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By Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, 16 March 2009

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 (Reuters) – A humanitarian aid group expelled by Sudan said on Monday it had considered cooperating with the International Criminal Court investigation of crimes in Darfur but promptly dismissed the idea.

The International Rescue Committee is one of 13 foreign humanitarian non-governmental organizations that were expelled by Sudan’s government for allegedly cooperating with the court in its investigation of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Since 2003 the United Nations has been using NGOs as part of a massive humanitarian aid effort it oversees for internally displaced persons in Sudan’s conflict-torn western Darfur region. It provides food and other aid for some 4.7 million people and says its operations are neutral and impartial.

The United Nations has said it is not aware of any cooperation between NGOs and the court, while the NGOs say they have refused to assist the ICC because it would undermine their humanitarian goals.

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