Home | News    Thursday 20 May 2010

Libya receives Darfur rebel leader after chad denied entry

May 19, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement returned Wednesday evening to Tripoli after Chad’s refusal to allow him entry to join his troops in the troubled region of Darfur.

JEM leader Khalil IbrahimFollowing his arrival today morning to Ndjamena on a Libyan Afriqiyah airlines plane from Tripoli, the Chadian authorities bared Khalil from entering into the country and confiscated Chadian passports he and his aides had in their possession.

The move put out the deterioration of JEM relations with a country that had been considered for longtime as the main supporter of the rebel group. Sources close to the Chadian presidency said the rebel group snubbed proposals brokered by President Idriss Deby to facilitate the conclusion of a peace deal.

Khalil Ibrahim has arrived to Tripoli after receiving a call from the Libyan officials, said Ahmed Hussein Adam the spokesperson of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement. "But his final destination remains to reach the grounds," he further said.

He stressed the mediation has the responsibility to secure his return inside Darfur to the movement’s bases. If he does not return this will jeopardize our participation in the peace talks, he warned.

Earlier this month JEM suspended its participation in the Doha peace talks accusing the government of attacking its positions in Darfur and breaching a truce they had signed on February 23.

During a visit to Cairo last week, Khalil said he requested Egyptian government to play an active role in the peace process putting its expertise and knowledge on Sudanese issues at the service of peace talks.

Amin Hassan Omer, head of Sudanese delegation said JEM asked to accept the Egyptian government to be a third mediator and put it as condition before to return to the peace process.

In Khartoum, the Sudanese government praised today the position the Chadian authorities for preventing Khalil Ibrahim, leader of JEM rebels, from entering into Ndjamena and ordered his return to Libya.

The official SUNA said President Omer Al-Bashir talked by telephone on Wednesday with his Chadian counterpart President Deby who reiterated his support to the peace process. Bashir, for his part, stressed the desire of the Sudanese government to promote and develop joint cooperation in the interests of the two brotherly peoples.

Deby is expected to visit Sudan next week to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the President Omer Al-Bashir.

Kamal Obeid, state minister for information, said this decision to deny entry to Ndjamena confirms the strong commitment of the Chadian government to the signed agreements between the two countries, adding it "represents a new dimension in bilateral relations between the two countries".

JEM officials today condemned the decision of the Chadian government and spoke about conspiracy against the people of Darfur involving Sudan, Chad, the host country Qatar and the Joint Chief Mediator.

Ahmed Hussein Adam said the Chadian President and the Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole are responsible of Khalil return to Darfur because he left his troops to join the peace talks in Doha.

"(JEM) is calling on the United Nations and other competent international bodies to work to facilitate the passage of the President of the movement into leadership positions in the liberated territories in Darfur" the rebel group said in a statement issued today.

The group further said the non return of JEM leader would establish a precedent that would impede the participation of rebel commanders in future talks for peace in Darfur.

In a separate military statement, JEM said its troops clashed today with Sudanese army and government militias at a crossroad between Umsaouna, Sheariya and Muhajariyya, South Darfur.

"The defunct government force consisted of three mobile units coming from El Fashir, Nyala and Babanousa of Kordofan and was mounted on 271 vehicles."

"JEM forces destroyed 63 of the vehicles and captured the rest," said Ali Alwafi, the military spokesperson of the movement.

(ST)