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Govt denies ‘secret meeting’ for al-Bashir’s safe exit

Omar Al-Bashir left the country as the High Court in Pretoria was considering whether he should be arrested.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Government has strongly denied claims a 'secret meeting' of top ministers was held to plan the departure of Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir from South Africa last week.

Al-Bashir left the country as the High Court in Pretoria was considering whether he should be arrested as he wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

He left South Africa last Monday escorted by the police from the African Union summit in Sandton.

The ICC wants the Sudanese leader arrested for charges including war crimes and genocide.

Weekend newspapers reported that Zuma and ministers from the Justice Cluster had apparently helped the Sudanese president flee the country.

Both the Sunday Times and the Mail & Guardian have claimed security cluster ministers held a meeting to ensure he left the country safely.

But government spokesperson Phumla Williams says that's not true.

"We are denying that a team ministers held a meeting to ensure Omar al-Bashir left the country safely."

Government also says it cannot currently comment on whether ministers knew how Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir was leaving the country, because it needs to first explain to the north Gauteng High Court exactly what happened.

ANC DUMPS ICC OVER OMAR AL-BASHIR DEBACLE

Last week, it was reported that the African National Congress (ANC) is dumping the ICC, at least in terms of prosecutions in Africa.

The _Star _newspaper reported the ANC clarified its position, saying it's of the view that the ICC is no longer useful to prosecute crimes against humanity.

The ruling party has said it will start proceedings in Parliament to release South Africa from the international court.