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'Zuma's meeting with al-Bashir is an insult to our courts'

Jacob Zuma met with Omar al-Bashir in China where the pair committed to strengthening ties.

President Jacob Zuma met with President Omer Al-Bashir of the Republic of the Sudan to discuss strengthening relations between South Africa and Sudan. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - There are conflicting views as to whether President Jacob Zuma should have met with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, with some saying it's an insult to the courts and others encouraging dialogue between African leaders.

Zuma met with al-Bashir in China on Thursday where the pair committed to strengthening ties.

The meeting was held in Beijing against the backdrop of China's victory celebrations.

Despite controversy over al-Bashir's visit to South Africa a few months ago, the presidency says president Zuma and al-Bashir have committed to working together in the fields of agriculture, science, energy and mining.

The Economic Freedom Fighters' Fana Mokwena says while he's not opposed to this meeting, Zuma never seems to be in the country when he should.

"Although we think that President Zuma should be here talking to us about his problem here back at home."

South Africa and Sudan continue to enjoy warm bilateral relations, even after government ignored an international arrest warrant and allowed al-Bashir to leave the country when he attended the African Union summit earlier this year.

The Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says this is an insult to the courts and grave injustice to the people of Sudan.

"And I believe that it's an injustice to the people of Sudan but furthermore it is an insult to our courts that he [Zuma] is able to now build this relationship with Omar al-Bashir."

The Sudanese leader is wanted on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide.

AL-BASHIR DEFIES ICC ORDER

Defying an International Criminal Court (ICC) order for his detention, the Sudanese president started his four-day visit to China on Monday.

His trip had driven more by necessity than bravado.

China's economic downturn has hit Sudan's already unstable economic and political situation.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said China's invited President al-Bashir to visit for discussions on bilateral relations and to meet expatriate Sudanese living in China.

Gandour said Sudan was on the list of the top countries in Africa that are economically dealing with China.

He said China supported Sudan in its very dark days when Sudan was let down by the US, including extracting Sudanese oil.

He added that China helped Sudan in oil refinery and other economic endeavours.