From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue Feb 24 2009 - 17:08:24 EST
Gaddafi says Israel, not Bashir, behind Darfur war
Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:32pm EST
TRIPOLI, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the current
African Union president, on Tuesday accused "foreign forces" including
Israel of being behind the Darfur conflict.
Judges from the International Criminal Court are due to announce on March 4
whether they will issue a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar
Hassan al-Bashir over allegations that he masterminded genocide in Sudan's
Darfur region. U.N. diplomats have told Reuters the warrant will be issued.
But Gaddafi, addressing a meeting on ways to expand cooperation between the
United Nations and African Union, urged the Court to stop its proceedings
"Why do we have to hold President Bashir or the Sudanese government
responsible when the Darfur problem was caused by outside parties, and Tel
Aviv (Israel), for example, is behind the Darfur crisis?"
Gaddafi suggested, without presenting any evidence, that the Israeli
military was among those stoking the conflict:
"It is not a secret. We have found evidence proving clearly that foreign
forces are behind the Darfur problem and are fanning its fire," Gaddafi
said, according to the Libyan state news agency Jana.
"We discovered that some of the main leaders of the Darfur rebels have
opened offices in Tel Aviv and hold meetings with the military there to add
fuel to the conflict fire."
Mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against Sudan's government in 2003,
accusing it of neglecting the Darfur region. Khartoum mobilised mostly Arab
militias to crush the rebellion.
International experts say the fighting has killed 200,000 people and
uprooted 2.7 million. Sudan's government denies any genocide, saying that
10,000 have been killed and that Western media exaggerate the conflict.
Gaddafi himself has made a number of attempts to broker peace talks between
Darfur rebels and the Sudanese government. (Writing by Lamine Ghanmi;
Editing by Kevin Liffey)
C Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved
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