Gaddafi opposes Darfur intervention

Libyan leader says world should stay out as opposition fighters do not want solution.

gaddafi Moamer Kadhafi
Muammar Gadaffi, right, talks to Abul Gheit, Egypt's foreign minister, in Sirte [AFP]

Home town meeting

Gaddafi received officials in his home town of Sirte, about 500km east of the capital Tripoli, on Saturday.

He said: “My advice to the world, after this conference and finding solutions to the issue, is to ignore the disputing parties if they don’t respond to these solutions.”

His opposition to international peacekeepers is at odds with the stance of the United States, which blames Sudan for what it says is genocide in Darfur.

Along with Britain, Washington has demanded that Sudan accept a combined African Union (AU) and United Nations force of more than 20,000 troops and police or face international sanctions that could include a complete arms embargo.

So far Khartoum has agreed to accept only 3,500 UN military and police personnel on top of the existing AU force of about 5,000.

After meeting Gaddafi in Sirte, delegates returned to a hotel in Tripoli and began talks there late on Saturday chaired by Ali Treiki, Libya’s Africa minister .

One diplomat said the talks would leave aside the divisive peacekeeping issue and focus on trying to bring together a number of separate initiatives on Darfur in “a process vigorously led by the AU and the UN”.

Fighter factions

Political progress has been made much harder because the Darfur opposition fighters are themselves split.

A peace deal in May last year was signed by only one of three such factions.

Treiki said a mechanism was needed to bring together Sudan with neighbouring countries affected by the conflict, Libya, Chad and Eritrea, and then the Sudanese factions that had not signed the peace deal.

He said a meeting with the parties that had not signed should happen in the next three weeks, without specifying where.

Chad is housing some 200,000 refugees fleeing Sudan, and Libya has been trying to broker a peace deal between the Sudanese government and Chad.

The two countries support each other’s opposition fighters.

The Tripoli talks, due to end on Sunday, bring together special Darfur envoys from the UN, AU, the US, EU, Britain, and ministers or officials from Sudan, Eritrea, Chad, Egypt, France, Canada, Norway and Russia.

Source: News Agencies