Sudan accuses ‘foreign parties’ of fuelling crisis in Libya
KHARTOUM - Sudan's foreign minister accused "foreign parties" of fuelling fighting in Libya as he opened a meeting of neighbouring countries Thursday aimed at ending more than three years of violence.
Libya has been gripped by lawlessness ever since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Gathafi and is awash with weapons left over from the NATO-backed uprising against his dictatorship. Rival governments and parliaments dispute power, with swathes of territory in the hands of powerful militia.
"Foreign parties have fuelled the Libyan crisis with more fighting and destruction," Foreign Minister Ali Karti said in a statement as the talks opened.
Counterparts from Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger and Tunisia attended the meeting, as well as Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi and an African Union envoy.
Libya was represented by the foreign minister of its internationally recognised government, which has been confined to the remote eastern towns of Shahat and Tobruk since Islamist-backed militia overran Tripoli in August.
No members of the rival administration based in the capital took part in the talks.
Karti said he hoped the Khartoum meeting could be coordinated with other initiatives to end the conflict.
On Wednesday, the United Nations announced that Special Representative Bernardino Leon will lead a new round of negotiations between the warring parties on December 9 at a venue that has yet to be decided.
The Pentagon has said that the United Arab Emirates carried out air strikes from Egypt in August in an unsuccessful bid to prevent the militia takeover of Tripoli.
In September, internationally recognised Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani accused Sudan of backing his militia opponents after a plane packed with weapons landed in the southern oasis town of Kufra.
Sudan denied the accusations and in October, Thani appeared to smooth over the spat on a visit to Khartoum, when he said the dispute was like a "passing summer cloud".