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Poland missing from summit

Photo: European Union

Photo: European Union

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide and under an international arrest warrant, will not be present for the Valletta Summit, according to the official list of participants.

Bashir is wanted by the international criminal court (ICC) for alleged war crimes in Darfur, where the UN estimates that 300,000 people have since 2003.

Malta would have been bound by its international obligations to arrest him if he had entered the country.

The government has not yet responded to repeated questions on Bashir’s presence, but the list of participants released this morning shows that Sudan’s seat at the summit will be filled by Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour.

Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki, whose repressive regime has made Eritrea one of the largest countries of origin for refugees crossing the Mediterranean, will also not be present. Foreign minister Osman Saleh Mohammed will head the Eritrean delegation in his place.

Meanwhile, Libya will be represented by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Rahman Alahairesh, representing the Tobruk government internationally-recognised as the legitimate administration.

There will be no representative from the rival Tripoli administration, which controls the Western region where virtually all of the migrants coming to Europe cross from.

From the European side, the only seat left vacant will be Poland’s, after the government confirmed that no representative would attend due to a clash with the first sitting of the new parliament.

Brussels diplomats expressed concern that this signalled an obstructive approach in Warsaw after the eurosceptic PiS party won parliamentary elections last month.

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