African Mediators Leave without Date for Sudanese Negotiations

Published July 19th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

African mediators left Khartoum Wednesday without clinching a date for fresh peace talks between the Sudanese government and rebels, a newspaper and the Kenyan embassy said amid increased fighting. 

The embassy said the delegation from the secretariat of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), led by Kenyan diplomat Daniel Mboya, left for Nairobi on Wednesday. 

Sudan's independent As-Sahafi ad-Dawli daily said the IGAD team could not reach an agreement with Sudanese government negotiators on a date for a new round of talks with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). 

The newspaper said that in a late Saturday meeting, government negotiators turned down a proposal to hold negotiations in the Kenyan capital August 3 and proposed August 15th instead. 

It said the government needed the delay to study further the agenda of the talks and to handle other pressing matters of business, including preparations for a meeting with the political opposition. 

The daily quoted Minister of State in the Presidential Peace Advisory Administration Mutref Siddeiq as saying his government would not boycott the talks despite rebel violations of a ceasefire in the Bahr al-Ghazal area. 

As-Sahafi ad-Dawli said the IGAD delegation would consult with SPLA officials in Nairobi Friday on a date for the talks and would inform the government later on. 

According to the Khartoum media, President Omar Bashir Tuesday briefed the heads of state of Ethiopia, Yemen and Qatar on the situation in the south and on SPLA concentrations on the Eritrean side of the border. 

State radio and Khartoum newspapers Wednesday said the three leaders voiced their support to Sudan in facing "plots targeting its territorial integrity and its achievements." 

A Sudanese official was quoted Tuesday as accusing Eritrea of backing a planned SPLA offensive against eastern Sudan. 

Meanwhile, the ruling National Congress, the Umma Party and pro-government parties called for pulling out of the IGAD mediatory forum, describing it as "a useless vicious circle," and called for unifying ranks against aggression - KHARTOUM (AFP)  

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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