Libya PM says ready for dialogue with rivals

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Libya's internationally recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani said Wednesday he was ready to talk to militias who control most of his country if "all sides" made concessions.

Al-Thani's government took refuge in the remote eastern town of of Tobruk in August after Islamist-led militia seized the capital Tripoli and then set up a rival administration.

"We open the doors of dialogue with our brothers on the condition that there be concessions from all sides," he told reporters at Khartoum airport as he ended a three-day visit to Sudan.

He did not specify what concessions he expected to be made.

"We do not want to disclose information to the media until ideas ripen in this regard," al-Thani said at the conclusion of his trip to Sudan.

Al-Thani and his delegation were in Khartoum for talks with President Omar al-Bashir and senior officials.

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed al-Dairi said Tuesday that al-Thani's visit to Sudan aimed to promote bilateral relations in all fields.

His government accused Khartoum last month of supporting its militia foes after a planeload of weapons touched down in the southern town of Kufra, allegedly bound for militiamen in Tripoli.

Sudan denied the allegation.

Al-Thani played down the spat on Wednesday, saying it was like a "passing summer cloud" and telling reporters: "Khartoum will host a meeting of the neighbouring countries of Libya, which will be the basis of the dialogue plan."

Addressing the media at a joint press conference with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, al-Thani added that his visit to Sudan had laid the foundation for a strong relationship between the two countries.

Al-Bashir, for his part, said he and al-Thani had spoken frankly about false reports published by "enemy media," without elaborating on the nature of the alleged reports.

"We agreed to perk up our two countries' relations," al-Bashir said. "We also discussed the measures that Sudan should take to help Libyans reach a consensus for peace."

Al-Bashir said his country was keen on helping Libyans end their current suffering, noting that this suffering had haunted the lives of Libyans both during and after Gaddafi's rule.

The Sudanese president stressed the importance of maintaining a strong army in Libya, saying that Sudan would help Libya build a formidable military through joint military agreements.

Al-Bashir added that the Libyan delegation's visit had restored relations "to their normal position," adding that Sudan was "interested in bringing peace to Libya."

Al-Thani lauded Sudanese support for the Libyan uprising against late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

"A deteriorating security situation in Libya will negatively affect neighboring countries, especially Sudan," al-Thani asserted. "That's why we will work together so that stability can be restored."

Libya has been suffering turmoil since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011.

In the three years since, rival militias have clashed in Libya's main cities, including capital Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi.

The government, meanwhile, has remained largely absent from the scene.

The political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government in the country, each of which has its own institutions.

Vying for legislative authority are the newly-elected House of Representatives, which convenes in Tobruk, and the General National Congress, which – even though its mandate ended months ago – continues to convene in Tripoli.

The two assemblies support two different governments respectively headquartered in the two cities.

Rebel groups who fought Gaddafi have largely refused to give up their weapons, and the government has failed to establish an effective regular army or police force.

During the uprising, Sudan supplied rebels fighting Gaddafi with weapons.

AFP, Anadolu, Al-Akhbar


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