Libya has told a Sudanese rebel leader staying on its territory he must do nothing to jeopardise peace talks in Sudan, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi says in an interview to be broadcast.
Gaddafi has come under pressure from Sudan’s government to expel Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the Darfur region’s rebel Justice and Equality Movement, given refuge in Libya in May, Reuters reports.
“He (Ibrahim) has stayed in Libya and all our brothers in Sudan and Chad are right to be sensitive about that,” Gaddafi said in an interview with the France 24 television station and radio stations RFI and Monte Carlo.
“We told him that, to serve peace and to lay down arms, it’s forbidden for him to issue orders from Libya or make any comments,” Gaddafi said in a recording of the interview provided to Reuters.
“There is a group fighting in Sudan and its leader is in Libya and everybody has the right to make links between the one thing and the other,” Gaddafi said.
Gaddafi, who last year held the chairmanship of the African Union, also criticised attempts to try Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir at the International Criminal Court for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Countries which back the prosecution “are using international law and the United Nations to carry out official terrorism,” Gaddafi said in the interview. The Justice and Equality Movement was one of two Darfur rebel groups that took up arms against Sudan’s government in 2003, accusing it of neglecting the mainly desert territory.
The group was subsequently involved in peace talks with the government in Khartoum but suspended its participation earlier this year.
Sudan has called on Libya to expel Ibrahim, and it said last month it was closing its borders with Libya, citing a need to protect people from attacks by Darfur insurgents.
Ibrahim was given refuge in Libya after Chad, which had previously allowed the rebel movement to use its territory as a base, changed its policy and refused him entry as he returned from a trip to Libya.
The dispute between Sudan and Libya could cast a shadow over the meeting of African Union heads of state, which takes place in the Ugandan capital later this month.