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'Omar al-Bashir will leave SA when he's ready to'

Al-Bashir's plane has been moved from OR Tambo to Waterkloof Air Force Base in preparation.

FILE. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Sudan's foreign minister has said the country's President Omar al-Bashir will leave South Africa when he's ready to and is not bound by a High Court decision obliging him to stay.

Al-Bashir has been in this country attending the African Union (AU) Summit in Sandton but his visit has landed South Africa in a difficult diplomatic situation.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant of arrest for him for crimes against humanity.

Ibrahim Ghandour said al-Bashir will leave on time as scheduled.

Al-Bashir's plane has been moved from OR Tambo International Airport to the Waterkloof Air Force Base in preparation.

On Sunday night, Khartoum Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman jumped the gun by saying al-Bashir had already left.

South African sources have said any storm raised by the Sudanese president defying a Pretoria court order pales by comparison with the ramifications of having to arrest him.

On Sunday, the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) secured an interim order to try and stop him from leaving w ith the ultimate aim of forcing him to stand trial.

LISTEN: Judge Hans Fabricius orders Bashir not to leave South Africa

As the controversy deepens, a professor from the University of Johannesburg has said South Africa has no one to blame but itself for the situation it finds itself in.

Chris Landsberg , a director at the university's Centre for Policy Studies, said there is no ambiguity about what needs to be done given that South Africa has signed up to the Rome Statute.

LISTEN: A UJ professor Chris Landsberg discusses the implications the SA faces around the Sudanese president being in the country.

The diplomatic difficulty for South Africa is being caught between trying to maintain its international standing and reputation and pressure from other African countries that accuse the ICC of selective prosecution and outright racism.

REACTION ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Even those who committed atrocities in other parts of the world want #OmarAlBashir in jail for his role in Darfur. @SakinaKamwendo

Let #OmarAlBashir go.

However, #OmarAlBashir support coming from ordinary citizens is just sad, follow the herd mentality https://t.co/YpUw6NFirF

#OmarAlBashir enjoyed full immunity from ICC arrest/prosecution. This applies to all #AUSummit member states. pic.twitter.com/Bx46FGL9aj

Our grandkids will assume we're guardian sages of Rome Statute & ICC ratification. "Back then kids, this thing called Twitter" #OmarAlBashir

Maybe we need to realise that handing over #OmarAlBashir other countries can also take in #Zuma for #Marikana massacre

You scream for #OmarAlBashir 's blood yet to this day you haven't for a minute called for the blood of other leaders who have killed?Justice