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American officials confirmed on Tuesday that the Sudanese leader, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, had submitted a visa request to attend the General Assembly, which runs through the end of the month. As the host country, the United States is obliged to grant visas to foreign heads of state or representatives who wish to attend the General Assembly, regardless of their reputations or any disputes the American government may have with them.
Visas have historically been granted to world leaders who are widely despised or mistrusted in the United States, including Fidel Castro of Cuba, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Nikita S. Khrushchev of the Soviet Union.
But Mr. Bashir’s case is different because he would be the first visitor to the United Nations with a standing warrant for his arrest by the International Criminal Court at The Hague. The court has accused him of criminal responsibility for atrocities, including genocide, committed in the western Darfur region of Sudan, where more than 200,000 people were killed and more than two million uprooted by almost a decade of fighting between the government and rebels.
American officials, including Samantha Power, the new American ambassador to the United Nations, have denounced his plan to visit, but it is unclear what they can do legally to block it. The United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court and is not bound by provisions that require members to carry out arrest warrants on fugitive defendants.
But the United States is a member of the Security Council, which voted to refer prosecutions for Darfur atrocities to the International Criminal Court, and the American government has supported the court’s efforts to hold Mr. Bashir and others to account. Ms. Power said Monday that instead of coming to the General Assembly, “it would be more appropriate for him to present himself to the I.C.C. and travel to The Hague.”
Ban met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif earlier on Thursday and said he plans to meet with Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week. Rouhani is due to address the United Nations on Tuesday.Since Rouhani was elected president in June, the centrist cleric has called for "constructive interaction" with the world, a dramatic shift in tone from the strident anti-Western rhetoric of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."I told Minister Zarif that I commend the efforts of the new government in Iran in promoting dialogue with the international community," Ban told reporters. "I'm going to meet President Rouhani next week ... (to) discuss all the matters of regional concern very closely."
The world has changed. International politics is no longer a zero-sum game but a multi-dimensional arena where cooperation and competition often occur simultaneously. Gone is the age of blood feuds. World leaders are expected to lead in turning threats into opportunities.The best editorial cartoons of 2013 (so far): A collection of cartoons from around the country.The international community faces many challenges in this new world — terrorism, extremism, foreign military interference, drug trafficking, cybercrime and cultural encroachment — all within a framework that has emphasized hard power and the use of brute force.We must pay attention to the complexities of the issues at hand to solve them. Enter my definition of constructive engagement. In a world where global politics is no longer a zero-sum game, it is — or should be — counterintuitive to pursue one’s interests without considering the interests of others. A constructive approach to diplomacy doesn’t mean relinquishing one’s rights. It means engaging with one’s counterparts, on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect, to address shared concerns and achieve shared objectives. In other words, win-win outcomes are not just favorable but also achievable. A zero-sum, Cold War mentality leads to everyone’s loss.
The U.S. envoy to the IAEA, Joseph Macmanus, said the United States regretted that the resolution had been brought to a vote.
"There are no winners today," Macmanus said. "We will look ahead and continue the hard work to start a constructive dialogue on the establishment of a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East."
An Israeli diplomat said the "positive outcome gives better prospect to Middle East dialogue".
Israel and the United States accuse Iran of covertly seeking a nuclear arms capability, something Tehran denies. The election of a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as new Iranian president has raised hopes of an easing of tension with the West.