Sudan armed Libyan rebels, says President Bashir

President Omar al-Bashir addressing parliament on 12 July 2011 Mr Bashir said the move was a response to Gaddafi's support for Sudanese rebels

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir says his country gave military support to the Libyan rebels who overthrew Col Muammar Gaddafi.

In a speech broadcast live on state television, Mr Bashir said the move was in response to Col Gaddafi's support for Sudanese rebels three years ago.

Sudan and Libya have had a complicated and frequently antagonistic relationship for many years.

Libya was declared liberated on Sunday, two days after Col Gaddafi's death.

'Opportunity to reciprocate'

President Bashir said the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfuri rebel group, had attacked Khartoum three years ago using Libyan trucks, equipment, arms, ammunition and money.

He said God had given Sudan a chance to respond, by sending arms, ammunition and humanitarian support to the Libyan revolutionaries.

"Our God, high and exalted, from above the seven skies, gave us the opportunity to reciprocate the visit," he said.

"The forces which entered Tripoli, part of their arms and capabilities, were 100% Sudanese," he told the crowd.

His speech was well received by a large crowd in the eastern Sudanese town of Kassala.

JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim lived for some time in southern Libya.

Now he is back in Darfur, in western Sudan, where an eight-year-old civil war continues.

Mr Bashir's remarks show a desire to forge firm links with Libya's new government.

But the easy availability of weapons in Libya, and that country's porous border with Darfur, are also of great concern to the Sudanese authorities.

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