Abul Gheit to Sudan: Dialogue is important ahead of referendum

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said in a statement on Friday that he and Head of Intelligence Omar Suleiman took written messages from President Hosni Mubarak to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Vice President of Sudan and President of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir, encouraging the Sudanese partners to commit to keeping the peace and continuing dialogue.

Abul Gheit added that continued communication between the factions aims to reach an acceptable formula for implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which will help to maintain peace and stability in Sudan no matter what the results of the referendum.

The foreign minister emphasized that both the people of Egypt and its leadership are particularly interested in developments in Sudan, especially in this important phase in modern Sudanese history, during the countdown to the referendum on self-determination in the south.

Abul Gheit explained that the two letters stress the importance for both sides of avoiding the dangers of renewed conflict, and taking advantage of common denominators and shared interests in order to maintain harmony.  This particularly applies to the interests of tribes in border areas, and the distribution of oil profits, as well as other outstanding issues.

According to Abul Gheit, the discussion he and Suleiman had with Bashir, representative Ali Othman Taha and Kiir touched on methods to alleviate tensions which could arise between the partners during the coming period by continuing dialogue. Such dialogue could continue either on the bilateral level or through local and international sessions, including meetings in Addis Ababa about the Abyei region in order to reconcile outstanding differences about areas such as referendum procedures and what comes after the referendum.

The Foreign Minister stressed the importance of holding intensive meetings at a high level between the partners to consider potential solutions, taking into account the time pressures, and the redoubling of efforts which that requires of all parties.

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