Sudan's Bashir in Mauritania despite ICC arrest warrant

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir waves as he arrives in Khartoum from Johannesburg, on June 15, 2015 (AFP Photo/Ebrahim Hamid)

Nouakchott (AFP) - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Mauritania on Sunday to attend a summit, despite an international arrest warrant issued against him in 2009 over charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The visit came weeks after South Africa refused to arrest Bashir during an African Union summit, and even threatened it may withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) after an outcry.

In Mauritania, which has not signed the Rome Statute of the ICC, Bashir will on Monday attend a meeting of Great Green Wall initiative, which aims to plant a wall of trees in Africa to stop the desert from spreading, Mauritania's state news agency said.

Leaders from Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Chad and Mauritania are expected to attend the one-day summit.

Bashir has ruled Sudan since 1989 and was indicted for genocide against the civilian population in the western region of Darfur during the conflict that erupted in 2003.

The conflict began in 2003 when black insurgents rose up against his Arab-dominated government, protesting they were marginalised.

Khartoum unleashed a bloody counter-insurgency, using the armed forces and allied militia.

The United Nations says 300,000 people were killed in the conflict and another 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.