Home | News    Thursday 27 May 2010

Libyan leader to skip inauguration of Sudan’s Bashir

May 26, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – Libya dispatched a delegation led by Major General Abu-Baker Younis Jabber, described as a member of the legacy revolutionary council, to participate in the inauguration ceremony of president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir on Thursday.

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FILE - Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi (R) greets Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir upon the latter’s arrival at the airport in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte on March 26, 2010 (AFP)

On Monday the Sudanese presidential adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail confirmed that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will be present at the ceremony in his capacity as the rotating president of the Arab League.

There was no official explanation for the last minute change. Relations between the two countries appeared to be going through a silent crisis in the wake of the presence of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Khalil Ibrahim in Libya after he was expelled from Chad last week.

Khartoum dispatched a number of its officials to Tripoli over the last week and several phone calls were exchanged between Bashir and Gaddafi in an apparent bid to have the latter oust the rebel chief.

Last week, the Sudanese government said it has sent letters to all the neighboring countries urging them not to receive the rebel leader on the grounds that the existence of JEM leader on their territories “will not to contribute to termination of the war in Darfur”.

Khartoum further said that it is “waiting for a positive stride from Libya to help realizing peace in Darfur by putting pressure on Khalil Ibrahim to leave directly for Doha and resume the negotiation toward completing the peace process in the region”.

JEM is one of two rebel groups that took up arms against Sudan’s government in 2003, accusing it of neglecting the remote western region of Darfur and marginalizing its population. The group suspended peace talks with the government, accusing it of breaking a ceasefire and failing to honor an initial peace deal signed in Qatari capital Doha in February.

Recent fighting erupted in Darfur between JEM and government troops has left little hope of renewing a Qatari-sponsored peace process. The Darfur rebels urged the U.N. chief and joint chief mediator to facilitate the return of its leader to Darfur, saying current situation would impede efforts for peace.

Today the top Darfur negotiator from Khartoum’s side Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani told reporters today that his government is no longer interested in negotiating with JEM and that they will instead pursue prosecution of its leaders over the failed May 2008 military assault on Sudan’s twin capital city of Omdurman.

Recently Sudan said it renewed request with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) to arrest Ibrahim and also urged all states not to harbor him and be keen on extraditing him so that he can face the charges pending.