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[Dehai-WN] (Reuters): Bashir says working with Libya to protect borders

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 17:21:16 +0100

Bashir says working with Libya to protect borders

Sun Jan 8, 2012 6:37pm GMT

* Sudanese leader wants to stop arms trafficking

* Says SAM-7 anti-aircraft launchers smuggled to Darfur

* Bashir says he's not afraid of arrest

By Mohammed Al Tommy

BENGHAZI, Libya Jan 8 (Reuters) - Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir
said on Sunday he was working with Libyan leaders to secure the border
between the two countries and prevent the smuggling of weapons to rebel
groups in Sudan.

Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on genocide
charges, arrived in Libya on Saturday.

Asked on Sunday if he was worried he might be arrested and handed over to
the ICC, he answered: "By God, No."

"Not in Libya, I am ready to move around Libya without security guards."

During the visit, Bashir has stressed the need to protect Libya's southern
borders, which he said former dictator Muammar Gaddafi used to smuggle
weapons to rebels in Sudan.

"We don't want borders for exchanging weapons, rebels and mercenaries,"
Bashir told a gathering of Sudanese nationals and Libyan officials in the
eastern city of Benghazi.

He said Sudan supported diplomatic efforts between Libya's ruling National
Transitional Council (NTC) and the North African country's neighbours,
including Chad, Niger and Mali, to secure borders.

"We want to support these contacts so we can turn Libya's borders with the
rest of region's states into a venue for trade and the movement of
citizens," he said.

NTC Vice Chairman Abdul Hafiz Ghoga confirmed the government was holding
discussions on the issue with Sudan and other nations.

"We are working hard on protecting our borders with our neighbours," he

Relations between Khartoum and Tripoli were strained during Gaddafi's rule
because of the dictator's support for rebels in Sudan's western Darfur
region and in South Sudan, which gained independence in July under a 2005
peace deal.

Bashir said Sam-7 anti-aircraft missiles had been smuggled to the Darfur
rebel Justice and Equality Movement during Libya's nine-month civil war. He
said the missiles posed no danger as they had been stored without proper

Bashir said on Saturday he had offered the new Libyan government help from
Sudanese troops in protecting Libya's southern borders during the war that
ousted Gaddafi, but that his offer had been declined.

Liby and and U.S. officials have said they want to prevent militants from
acquiring weapons, especially thousands of anti-aircraft launchers, from
Gaddafi's huge arsenals. (Writing by Mahmoud Habboush; Editing by Alessandra

C Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved




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