Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, facing a possible international arrest warrant for allegedly masterminding genocide in Darfur, is to make a rare visit to the war-torn region on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Khartoum agreed to try anyone it suspects of crimes in Darfur in Sudanese courts and will allow the United Nations, African Union and Arab League to follow the proceedings, an Arab League official said.
The move appeared aimed at defusing a crisis over a decision by the International Criminal Court prosecutor to seek an arrest warrant Bashir for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
But it would be up to Sudan to decide who to try, and Arab League official Hesham Youssef could not say if two Sudanese officials indicted by the ICC last year would face charges.
The crisis over the possible indictment has raised fears for the fragile peace process in Africa's biggest state.
"Sudan will be continuing its consideration of the violations of human rights and the crimes committed in Darfur," Youssef, chief of staff for Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, told Reuters.
"Those who are accused would stand to be tried within this judiciary system," he added. "The individuals that will be facing trial would depend on the investigations that are conducted by the government."
The announcement came after Moussa traveled to Khartoum for talks with Sudanese officials over the ICC move following an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers on Saturday.
Youssef said Sudan had also agreed to possibly form special courts on Darfur or to appoint a special prosecutor to more effectively address the Darfur troubles. Sudan had previously formed special courts following a 2005 U.N. Security Council resolution referring Darfur to the ICC, but those trials fizzled out.
Youssef said Khartoum had further agreed to allow the United Nations, African Union and Arab League to follow any proceedings to "ensure the legal system in Sudan is comprehensive".
"It was agreed that priority would be given to the political resolution of the situation in Darfur as well as the achievement of justice and the establishment of rule of law," Youssef said.
"In light of all these steps, it is expected that we would be going to the Security Council to ask the Security Council to defer the process initiated by the ICC," Youssef added.
The African Union's Peace and Security Council has also said it would urge the United Nations to invoke powers granted to it by the ICC's charter to delay any warrant for 12 months, which can then be renewed.
Darfur rebels accused the African Union of bias for calling for the delay. Khalil Ibrahim, head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), said his rebel group would no longer recognize AU efforts to mediate a peace process.
The two-day trip will take the head of state, a bevy of officials and a plane load of journalists, to the three state capitals in the vast arid region, El Fasher in the north, Nyala in the south and El Geneina in the west.
At each stop he is scheduled to address popular ceremonies organized in his honor, as well as hold talks with state government officials, local leaders and political party representatives, the presidency announced.
Bashir heads first to El Fasher, the old capital of Darfur and headquarters for a poorly manned and equipped U.N.-led peacekeeping mission.
He then proceeds to Nyala, where he will inaugurate development projects and visit a water station, before flying on to El Geneina, not far from the Chadian border, on Thursday and returning to Khartoum.
The government is in full control of the three main towns of Darfur, which are heavily protected from the open desert and scrub where the conflict pitting the army and state-backed militias against ethnic rebels has been conducted.
Bashir last visited Darfur in 2007 in a bid to demonstrate commitment to developing the region.
Mostly non-Arab Darfur rebels took up arms in early 2003 accusing the central government of neglect. Khartoum mobilized mostly Arab militia to quell the revolt who now stand accused of atrocities including widespread rape, murder and looting.
The ICC accuses Bashir of orchestrating a genocide that has killed 35,000 people outright, at least another 100,000 through slow death, and forced 2.5 million from their homes.