A joint delegation of African and Arab states is to visit the United Nations later this month to ask the Security Council to defer an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Council president said on Friday.
Ibrahim Dabbashi, charge d'affaires of Libya, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, made the announcement to reporters after the 15-member body met behind closed doors to discuss the situation in Sudan, Xinhua reported.
Dabbashi said that on behalf of African states, he informed the Council of the AU's decision to send a high-level delegation in cooperation with Arab states to the UN.
The ministerial delegation is expected to visit the UN headquarters on March 15 and 16 to try to convince Council members to use Article 16 of the Rome Statute to defer the International Criminal Court (ICC)'s arrest warrant for the Sudanese president, he said.
Article 16 of the ICC statute allows the Security Council to defer ICC proceedings for up to one year at a time.
"We are really concerned about the situation in Sudan as a whole, especially after the indictment of President Bashir," Dabbashi told reporters. "This decision (of the ICC) did not take into consideration of the views of the African Union, the Arab League, the OIC (the Organization of The Islamic Conference) and the Nonaligned Movement."
On Wednesday, the ICC issued the arrest warrant for the sitting Sudanese president. In July last year, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused Bashir of having an alleged role in what he called genocide in Darfur.
The African Union, the Arab League and the OIC have voiced opposition to the ICC move, saying that it would undermine the stability of Sudan and leave the ongoing peace process in a fragile state.