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Sudan FM visits Libya

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August 27, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti on Saturday visited the stronghold of Libyan rebels, in the second visit by a Sudanese official to their neighboring country since the uprising against the rule of Gaddafi triumphed.

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Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti (AFP)

Karti met the chairman of the rebels National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdul Jalil, in the city of Benghazi and offered his country’s congratulations on the success of the Libyan revolution.

Sudan’s top diplomat returned afterward to the Egyptian capital Cairo in order to participate in the extraordinary meeting of the Arab League’s foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Libya and Syria.

This is the second time a Sudanese official visited Libya since the NTC rebels consolidated their control over most of the country including Tripoli.

Mohamed Atta, head of Sudan’s intelligence services, on Wednesday visited Bengahzi where he held talks with NTC leaders and delivered a message from his boss President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

It is expected that the Sudanese spy chief discussed with NTC leaders the possibility of capturing the leader of Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Khalil Ibrahim who has been staying in Libya since 2009.

JEM is one of several Darfur rebel groups that is fighting the central government in Khartoum.

Ibrahim has been in Libya since May 2009 when the Chadian authorities refused entry of the rebel leader to Ndjamena on his way back to Darfur, ordering him to return to Tripoli from where he attempted to come to Chad.

The Sudanese government tried several times to negotiate the presence of Ibrahim with Libyan officials but the latter refused to move him to another country as Khartoum requested. At the same time he was confined at a military garrison and had restricted contacts.

JEM called on NTC and NATO to secure a safe departure of its leader from Libya.

The Sudanese government has been discreetly supportive of the armed rebellion in Libya which aims to unseat Gaddafi who has been in power for over 41 years.

Last March diplomats told Reuters that Khartoum quietly gave permission to NATO to use its airspace for enforcing the UN-mandated No Fly Zone (NFZ) over Libya.

In June this year, NISS chief Atta secretly visited France and reportedly supplied nuggets of information to the French intelligence on forces loyal to Gaddafi in Libya. Sudan later confirmed the visit but denied that Atta discussed any regional issues.

Libyan rebel fighters now control most of the country, including the capital Tripoli, and continue to search for Gaddafi who they believe is still hiding in the area.

Meanwhile in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the administration of the Burg Al-Fatih hotel, named after the coup which brought Gaddafi to power, changed its name to Burg Corinthia. The administration also lowered the flag of the former regime and hoisted that of Libyan rebels.

This week, members of the Libyan community in Khartoum stormed the Libyan embassy and raised the rebels’ flag.

(ST)

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