U.S. plans for Sudan peace worry Egypt
Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Monday, August 19, 2002
CAIRO — Egypt has expressed concern over what officials term as U.S. plans to divide Sudan.
Egyptian officials said President Hosni Mubarak was disappointed with an agreement by Sudan to launch a Western-sponsored peace process that would grant southern Sudan self-determination. Officials said Mubarak felt the Bush administration had snubbed his efforts to end the 19-year civil war.
Egyptian state-owned newspapers have accused the United States of seeking to divide Sudan in a move that would escalate instability in the Horn of Africa. The newspapers warned that any division of Sudan would harm Egypt and threaten its water supply from the Nile River, which stems from the south.
"Egypt's role cannot be marginalized," Al Ahram, the leading Egyptian newspaper said. "All parties know it is indispensable. It is impossible to establish a state in the south. Separation in Sudan will never be attained."
Libya, Egypt's partner in the aborted Sudanese peace effort, has been even more vocal. Libyan African Unity Minister Abdul Salam Turaiki said the Sudanese agreement signed last month was part of Washington's plan to partition several Arab countries. In an interview with the Tunisian daily Al Shuruk, Turaiki cited all North African countries, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria and said the partition of Sudan would threaten all of Africa.
"No Arab is safe from the dangers of the U.S. plans, which aim at 'balkanizing' the Arab region to serve the Zionists' interests," the Libyan minister said.
For its part, the United States has sought to assuage Egypt that it does not intend to divide Sudan. U.S. envoy John Danforth spent five days in Cairo, discussing Washington's vision of a Sudanese peace accord with Egyptian leaders.
Later, Danforth said Egypt and the United States agreed on the need to proceed with the July 20 peace agreement between the Khartoum regime and the Sudanese People's Liberation Army. The accord led to the start of negotiations last week outside Nairobi, Kenya to discuss a six-year transitional period for southern Sudan, followed by a referendum on the future of the region.
Over the weekend, a U.S. delegation held talks with Sudanese leaders on a counter-insurgency cooperation. The delegation was said to have included CIA and FBI officials.