Alwaght- An Emirati delegation has reportedly visited Sudan to recruit militants to Libya to join ranks of Khalifa Haftar-led rebels who are fighting the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli.
Al Jazeera cited unnamed sources as saying that that the high-ranking delegation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), headed by National Security Adviser Tahnoun bin Zayed, spent five hours in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Wednesday.
“Two planes, one bearing the insignia of Manchester City Football Club, landed in Khartoum on Wednesday and departed back to Abu Dhabi five hours later,” Al Jazeera said.
The senior UAE officials discussed ways of supporting Haftar in light of the setback his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) is facing in an offensive to seize the capital and unseat the Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
The sources told Al Jazeera that another aircraft carrying a number of high-ranking Emirati officials had arrived on Saturday, spending two hours in Khartoum before leaving for Chad.
A panel of experts warned the United Nations Security Council in a 376-page in December last year that the presence of Sudanese fighters, estimated to be between 1,000 and 3,000 in number, would prolong the Libyan conflict and further destabilize the North African country.
Sudan’s government also claimed in January that it would investigate a case involving Sudanese men paid by an Emirati security firm to guard Libyan oil fields.
The UAE has over the past months been conducting drone strikes against government positions and in support of the rebels.
Moreover, a flight-tracking data provider revealed last month that the UAE had sent more than 100 shipments of arms to Libya by air since mid-January, despite a UN arms embargo against the war-torn country.
Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster, and later killing, of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The country has been divided between the Tripoli-based government and a camp in the eastern city of Tobruk — supported militarily by Haftar’s rebels — since 2014.
The rebels launched the offensive to capture Tripoli in April last year, but have so far failed. According to the United Nations, hundreds of people have been killed and more than 200,000 have been displaced as a result of the offensive.
Numerous international attempts to bring about peace between the two warring sides in Libya have failed.
Haftar, who controls swathes of eastern Libya, on Monday declared that he would establish a government run by himself.
Libyan rebels announce Ramadan truce
Also on Wednesday, Haftar announced that his forces would cease hostilities for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan following international calls for a truce in the country.
Last week, the United Nations, the European Union, and several countries urged both sides in the Libyan conflict to cease hostilities during the holy month.