Mubarak visits Sudan for talks with El-Bashir

01 May 2003
Egypt's President Mubarak on 30 April made his first visit to Sudan in more than a decade for talks with his Sudanese counterpart, President Omar el-Bashir. The two discussed regional issues, including the war on Iraq, as well as the Sudanese peace process. Egyptian Information Minister Safwat el-Sherif told reporters that Mubarak and El-Bashir looked at potential economic integration and agreed that 'the interests of the two countries are identical -and [can] not be separated or distanced from each other'. Mubarak warned at the opening session of the talks that the civil war in Sudan was destabilising for the whole region. Cairo and Khartoum restored diplomatic relations in 2000 after several years of increased tension over the attempted assassination of Mubarak in Addis Ababa in 1995. Egypt accused Sudan of harbouring those responsible, and each government charged the other with supporting their respective domestic opponents.

A new round of peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) is scheduled to begin in Kenya on 2 May, the last round having ended in deadlock over integration of the security services (MEED 17:4:03). On 30 April, the two parties agreed with the UN to open the Nile Corridor and improve road access for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to those affected by the conflict. 'This important step will bring greater hope and help to the long-suffering people of the Sudan,' said UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Sudan, Mukesh Kapila. Some 4 million people have been displaced during the two decades of fighting.

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