Saudi Arabia on Sunday blocked the plane carrying Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir from entering its Air as he tried to fly to Iran.
Reports from Sudan’s state news agency said that Bashir’s plane was forced to turn around in mid-air and go back to Khartoum after Saudi aviation officials denied it permission to cross over Saudi territory.
According to reports , Mr. Bashir was heading to Tehran to attend the inauguration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and that his plane had received advance permission to fly over Saudi Arabia.
There was no immediate comment from Saudi officials, and no explanation why they would prevent Bashir from crossing over the country.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have a tense relationship stemming in part from Iran’s nuclear program.
Human rights activists have pressured countries not to admit Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Last month, the Sudanese leader left Nigeria’s capital less than 24 hours after he arrived for an African Union summit, after activists pressured the government to arrest him.
Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the statute that established the ICC.
Source : VOA additional editing by Nangayi Guyson