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Sudan says no accusation against Libya over rebel attack

June 9, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan denied press reports accusing the neighboring Libya of funding and training a Darfur rebel group to attack Khartoum in an attempt to topple the Sudanese government.

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Muammar Gadhafi

Last Saturday, a newspaper known in Khartoum as pro- National Congress Party and close to the Sudanese intelligence service, Akhir Lahza, published a report saying that Khartoum will break off diplomatic relations with Libya because the neighbouring country was involved in the rebel attack.

During the first week following the coup, many officials launched insinuated accusations against a neighbouring country for its support to the attack carried out by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on the Sudanese capital on May 10.

The Sudanese foreign ministry notified on Monday to the Libyan Chargé d’affairs in Khartoum that reports published by some local newspapers accusing Libya of supporting the rebel JEM in its attack on Omdurman last month do not reflect the official position of the government.

Ali al-Sadiq the spokesperson of the foreign ministry stated that Sudan has diplomatic channels and mechanisms to transmit its positions. He further stressed that Sudan does not accuse Libya of involvement in the foiled rebel coup on May 10.

Different reliable sources confirmed to Sudan Tribune the fact that Sudanese authorities have sufficient evidence on the Libyan role in this coup but prefer to not sever ties with Libya in order to deprive the rebels from additional Libyan support.

Sadiq asserted that Sudan valued Libya’s efforts to resolve the Darfur crisis and issues of the region, expressing hope that Libya continues to play its leading role to establish security and stability in the region.

For his part, the Libyan Chargé d’affairs Mohamed Salem Al-Osta told reporters following a meeting with the director of the Department of Arab Affairs Ambassador Omer Haydar that Libya which is a sponsor of Darfur peace process can not play such a role.

He further said Libya will continue in its efforts to defuse tension in the region.

He also underlined that relations between the two countries can not be influenced by rumors promoted by some newspapers or plots of external forces.

Libya has generally been a supporter of the Sudanese government’s stance on the Darfur crisis and has been trying to foster a peace agreement between Khartoum and the Darfur rebel groups. Also, Libyan Gadafi sponsored reconciliation accord between Sudan and Chad.

Akhir Lahza said that prominent Libyan officials including relatives of Colonel Muammar Gadhafi were involved in the attack. They funded a purchase of between "300-350 vehicles "Land Cruiser" the daily said.

The newspaper added that the rebels had used 127 vehicles in their attack on Omdurman. It also indicated that some of those vehicles arrived in the Chadian capital N’Djamena by road from Libya.

The paper said that some detained JEM leaders acknowledged the Libyan role. They further said that Libyan trucks provided supplying services to the rebels in the desert.

The paper pointed out that Libya funded the operation and took actively part in the preparations by training the Sudanese rebels.

It also said that several meetings dedicated to discuss the preparation of the rebel attack had been held in March and April 2008 in Bab Albahr Hotel, The Grand Hotel, and al-Mahari Hotel in Tripoli-Libya, besides other meetings held in the Chadian presidential palace where the President Idriss Deby and JEM Chairman Khalil Ibrahim attended the meetings in presence of a senior Libyan intelligence official.

Akhir Lahza said the Libyan support is motivated by fears that the establishment in N’djamena of a regime led by the Khartoum supported Chadian rebels will renew the old bitterness between the two countries.

The rebel Chadian coalition supported by Khartoum is led by Mohamat Nouri, a former defence minister of the former Chadian president Hussein Habri. Nouri in the eighties coordinated the open support provided by the Former US President Ronald Regan to the Libyan opposition from northern Chad.

Also the Gorane ethnic group of Hussein Habri fought against the Libyan troops and expelled them from the Aouzou Strip located in the northernmost part of Chad that Gadhafi had claimed as part of Libya on the grounds of an unratified treaty of the colonial period.