Sudan's Bashir offers to help form new Libyan army

Sun Jan 8, 2012 8:37am GMT

By Mahmoud Habboush

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges, said on Saturday he has offered to help Libya integrate its dozens of militias into the country's armed forces.

"We have an experience in integrating rebels in a national army," said Bashir, whose visit to Libya drew criticism from human rights groups.

"We have offered to help our brothers in Libya in building a national army that includes the components of the Libyan revolution. Our experts are available and our officers are available," he said.

Bashir also said he had offered the new Libyan government help from Sudanese troops in protecting Libya's southern borders during the war that ended Muammar Gaddafi's rule but that his offer was declined.

Libya's new rulers are struggling to include thousands of former rebels who helped oust Gaddafi in a military and police force or in civilian jobs.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council, warned this week that Libya risks sliding into civil war unless it cracks down on rival militias which filled the vacuum left by Gaddafi's downfall.

The militias are vying with each other for influence, and believe that to ensure they receive their due share of political power they need to keep an armed presence in the capital.

Abdul Jalil, who visited Khartoum in November, has said Sudanese weapons and ammunition helped Libya's former rebels oust Muammar Gaddafi last year and take control of the North African country.   Continued...

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir speaks during a news conference in Tripoli January 7, 2012. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
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