Sudan president's arrival in Beijing delayed
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's scheduled arrival in China was delayed Monday, the Chinese government said, DPA reported.
"We are still in contact with relevant departments," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said when asked about the delay. "We don't have any details right now."
President Hu Jintao had planned to meet Al-Bashir Monday afternoon, and it was not immediately clear if that meeting was postponed or cancelled.
The Sudanese leader was scheduled to begin a four-day state visit to China despite being wanted on genocide charges by the International Criminal Court.
The Netherlands-based court has issued two warrants for al-Bashir in connection with alleged atrocities committed in his nation's Darfur region. Al-Bashir rejected the charges.
The human rights group Amnesty International urged China to withdraw its invitation to al-Bashir or arrest him if he travelled to Beijing.
China is not a member of the international court and has invested billions of dollars in Sudan, especially in its oil industry.
But it must now balance its relations with al-Bashir and with the soon-to-be-independent South Sudan, where about 75 per cent of Sudan's oil resources lie.
"We regard China as the strategic partner for Sudan in various fields, including the political, economic, commercial and cultural fields," al-Bashir told the Chinese government's Xinhua news agency last week.
He said China had supported Sudan at "various international forums" and was "a partner for us in many projects."
Al-Bashir has had to cancel several foreign trips before because of pressure from the court, but he reportedly attended an international summit on terrorism Saturday in Tehran.