Sudan’s President Bashir cancels U.N. trip amid visa confusion

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With violence flaring in his country and an embarrassing row over his visa application to the U.S., Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday cancelled a planned trip to the U.N. General Assembly.

In a statement, the United Nations gave no reason for the no show, but the president’s application for a visa – made public last week – had put the U.S. government and U.N. leadership in an uncomfortable spotlight.

"Protocole has now confirmed that Sudan has cancelled President Bashir's appearance at the General Assembly," a UN spokesman, Jerome Bernard, told Agence France-Presse.

Bashir is wanted for war crimes and genocide, and while his visa couldn’t been refused by the U.S. under international accords

Still, the wanted Bashir could have been detained on arrival. U.S. authorities had refused to say whether they had accorded a visa or warned Bashir.

The International Criminal Court had urged US authorities to arrest Bashir who is wanted by the The Hague court on 10 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur conflict.

The Sudanese government, meanwhile, has come under fire after at least seven people were killed in Sudan on Wednesday.

The deaths came as anti-government violence flared in the capital Khartoum, prompting authorities to completely shut down the internet.

Protesters torched cars and petrol stations and threw rocks at police, who fired tear gas to try to disperse the biggest display of public anger against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's government in more than a year, according to Reuters.

Demonstrators also set fire to the ruling party’s headquarters in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman on Tuesday.

Internet access was shut down and schools in the capital were closed, sources told Al Arabiya on Wednesday, in the third day of violence prompted by a cut in fuel subsidies.

According to an Al Arabiya correspondent, several users said access to the Internet had been cut. Meanwhile, the education ministry said schools in the capital would remain shut until Sept. 30.

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