Sudan Denies Military Cooperation with Iraq
Sudan has denied charges that it is producing chemical weapons with Baghdad, and that Iraqi pilots are flying air raids in the Islamic regime's war against the rebel Christian and animist south, a newspaper said Thursday, cited by AFP.
"This is an old allegation by the rebel movement designed to mislead world opinion," an unnamed official in the government spokesman's office told the independent Al-Ayam daily.
The official was quoted as saying there were no foreign pilots in the Sudanese armed forces, and that there was no military industrial cooperation with any country.
The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) on Tuesday denounced what it said was "the close cooperation between the Khartoum and Baghdad regimes in developing Sudan's military industry, including chemical weapons."
The statement based its charges on information from "SPLA sources within the Sudanese armed forces."
According to Middle East News Line, the statement charged that Iraqi pilots had been flying war missions in six Russian-built Antonov planes.
It also claimed that the pilot and co-pilot of a military plane that crashed last Wednesday in southern Sudan were Iraqis.
The statement said "one of the two" Iraqis had been killed in the accident in Adaryel.
The Sudanese deputy defense minister, 13 senior Sudanese officers and a non-commissioned officer perished in the crash, the Sudanese government said at the time.
The Sudanese army blamed a sandstorm for causing the accident, which occurred as the plane was landing at the airport. Sixteen people were reported to have survived the crash.
A government official refused to comment on the pilots' identities to Al-Ayam, saying: "There is no information on this matter, but what we know is that the plane was chartered."
Sudan was a political ally of Iraq during the 1991 Gulf war – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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