TRIPOLI, Libya (Reuters) -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi Sunday accused the West of trying to grab Sudan's oil wealth with its plan to send U.N. troops to Darfur and urged Khartoum to reject them.
"Western countries and America are not busying themselves out of sympathy for the Sudanese people or for Africa but for oil and for the return of colonialism to the African continent," he said.
The comments by Gadhafi, a mediator in several African wars including Darfur, echo Sudanese government criticisms of a proposed U.N. deployment as a Western attempt at colonization.
"Reject any foreign intervention," he told a meeting of Sudanese officials and members of a Darfur rebel faction.
"To be occupied by the Sudanese army is better than to be occupied by U.N. forces, and the biggest disaster is if the Atlantic army came and positioned itself in Sudan," he said, referring to Western troops.
Gadhafi was speaking at a ceremony attended by Sudanese government officials and a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) rebels to celebrate their signing in Tripoli on Saturday of an agreement aimed at bringing peace to Darfur.
Routinely dismissed by Western commentators, Gadhafi's opinions are listened to in Africa because his advocacy of African unity, funding of African development projects and his oil wealth give Libya influence throughout the continent.
Gadhafi is a longstanding opponent of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which he has dismissed as a dispenser of victors' and colonizers' justice.
Gadhafi accused the West of wanting to defeat his plan to construct a single African federal government in a so-called United States of Africa to maintain its economic dominance.
"The West exploits tribalism, sectarianism and [skin] color to feed war, which leads to backwardness and Western intervention in a number of countries," he said on Sunday.
"All the conflicts in Africa are caused by colonialism, which does not want the rise of the United States of Africa and works for division and interference and for military coups."
BBC World Service broadcasts to Juba in Southern Sudan and surrounding areas in Arabic on 90.0 FM and in English on 88.2 FM. In Northern Sudan: Khartoum 91.0 FM, Al Ubayyid 91.0 FM, Port Sudan 91.0 FM and Wad Madani 91.5 FM.
“Violence will bring no victory. For the sake of the Darfur civilians, all parties to the conflict have to stop resorting to violence. This is the absolute priority.” - Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, 05 June 2009
"APPREHENSION" by Rob Rooker. Painted on a wall in Maridi, Sudan. The image is of a young Nuer boy looking up among a crowd of people. Click on image for more details. Cards & prints of Rob's paintings can be purchased online at Imagekind.com