Sudan's relations with Libya, its neighbor on the northwest, alternated between extreme hostility and cordiality throughout the 1980s. Nimeiri and Libyan leader Muammar al Qadhafi were especially antagonistic toward each other. Nimeiri permitted the Libyan National Salvation Front to broadcast anti-Qadhafi diatribes from radio transmitters located in Sudan. The Libyan government responded by training anti-Nimeiri opposition forces in Libya and providing financial and material support to the SPLM. Repairing relations with Libya has been a goal of the transitional, parliamentary, and military governments since 1985. The Sadiq al Mahdi government permitted Libya to station some of its military forces in Darfur, from whence they assisted Chadian rebels in carrying out raids against government forces in Chad. The expanding relations between Sudan and Libya were not viewed favorably in Cairo, and in 1988, apparently in response to pressures from Egypt and the United States, the Sudanese government requested a withdrawal of the Libyan forces.
Relations with Libya expanded again after the June 1989 coup. Khartoum and Tripoli both expressed interest in an eventual unification of their nations. In July 1990, the Libyan-Sudanese joint General Peoples' Committee held its first meeting, and the Councils of Ministers of the two countries met in a combined session. Although a unity agreement was negotiated in 1990, the chief result of these meetings was not political union but greater economic cooperation. Libya and Sudan signed a trade and development protocol that provided, among other things, for Libyan investment in agricultural projects in exchange for guaranteed access to Sudanese food supplies. The two countries also agreed to form a working committee to draft plans for easing travel restrictions between Darfur and the Al Khalij area on the Libyan side of the border. Later in 1990, Qadhafi made an official state visit to Khartoum. Although the Libyan leader expressed satisfaction with the progress made in relations between the two countries, he also lectured the RCC-NS on the inappropriateness of its close ties to the NIF.
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