Sudanese President Jaafar Nimeri accused Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi today of trying to foment a coup in neighboring Chad to prevent the ouster of Libyan troops.
Nimeri said the alleged coup attempt in the former French colony, which was first reported in Paris last night, was designed to overthrow the government of President Goukouni Oueddei. Goukouni, according to Nimeri, was planning to ask for the withdrawal of several thousand Libyan troops, who originally intervened in Chad's civil war last December to maintain the president in power.
"Up to now, the coup attempt is not successful," Nimeri told a press conference, citing Libyan reports that "everything in Chad is quiet and normal."
There were similar claims in Paris today after reports yesterday that a column of Libyan troops was advancing on Ndjamena, the capital, to replace Goukouni with Foreign Minister Ahmat Acyl, who is pro-Libyan.
Radio reports monitored here said French troops in the Central African Republic to the south have been placed on alert.
Chad's seemingly interminable factional fighting has taken on major East-West ramifications in recent months because of Soviet support for oil-rich Libya and U.S. and French efforts to get Qaddafi's troops out of the country.
This week France announced that it would provide Goukouni with arms in a move, supported by the United States, that was seen as an attempt to allow the president to distance himself from Qaddafi.
The Organization of African Unity has been attempting with little success to put together an African peacekeeping force to supplant the Libyan troop presence, which has caused concern on the continent.
France has now agreed to help finance the force and today Nimeri offered to pay the cost of troops of one African nation in Chad.
Nimeri said Qaddafi had sent his chief aide, Maj. Abdul Salaam Jalloud, to Chad to work "quickly to prepare a coup" to prevent Cabinet action to remove Libyan troops.
He added that even if there is a coup in Chad it would still be possible for the peacekeeping force to replace the Libyans if the OAU insists. "Chad and Libya will be isolated," if they refuse to allow the force into the country, he said.
Nimeri also hailed the U.S. Senate vote authorizing the sale of reconnaisance planes to Saudi Arabia and praised a Saudi endorsement of the new Egyptian government, made today in West Germany.
The Associated Press added from Bonn and Riyadh:
The West German government announced, with Saudi Arabia, support of Egypt's new president, but the royal government in Riyadh then denied that it supports his decision to continue the peace process with Israel.
Information Minister Mohammed Abdu Yamani said Saudi Arabia's opposition to the Camp David peace accord between Egypt and Israel "remains unchanged."
The West German government had said Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Saudi Crown Prince Fahd agreed during their meeting in Bonn yesterday that President Hosni Mubarak "deserves trust and that the rest of the obligations under the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty should be fulfilled."