Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sudan surprisingly distances itself from Egypt

The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir made surprising remarks downplaying the strength of his country’s relations with Egypt and said that Libyan weapons find their way to Darfur rebel groups.

Egypt was the second country among half a dozen states to receive Bashir since the warrant for his arrest was issued on March 4th by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes in Darfur.

In an interview with Egyptian independent newspaper Al-Shurooq published today Bashir was asked whether his attendance of Qatar hosted summit on Gaza despite Cairo’s boycott impacted relations.

“The relations with Egypt are neither cold nor warm but nonetheless they are positive. The understanding and mutual understanding is in place between the two countries and this is the most important thing” Bashir responded.

“Sudan was the first to call for a summit when the aggression against Gaza took place and I phoned [Syrian] president Bashar Al-Assad for that purpose. So when Qatar offered to host the summit we were in the front of those who accepted it” he added.

The summit held to discuss the Israeli assault on Gaza strip was boycotted by Arab heavyweight including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmood Abbas.

Egypt views Qatar as a country promoting and supporting militant groups including Hamas movement which controls the Gaza strip. Furthermore Cairo sees Qatar’s growing prominence as a challenge to its status as a regional power.

Qatar helped broker goodwill agreement between the Sudanese government and Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) last February pledging to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the Darfur conflict.

The Sudanese president took another hit at Cairo when he suggested that the accusations against Lebanese group Hezbollah of planning attacks in Egypt are overblown.

“We trust Hezbollah and its leadership and we consider them a genuine resistance group deserving respect and honor” he said. MORE HERE

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