from around the region, including the prime minister of
close Iranian ally Syria, had been due to attend Sunday's parliamentary
session, Iranian reports said.
Ahmed said that when Bashir's plane entered Saudi airspace, the pilot
informed authorities that it had approval "and that it was carrying
"But they said the plane didn't have permission," forcing it to return to Khartoum, he said.
The Hague-based International Criminal Court in 2009 and 2010 issued
two warrants against Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and
genocide over the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.
Khartoum's links with Iran came under scrutiny after Bashir's regime
accused Israel of an October 23 strike against the Yarmouk military
factory in the capital, which led to speculation that Iranian weapons
were stored or manufactured there.
Israel refused all comment on Sudan's accusation about the factory blast.