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Sudan Claims to Have Brokered Plan for Libyan Peace Talks

  • James Butty

FILE - Sudan President Omar al-Bashir speaks to the media in state house in capital Juba during his visit to South Sudan.

FILE - Sudan President Omar al-Bashir speaks to the media in state house in capital Juba during his visit to South Sudan.

Sudan’s Information Minister, Ahmed Bilal, said this week that President Bashir has brokered a plan for peace talks between Libya’s warring factions.

Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, at the end of a three-day visit to Khartoum, said Wednesday his government was ready for talks with militias who control much of Libya.

Sudan’s Information Minister said the details of the initiative will be worked out by Libya’s neighbors during an upcoming meeting in Khartoum.

“We have good contacts with all the factions in Libya. We said that the neighbors of Libya -- Egypt, Sudan, Chad, and Algeria – they also [have] relations with the factions inside Libya. If every party uses his own relations and exert some pressure on those who know them to a negotiating table, then we can reach peace,” he said.

Bilal said that with Prime Minister al-Thani’s acceptance of the peace plan, President Bashir will continue his efforts to bring everybody together for negotiations very soon.

In September, Al-Thani’s government accused Sudan of sending aircraft carrying ammunition into the southern Kufra region of Libya bound for armed groups there.

Bilal said Sudan has no interest in interfering in Libyan affairs. He said Prime Minister al-Thani accepted President Bashir’s explanation of the September incident.

“On the fourth [of September] we said that the airplane which went to Tripoli was not supporting any party. It was just taking supplies to the trained forces on the border of Libya. We still continue to tell the Prime Minister and his government and he’s convinced that this is true, and now our relations with the Prime Minister is in position,” Bilal said.

He said the Khartoum-brokered initiative needs to be supported by the international community and Libya’s neighbors.

Sudan’s information minister said President Omar al-Bashir is “a man of peace” who should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for ending one of Africa’s longest wars.

But instead of being praised and encouraged for his efforts, Bilal said, President Bashir is being threatened with an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for President Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region. Human rights groups say Bashir must be held accountable for atrocities committed during his time as president.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told VOA this month that while there was a lack of political will at the moment by some countries to arrest President Bashir, she believes the Sudanese leader would eventually be brought before ICC.

Bilal said Khartoum cares little about the ICC. Instead, Sudan cares about having good relations with its neighbors.

“Let me tell you one thing: Our president is a man of peace. He stopped the longest war in Africa. Instead of giving him Nobel [Peace] Prize, he’s being called before the ICC. Instead praising him or encouraging him and saying that he’s doing good things to his neighbors, you are raising this talk of ICC problems. We don’t care about the ICC; we said we do care about good relations with its neighbors,” Bilal said.

He said Sudanese know that one day their country will be a place of calm in the whole of Africa, and that Sudan needs assistance, not accusations.

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