Sudan president wants to repair relations with Western nations
KHARTOUM - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Tuesday he was open to dialogue with Western nations, in an unusually conciliatory message from a leader whose country has suffered from years of economic sanctions.
"Sudan will seek, God willing, and with an open heart, to continue dialogue with Western countries in order for relations to return to normal," Bashir said in his speech to parliament after being sworn in for a new term in office.
Bashir was sworn in on Tuesday for another five years after he swept elections in April marked by a low turnout and an opposition boycott.
Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, won the elections with more than 94 percent of the vote.
The 71-year-old career soldier took the oath at the national assembly in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman in front of members of parliament, military chiefs and foreign leaders and representatives, a correspondent said.
Dressed in traditional gleaming white robes and a turban, a stern-looking Bashir made his vow on the Koran.
Presidents Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya all attended the ceremony.
Bashir seized power in a 1989 Islamist-backed coup and won a 2010 election that was criticised for failing to meet international standards and was boycotted by the opposition.
Ethnic insurgents launched a rebellion in the western region of Darfur in 2003 and Bashir government's unleashed the armed forces and allied militiamen.
More than 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict, the United Nations says, and more than two million displaced.
The ICC indicted Bashir in 2009 for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity and in 2010 for genocide.