Khartoum: Israel helps rebels in order to divide Sudan
A Sudanese official accused Israel of giving southern rebels logistical and military support in a bid to "divide" Sudan and the Arab world. The claim was immediately rejected by the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army.
In Muscat on Sunday, Sudanese Parliamentary Relations Minister Abdel-Basit Sabdarat told a news conference that Israel and Sudan's radical Christians want to divide Africa's largest country, AP reported.
"How can the rebels obtain tens of tanks, missiles and advanced communications systems if not from Israel?" he asked. "It is in Israel's interest to divide Sudan and the Arab world."
An SPLA spokesman in Kenya, Justin Arop, rebuffed the claims, telling AP that "we do not have any connection with Israel."
Arop said Khartoum accuses anybody of backing the rebels "whenever we score a victory." When asked how the rebels got the tanks, he said: "The Sudanese army supplies them to us when they run away."
Earlier this month, the SPLA took over the southern town of Torit following clashes with Sudanese army forces. The government has vowed to retake the town. The fighting over Torit led Khartoum to suspend peace talks it had been holding with the rebels in the Kenyan town of Machakos.
Sabdarat's visit to the Gulf state of Oman comes as Khartoum tries to explain its suspension of peace talks to Arab and African leaders. The Sudanese official said he met on Saturday with Oman's Sultan Qaboos, who expressed his country's support for the Machakos peace talks.
He also said Khartoum wants to convince the United States to drop Sudan's name from a list of countries sponsoring terrorism. "We managed to some extent to clarify Sudan's image to Washington as a peace-loving nation. But sanctions are still imposed and we are determined to continue our efforts to convince the U.S. that we do not sponsor terrorism," he said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)