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Kenya stirs up region with arrest warrant for Sudan's Bashir

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Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

(Read caption) Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) waves to participants while the president's advisor Nafi Ali Nafi watches during the National Congress Party's third general conference in Khartoum on Nov. 24, 2011.

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An arrest warrant issued this week by the Kenyan high court for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir set off a new diplomatic row. In spite of initial remarks by the Sudan foreign ministry that downplayed the warrant – chalking it up to an internal Kenyan power play on a politically sensitive issue – the ministry announced Tuesday that the Kenyan ambassador was being given 72 hours notice to leave the country.

According to an official in the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the announcement by the Sudanese government of the expulsion of Kenyan Ambassador to Sudan Robert Ngesu came as “a complete surprise and [was] really unnecessary.'' Echoing a public statement issued by Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula about the “very unhelpful” move by the Kenyan High Court, the official told Enough that the ruling is ''an unnecessary distraction,” adding, “We are focusing on Somalia right now.”

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