Egyptian President Meets Sudanese Rebel Leaders
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday met two Sudanese rebel leaders who gave him their perspective on the latest developments in the war-torn Arab African country, reported Al Gumhouriyyah newspaper, reported Al Gumhouriyyah newspaper.
The paper said that Mubarak received Mohammed Osman Al Mirghani, chairman of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and John Garang, head of Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
The paper did not elaborate, but a spokesman for Garang, Yasser Arman, had said earlier that the meeting would confirm "the strong ties between the Sudanese opposition and the leadership and people of Egypt."
Garang and Mirghani arrived in Egypt Tuesday morning, said AFP.
Arman said the joint visit by the two opposition leaders "gives a strong hope to the Sudanese people that the unity of Sudan on a new basis of equality is possible, regardless of race, religion, sex, gender or region."
Garang, whose forces have been at war with Sudan's Arab Muslim north since 1983, said recently he advocates a confederate state with two separate constitutions, so that animists and Christians will not be subject to Islamic law.
Egypt and Libya have launched a peace initiative aimed at ending Sudan's 18-year civil war, but Garang has said a pre-existing east African peace drive will take precedence for the SPLA, unless the two initiatives are merged.
Mubarak frequently hosts Sudanese opposition leaders as well as government leaders and officials as part of the peace effort.
The southern rebels have made recent advances in war-torn Bahr Al Ghazal province, claiming to be just 12 kilometres (seven miles) from the government garrision town and regional capital of Wau, but Khartoum has dismissed that claim as false.
Within the same context, the Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) reported Wednesday that tens of thousands of people in Bahr Al Ghazal were facing serious food shortages and rising malnutrition after heavy fighting between government and rebel forces forced them to flee their homes.
It quoted a recent report by the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) as saying that the upsurge in fighting and insecurity in Bahr Al Ghazal were "deeply disturbing," since populations in the region were currently highly food insecure.
"The insecurity will seriously undermine the populations' resilience and ability to cope during the hunger period," the report added.
In Aweil and Gogrial, food insecurity had been further exacerbated by poor rains.
A delay in the planting season was likely to lead to an extension of the "hunger gap" by one to two months in these areas, the report said, cited by IRIN – Albawaba.com
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