US Envoy to Sudan, Congressional Delegation Expected in Cairo

Published November 18th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

US envoy to Sudan John Danforth and a congressional delegation are expected soon in Cairo for talks with senior Egyptian officials about peace in the region, AFP reported, citing sources at the US embassy. 

Danforth, a former senator appointed by US President George W. Bush in September to broker an end to Sudan's 18-year civil war and promote humanitarian assistance, will meet during his working visit to Cairo with government and Sudanese opposition leaders. 

The US envoy's visit is expected to include stops in Damascus, Beirut and Tel Aviv, “to assess prospects for renewing the peace process in the Middle East.” 

Analysts have pointed to Sudan's vast oil reserves as one key reason for America's intense interest in the war-torn African country. 

Danforth, who started his mission last week in Khartoum – two months after his appointment - will meet with Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi of the Al Azhar institute, the highest authority for Sunni Muslims, AFP said. 

An unnamed source was quoted by the agency as saying that the US congressional delegation, headed by California Republican Darrell Issa, member of the House Committee on International Relations, was also expected in Egypt as part of a brief tour of the region. 

However, Danforth will be back in Khartoum by mid-January to follow up on the quest for peace in Sudan. 

"I have set one year for my mission and if I fail, I will go back to...Bush and tell him that we have failed," said Danforth, adding out that, in case of his failure, another person might be appointed. 

Asked whether his mission was related to America's declared war on terrorism, Danforth pointed out that he was appointed on Sept. 6, before the attacks in New York and Washington –

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